Overview
Divider

The symbol of the fish in the gospel of John

Number of occurrences of the word Fish in the Gospel of John:

The word fish in the gospel is mentioned using 3 different Greek names:

Greek name Translation Occurrences in the Gospel
Fish prosfagion Fish 1
Fish oyaria Fish 5
Fish Ichthus Fish 3

The fish and the bread on the fire (John 21:9)

This event is the last part of the process of using the breath to reach the highest states of consciousness in the Indian tradition. By merging the lower bindu (microcosmic) with the upper bindu (macrocosmic) and burning them in the fire of Kundalini, immortality is attained.

1. The bread on the fire is the Macrocosmic Bindu.

Tirumantiram 1951 - “The fiery Bindu above is Lord's Body.”
John 6:51 - “I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”

2. The fish on the fire (Fish oyaria) is the Microcosmic Bindu (Prana/the breath).
In the Feeding of the 5000 narrative, the breath is associated with the 2 fish. Learn more

Tirumantiram 1951 - “The Bindu wasted here below is vital Prana”
John 21:9
So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.
Tirumantiram 1951 - The fiery Bindu above is Lord's Body (The bread, macrocosmic) The Bindu wasted here below is vital Prana (The fish, microcosmic). If mixing the two, they burn it in the Fire of Kundalini, then they consume the very ambrosia --This, the wisdom of Yogis true.

The fish of the Feeding of the Multitude (John 6:9-11)

The fish mentioned in the narrative of the Feeding of the Multitude (Fish - oyaria) represents Matsya, one of the 5 Ms of the Panchamakara. The 2 fish are the 2 nadis Ida and Pingala; Andrew and Philip respectively corresponding to the inhalation and exhalation of breath. Andrew and Philip are the only 2 apostles mentioned in the Feeding of the 5000. (Learn more about the symbolism of the fish/breath in the Feeding of the 5000).

The matsya literally means "fish", but it symbolically signifies the inhalation and exhalation of breath. It has been said that the 2 nadis, ida and pingala, have 2 fishes, inhalation and exhalation moving constantly up and down. It is enjoined that a sadhaka should stop their erratic movement by performing khumbhaka through pranayama, so that the blocked channel of the central nadi (sushumna) could be opened for the ascent of the kundalini shakti. This is symbolically called "the eating of the fish" matsya-bhaksana, and such aspirants are known as matsya-sadhaka. - From the book Essays on the Tirumandiram by T.N. Ganapathy & KR. Arumugam

The catch of the 153 fish (John 21:6)

John 21:6
And Jesus said to them, "Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch." So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.
Tirumantiram 2031
One cubit its depth, Half cubit its diameter, Thus shaped round is the body pond; The Fisherman (Lord) His net spreads; Many the fish (of desires) He caught; No more the troubles I encounter.

1. The sea represents the body/the mind.

Tirumantiram 2031 - One cubit its depth, Half cubit its diameter, Thus shaped round is the body pond.

2. The fish in the lake are the desires/passions.

Tirumantiram 2031 - The Fisherman (Lord) His net spreads; Many the fish (of desires) He caught.

3. The goal of Advaita Vedanta is to get rid of desires.

Tirumantiram 2919 - Give up desires, the Tattvas perish.

4. The 153 fish after the catch may be representing the 153 perished Tattvas. The total number of Tattvas in the Shaiva Siddhanta tradition is 153. The tattvas are the elements constituting the body. To obtain liberation, they need to be transcended so that their action no longer affect the body.

Tirumantiram 1854 - Reduce the perishable body to its elemental constituents (tattvas) and then discard them.
Tirumantiram 2178 - By breath control the tattvas subside within the body.
John 21:11 - Simon Peter therefore went up, and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, a hundred and fifty three.

5. The desires related to the elements constituting the body (tattvas) will have to be scorched by the Yogic Kundalini fire for the nectar of immortality to flow.

John 21:9 - They saw a charcoal fire already laid and fish placed on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” .
Tirumantiram 229 - Those who Vedanta truly grasped, they burnt all desires away.

View the list of the 153 Tattvas as described in the Shaiva Siddhanta tradition.