Excerpts from Chapter-16 on “Outwitting the Stars” from “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Swami Paramahansa Yogananda.
“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 generation?”
Master was amused, more by my vehemence than by 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, or ‘in the midst’ of the bodily garden.”
[Ref: “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 ‘serpent’ represents the coiled-up spinal energy that 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.”
[Ref: 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’.” – Genesis 3:12-13]
“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.
[Ref: 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.” –Genesis I: 27-28]
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. In Adam or man, reason predominated; in Eve or woman, feeling was ascendant. Thus was expressed the duality or polarity that underlies the phenomenal worlds. Reason and feeling remain in a heaven of co-operative 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 through an act of special creation by God. The animal forms were too crude to express full divinity; the original man and woman were uniquely given a tremendous mental capacity – the potentially omniscient ‘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, with one exception: sex sensations. These were banned in order to avoid the use of sex organs, which would enmesh humanity in the inferior animal method of propagation. The admonition 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. When ‘they knew that they were naked’, their consciousness of immortality was lost, even as God had warned them; they had placed themselves under the physical law by which bodily birth must be followed by bodily death.”
[Ref: “Now the serpent (sex force) was more subtle than any beast of the field” (any other sense of the body). – Genesis 3:1]
“The knowledge of ‘good and evil’, promised Eve by the ‘serpent’, refers to the dualistic and oppositional experiences that mortals under maya must undergo. Falling into delusion 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.”
[Ref: “And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed” – Genesis 2-8.
“Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.” – Genesis 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.”]
“The personal responsibility of every human being is to restore his ‘parents’ or dual nature to a unified harmony or Eden.”
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