ALLEGORIES IN WORLD RELIGIONS
In the hoariest of hoary antiquity, just when the first ray of civilisation dawn, Lord Rsabha ,
the founder of Jainism, loving nick-named as Shiva or Shanker or Vishnu by Hindus, Adam by Muslims.
As an Elder by Christians, as Arbanta by Budhists and Roksheba by the Chinese, and Japanese, one
whose even the memory the world has now,owning to the remoteness of His time, almost quite forgotten ,
expounded The Eternal Truth. As time passed people lost this Scientific Truth with the result that
the world was literally smothered under the prolific productions of human imagination and poetic
fancy and the allegories produced earlier by their fore fathers were mistaken as real history and
factual narratives. In the course of time synagogues and pedagogues sprang up which exhibited
these mythological conception and the rabel encouraged by priestly class, to whom it was a source
of income, visited and latter even worshipped with false man-made deities installed in them
Qurrels and even bitter fueds and hatreds marred the smooth relations between different factions,
the prominent among whom were those who held the secret and those who had no idea of the
reality the esotericists and exotericists. Later on institutions and lodges, where
initiations into the Truth were established, arose. This was so because the vulgarity
owepowered the secret holders that they Lared not open their mouths in public. The aim of all was,
however, one and the same the resurrection of life or the spread of Science of Salvation.
The Hindu mind in particular and the other religions in general evolved out a mania for personifications and not a word of their sacred literature is valid historically. It is not possible in the small space at our disposal to give even briefly the interpretation of the various allegories of all the ancient and later religions. Those interested are advised to go through the valueable books-The Key of Knowledge. Confluence of Opposites. Christianity Rediscovered and Genius of Islam by Shri Champat Rai Jain. Another interesting and useful book in this connection is A Scientific Interpretation of Chriatianity by Elizabeth Fraser.
The learned authors have flung open to us the iron gates of the synagogues and let us all and sundry to the very precints of the Sanclum Santorun.
Let now presume the ‘key’ and ‘let’ is not be lost again. The interpretations given here are that of Late Sh. C.R. Jain, Bar-at-law, and Hardoi.
Vedicism. Vedicism is the expression of human adoration fora certain type os supernatural beings of whom the most notable are the three primary duties which are compressible or reducible into one. These are:
1. Surya, the sun
2. Indra and
The characteristics of these gods and the possible explanations of these highly conceptions are
Surya is the leader and king in heaven; the gods follow him and he bestows immortality on them. It is to him that the sacred prayer’Gayatri’ is addressed daily almost by all classes of Hindus. The text of this reads as:
“Let us mediate on that excellent glory of Divine vivifier; may open our understanding.”
Surya is a symbol for Omniscience, as the sub reveals all objects when it rises in the sky, so
does Omniscience reveal all objects of knowledge when it rises in the soul.
Indra is Lord of the thunder-bolt, and the leader of the heveanly host. He is a unique figure in Hindu mythology. In a detailed way Indra.
i) Committed adultery with his own preceptor’s wife.
Indra stands for an impure ego, trafficking with the world through the sense (Indriyas)
i) The adultery is the penetration of spirit into matter, a for bidden act, since emancipation only signifies release from the embrace of matter.
b) Life and intellect are the two important faculties of the soul. The penetration of matter into the pure spirit is the forbidden at e.g. adultery. This conception of penetration is most intimately related of (hence the wife of) intellect. That is the true teacher of life( hence its Guru).
ii) in consequences of which he was inflicted with ugly spots of the female genital organ all over his body.
ii) The disease marks are the ignorant Jivas, the product of the interation between the spirit and matter; they are blind at fist on account of ignorance.
iii) These were later turned into eyes at the invervention of Brahma
. iv) But when they became self-conscious in consequence of prayer to Brahma their eyes were opened. Hence Brahma is said to have converted ugly spots on the body of Indra into eyes.
v) Indra is also the father of his own father.
iv-a) The term father is a symbol for what is termed the material cause of a thing and
b) because the material cause of a purified spirit is an impure ego, while the latter itself the product of the union of pure spirit and matter. Hence , is the one conceived as the source (father) of the other.
v) The enemy of the God is Vritra, whose demon hosts from age with Indra, war unceasing wage.
v) The enemy of this God is the demon of darkness which stands for ignorance.
iv) Indra is the lord of rain”
vi) Rain is the peaceful shower of tranquillity (Shanti) which descends when the heat of passion
and error (mithyawa) has subsided.
