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Adam and Eve


Pheena
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"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.14

"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.15

"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.16 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. 17 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.18 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 maya through misuse of his feeling and reason, or Eve—and Adam—consciousness, man relinquishes his right to enter the heavenly garden of divine self-sufficiency. 19 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.

_____________________________________________________________

14 "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.

15 "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.

16 "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.

17 "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.

18 "Now the serpent (sex force) was more subtil than any beast of the field" (any other sense of the body).-Gen. 3:1.

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19 "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.

Source: The Autobiography of a Yogi Chapter 17.

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  • 2 years later...

I heard another explanation where Adam would be the human mind, his expulsion from eden is when he begins to think. When he thinks the world is created. The world is characterised by Iblis/Satan who does not accept Adam as a manifestation of the divine and just believes the sensory outer world to be true and also angels that are thoughts which raise your mind to his door. Or to the emptiness viraan. Original sin is i suppose the state of fallen man when you begin to think and put into the cycle of subconscious vasana's - thoughts - karma. Once in this cycle you are fallen man, as long as you live you will be impure, only through his grace and only he can forgive your faults so you better start praying otherwise your sunk.

I don't really agree with this " 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" My view is that impurity is any thoughts outward going, once you become temporarliy lost (intoxicated) in a sight or sound you taint your soul with impurity, the soul and mental apparatus are in effct one, but outwards movement makes the illusion of evolustion of mind. Quotes like the above can lead to frustration because simple abstinence from sex wont do anything for you. Kundalini is more subtle than subtle talking about it grossens it and in my view can be dangerous and misleading.

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Guest Javanmard

Ah Swami Yogananda an his hatred of sex...

Prophet Adam is actually mentioned in gurbani but like with any semitic reference it refers to the Islamic Adam.

Adam was not only the first human being but also the first ever Prophet and Imam. Hence he was infallible and sinless. As in the garden of Eden there was no law Prophet Adam commited no sin. He just didn't do what was best for him. In the Qur'an Eve is not the origin of sin like in Judeo-Christianity nor are humans born sinful because of her. Women's essentially negative image in Judeo-Christianity as being the temptress does not exist in real Islam and in Sikhi.

The biblical myth has been the justification for the persecution of women in Western history and for repressive attitudes towards sexuality. Swami Yogananda lived in a time where colonial India had adopted this Victorian repressive discourse. Him and his master also had this very colonial attitude of trying to show the "white master" that their religion was worth respect because it was "scientific", much in the same ridiculous way how Neo-Sikhs try to prove that Ikomkar represented the big-bang and evolution theory...

Not only is the biblical myth charged with mysoginy but Sri Yukteshvar's commentary stygmatises women as emotional sexual temptresses and as the origin of the rational male's downfall.

Pheena could have complemented this quote from Autobiography of a Yogi with another quote...the one where the unbearded Swami Yogananda narrates his privildege of having slept in the same bed as his master...

Oh Eve...how men of all nations have slandered you though the ages and projected their own shortcomings on you and women...

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"These were banned in order to avoid the development of the sex organs, which would enmesh humanity in the inferior animal method of propagation."

If God wanted us to be asexual why didnt God create us to be asexual from the start?

But in old roman times men that had small penis was seen as ideal and men with larger penises were seen as beasts.

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Ah Swami Yogananda an his hatred of sex...

Prophet Adam is actually mentioned in gurbani but like with any semitic reference it refers to the Islamic Adam.

Adam was not only the first human being but also the first ever Prophet and Imam. Hence he was infallible and sinless. As in the garden of Eden there was no law Prophet Adam commited no sin. He just didn't do what was best for him. In the Qur'an Eve is not the origin of sin like in Judeo-Christianity nor are humans born sinful because of her. Women's essentially negative image in Judeo-Christianity as being the temptress does not exist in real Islam and in Sikhi.

The biblical myth has been the justification for the persecution of women in Western history and for repressive attitudes towards sexuality. Swami Yogananda lived in a time where colonial India had adopted this Victorian repressive discourse. Him and his master also had this very colonial attitude of trying to show the "white master" that their religion was worth respect because it was "scientific", much in the same ridiculous way how Neo-Sikhs try to prove that Ikomkar represented the big-bang and evolution theory...

Not only is the biblical myth charged with mysoginy but Sri Yukteshvar's commentary stygmatises women as emotional sexual temptresses and as the origin of the rational male's downfall.

Pheena could have complemented this quote from Autobiography of a Yogi with another quote...the one where the unbearded Swami Yogananda narrates his privildege of having slept in the same bed as his master...

