1. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber.
2. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
3. To him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
4. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
5. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
6. This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand what those things were which He had been saying to them.
7. So Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep”.
8. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
9. I am the door: by me if any man enter in , he shall be saved , and shall go in and out , and find pasture.
10. The thief cometh not, but for to steal , and to kill , and to destroy : I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
11. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
12. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming , and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth : and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
13. The hireling fleeth , because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
14. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
15. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
16. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
The meaning of the “figure of speech”
John 10:6 – This figure of speech Jesus spoke to them, but they did not understand.
The “figure of speech” of the narrative of the Good Shepherd corresponds to one of the most important concept of Saivism: Pati, Pasu and Pasa.
In the Indian tradition Pati is Siva, the supreme self himself, the shepherd. Pasu is the individual soul, the sheep. Pasu means animal or a being in animal state. The animal state here is in reference to the gross physical state and the impurities. All the individual souls (Pasu/jivas) of the lower planes who are subject to illusion and ignorance of the laws of nature, are considered to be animals because they are deluded and ignorant and do not know who they are actually. Siva is Pasupati, the lord and shepherd of these deluded beings.
Tirumantiram 2193 – Lord is the Cow-Herd (Pasupati); Jiva the Cow (the individual soul, Pasu). When the cowherd who tends the cows his guiding staff shows, the cows will not their Master leave.
The fold of the sheep in the Good Shepherd narrative corresponds to the body/mind and the door of the fold represents the “Brahmic door” (Brahma-Dvara) at the base of the spine that needs to open up for the Kundalini to rise up the spine. Leading the sheep out of the fold 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, which is associated in the Gospel of John with Jesus giving eternal life:
John 10:27-28 – My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them.
This is symbolized in the narrative of the Good Shepherd by Jesus (Pati, the Lord), calling the sheep (Pasu, the soul) outside of the fold of the sheep (the body/mind, Brahmarandhra) and giving the sheep eternal life (liberation/Moksha). The Greek word for the name fold/enclosure is which also means the courts of the temple in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem temple in the Gospel of John is associated with the body (John 2:20-21).
The shepherd and the sheep
In Shaiva Siddhanta the shepherd/cowherd is Pati, the supreme male godhead (the Lord).
The sheep/cows or any domesticated animal is Pasu, the individual soul or self not yet liberated.
Pasa are the bonds that keep the individual souls ignorant of their true divine nature.
Pati, the shepherd, will liberate the individual souls (Pasu) from these bonds (Pasa) and then Pasu becomes one with Pati.
To the shepherd of the sheep the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.
What to do with those cows grazing in the backwoods of desires? Take them beyond, And lead them to Feet of Lord; Discipline them in ways superior; Thus manage the herd; Until then, their thoughts turn not from the backwoods of worldly pleasures.
The door of the sheep
John 10:7 – Jesus said to them again, “Truly, truly, I say to you,
I am the door of the sheep”.
Just as one forcibly opens a door with a key, so the yogin should break open the door to liberation by means of the kundalini.
The kundalini power, in its dormant state at the base of the spine, closes the opening of the “Brahmic door” (Brahma-Dvara) with her face. This door will have to be opened for the process of Kundalini awakening to start. The Kundalini will rise up the spine leading to self realization/liberation. Jesus, the good shepherd, represents the Kundalini breaking open the door to liberation. The mantra SoHam, I am That, associated with the movement of the breath, is the wedge (kilaka) spoken of in the Hamsa Upanishad by which the door to liberation can be forced open.
The thief and the robber not entering the fold of the sheep by the door
John 10:1-2 – He who does not enter by the door into the fold of the sheep, but climbs up some other way, he is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is a shepherd of the sheep.
John 10:8 – All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
The fold of the sheep is a symbol of the body/mind. The sheep is a symbol of the soul. The thieves and robbers are symbols of the senses. In the Indian tradition the senses are compared to thieves and robbers. The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons: greed, anger, and delusion. These three poisoned states of mind themselves include countless evils. The three poisons are present in our sense organs as kinds of consciousness or thieves. They’re called thieves because they pass in and out of the gates of the senses, covet limitless possessions, and mask their true identity. They take away a man’s knowledge and place him in a network of nescience. “Climbing up some other way” in the narrative of the Good Shepherd means entering through the doors of the senses (two eyes, two ears, two nostrils, the mouth) instead of entering through the Brahmic door. The wolves in the narrative of the Good Shepherd are also a symbol of the senses, their action is to be avoided by the sheep (the individual soul).
The figure of speech narrative of the Good Shepherd parallels the Raising of Lazarus narrative:
- The door is open by the doorkeeper – John 10:3
- The Shepherd calls his own sheep by name – John 10:3
- The sheep hear his voice – John 10:3
- The Good Shepherd leads the sheep out – John 10:3
- The sheep follow the Good Shepherd – John 10:4
- The sheep will find pasture – John 10:9
- Jesus gives eternal life to the sheep – John 10:28
- Jesus must bring other sheep not of this fold and there shall be one fold and one shepherd – John 10:16
- The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep – John 10:11
- Jesus ask to remove the stone (the door) – John 11:39
- Jesus call Lazarus by name – John 11:43
- Lazarus hear his voice – John 11:43-44
- Jesus ask Lazarus to come out – John 11:44
- Lazarus follows Jesus – John 12:1
- Lazarus has a meal – John 12:2
- Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead – John 12:1
- Jesus should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad – John 11:52
- The priests and the Pharisees decide to kill Jesus due to the Raising of Lazarus – John 11:46-53