Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Bread of Life

“I am the bread of life. Your forefathers ate the manna in the desert, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”………..John 6:48-51

John was probably the most esoteric writer of Christ’s wisdom within the Canonical Gospels. The passage above is a very difficult to comprehend for its deeper meaning and hence gets mutilated in interpretation in the most simplistic way. It also leads to a literal interpretation and endorsement of the institution of the Eucharist. John never mentions the institution of the Eucharist in the last super and it is theologically explained that John is believed to have omitted the institution because he wrote his Gospel to supplement what the other evangelists had already written.

In a careful reading of the above passage, first, we see Christ making a categorical statement about Him being the ‘bread of life’. This really means that He is the sustaining energy of humanity. If this is accepted then we have to examine at what level and through what attributes He sustains humanity? His next statement clarifies this doubt that is already arising in our mind. It is not the physical food that He is talking about. For the ‘God given’ food of manna, which was miraculously sent to the Israelites during their time in the Sinai desert, could not give them perennial life. The inevitability of physical death is thus confirmed. Hence the symbolism of the life giving bread is to do with the health of one’s soul or Atma. The individual soul goes through defilement when resident in human body due to the influence of ego, sensory impressions and the actions of the mind.

‘Bread that comes down from heaven’ is more readily understood when viewed from Kabbalistic interpretation. The manifest world which includes humanity is at the lower most realm of the tree of life known as ‘Malchut’ and at its highest realm is ‘Ein Sof’. When Christ, with his deep wisdom of the Zohar mysteries, says from heaven, He means from ‘Ein Sof’.
What is Ein Sof? The book of Zohar says: “Before He gave any shape to the world, before He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without resemblance to anything else. Who then can comprehend how He was before the Creation? Hence it is forbidden to lend Him any form or similitude, or even to call Him by His sacred name, or to indicate Him by a single letter or a single point. . . . But after He created the form of the Heavenly Man, He used him as a chariot wherein to descend, and He wishes to be called after His form, which is the sacred name 'YHWH’”
Christ, being one with the Father, is the ‘heavenly man’ and descends to this creation through this life giving bread. Christ gave a deeper meaning to humanity’s inseparable participation in the divinity.
In the dualistic approach to God-Man relationship of the ancient Hebrew covenant, the chariot was the vehicle of the ‘heavenly man’ but in the new covenant through a participatory process Christ, the heavenly man, becomes the bread which you ingest and thus become part of the divinity. This partaking process symbolizes the Advaitic process of undifferentiated consciousness that pervades the entire tree of life.

By incarnating, Christ in the human form, the divinity takes flesh. Bread and flesh are two sides of the same coin. Whatever food we partake it is converted into our flesh. The entire purpose of taking a human form is to demonstrate how, even in this worldly manifestation, one can also become the Son of the Father.
Let those of us who receive Holy Communion always approach this partaking from this deeper knowledge that Christ’s presence is the symbolic descending of the divinity to make each one of us a divine being. Through the external symbolism an internal process must be activated to constantly renew our selves to become divine and thus attain eternal life.

Love to you all

4 comments :

  1. Beautifully worded. A wonderful translation of a mysterious and divine interaction that seems to be greatly misunderstood in these times!

    Namaste!

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  2. Thanks Christopher for your appreciation.

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