Vision Mound Magazine – vol.1 no. 3, 1977
Adam Is the Nervous System, Eve Is the Flesh, and Jesus Is the Whole Body
by Bubba Free John
A crucial dimension of the Spiritual Master’s work is his criticism and radical interpretation of the historical, cultural, religious, and spiritual perspectives that characterize the great traditions of East and West. This essay and the recent talk that follows it, ‘The True Teaching Is a Renewal of Culture,” demonstrate the illuminating and liberating function of Bubba Free John’s critical work as a Divine Teacher.
This brief essay (written June 26, 1977) is one of the most illuminating statements ever written on the esoteric significance of the tales of the Old and New Testaments. It is one of the few interpretations ever published that brings these scriptural roots of the Hebrew and Christian traditions together in a radical way, and makes them completely intelligible and useful to the ordinary man or woman today. The title of the essay is its own introduction. If you can make real use of this writing, then you may enjoy the beginnings of literal liberation from the assumptions, limitations, and cultural mythologies that live on, uninspected, as our own minds and psyches until we begin to hear the Teaching of Truth and Freedom.
In the Old Testament (Genesis 2 and 3) two trees are said to be in the middle of the garden of original paradise. These are “the tree of life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”
In the garden man was originally a unity, a single body. Then he was made into a pair, and the pair came into conflict. The male and the female came under the spell of the possibility for knowledge represented by the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The female yielded to the viewpoint of the serpent in the garden, that the taboo, given by God, against eating the fruit of this tree was simply God’s attempt to keep man from becoming transformed into a Divine being. The male accepted the viewpoint of the serpent via the female, and thus man (both male and female) was eventually separated from his original archetypal paradise by God. The male, the female, and the serpent were all punished for aspiration.
The viewpoint of the serpent appears to have been correct in a certain sense. Whatever the reason to be ascribed to God’s viewpoint, God, in the Old Testament tales, is shown to be opposed to the acquisition by man of the powers that are in the middle of the garden of paradise. At the end of chapter 3, the tree of life is also related to a Divine taboo. If man were to eat of the fruit of the tree of life, he would not only possess knowledge of good and evil but he would also become immortal. To prevent his immortalization, man (the male and female pair) is separated from the garden by God, and an angelic guard is set at the gate to prevent man from gaining access to the tree of life.
Thus, man (mankind) is said to have been bound to the elemental world by God, to struggle and die, possessed of a moral and intellectual sense, but subject to mortality and gross limitations. He is superior only to the animals (who are only instinctive, elemental creatures) by virtue of the faculty of knowledge and the moral sense, the self-conscious or egoic heart which is responsible for choices in all relations.
This account of original or archetypal existence and the fall into elemental or mortal bondage is, when coupled with the attainment or realization of eternal life by Jesus, the primary message of the Bible. It is an occult or archetypal message, related to the potential in every human individual.
The “original paradise” is the whole body of man. The male and female are the two alternating currents of the body, pingala and ida, the active-expansive and the passive-subjective. The serpent is the mind in sushumna, the trunk of the two trees. The two trees are the two patterns of the nervous system, one rooted in the lower coil and the vital center (the tree of life) and the other rooted in the upper coil and the subtle and mental center of the brain (the tree of the knowledge of good and evil).
God is the whole body at Infinity. But the viewpoint in the text is not that of God but of mortal man. To account for the elemental suffering of mankind, the text claims that God is in principle opposed to man’s being more than a noble and dependent creature, and that our unrelieved struggling and mortality is a punishment for our innate desire to expand into a spiritual state of freedom and ability, wherein mortality and unconsciousness are obviated.