Oh Eve...how men of all nations have slandered you though the ages and projected their own shortcomings on you and women...

Could you perhaps try to explain how did you arrive to this view that Swami Yogananda had hatred for sex. Hatred is a strong word, so please clarify for us.

This certainly is a understanding of this story and regards to them succoming to their 'white masters'. To me Swami ji was simply trying to create a bridge between the east and the west, not necessariliy try to say their religion was worth respect. Do you think such a soul would care about the view points of those that had no idea of the depths of Spirituality? To try to get the whites to like them. Everyone has their purpose in propogating Spiritual matters...if this purpose brought them closer to White people, how is that a bad thing? Do they become traitors to their india because perhaps the Purpose of Swami ji was to bring his wisdom to the west?

If it was indeed their hatred for sex and trying to project women as "sexual temptresses" then why is the successor of Swami ji a woman who is physically alive today? Lahiri Mahasaya who was the Guru of Swami Yukteswar had many Woman deciples. Throughout the book there are many refrences to the Hindu Goddesses. Even so during the early years of Swami ji, He used to even pray to the Godess (can't remember which one). Please clarify so i can understand where you are coming from.

I don't see what relevency Swami ji sleeping in the same bed as his Master has to do with this? I certainly hope you are not going where I think you are going with this.

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Guest Javanmard

The only women acceptable to Yogananda were women whose sexuality had been neutralised and hence didn't represent a "danger" for men. It is also so easy only to talk about goddesses to avoid talking about real women. Sikhi talks about ALL aspects of womanhood unlike what is being done by Yogananda's Neo-Vedanta.

As regards his endeavour to bring his teachings to the West and the politics of it, I am afraid this has been all too well analysed by Richard King's "Orientalism and Religion". Anyone who has a notion of Orientalism knows the politics of this whole " East meets West" thing. It's all base on well established on clearly definec colonial and counter-colonial rethoric and the patterns are the same in this be it with Swami Vivekananda, Yogananda or Yogi Bhajan.

Btw my response was not meant as a personal attack against Pheena.

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Too right, like I mentioned earlier, when I met with a Swami of the Yogananda thing recently he started harping on about how 'scientific' Yogananda's tradition was and how religious traditions should be compared for how 'scientific' they are to find the best one (implying other traditions were 'superstitious', 'irrational', 'effeminate' ohh the postcolonialists would have been loving it). I couldn't help but explain modern (rather than turn of the century) science/neuroscience's opinion of meditation relating to temporal lobe epilepsy and how in my opinion, for science to comprehend mysticism it would need to deconstruct itself so far into something that would no longer consitute 'science'!

I look forward to the day when mystical experience rather than western notions of logic and rationality are the touchstone for these groups. Why they try to appeal using these arguments I don't know.

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I look forward to the day when mystical experience rather than western notions of logic and rationality are the touchstone for these groups. Why they try to appeal using these arguments I don't know.

TSingh,

The use of "scientific" validation for religion is clearly a hanger on from the Western "Science vs Religion" debate (one which never arose in the East since no apparent conflict seemed to exist) together with what Javan has outlined concerning the Orientalist tendancies of those initially wrote such material or of their masters.

With the supposed "education" of the Diaspora today, it is sad that many 'educated' and 'uneducated' sections of our own community still harp on about the supposed "Sikhi is a scientific religion" and wider Indian communities doing the same for their traditions and sampradhas.

I only hope that we have this trend reverse or at least come under check before we head any further down the route that Chrisitan Groups like the "Evangelical Physicists" have, in their vain attempts to deny even fundamental issues like Gravity because in their view it goes against Christs ascent into Heaven.

We already have certain sections of the modern Sikh community trying to support the Big Bang theory using selected quotes from Gurbani (which are usually laughable at best) and others trying to 'prove' that the Gurus were born of virgin births!!! The issue I have with the above is that Science often takes 180 degree turns since it in itself is not a complete subject - so why any 'religion' which claims to base itself about a 'infalliable, timeless, completely revealed, God incarnate etc etc" scripture requires science as a barometer I really don't know!!!

Incidentally, it is still a Big Bang THEORY not a LAW and there is already a group of credible scientists casting doubt about this theory - so heaven forbid, will this make Gurbani incorrect should they become the next "accepted" scientific theory???

The funny thing is that even amongst those who are not part of any academic or educated elite, we can see this trend evident although they may not speak of scientific terms, their whole 'maryada' is very often based upon very logical and rationale items.

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