Sunday, December 27, 2009

Conquering our Animal Nature

Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”……….. Logion 7

The Logion 7 of the Gospel of Thomas is a tough saying to understand as there is a very deep Gnostic and esoteric content that is being delivered by Jesus.
In every human soul there is a constant struggle between the, human consciousness induced, free will and the divine destiny for which we are born in this world. The struggle is heightened by the Ego dominated decisions that we take in our spiritual progress. The action of the self can very well be explained by the action of the three Gunas as propounded in Vedic philosophy. These three Gunas are
Rajas, Tamas and Sattva. While Sattva is the Guna of spiritual evolution, Tamas (inertia) and Rajas (passion) are the prime cause of spiritual degradation. Rajas and Tamas are needed in one’s life but they have to be balanced in right proportion to propel one towards attaining the Sattvic Guna. Animal nature is predominated by the Rajasic and Tamasic Gunas.

An animal is rooted in whole of its life in a gross body-bound existence; its life is confined to the satisfaction of hunger, thirst, sex and sleep. That is animal life. Sex is there, because the law of biological evolution requires that the species should not become extinct. Therefore, for the continuity of the species, reproduction is indispensable, and for the process of reproduction, sex activity becomes an inevitable part of the biological, physical animal. Thanks to the reproductive process in the biological, evolutionary scheme of things that life on earth, ordained by some mysterious superconscious being, continues. So, these characteristics of sex, hunger, thirst and sleep form the root nature of life on earth. The whole life is nothing but a constant effort to satisfy hunger, thirst, sex and sleep and this is present in the animal man. So far, it is all right. Its presence is no dire calamity or disaster. But, if it becomes the more dominant part of your life-style, then it becomes a dangerous predicament, because you have reached a level where the biological evolution has brought you to the peak point, where quite another aspect of evolution is supposed to commence. This is the evolution of consciousness towards a higher self.

Hence for a man to eat a lion means that he partakes of the animal nature in his existence but transforms it into his own higher nature. This is similar to the vegetable or fruit one eats and the vegetable or fruit has now become human flesh and bone. Jesus says that the Rajasic quality that has been now assimilated in the metabolic act is indeed lucky as it has now been elevated to a higher nature.

In contrast, if we allow our animal nature to dominate our life, then we are reduced to a lower nature of existence. Tau Malachi, writing his comment on this saying says that there is a constant struggle between
Nefesh Behamit (the bestial soul) and Nefesh Elokit (the Godly soul). This is a concept adopted from Gnostic Kabbalah.
In Gnosticism,
Yaldabaoth, the lion headed demiurge, is the symbol of fallen Gnosis or wisdom as opposed to Sophia which symbolizes divine wisdom.

Hence this saying clearly instructs us to aspire towards conquering our animal nature, of being rooted in an act of sense gratification, and elevate our consciousness towards a higher plane of existence.

Love to you all


  1. "and the lion still will become human"

    but how does the lion that eats the human, become human?

  2. Good question Jerry!
    In order to answer this we need to look at the whole saying from a consciousness perspective.

    In the first part of Jesus saying He talks of transcendence from a lower state of sense-limited consciousness to a higher state of divine consciousness. In this process the lower order is annihilated.

    In the second part, the higher level of consciousness, though it can never be distorted but now as it is subsumed by the lower order, will appear as the prevailing natural or higher order.
    This is possible through the play of illusion and that is the reason the lower order (lion) becomes the dominating operative and will assume the status of a higher order (human) and will manifest itself thus.

    This is the meaning of "and the lion still will become human

  3. If only we human beings had not allowed our conciousness to become lower than the animal nature, the world would have been a better place to live. Animals live with nature and go by natural instincts.It is we the humans, with our greed and deviations lowered ourselves and the globe to an ever lower degree of existence.

  4. Dear Subathra,

    It is a fantastic wish but the fact of the matter is that we are born human with an evolving consciousness which has a natural ascendancy towards a higher state. This is the reason that humans are never satisfied with whatever we possess or desire. This inbuilt vacuum is the prime mover of our Self realization.
    Thanks for your observation.