The Exegesis on the Soul was found at Nag Hammadi in Codex II. Scholars believe it was originally written in Greek. The only existing copy is in Coptic. It is presumed to be more than 1,500 years old.
The translation of the Coptic into English was made by William C. Robinson Jr. and published in The Nag Hammadi Library by HarperCollins (1990).
Here, we reveal the meaning of the text by placing commentaries in [brackets]. This text reveals the interconnectedness and shared root of all scriptures, which is in the consciousness itself, accessible by anyone anywhere who awakens and restores the soul to its primordial purity. That is why the original text refers to Jewish and Christian scriptures, as well as to Greek mythology and Homer's writings. All of them teach the same message, but in their own words.
To understand this scripture, it is first necessary to know that in all religions the soul is represented in symbolic forms with feminine names:
- in Hebrew: Neshamah (נשמה), a feminine word, literally, "breath," life-principle, soul, spirit
- in Sanskrit: Buddhi, a feminine word from root budh "to perceive"; Buddhi
- in Greek: Psyche (ψυχή) psykhe, a feminine word, literally "the soul, mind, spirit, breath, life, the invisible animating principle or entity which occupies and directs the physical body" (personified as Psykhe, the lover of the god Eros, "love")
- in mythological symbols: Sita of the Ramayana, Homer's Helen, Dante's Beatrice, Arthur's Guinevere, the Greek Persephone, Eurydice, etc.; Bathsheba and the Queen of Sheba; Sophia of the Gnostics (see The Pistis Sophia)
The soul is our consciousness, whose heart is the conscience. Consciousness is perception, whether physical, psychological, or spiritual. Consciousness is receptive, feminine: it receives impressions (images, sensations) through the senses, which are physical and internal (such as imagination). The womb of the soul is impregnated with our perceptions, and creates children: the consequences of our psychological processes.
Exegesis on the Soul
Wise [initiate] men of old [religions and philosophies] gave the soul a feminine name. Indeed she is female [receptive] in her nature as well. She even has her womb.
As long as she [the soul, which in Hebrew is Neshamah] was alone with the Father [Yehidah, "unity," the sephirah Kether], she was virgin [without Rah, defilement] and androgynous [male-female] in form. But when she fell down into [the sephirah Malkuth] a [physical] body and came to this life, then she fell into the hands of many [bestial] robbers [desires in our mind, heart, and body]. And the wanton creatures [of Naamah] passed her from one to another and [prostituted] her. Some [children of Lilith] made [sexual] use of her by force, while others did so by seducing her with a gift [sensations, powers, comforts]. In short, they defiled her [with Rah], and she [lost] her virginity [chastity].
And in her [physical] body [Malkuth] she prostituted herself [through the internal and external senses; psychologically and physically] and gave herself to one and all [desires in our mind, heart, and body], considering each one she was about to embrace to be her husband. When she [our soul, our consciousness] had given herself to wanton, unfaithful adulterers [psychologically and physically], so that they might make use of her, then [as Mary Magdalene] she sighed deeply and repented. But even when she turns her face from those adulterers [whether they are elements of pride, envy, lust, etc], she runs to others and they compel her [through the deception of desire] to live with them [in the mind and heart] and render service to them [give them her energy] upon their bed [the psyche], as if they were her masters. Out of shame she no longer dares to leave them [we do not dare abandon our pride, lust, anger, envy, etc], whereas they deceive her for a long time, pretending to be faithful, true husbands, as if they greatly respected her. And after all this they abandon her and go [thus the longing and emptiness we feel within always afflicts us, so we seek new "husbands" to give us security and fulfillment].
She [our soul, our consciousness] then becomes a poor desolate widow [lonely, lacking connection, protection], without help; not even a measure of [spiritual or psychological] food was left her from the time of her affliction. For from them [our desires] she [our soul, our consciousness] gained nothing except the defilements [pride, anger, envy, lust, gluttony, etc] they gave her while they had sexual intercourse with her [psychologically and physically]. And her offspring by the adulterers are dumb, blind and sickly [elements in our psyche]. They are feebleminded [because they are abominations of nature, yet we believe they are our identity, feelings, thoughts, goals, longings, etc].
But when the Father [Kether, Yehidah] who is above visits her and looks down upon her and sees her sighing - with her sufferings and disgrace - and repenting of the [psychological] prostitution in which she engaged [through the internal and external senses], and when she begins to call upon his name so that he might help her, [she cried with] all her heart, saying "Save me, my Father, for behold I will render an account to thee, for I abandoned my house and fled from my maiden's quarters. Restore me to thyself again." When he sees her in such a state, then he will count her worthy of his [13 attributes of] mercy upon her, for many are the afflictions that have come upon her because she abandoned her house.
