Acharya Prashant: Harshal has asked:
“Serpent denotes Kundalini(Helical) awakening in various cultures. In Hindu culture, it signifies the opening of the crown chakra. The serpent here denotes the evil or something else?”
Harshal the serpent here in a serpent. Why are you relating it with something else? You know a serpent? Serpent, Hisssss… that kind of serpent. Firstly, understand what the serpent is all about. Your concern must be to understand, not to relate it with something else. Whenever you relate something new to something old, then the new loses its newness. Now you have defined the new in terms of the old, and the new feels helpless. The new had come to bring something new to you, and you’ve co-opted the new. You defined the new as a function of the old. The new is now destroyed. It holds no lesson for you now.
You look at a man and you comprehend his actions in terms of what you have so far seen in your life, and you will succeed, and you have lost it.
Are you getting it?
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its flavor,how can it be made salty again? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by man.”
Alok Ji is asking:
Acharya Ji, why does Jesus say that you are the salt of the earth? What is the meaning of this statement?
It means you are the core of the material. You are the spirit of the material. Salt of the earth. Earth denotes the material. Salt denotes the essence of the material, that which is obtained when the material is distilled, filtered. From immense quantities of material, very subtle, very little bit of salt, essence emerges that is what Jesus means when he says you are the salt of the earth. In his own way, indirectly in the language of the commoners, he is saying – you are not material, you are the spirit. You are not the body, you are the Atman. The ‘earth’ would denote the ‘body’, ‘salt’ would represent the ‘spirit.’
Remember that Jesus was not talking to people who really had a great spiritual education. His was not a very enlightened context. Those were not really people who really understood Jesus, otherwise, they won’t have crucified him. Had Jesus been in India he wouldn’t have needed to talk so indirectly. We don’t kill Saints and Rishis here in India.
There is a certain environment in which every prophet speaks. His words have to be understood keeping that environment in mind.
Alok Ji(Questioner) is asking to talk about Adam, Eve, Garden of Eden, Tree of Knowledge, Bitten Fruit, Serpent, and Jesus.
Adam and Eve are people with a body, people with a choice, people who can identify with either the body or the spirit. They are the ones who have this discretion, this choice available to them.
‘Garden of Eden’ is the state of bliss that one enjoys as long as one keeps making the right choice.
On one hand is the option to go by God’s Word, on the other hand, is the option to defy the advice and word of God. As long as one lives by the advice of God, one lives in the ‘Garden of Eden.’ ‘Garden of Eden’ is mental bliss that one enjoys by being devoted to the Truth. ‘Tree of Knowledge’ is the intellect. An intellect that has an ego as its center, as its root. ‘Bitten Fruit’ is nothing but eating or taking sustenance from intellect rather than God.
When one starts feeling that one’s security, sustenance, survival can come from one’s own intellect rather than existential intelligence, then one is eating the Fruit of the ‘Tree of Knowledge.’ Serpent and Jesus – Serpent is the potential danger that is always lurking around even when you are in the ‘Garden of Eden.’ You might be very devoted to God, you might have your innocence and you might, therefore, be enjoying the ‘Garden of Eden.’ But you’re latent tendencies are just latent, dormant, they haven’t gone away. In the great garden itself, serpents also exist.
Even as you are feeling delighted, blissful, you do not know that something else too is at work.
And it comes and whispers into your ears. It hijacks your intelligence. It corrupts your mind and dominates it. That is the serpent, the deep-deep tendency to deviate from the Truth. And remember that tendency never really goes away. So,
In your moments of bliss in the garden, don’t totally be off guard. Always remain close to God even if it appears that everything is settled.
Just when you are careless, not alert, not attentive, the serpent strikes. Jesus – Jesus is in some way the equivalent of Adam and Eve. Jesus is that version of Adam and Eve which always makes the right choice.
If Adam and Eve were incorruptible, they would be Jesus.
Jesus is that man who is not quite a man because he is left with no choices. Adam and Eve still have choices, they can go this way or they can go that way. Jesus goes only one way, towards his father. Jesus, one cannot say is a man. Jesus, one cannot say is not a man either. Jesus is the highest potentiality of Adam and Eve.
The last question for the day, Shilpi says:
Acharya Ji, in scriptures many times it feels as if excessive dramatization is involved. Eternal perdition, damnation, and death in eternal kingdom, flagellation, crucifixion. And we then take it literally. Is there a caution to be observed while reading ancient scriptures? You explained ‘Nity’ – Timeless, ‘Anity’ – Time dependent. Is this dramatization Anity(Time dependent)?
Shilpi, this dramatization is needed only for the one who does not understand things that are not so dramatic. If you were sensitive enough and receptive to whispers, then this dramatization would not be needed. We talked of miracles today. Your question is related to that. Things would already have been clarified in the context of that question. The kind of miracles that are associated with prophets and saints are so dramatic. The dead man is walking. Somebody is walking on the river. Somebody starts flying. Somebody cures a leper by his mere touch. These are very dramatic events.
They are needed because that’s the way the listeners, the readers, the audience, the general public is. So when you come across such things, just tell yourself something has been said very loudly because we are so deaf. Something has been said too loudly because we are so deaf. Otherwise what was the need for things to be so loud? If something is just simple and plain, you do not look at it. But if something is garish, decorated, scintillating, then our senses turn towards that. That is the reason why the Scriptures sometimes have to talk garish language. It is not as if the Scriptures intend to do that.
The subject matter of scriptures is immensely delicate. Why would then they want to use loud and gross images and language? It is because that is the condition of the reader. Otherwise, the Scriptures would have kept it very very indicative, very subtle. They would have just talked in pointers, as the Brahma Sutra does. Read the Brahma Sutra. Such terse, such condensed words. Everything said in the most succinct yet lucid way. So that too is available, and such examples too are there where you see wonderful dramatic miracles and events taking place. A child drops from the heavens. Somebody is killed and his soul pops up into the skies. Like a soap opera, loud. The Scriptures sometimes do descend to the level and language of soap operas that’s how we are. The scriptures were written for us.
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
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