In his autobiography Paramahansa Yogananda writes about the teachings of his Guru
Sri Yukteswar about the true meaning of
One day Yogananda asks Sri Yukteswar, referring to the story of Adam and Eve.
Why should God punish them and their generations also?
Sri Yukteswar explains that Genesis like many scriptures is deeply symbolic and we
should not take the literal meaning of the story.
In the Biblical story, the 'tree of life' represents human body. The spinal cord of a human
being is like a tree upside down with roots on the top and branches going down - compare to hair as
the root of the tree and various nerves in the body as branches of the tree.
The fruits mentioned are enjoyments of various senses - sight, smell, taste, sound and touch.
The 'apple' at the center of the bodily garden is the experience of sex.
The 'serpent' represents the coiled-up energy at the base of the spine (also called Kundalini in
In the story, God forbids eating apple - means we can enjoy all senses in full but avoid (or
have control) in terms of sex.
Adam is reason and Eve is feeling. When in our feeling or emotion, we are overpowered by the sex
impulse, our reason or Adam succumbs.
Sex impulse is much stronger than all other impulses and we can lose reason if we are not in
control. So God allows all enjoyments but tells not to indulge in 'eating the apple'.
We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in
the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest
ye die - Genesis 3:2-3
Lest ye die - represents that we will lose 'Adam' or our reason.
God created human beings with reason generally dominating in males and feeling dominating in
females. A feeling with reason is the best combination and the marriage system
represents the opportunity to develop such a balance.
Another way of looking at it is - our left brain represents the reason and right brain
represents the feeling. Balancing both sides (or balancing our male and female energies) is our
goal and meditation is the key. Many recent studies on meditation showed that meditation balances
the brain chemistry.
Sex impulse or the apple is banned so that we can use our energy to raise in the spine and raise
the consciousness instead of getting lost in the senses.
Not only in Biblical times, in the present context also it is true that we need to
apply moderation to our senses so that we don't lose our reason.