Angni is the third member of this most important trio of Deities. The special characteristics of Agni are that Gods.
Agni is the symbolisation of taps and not a personification of fire or the culinary art.
This interpretation is the most appropriate because ascesticism is really the purification of the mind by the fire of “Veiog” “ it is the baptism of fire” as termed in the canomical books of Christianity and as venerated by the followers zend Avesta.
i) Three feet.
i) Tapas or asceticism rests on three kinds of control namely i.g. of the mind, body and speech.
Three can be no tapas if only two of these control are excercised and there is no fourth thing be control. Because tapas rests on these three kinds of controls, it is said to have three legs or feet. ii) Seven hands.
ii)The seven hands probably represent the seven powers that are acquired by ascetics. There are seven psychic chakras (pulses) in the spinal column and a specific occult force is conceived as slumbering in each of them. There are roused into activity by asceticism. As power is excercised by hands generally these seven kinds of occult powers are described as the seven hands of Agni.
iii) And seven tongues.
iii)The seven tongues are the five senses, manas or mind and intellect (budhi) , which are to be offered up as a sacrifice to Agni.
iv) He is the priest of gods who appear at his invocation.
iv)As the divine attributes of the soul became manifest by the practising of tapas Agni is said to be the priest of Gods (divine attributes ) who appear at his invocation.
v) He is the devourer of the clean and the unclean both.
v)Virtue and vice are both causes of bondage, the former, leading to pleasant and the later to unpleasant kinds of rebirths. Both of them have to be given up ultimately for pure self-contemplation.
vi) The giver of strength of Gods so that the more he is fed by sacrificial oblations of greater in the strength imported to Gods.
vi)The food of Agni is self-sacrifice i.e. sacrificing of desire because asceticism consist in curbing one’s desires. The divine qualities and attributes are termed gods in the language of symbolism. Hence, the Gods are strengthened by the offerings of sacrifices to Agni.
The entire scheme of the vedic mythology is thus clearly reducible to the following important points.
1) The individual soul is its own God, the Jivatman and the paramantman are one.
2) The pure soul is fully divine being endowed Omniscience which is is a mark of divinity.
3) This natural divinity of soul is marred by its union with matter.
4) Asceticism is the path which leaders to Perfection and God hood.
Ganesh. The hindu God Ganesha has hitherto defied because the scholars have only searched in the outside world for the object he represents. His description and the significance of the same are as under:-
i) He is riding on a rat.
i) A rat cuts up things and it’s therefore a symbol for analysis.
ii) Having a baby composed of a human trunk and elephant’s head.
ii) Ganesh himself is with an elephant’s trunk joined to a human body is every form of synthesis.
iii)The Youngest of Gods.
iii)Ganesha represent intellect or wisdom , which is the youngest of gods, (divine equalities) because the soul that has wandered in the transmigration of the past eternity of time acquires it only when about to obtain salvation.
iv) Yet the most mischievous, if neglected at the commencement of an undertaking:
iv) Though the youngest of gods, Wisdom or Intellect, insists on being the first to be consulted at the commencement of an undertaking disaster being but a natural result of its being neglected.
v) Engaged in eating a laddu (an Indian sweet-meat ball) and
v) The laddu represents the fruit of wisdom, since the wise naturally enjoy happiness(sweet);
vi) called ekdanta because of his having only tusk instead of two in his trunk.
vi)Ekdant stands for the true monistic view that the real God for every individual is only one, his own soul to associate another with whom the deadliest of sins. This is the final conclusion wisdom ultimately establishes.
Such is the charming personality of Ganesha. It is interesting as well as instructive. The original composer of this elegant impersonification must be, as we learn from the visiting card, hidden in the missing tusk, a learned thinker, whose knowledge of the Science of Life, was as exact as it is astonishing. Ganesha to whom we have just had the pleasure of being introduced is,thus, not the out come of a primitive sauage mind bent on personifying wind, clouds, or rain but an idolism in practical garb of the most essential element for salvation, as is clear from such texts as tire Jnanan na mukti (no salyation without knowledge).
