The Cleansing of the Temple
13. The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14. And He found in the temple those who were selling oxen and sheep and doves, and the money changers seated at their tables. 15. And He made a scourge of cords, and drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen; and He poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables; 16. and to those who were selling the doves He said, “Take these things away; stop making My Father’s house a place of business.”
The Cleansing of the Temple in the Gospel of John corresponds to the Uddiyana Bandha of the Indian tradition located in the abdominal region just after Svadhisthana chakra. It is said in the Indian texts that through Uddiyana Bandha, the great bird prana is forced to fly up through the sushumna nadi so that the jiva (individual soul) soars like a bird.
The symbol of the temple
The temple is a symbol of the body.
John 2:20-21 - “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
The body of Jesus as the new temple
John 2:18-21 - The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
The word "Destroy" here, in Greek:, is the same word used by Jesus when he asks for the bindings around the body of Lazarus to be removed: "Unbind":
John 11:44 - The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”
Similarly, in the narrative of the resurrection of Jesus, the bindings around the body of Jesus have been removed when the disciples come to the tomb that morning:
John 20:6-7 - And so Simon Peter also came, and entered the tomb; and he saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.
What is the meaning of "destroying the temple" or "unbinding the body"?
In Saiva Siddhanta, pasas are the bonds that keep the individual soul ignorant of its true divine nature. They are called bonds because they bind the souls or jivas to the limited reality and subject them to temporary ignorance of their true Siva consciousness. When the Yogi separates himself from the physical body at the time of death, the soul is liberated from its bondage and doesn't come back for a rebirth.
Read the Raising of Lazarus commentary to learn more about the bonds binding the soul »
What does the body of Jesus represents?
John 2:21 - But He was speaking of the temple of His body.
Jesus journeying in Galilee and Judea and performing the miracles until his death and resurrection on the Golgotha (the place of the skull) represents the spiritual Kundalini energy raising up the spine, piercing the chakras (each chakra corresponds to one of the miracle), reaching the top of the head and liberating the body that is the Land of Israel.
Learn more by reading an overview of the symbolism of the Gospel of John »
The symbol of the cord
The cord is a symbol of the serpent raising up in the body as Kundalini.
The Indian tradition has this famous metaphor: the darkness of illusion (Maya) will make us mistake the rope for the serpent. In the Hindu mythology episode of the mythic churning of the Ocean of Milk, the serpent king Vasuki serves as a churning rope to produce the nectar (amrita) of divine immortality.
Nada Bindu Upanishad 26-27 - As a person through illusion mistakes a rope for a serpent, so the fool not knowing Satya (the eternal truth) sees the world to be true. When he knows it to be a piece of rope, the illusory idea of a serpent vanishes.
The symbol of the oxen and the sheep
In the Shaiva Siddhanta tradition, the sheep or any domesticated animal represents Pasu, the individual soul or self not yet liberated. Driving the sheep out of the temple corresponds to the individual soul coming out of the body through Brahmarandhra and attaining liberation. In the Indian tradition Brahmarandhra, meaning "cave of Brahman", is a hole at the crown of the head. This hole is where is located the gate of Brahma, ‘Brahma Dwara’ - the ‘Gate to Pure Consciousness’. When the Yogi separates himself from the physical body at the time of death, Brahmarandhra opens up and the soul (the sheep, Pasu) comes out through this opening (Kapala Moksha). The soul is liberated from its bondage and do not come back for a rebirth.
The symbol of the doves
The dove is a symbol for the prana, the life force. The Cleansing of the Temple in the Gospel of John corresponds to the Uddiyana Bandha located in the abdominal region just after Svadhisthana chakra (corresponding to the Wedding at Cana). It is said in the Indian texts that through Uddiyana Bandha, the abdominal lock, the great bird prana is forced to fly up through the sushumna nadi so that the jiva (individual soul) soars like a bird.
The symbol of the money
The money is associated with the action of the 5 senses in the body.
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5:14:2 - In the forest of material existence, the uncontrolled senses are like plunderers. The uncontrolled senses plunder the money through sense gratification. The senses are plunderers because they make one spend his money unnecessarily for seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, hearing, desiring and willing. In this way the conditioned soul is obliged to gratify his senses, and thus all his money is spent. This money is actually acquired for the execution of religious principles (obtaining liberation), but it is taken away by the plundering senses.
Overview of the symbolism of the Cleansing of the temple:
The kundalini serpent (the cord), will raise up within the body (the temple). The individual soul (the sheep and the oxen) is liberated and the prana (the doves) comes out of the body. When the Yogi separates himself from the physical body at the time of death, the soul comes out of the body. The soul is liberated from its bondage and do not come back for a rebirth. This is made possible by the control of the senses. The uncontrolled senses are said to be plunderers of money in the Indian tradition.