This Old Testament view, which is not true to the Hebrew tradition as a whole, is specifically opposed and disproven by the moral, occult, and spiritual demonstration of Jesus. Jesus taught, and demonstrated through his own victory over death and his communication of spiritual power to others both before and after his death, that the conventional mortalist view, whether religious or materialistic, is utterly false. God is not opposed to our occult and spiritual development, nor to our transformation from a mortal to an immortal and glorified Condition. Indeed, God is that Condition, and to love God is to commune with and be transformed into that Condition. God is the archetype in which we are bodily involved. God is the whole body disposed to Infinity. If there is any opposition to our ultimate transformation, we provide it ourselves.
The Way of and to God is a matter to be realized in Truth. The body must be viewed as a whole-not as a pair projected on the mortal elemental plane. The two trees are in the midst of the garden of the whole body. Both are coincident with the spinal line, or the structural core of the flesh body and the nervous system. The current that is pervading the whole body and its structures is the key to human transformation. We may seek to attain the Divine Condition via knowledge and progressive enlivening or immortalization, but if we do so we will remain forever in exile in the mysteries of mortal and subtle striving. The Way in Truth, or in God, is to act as the whole or single body, in which case both the elemental form and the nervous system or etheric form are made a conscious and simultaneous Sacrifice in the Condition which precedes birth and the mortal, subjective, and egoic dilemma.
There is a sense in which the taboos relative to human duplication of the powers of the two trees are also positive laws relative to human transformation itself. The taboos are the factual present absence of knowledge and immortality. This absence creates self-conscious attention relative to the two trees, or the potentials of growth. It is by encounter with the taboos – that is, by the obligation to responsibly choose to take up the work of Sacrifice – that transforming work actually can take place. God is not opposed to this. God is man, except that man, previous to transformation, is only latently Divine. Once the choice is made to be a Sacrifice, and transformation actually occurs, man is Realized to be Divine, and then he is translated into the Divine Domain. Therefore, we must overcome fear, sorrow, guilt, and anger, and we must yield into our Destiny in Truth.
The Way of Truth is to love God without qualification. It is not to love the two trees, to seek knowledge and immortality. Such is not the Way. The nervous system, patterned as the two trees, is not to be made into an Idol. Rather, God, the Infinite Reality, is to be the presumption in Ignorance. The whole body (elemental, etheric, mental, intuitive, and egoic) is to be made a single Sacrifice into the Real and Prior Condition. The Way is the Way of Divine Ignorance, which is Radiant as Infinity. Then we are translated into the Perfect Domain, which is not the original creature paradise of the human body, but the prior and perfect Divine Domain, the purely spiritual Condition that is utterly free of the manifest and changing dimensions of experience and strife (wherein there is only seeking for knowledge and survival). In Sahaj Samadhi the Sacrifice is made. Bhava Samadhi is uncaused translation into the Perfect Domain, prior to the gross (the elemental and the etheric), the subtle (the mental and the intuitive), and the causal (the egoic and the differentiating and creative seeds of manifest awareness in the sub-Divine dimensions).
June 26, 1977
See large selection of talks and essays by Adi Da on Christianity and Jesus
THE TRUE TEACHING IS A RENEWAL OF CULTURE
By Bubba Free John
When people think of spiritual matters they tend to think of the influence of the Orient. But because in the last hundred years the world has become more and more intercommunicative, we are witnessing a synthesis of world cultures in which the great divisions of East and West are breaking down. And, coincident with this development, new awakenings to spiritual influence are appearing in both East and West. My work here represents both of these cultural events. The Teaching I am here to demonstrate is not an Eastern philosophy, nor is it a Westerner’s recounting of his experience in the East. It is a reunion of the great divisions of culture.
In the past, to be acceptable to Western people a teaching had to be based in the one-sided experience of the West. Today, however, to be truly acceptable a communication must represent a unity of experience. Individuals in the world today, because of the modern experience of communication, will not accept nor rest in a practice that is not unifying and full.
Even so, people generally identify genuine spirituality with Eastern cultures. And there are aspects of this Teaching that relate to Eastern culture, but there are also aspects that relate to Western culture. These relationships, however, are secondary and superficial. This Teaching represents a synthesis of cultural and spiritual tension of the being. Thus, while it is not Eastern, it is not particularly Western either.