There is in the vast region of the Hindu mythology piety in the garb of allegory and morality blended with every fable.
Christianity: There are two important principles , which if carefully observed, will prevent the mind from going wrong when interpreting Biblical allegories:
1) One is the law of religious allegories and have nothing to d with anyting which is not connected with religions. Hence it is not permissible to read into them such meanings as refer to digestion or any other kind of worldly matter.
2) The second important rule of interpretation is that a Doctrine should not be constructed form allegories but the allegories themselves should be interpreted in the light of the Doctrine. In other words doctrine is prior to allegory and the converse of this will not hold good.
Let us take the doctrine of the ‘fall’ , which is the basis of Judaism and Christianity; and also finds its repetation in Islam:-
1-11) Imagine a God having nothing better to do than to plant a garden. Being Omniscient He knows the future and places Adam and Eve in His garden and causes to grow up the deabbist of deadly trees in the centre of the garden, aware all the time than Adam and Eve shall eat of its fruits.
The two trees grown are i) The tree of Life and ii) the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil.
Now he makes man without being asked by any one to do so and makes him weak and unable to resist temptation. While asleep Hemakes Eve out of Adam’s rib. He also makes the temper, the snake. Now when temper artfully assails the unsuspecting weakness of man, the Omniscient God sees what goes an and enjoys the “spot”.
If that were all perhaps not much could be said against his author of Misery, but he does not rest content with the fun he has enjoyed. He now puniishes the poor man and so unappeasable is His anger that the whole generations of the unborn children and descendants, now remote so even of the erring couple are all punished for ever,for and ever. And was it after all tha man had eaten? Just a bit of the tree of knowledge , of Goods and Evil.
1) The Garden of Eden is a representation of the attributers of the soul.
2) The tree of Life and the tree of knowledge of Good and Evil are two attributes that are the most important of all, hence they grow in the centre.
3) Adam (e.f. Admi in urdu) is the individual ego that has reached the stage of evolution known as ‘human birth.”
4) Eve is the Intellect that is made from Adam’s rib taken out in sleep. Note that the intellect is only a form or function of the ego with which one finds oneself endowed on waking up from sleep.
5) Man alone is qualified for salvation, the animals, are debarred from it. Hence man is the principal recipient of dharmic injuctions.
6) The Tree of Life represents Life itself and the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil. The determination of the value of things.
7) The fruit (consequence) of knowledge of good and Evil represents what are known as attachment and aversion (Raga and Duesha ) because we long to possess what we regard as good and to destroy what is bad.
8) Attachment and aversion are two genera forms of desire, which is the cause of bondage. This is why the fruit of the Tree is forbidden.
9) The soul is immortal by nature, but birth and death are imposed on it on account of ts embodied condition. Hence the statement: “In the day that thou eatest there of thou shalt shall surely die.”
10) The force of desire which drags the soul away from the path of Dharm is the serpent through which discrimination of Good and evil, the object of the serpent through which came the temptation .
11) The ego entangled in the discrimination of Good and evil, the object of the senses has no knowledge of the true nature of the soul-that it is the true God.
12) Adam throws the blame for the evil deed on Eve, which Eve asserts that she was misted and over-powered by desire.
12)Here Eve means understanding or Intellect.
The Serpent means desire.
The significance is that the will is guided by the Intellect and the Intellect in its turn is governed by desires.
13) The punishment of trans-gessors are:
The serpent is to goo upon its belly and to eat dust all the days of its life.
13) The sensuality is constantly engaged in trafficking with matter. This raw-material of
sensation is constantly pouring in through the door ways of the senses and constitutes the
“dust” which the serpent (manas) is to eat all the days of its life.
Enmity is also put between the serpent and Eve. It shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise its heel.
(Genesis, III 15).
Enmity refers to the natural conflict between the intellectual and the sensual aspects of the ego. Desires are finally subdued by asceticism as the resolt of true wisdom (the seed of intellect).
