Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Death through Knowledge

And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." ......Genesis 2:16-17

"The ignorant pursue external pleasures; (thus) they fall into the wide– spread snare of death. But the wise, knowing the nature of immortality, do not seek the permanent among fleeting things. Those who are devoid of discrimination and fail to distinguish between real and unreal, the fleeting and the permanent, set their hearts on the changeable things of this world; hence they entangle themselves in the net of insatiable desire, which leads inevitably to disappointment and suffering. To such, death must seem a reality because they identify themselves with that which is born and which dies. But the wise, who see deeper into the nature of things, are no longer deluded by the charm of the phenomenal world and do not seek for permanent happiness among its passing enjoyments." .......Katha Upanishad part 4:2

" For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." ........... Galatians 6:8

This article is to understand the esoteric meaning behind the tree of knowledge. The garden of Eden here stands for the pristine consciousness which was bestowed upon man in his creation. This is the reason that we read that God created man in His image.

"And God said , Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." ............Genesis 1:26-27

But having created man, he is invested with the potential of discrimination. This is indicative in the instruction he receives that he might eat of the fruit of all the tree of life but he shall not eat of the tree of good and evil. In this entire episode of the garden of Eden, life means spiritual immortality and death has the opposite connotation. The thinking man when he becomes the slave of his thoughts and is attached to the resultant pleasure of the senses operates in a mode of depletion of his spiritual well being. The flesh is the temporary vehicle of consciousness, which is everlasting and immortal. When God of Genesis gives man dominion over the animals and all other creation, this has to be understood as man is invested with the power to ascend beyond the lower nature of consciousness which pervades the mineral, plant and the animal kingdom. But as Paul points out when we nurture the flesh at the expense of the spirit then we face the loss of everlasting life. The concept of Samsara is embedded in Paul's writing.

I have specifically chosen the translation of Swami Paramananda of the Sanskrit version of the verse from Katha Upanishad as it elaborates the deeper meaning therein implied. The nature of death and immortality as related to the transient and the permanent reality is brought out in his translation. All our sense perceptions and the resultant thoughts and emotions are primarily for the well being of the physical body which is important in so far as in nurturing this vehicle of Divine consciousness. But sense gratification which is driven by the ego mind depletes the potential of this consciousness and deviates its action from nurturing the Spirit. Identifying with all impermanent entities results in the identifier's consciousness also achieving an impermanent state.

All spiritual writings, throughout the ages in their various forms and cultural context, convey the same message. Good and evil are the discrimination of the thinking mind. Good is the attribute of the Spirit and Evil is the attribute of flesh through sense attachments. This might lead to the question of why then the flesh. Flesh is the result of corruption of the primal consciousness and is a vehicle of transportation in our journey of reentry in to the uncorrupted state of consciousness. Till man ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil he never knew that he was naked.

"Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;...." .....Genesis 3:7

This denotes the predomination of the senses over integral nature of existence and it is our life endeavour to re-enter the Garden of Eden to live in our Divine nature. This is the end of Samsara.

Love to you all.

1 comment :

  1. interesting way of thinking, sd be the holistic way of thinking as opposed to narrowed down views!!