Nonetheless, while this Teaching does not represent simply the objective, Western approach or the subjective, Eastern approach, it is also not just a mechanical or intellectual synthesis. It is itself a unity created out of spiritual realization. As a matter of fact, if realization were not its source, then it would be simply intellectual stuff. Thus the whole matter of Divine life cannot be summarized. It is not something that can be presented in a weekend to an interested group. It emanates from an impulse that is the renewal of culture and the transformation of life.
People have many cultural suppositions about spiritual life and spiritual teachers, based on what they have read and heard. The teacher is supposed to look and act a certain way because what is spiritual is generally associated with what is ascetic. The Way of Divine Ignorance does not represent an exclusively ascetic point of view. But., clearly it is a discipline, ascetical in the highest spiritual sense. Nothing in itself is presumed to be the Real., No experience in itself is the Truth, no inner experience or outer experience, no object, no state in itself exclusively is the Truth. Thus all experience and all movements of attention in the being are transcended in intuition of the Real Condition. In that sense all the disciplines in this Way are ascetic. They are a kind of heat. They transform, they transcend. Yet the world of arising manifestation is not avoided. Therefore when you become involved in this work you live an ordinary life. You work in the world and are creatively active in the world, if that is your interest. Ordinary worldly activity is not prohibited in principle.
Because of today’s fast communication, because there are more and more books about spirituality and more and more people traveling and talking about spiritual matters, it is easy to imagine that some great spiritual event is occurring. But people are just considering spiritual ideas. Most people who are involved with so-called spirituality are involved in superficial ways, as they would be with conventional church beliefs.
What people describe as the great spiritual age today is just a turning toward subjective matters and subjective illusions. Such a view was fostered in this country by the drug culture of the 60’s, which turned people into the subjective order. But that way is just as filled with illusions as any conventional life. It is the dimension of mind just as outward obsessions are also mind. Mind is the thing that we suffer, including the ego, which is a part of mind. Therefore, turning to the subjective order is not spiritual.
Certainly the so-called spiritual cultures arising in this country have some feeling for a fuller life. They represent a sympathy with an aspect of the body-being that Western life has tended to exclude. The subjective or emotional aspect of the being is being emphasized again, and so for that reason spiritual movements in this country look toward the East. But the subjective being is not the Truth any more than the active or objective being. Thus most people are just arbitrarily and superficially taking on Eastern religious customs in the name of spirituality.
True spirituality is a moral and spiritual transformation. And the practice of real or spiritual life begins to make a difference when people who are living conventional lives are no longer addicted to the worldly game. Not that they become otherworldly and separate from the world entirely, but they no longer live as a manifestation of conventional consciousness and interests.
It is important to recognize that conventional consciousness and interests also include all the baggage of conventional spirituality, all the outer forms of priestliness, all the Pharisaic nonsense-your robes, your philosophers, your sitting at the head of the table, your “I belong to this and you are crazy,” and all the beads and trappings and concepts and symbols and cultishness. These are not the sign of spiritual awakening. They are part of the ordinary consciousness, just as ordinary as gray flannel suits and Madison Avenue.
Nevertheless, all states of consciousness, whether ordinary or extraordinary, are to be overcome. They are just mentality. People in this country in particular are not too much aware of the dual criticism that is contained in the ultimate spiritual message. They are attuned to the message that serves when you are outwardly obsessed, full of desires, living by the flesh. Then the common message is that you must turn to the spirit, change your mind, get involved in internal, spiritual things. But spiritual is not internal. Spiritual is absolute vacuum, Thus the true spiritual message is a criticism of inwardness and the subjective order just as it is a criticism of ordinary outward, compulsive, obsessive desiring.
