Sri Yukteswar Expounds the Bible
Master (Sri Yukteswar) expounded the Christian Bible with a beautiful clarity. It was from my Hindu guru, unknown to the roll call of Christian membership, that I learned to perceive the deathless essence of the Bible, and to understand the truth in Christ’s assertion — surely the most thrillingly intransigent ever uttered: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”1
The great masters of India mold their lives by the same godly ideals which animated Jesus; these men are his proclaimed kin: “Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”2 “If ye continue in my word,” Christ pointed out, “then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”3 Freemen all, lords of themselves, the Yogi-Christs of India are part of the immortal fraternity: those who have attained a liberating knowledge of the One Father.
“The Adam and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!” I observed with considerable heat one day in my early struggles with the allegory. “Why did God punish not only the guilty pair, but also the innocent unborn generations?”
Master was more amused by my vehemence than my ignorance. “Genesis is deeply symbolic, and cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation,” he explained. “Its ‘tree of life’ is the human body. The spinal cord is like an upturned tree, with man’s hair as its roots, and afferent and efferent nerves as branches. The tree of the nervous system bears many enjoyable fruits, or sensations of sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch. In these, man may rightfully indulge; but he was forbidden the experience of sex, the ‘apple’ at the center of the bodily garden.4
“The ‘serpent’ represents the coiled-up spinal energy which stimulates the sex nerves. ‘Adam’ is reason, and ‘Eve’ is feeling. When the emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs.5
“God created the human species by materializing the bodies of man and woman through the force of His will; He endowed the new species with the power to create children in a similar ‘immaculate’ or divine manner.6 Because His manifestation in the individualized soul had hitherto been limited to animals, instinct-bound and lacking the potentialities of full reason, God made the first human bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve. To these, for advantageous upward evolution, He transferred the souls or divine essence of two animals.7 In Adam or man, reason predominated; in Eve or woman, feeling was ascendant. Thus was expressed the duality or polarity which underlies the phenomenal worlds. Reason and feeling remain in a heaven of cooperative joy so long as the human mind is not tricked by the serpentine energy of animal propensities.
“The human body was therefore not solely a result of evolution from beasts, but was produced by an act of special creation by God. The animal forms were too crude to express full divinity; the human being was uniquely given a tremendous mental capacity — the ‘thousand-petaled lotus’ of the brain — as well as acutely awakened occult centers in the spine.
“God, or the Divine Consciousness present within the first created pair, counseled them to enjoy all human sensibilities, but not to put their concentration on touch sensations.8 These were banned in order to avoid the development of the sex organs, which would enmesh humanity in the inferior animal method of propagation. The warning not to revive subconsciously-present bestial memories was not heeded. Resuming the way of brute procreation, Adam and Eve fell from the state of heavenly joy natural to the original perfect man.
“Knowledge of ‘good and evil’ refers to the cosmic dualistic compulsion. Falling under the sway of mayathrough misuse of his feeling and reason, or Eve — and Adam — consciousness, man relinquishes his right to enter the heavenly garden of divine self-sufficiency.9 The personal responsibility of every human being is to restore his ‘parents’ or dual nature to a unified harmony or Eden.”
As Sri Yukteswar ended his discourse, I glanced with new respect at the pages of Genesis.
“Dear Master,” I said, “for the first time I feel a proper filial obligation toward Adam and Eve!”
- Matthew 24:35.
- Matthew 12:50.
- John 8:31-32. St. John testified: “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name (even to them who are established in the Christ Consciousness).”—John 1:12.
- “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”—Genesis 3:2-3.
- “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. The woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”—Gen. 3:12-13.
- “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it.”—Gen. 1:27-28.
- “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”—Gen. 2:7.
- “Now the serpent (sex force) was more subtil than any beast of the field” (any other sense of the body).—Gen. 3:1.
- “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.”—Gen. 2:8. “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”—Gen. 3:23. The divine man first made by God had his consciousness centered in the omnipotent single eye in the forehead (eastward). The all-creative powers of his will, focused at that spot, were lost to man when he began to “till the ground” of his physical nature.