What is the Bible?

An excerpt from a talk given by Paramahamsa Prajnanananda during
the International Kriya Yoga seminar held in Miami on March 7-9, 1997.

Why should you read the Bible? Those who have read the Bible have rarely understood it. It is very difficult to understand the true meaning.

The Bible is a book of knowledge and experience that enables us to complete the examination of our life. At every moment we appear for the examination. Every moment is an examination. Are we watching our breath? Are we loving God? To pass the examination we must find out how to fulfill our life using the divine knowledge found in the Bible. The Bible is the book of fulfillment, to make life complete.

Origin and Structure

The Bible comes from the Greek word biblion, which means “books.” This root is used to form many other words: “bibliotek” (library) in German, “bibliography,” “bibliophile,” and so forth..

So Bible means “book” or Holy Book. This book is not only written on paper or papyrus. It is the book of your life given by God. It is a blank book. And God has given us the freedom to write something in the blank book of our life. What we decide to write in that blank notebook is up to us. How many notes have you collected, written in the book of your life? Are these notes really useful? You will know. If the book of your life is full of love and God-consciousness, then this is the Bible, the Holy Book. To make the book of your life holy and divine is the Bible.

The Bible consists of the Old and New Testaments. The beginning of the Bible is Genesis. The end of the Bible (the New Testament) is Revelation. Genesis means “creation.” Revelation means “realization.” Genesis comes from the word “genus.” Those who have studied biology or geology know this. Where did we originate from? Where are going? The Bible is the book about the beginning and the end. The river flows downstream and ends in the ocean. The ocean is the end of the river. Where is the source of the river? The ocean again. The ocean is both the source and the final merging place of the river. How is the ocean the source of the river? The water from the visible ocean evaporates, and this invisible water then precipitates and becomes the visible river. It is a complete cycle from the ocean to the cloud to the river and back to the ocean again. So the real source of the river is the ocean. The Bible helps us go back to the source. If you go back to the source, you will find the real resource. Your money is not a resource. To go back to the source is the real resource, the treasure. This is what the Bible teaches.

Theologians say that the Bible was written over a long period of time, several hundred years. But this is wrong. The Bible is the word of God. Man cannot write it. Man cannot write the word of God, but still it has been passed down in a written form. You must complete the Bible within this life. To complete the study of the Bible means to realize your Self in this life. This is the Bible.

Controversial Points

In August 1995, Prajnanananda was invited to a forum with twenty-two pastors to settle an argument about the Bible and Kriya Yoga. Before the meeting, I did not know what I was going to talk about. I was scheduled to speak for forty-five minutes; then they would ask questions for thirty minutes; then I was to talk for another forty-five minutes, and this would again be followed by thirty minutes of questions and answers. I was to talk about Kriya Yoga and try to explain that it is non-sectarian. But at that meeting I did not say anything about Kriya Yoga. After a formal introduction, with folded hands I bowed to God, to Moses, to Jesus. I did not utter a single Sanskrit word while praying. I said, “You all have read the Bible. I have also read the Bible. You are following the path of the Bible according to your beliefs. I love the Bible. Although this body was born in an orthodox Hindu family in India, I have read this book from my early teens. I am still reading it. You are all learned people preaching the Bible to the people. I am also talking about the Bible to the people as I understood it, as I realized it.”

Then I asked some questions: “Why did God create man from dust? Did God not find any other material to create him? Why did God say not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge or Adam and Eve would die, but Adam and Eve ate from it and did not die? Is God a liar? Why is it written ‘the son of God’ and ‘the daughter of man?’ Is God partial? Males are His sons, but females are not His daughters? Why in the New Testament did Jesus say, ‘Be intelligent like the snake?’ Is the snake intelligent?” I asked several questions in this way. I said, “I want to hear your answers. You all are learned people.” All were elderly, fifty to sixty years old.

