I am in the process of reading a book called An Autobiography of A Yogi, by Paramhansa Yogananda. A fascinating read and very insightful into Eastern/Hindu mysticism and metaphysics.
Yogananda's teacher, Guru, master was a yogi by the name Sri Yukteswar and the following excerpt is from his dissertation to Yogananda about the Biblical Adam and Eve story. A very interesting interpretation indeed.
"The Adam and Eve story is incomprehensible to me!" I observed with
considerable heat one day in my early struggles with the allegory.
"Why did God punish not only the guilty pair, but also the innocent
Master was more amused by my vehemence than my ignorance. "GENESIS
is deeply symbolic, and cannot be grasped by a literal interpretation,"
he explained. "Its 'tree of life' is the human body. The spinal
cord is like an upturned tree, with man's hair as its roots, and
afferent and efferent nerves as branches. The tree of the nervous
system bears many enjoyable fruits, or sensations of sight, sound,
smell, taste, and touch. In these, man may rightfully indulge; but
he was forbidden the experience of sex, the 'apple' at the center
of the bodily garden.
"The 'serpent' represents the coiled-up spinal energy which stimulates
the sex nerves. 'Adam' is reason, and 'Eve' is feeling. When the
emotion or Eve-consciousness in any human being is overpowered by
the sex impulse, his reason or Adam also succumbs.
"God created the human species by materializing the bodies of man
and woman through the force of His will; He endowed the new species
with the power to create children in a similar 'immaculate' or divine
manner. Because His manifestation in the individualized
soul had hitherto been limited to animals, instinct-bound and
lacking the potentialities of full reason, God made the first human
bodies, symbolically called Adam and Eve. To these, for advantageous
upward evolution, He transferred the souls or divine essence of two
animals. In Adam or man, reason predominated; in Eve or
woman, feeling was ascendant. Thus was expressed the duality or
polarity which underlies the phenomenal worlds. Reason and feeling
remain in a heaven of cooperative joy so long as the human mind is
not tricked by the serpentine energy of animal propensities.
"The human body was therefore not solely a result of evolution from
beasts, but was produced by an act of special creation by God. The
animal forms were too crude to express full divinity; the human being
was uniquely given a tremendous mental capacity-the 'thousand-petaled
lotus' of the brain-as well as acutely awakened occult centers in
"God, or the Divine Consciousness present within the first created
pair, counseled them to enjoy all human sensibilities, but not to
put their concentration on touch sensations. These were
banned in order to avoid the development of the sex organs, which
would enmesh humanity in the inferior animal method of propagation.
The warning not to revive subconsciously-present bestial memories
was not heeded. Resuming the way of brute procreation, Adam and
Eve fell from the state of heavenly joy natural to the original
"Knowledge of 'good and evil' refers to the cosmic dualistic
compulsion. Falling under the sway of MAYA through misuse of his
feeling and reason, or Eve-and Adam-consciousness, man relinquishes
his right to enter the heavenly garden of divine self-sufficiency.
The personal responsibility of every human being is to
restore his 'parents' or dual nature to a unified harmony or Eden."
As Sri Yukteswar ended his discourse, I glanced with new respect
at the pages of GENESIS.
"Dear Master," I said, "for the first time I feel a proper filial
obligation toward Adam and Eve!"