That has to be understood: you can be blissful when you are ignorant, but you cannot feel your blissfulness, you cannot be aware of your blissfulness. The moment you begin to feel your blissfulness, you are out of ignorance. Knowledge has entered, you have become a knowing one. So Adam and Eve existed just as animals, absolutely ignorant – blissful, but remember, this blissfulness, too, was not a known fact to them. They were just blissful without knowing it.
The story says the Devil tempted Eve to eat the fruit. And the reason the Devil could tempt Eve was this, that “If you eat this fruit, you will be like God.” This is very meaningful. “Unless you eat this fruit of the tree of knowledge you can never be like God, you will remain animals.” And that’s why God had prohibited, forbidden them, to touch this tree. They were tempted.
This word devil is very beautiful, and for Indians particularly it has a different shade and significance than for Christians, because devil comes from the same word, from the same root, from which deva, devata comes. Devil and divine both come from the same root. So it seems the Christian story is a misrepresentation, somehow incomplete. One thing is known: the Devil himself was a rebellious god, a rebellious angel who rebelled against God. But he was a god himself.
Why am I saying this? Because to me there are not two forces in the world, God and Devil. That dichotomy is false. There is only one force. And the dichotomy is not of two enemies but of two polarities of one force: God-and-Devil, one force working as two polarities – because unless a force works in two polarities it cannot work.
So to me this biblical story takes on a new meaning: God prohibited because you can tempt only if you prohibit. If the tree of knowledge was not mentioned at all, it seems improbable that Adam would ever have thought of or imagined this particular tree. The Garden of Eden was big, there were infinite trees. We don’t even know the name of any other tree.
This tree became important because it was prohibited. This prohibition became an invitation, this denial became the temptation. It is not really the Devil who tempted. In the first place, God himself tempted. This was the temptation: “Don’t go near the tree of knowledge! Don’t eat the fruit of it. Only one tree is prohibited, otherwise you are free.” Suddenly this one tree becomes the most important in the whole Garden.
And to me devil is just another name for the divine – the other polarity. And the Devil tempted Eve because “Then you will be like God!” This was the promise. And who would not like to be like God? Who would not like it?
Adam and Eve were tempted, and then they were expelled from Heaven. But this expulsion is part of the process. Really, this Heaven was an animal existence, blissful, but ignorant. Because of this eating of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve became human beings. Before that they were not human beings at all. They became human beings – when I say this I mean they became problems.