The Body is Dust Created by God

There was complete silence in the room. As no one was saying anything, I asked “Would you like to hear what I have understood?” They agreed. I explained the meaning of “dust” ― fine particles of soil. Soil means what? The earth element. Inside the earth there is water. Inside the earth there is fire. Inside the earth there is air. This earth or dust itself remains in the vacuum, space. Thus there are five elements. God created man ― meaning human beings ― out of these five elements. And these five elements exist in the body, each one being dominant in a particular chakra: earth in the bottom center, water in the sex center, fire in the navel center, air in the heart center, and vacuum in the throat center. God created man from dust. This body is made of dust. I do not know the Jewish custom of burying the dead, but I have seen the Christian priest sprinkle a little soil over the coffin and say, “ashes to ashes, dust to dust…” because this body is made of dust, and it is going back to dust. What is the value of your body? Dust. Dust means “insignificant.” Do you like dust? If there is dust in your house, you remove it with your vacuum cleaner. Although we do not like dust, we like our dust-bodies because they come from the hand of God. Although it is made of dust and insignificant, it is beautiful, because God has applied his hand to every part of the body. God made man from dust, and man is mortal. “Man” is to be understood as “human being.” “Man is mortal” does not mean that woman is immortal! God created you and me; God has no partiality.

Son Means Soul

Then why does the Bible speak of “the sons of God and the daughters of man?” “Son” means the Soul. We all are the sons of God, the Soul. It is because of our identification with the body that we speak of males or females. When we identify ourselves with Spirit, then we are neither male nor female. What are the daughters of man? “Daughters” means the desires. Daughters means that which was created from yourself, your children. When desires come to you, any type of desire, desire for money, desire for sex, desire for food, desire for emotion, anger, any desire ― those are your daughters. You have created your own children. So “the son of God wanted to marry the daughter of man” means that human beings want to be with their desires constantly. We want to live with ideas, with emotion, with moods, with expectations, with desires, with people, that is to marry, to be united, to live with desires. People live with desires.

The Body is Paradise

When God created us, God kept us in paradise. This body is paradise. God said that if you eat the fruit of the tree in the middle, you will die. But the snake said, “No you will not die, you will acquire knowledge.” They ate the fruit, and they did not die. But what type of knowledge did they get? They saw that they were naked; they became body conscious.

“If you eat the fruit of this tree, then you will die” does not refer to physical death; it means that their spiritual wisdom was covered, they became body conscious. When you are conscious of the body, you forget the Spirit within. To be aware of Spirit, you need to practice.

God closed the door of heaven; He kept Adam and Eve out, and He placed a guard at the entrance. This means that it is very difficult to enter. If it had been easy then everyone roaming the streets would have become God-realized. So everyone must go to heaven and perceive God’s presence. How? Remember that God has created you and me. You love your children, don’t you? How much do you love your children? God loves us more than we love our children. Our love is a physical and material love. God’s love for you and me, for His creation, is a divine love. God is not angry with anybody. God loves us extremely.

Please Read the Bible

The Bible states that God was not happy that man’s lifespan was only 120 years, that man was mortal. Conversely, God will be happy if man perceives that he is immortal, that the power of God is all. That is God’s greatest joy. When the Father is happy, the child will be happy. When the child is happy the Father will be happy. This is samadhi. This is the state of Self-realization. This is the result of meditation. This is the result of Kriya practice. This is the teaching of the Bible. The Bible is a wonderful book. I have read it so many times, I cannot count anymore. Next to the Bhagavad Gita, which I have many hundred times, it is the book I have read the most often. Every day I find some truth in it, meaning that it reveals Truth. Please read the Bible. Please come to meditation classes. Please practice the technique. Then your life will be beautiful.
Please remember one thing, only one thing: Do not forget your breath. In the Bhagavad Gita Shri Krishna said:

sahajam karma kaunteya
sadosham api na tyajet

– Bhagavad Gita (18:48)

Sahaja means easy, karma means action — “easy action.” What is the easiest action? Breath. In your body there is the heartbeat, circulation, digestion, and many other biological processes. Among them, the easiest action is breathing.

But the real metaphorical meaning of sahaja is “to be born.” Saha jayate iti — with our birth, what is born? The breath. And that breath is the breath of God, the breath of life. And that breath will remain until the end of this body.

“O son of Kunti (Kaunteya), do not forget your breath. It is the easiest action.” Not reaction. Let us be active, not reactive. Practice it. Do not forget. God will bless you. Thank you all. God bless you.