An aspect of spiritual growth is the passage through the revelation of so-called internal content. But the individual overcomes the content in the process. He stands over against it, in relationship to it, consciously, just as he must also stand in relationship to the so-called outer world. But people tend to become involved in subjectivity rather than transcending it. They get turned off to the “outside” world and turned on to the “inside,” and then they become obsessed with all kinds of symbols of the mind that they identify with Truth, everything from artificial designs of God, like the paintings of Krishna, to subtler aspects of the subjective order, such as internal lights and spontaneous visions. Thus, every tradition in religious history has been subject to the illusion of the internal. This Teaching, however, is the expression of the radical Way of Truth. It criticizes the order of the mind, the subtle dimension, just as it criticizes the gross or objective dimension.
Traditionally there has been a division between the great tendencies in consciousness of West and East, the one toward manifestation and the other toward the source of manifestation. When the Western man gets religious, he turns toward the source, but without leaving the born condition. He believes in Creator-God, the God-apart who has plans for the world. Basically his belief in God is an orientation toward his life, his future. The Eastern man is turned toward the source, giving up his born position, merging back into the origin. These approaches are like two different relationships to the sun-in the one, the individual stands in the sunlight and depends on it for his destiny; in the other he tries to merge himself in the sun. These are the two classic, cultural religious positions represented by East and West.
The Eastern and Western paths developed independently for a time, and eventually they began to come into contact with one another, in opposition to one another but also combining and sharing qualities. Today communications is so fast, and time and space on earth are so single, that a synthesis is emerging, a whole body culture, and a seat of it is here in this county.
As this new culture emerges, the criticism it implies of old adaptations must be absorbed. Separate tendencies represented by past cultural habits can no longer be accepted. We no longer are disposed to indulge a one-sided culture. This is the time of synthesis, not the superficial synthesis of mere communication, but the real synthesis of the reawakening of the whole body point of view. That point of view is the essence of this Teaching. It is a reawakening without the cultural limitations of any time and place in the past. And it carries with it, then, a criticism of the presumption that any object or experience, whether subjective or objective, is Truth in itself. Therefore, neither of the great orientations is, in itself, the way of Truth.
In the fullness of our practice the whole body is brought into consciousness, all of its orientations and all of its experiences are inspected and become a matter of responsibility. All the superficial patterns that we represent individually, psychologically, culturally, and socially all are inspected and all are made a matter of responsibility. We are turned to lawful practice rather than reactive patterns by tendency. Thus this is a different practice altogether from what is traditionally represented in East or West.
DEVOTEE: You have said before that the spiritual influences of Buddha and Christ initiated a completely different form of culture.
BUBBA: They represented a synthesis in their time also, not so much of East and West, because rapid global communication did not exist in those times, but between the movements of the being. Jesus emphasized the inner man and man’s higher sympathies as opposed to outer observances and beliefs. Gautama also was a critic of the great sacrificially ritualistic culture of the time. He saw that real life required the individual’s full commitment, full realization, full conscious participation, and a revolution of consideration. Both Jesus and Gautama taught that the individual himself must become responsible for a union between outer and inner considerations.
Krishna likewise, in the recorded teaching associated with him at any rate, did not teach simply the inner path. He taught that spiritual practice is not a matter of avoiding action but of assuming a different relationship to it, one that enables you to be turned toward the Divine while active. Thus Krishna also represents a movement toward the synthesis of “within” and “without.”
Whenever a spiritual awakening appears, unique in time and space, and begins to become communicative in the world to others, it synthesizes oppositions, differences, the qualities that are creating disharmony in individual lives and separating people from one another. Its origin is a realization of real or Divine life in that time and place, realized and communicated through an individual in the company of others and for their sake. It has cultural significance and thus cultural synthesis also occurs. But such a Communication is fundamentally a radical approach to all things harmonious or inharmonious. It is prior even to any synthesis. It is a real process. It is a serious and profound matter in the highest sense. It always has been.
See large selection of talks and essays by Adi Da on Christianity and Jesus