The curse of Eve:
The curse is fully descriptive of the nature of Intellect.
Her sorrows and conception are greatly multiplied.
The animal has no regret or misapprehensions, but the man endowed with the Intellect has both.
“In sorrows shalt thou bring forth; children and thy desire shall be to thy husband and he shall rule over thee.”
The Intellect is governed by Will, her husband, in allergical speech, her children, are the diverse theories which are conceived and formulated with a great deal of labour and trouble and her very raison d’etre is the well-being of her lord (will).
The curse on Adam is also typical of the nature of the impure age;
i) Curse in the ground for thy sake,
ii) In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
iii) Throns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee and then shalt eat the herb of the field;
iv) In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return into the ground for out of it was thou taken; for dust thou art and into dust shalt thou return.
(Genesis III, 17-19)The significance of these terms is that the distress, privation, wars and suffering that appear on the earth are the result of the lusts, vices, villainy and hypocricy of human beings that notwithstanding all human efforts to rule over the world or the empire of nature; only thistles and thorns shall be the lot of the greed, lustful man; and that it is not in the province of a soul-less materialism to impart the true strength that only comes from Religion.
14) After the fall Abel and Cain are born to Adam,of whom Abel is the keeper of sheep and Cain is the tiller of the soil. They both take the offerings of their respective occupations before the God, but Abel’s offering is approved and not Calin’s cain there-upon murders Abel for which he is cursed by God . Seth was next son of Adam and Seth’s son was Enos. Then began men to call themselves by the name of Lord.”
(Gensis IV 26)14)Abel is the faith which is turned towards life while cain is reason,wedded to matter. Hence is Abel is a keeper of sheep (the symbol of life) and Cain, the tiller of soil (Matter). The offerings of the brothers signity the fruit of their respective occupations Abel’s consisting in the best products in the department of life-gentility of the lamb or excellent meekness and the like –and Cain’s, in the highest achievements electric light, aeroplanes etc.of a purely material science. Abel’swork is naturally acceptable to God, the ideal of divine perfection and joy because virtues lke Uttam Arjana are really, the first step on the path. But reason and faith are incorrigible; by nature for one in critical and other is dogmatic. For this reason Ablel is murdered by Cain.
Seth, which means the appointed, is the divine wisdom which is to take place of the murdered Abel(unreasoning faith). It is Enos, the child of divine wisdom who calls himself by the name of the Lord that is to say, who regards himself as a God.
Quran. Quran is a much in an allegorical language as the Vedas, the Zend Avastha and the Bible. It mostly follows the teachings of he portion knows as the old Testament of the Holy Bible and has a body of traditions of its own besides.
Like the fall of Adam, the story of Dhul Qurnain, the history of the brothers Zajuj and Majuj and the disobedience of Satan are pure mythologies.
The sufis called the Gnostics of Islam, Clearly hold that:
“Quran without the interpretation was only an assembly of words void of sense.”
The Dervishes by John P.Brown P.306“........................most parts of the Quran have a hidden inner or spiritual significance called the manae latin”
As a matter of fact the Quran itself makes no secret of the kernel being concealed within the rind. It is said in Surut-ul-Baqara. “God has fined His seal in their hearts and on their hearts and on their ears and before their eyes there is a great curtain and for them is great calamity.
(Studies in Taswaq P. 115)In Hadis also the Prophet of Islam describes himself as the city of Gnorsis, with Ali as its solitary gate! The meaning is that in order to understand the teaching of the founder of the Islam, it was necessary to resort to Ali’s interpratation.
As in Hinduism and other religious allegorical terms were coined with a double meaning the outer and the inner i.e. the plain and the hidden. The outer was intended as a mark, the inner and the hidden was what really mattered thus:-
|‘Jin’||"||Suspicion of the mind|
|‘Arteries & Veins’||"||”Livers and streams|
|‘Back’||"||the barren land|
‘The camel’, have we appointed for you as symbols of your obedience unto God.................
Their flesh is not accepted of Him, but your peity is accepted.
(Al Quran Chapter XXII)The camel is noted for its long neck, hence bending one’s neck in humiliation is what is meant by its sacrifice.