Pythagoras considered most necessary the use of parables in instruction. Most of the Greeks had adopted it, as the most ancient; and it had been both preferentially and in principle employed by the Egyptians, who had developed it in the most varied manner. In harmony with this it will be found that Pythagoras attended to it sedulously, if from the Pythagoric symbols we unfold their significance and arcane intentions, developing their content of rectitude and truth, liberating them from their enigmatic form. When, according to straightforward and uniform tradition they are accommodated to the sublime intelligence of these philosophers, they deify beyond human conception.
Those who came from this school, not only the most ancient Pythagoreans, but also those who during his old age were still young, such as Philolaos, and Eurytus, Charendas and Zaleucus, Brysson and the elder Archytas, Aristaeus, Lysis and Empdocles, Zamoixis and Epimanides, Milo and Leucippus, Alcmaeon and Hippasus, and Thymaridas were all of that age, a multitude of savants, incomparably excellent, --- all these adopted this mode of teaching, both in their conversations, and commentaries and annotations. Their writings also, and all the books which they published, most of which have been preserved, to our times, were not composed in popular or vulgar diction, or in a manner usual to all other writers, so as to be immediately understood, but in a way such as to be not easily apprehended by their readers. For they adopted Pythagoras's law of reserve, in an arcane manner concealing divine mysteries from the uninitiated, obscuring their writings and mutual conversations.
The result is that they who presents theses symbols without unfolding their meaning by a unsuitable exposition, runs the danger of exposing them to the charge of being ridiculous and inane, trifling and garrulous. When however they expounded according to these symbols, and made clear and obvious even to the crowds, then they will be found analogous to prophetic sayings such as the oracles of the Pythian Apollo. Their admirable meaning will inspire those who unite intellect and scholarliness.
It might be well to mention a few of them, explain this mode of discipline.
Not negligently enter into a temple or adore carelessly, even if only at the doors.
Sacrifice and adore unshod.
Shunning public roads, walk in unfrequented paths.
Not without light speak about Pythagoric affairs.
Such is a sketch of the symbolic mode of teaching adopted by Pythagoras.