Friday, April 6, 2018

Blessings of the Flesh


Let me open this article with a quote from one of the earliest Church fathers whose wisdom was rooted in a deep understanding of Christ and through him the Divine. If God created human beings in his image why was physical domain consigned to the fall by the Church. We will examine this question and certain revelatory truth that we perceive through evolutionary biology.
“The tender flesh itself will be found one day
- quite surprisingly - to be capable of receiving,
and yes, full capable of embracing the searing energies of God. Go figure. Fear not.
For even at its beginning the humble clay received God’s art, whereby one part became the eye,
another the ear, and yet another this impetuous hand.
Therefore, the flesh is not to be excluded from the wisdom and the power that now and ever animates
all things. His life-giving agency is made perfect, we are told, in weakness -  made perfect in the flesh.” [1] ………….Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (c.130-c.202)
“So the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground, breathed life into his lungs, and the man became a living being.” [2]
The ‘humble clay’ which Irenaeus talks of is probably, in the early earth when water carrying comets or asteroids crashed into the earth pulverizing the solidified volcanic rocks, the first substrate in which complex molecules such as RNA (consisting of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen, which come together in very specific conformations or structural arrangements) are  put together when sufficient atmospheric electrical activity is present in the form of lightning. This has been experimentally proven in laboratories.
It was Bernal (1951), however, who first suggested that clay minerals played a key role in chemical evolution and the origins of life because of their ability to take up, protect (against ultraviolet radiation), concentrate, and catalyze the polymerization of, organic molecules. [3]
I have quoted this biological evolutionary concept in order to point out that creation is not one time act with the wave of a Divine magician’s wand. One of the current theory of evolution in which I have a strong belief is that of “autopoetic continuous evolution” towards higher complexity or Theistic Evolution.
To our current knowledge, man stands at the very front end of this 3 billion years of evolutionary complexity. In our bodies, consisting of 35 trillion cells, there is a massive scale of replication of DNA going on every second of our lives. An example is our entire skin gets renewed in 18 weeks.
We still cannot comprehend, at the very primal quantum level at which the course of our evolutionary pathways are laid out, what is the driving force? While scientists are attributing this process to physical laws with its limitations, spiritual masters are attributing this process to the substrate of Divine or Cosmic consciousness.
The basic truth is that we carry in this framework of flesh, which includes all material composition of the human body, the driving force of life which the Divine gift reflecting the very creative energy. Every life form from the humble bacteria to man is invested with intelligence and provided with sustenance. The natural forces in work through our Harmons resulting in emotions are Divine investment and have to be rightly utilized both for self-preservation and for empathy and compassion towards all creation.
When the resources provided for the wellbeing of the flesh are over indulged or deprived, the natural harmony of the body is upset. The house of God becomes structurally weak. These conditions result in self-destruction at the physical level through disease and a runaway process of craving and low selfhood.
The constant indoctrination of the corrupting nature of all that is our physical self leads to a  psychological condition resulting in low self-esteem This in turn leads to the biggest trap of dragging one into seeking success, popularity, or power at all cost.
St. Augustine went on a hyper drive on the concept of the sins of the flesh (original sin) which he claimed came through the yielding to the temptation of the flesh by Adam and Eve. This was mainly a reflex action to his own condition due his own past life of reckless debauchery.
St. Jerome, the first author of the Latin Bible and great Church father who was the advocate chastity for the clergy, confesses:
“O, how often have I thought myself to be in the midst of the vain delights and pleasures of Rome, even when I was in the wild wilderness.” Again, “I, who for fear of hell had condemned myself to such a prison, thought myself oftentimes to be dancing among young women, when I had no other company, but scorpions and wild beasts. My face was pale with fasting, but my mind was inflamed with desires in my cold body: and although my flesh was half-dead already, yet the flames of fleshly lust, boiled within me, etc.” [4]
I would conclude this article from a very apt concept in Vedanta. On the practice of Yoga, Sadguru says:
“The very body is divine as far as yoga is concerned. One aspect of Shiva is that he is Angaraj. Angaraj means the king of limbs. You may be doing Angamardana, which is a process of gaining mastery over the limbs. Shiva is the king of limbs because he has completely mastered them, and now the very body has become divine. If the system, which is moving from unconsciousness to consciousness, becomes 100% conscious, if even the physical body becomes utterly conscious, then this is a divine body. That is what it means when we say Shiva is Angaraj. These limbs can be an unconscious mass of flesh, or they can become so conscious that they are like a divine body. This is about transforming a piece of flesh into a deity.” [5]
We have this inbuilt potential of transformation but it requires a great effort in moving our involuntary functions such as the bodily functions such as breathing, heartbeat and liver function and our mental function into the domain of conscious awareness.
Let us make a small beginning.
Love to you all.



[1] Adapted and translated by Scott Cairns, Love’s Immensity: Mystics on the Endless Life (Paraclete Press: 2007), 5-6.
[2] Genesis 2:7 – International Standard Version
[3] Bernal J. D1951The Physical Basis of Life. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. 364p.
     To find more information about this publication, try searching -  PubMed/NCBI - Google scholar
[4] Martin Luther, Commentary on Galatians
[5] http://isha.sadhguru.org/blog/yoga-meditation/demystifying-yoga/from-piece-flesh-to-divine- force/

2 comments :

  1. very beautiful article annan. It speaks of creation of man, the recreation of man through conscious exercise of yoga, unification of self through meditation, spiritual exercises and bodily exercises. Whatever be, when the body gets worn out due to age-bound labour, it is then that we realise the preciousness of life within that exceeds and transcends the body. May our knowledge and wisdom favour a smooth journey on this universe. May the Almighty be praised!

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  2. Thank you Sabi. You have a very deep and philosophical understanding of complex subjects. May the Divine bless you and empower you to touch many people with your wisdom.

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