After eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve, for the first time, became aware of their nakedness and felt ashamed. What is the deeper meaning behind this feeling?
And, secondly, it has been said that the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge is knowledge of sex. What is your view about this?
Nature in itself is innocent, but the moment man becomes aware of it many problems arise, and what is natural and innocent is interpreted. And when it is interpreted, it is neither innocent nor natural. When humanity becomes aware of it, man begins to interpret it, and the very interpretation begins to produce many concepts – of guilt, of sin, of morality, of immorality.
The story of Adam and Eve says that when the fruit of the tree of knowledge was eaten, for the first time they became aware of their nakedness and felt ashamed. They were naked, but they had never been aware of it. The awareness, the very awareness, creates a gap.
The moment you are aware of something, you begin to judge. You are different from it. For example, Adam was naked. Everyone is born naked like Adam, but children are not aware of their nakedness. They cannot judge it, whether it is good or bad. They are not aware, so they cannot judge. When Adam became aware that he was naked, judgment entered: “Now, is this nakedness good or bad?”
Every animal was naked around him, but no animal was aware of his nakedness. Adam became aware, and with this awareness he became unique. Now to be naked was to be like an animal, and Adam, of course, would not like to be an animal. No man likes it, although every man is.
When for the first time Darwin said that man is a growth, a growth from certain animals, he was opposed vehemently because man has always been thinking himself a descendant of God, just a little bit lower than the angels. And to conceive of the ape as the father was very difficult, in a way impossible. God was the father, and suddenly Darwin changes it: the God is dethroned and apes are enthroned, the ape becomes the father. Even Darwin felt guilty about it; he was a religious man. This was a misfortune that the facts were saying that man has come through animal evolution, he is part of the animal world, he is not something different from animals.
Adam felt ashamed. That shame came because he could now compare himself with animals. In a way he was different, because he was aware. Man clothed himself just to differentiate between animals and himself. And then we are always ashamed about something which looks like animals. The moment someone is doing something like animals, we say, “What are you doing? Are you an animal?” We can condemn anything if we can prove that “this is just like animals.” We condemn sex because it is animalistic. We can condemn anything if somewhere it can be linked with animals.