Now concerning the prostitution on the soul, [Binah, Chaiah] the Holy Spirit prophesies in many places. For he said in the prophet Jeremiah (3:1-4),
If the husband divorces his wife and she goes and takes another man, can she return to him after that? Has not that woman utterly defiled herself? "And you prostituted yourself to many shepherds and you returned to me!" said the Lord. "Take [through meditation] an honest look [at yourself] and see where you prostituted yourself [psychologically and physically]. Were you not sitting in the streets defiling the land [of your body, mind, and heart] with your acts of prostitution [in your mind, heart, and body] and your vices? And you took many shepherds for a stumbling block for yourself. You became shameless with everyone. You did not call on me as kinsman or as father or author of your virginity [chastity]."
Again it is written in the prophet Hosea (2:2-7),
Come, go to law with your mother, for she is not to be a wife to me nor I a husband to her. I shall remove [Lilith and Naamah] her prostitution from my presence, and I shall remove her adultery from between her breasts. I shall make her naked as on the day she was born, and I shall make her desolate like a land without water, and I shall make her longingly childless. I shall show her children [psychological, lustful, bestial aggregates] no pity, for they are children of prostitution, since their mother [our consciousness] prostituted herself and put her children [the results of our actions] to shame. For she said, "I shall prostitute myself to my lovers [whether in the mind or the body]. It was they who gave me [what I desired]: my bread and my water and my garments and my clothes and my wine and my oil and everything I needed [to try to fill the emptiness in my heart]." Therefore behold I shall shut them up so that she shall not be able to run after her adulterers. And when she seeks them and does not find them, she will say, 'I shall return to my former husband, in those days I was better off than now."
Again he said in Ezekiel (16:23-26),
It came to pass after much depravity, said the Lord, you built yourself a brothel [in your mind, heart, and body] and you made yourself a beautiful place in the streets [of Bablyon]. And you built yourself brothels on every lane, and you wasted your beauty [Tiphereth, the human consciousness], and you spread your legs in every alley, and you multiplied your acts of [the] prostitution [of the consciousness I gave you]. You prostituted yourself to [beasts in you: behemah and remes] the [bestial] sons of [the sephirah Malkuth] Egypt, those who are [klipoth] your neighbors, men great of flesh [fat with the gluttony of desire].
But what does "the sons of Egypt, men great of flesh" mean, if not the domain of the flesh and the perceptible realm and the affairs of the earth [Malkuth], by which the soul has become defiled here, receiving bread from them, as well as wine, oil, clothing, and the other external nonsense surrounding the body - the things she [the consciousness, in her state of ignorance] thinks she needs.
But as to this prostitution, the apostles of the savior commanded (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25; 1Th 4:3; 1 Co 6:18; 2 Co 7:1): "Guard yourselves against it, purify yourselves from it," speaking not just of the prostitution of the body but especially that of the soul. For this reason the apostles write to the churches of God, that such prostitution might not occur among us.
Yet the greatest struggle has to do with the prostitution of the soul. From it arises the prostitution of the body as well. Therefore Paul, writing to the Corinthians (1Co 5:9-10), said, "I wrote you in the letter, 'Do not associate with prostitutes,' not at all (meaning) the prostitutes of this world or the greedy or the thieves or the idolaters, since then you would have to go out from the world." - here it is speaking spiritually - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood - as he said (Ep 6:12) - but against the world rulers of this darkness and the spirits of wickedness."
As long as the soul keeps running about everywhere copulating [through the senses] with whomever she meets [seeing everything through our desires, forgetting God] and defiling herself [by using her energy to feed desire], she exists suffering her just deserts [because of cause and effect: karma]. But when she perceives [cognizantly] the straits she is in and weeps before the Father and repents, then the Father will have mercy on her and he will make her womb [the senses] turn from the external domain and will turn it again inward [away from desires, but towards the soul itself], so that the soul will regain her proper character [serene and contented, knowing its true nature]. For it is not so with a [physical] woman. For the womb of the [physical] body is inside the body like the other internal organs, but the womb of the soul is around the outside [the flesh, sense of touch and rest of the physical senses] like the male genitalia which is external.
So when the womb of the soul [the senses], by the will of the Father, turns itself inward [looking at itself, at all times and places], it is baptized [through proper use of its energy] and is immediately cleansed of the external pollution [by transforming the sensual impressions] which was pressed upon it, just as garments, when dirty, are put into the water and turned about until their dirt is removed and they become clean. And so the cleansing of the soul is to regain [through sexual transmutation and the transformation of perception] the newness of her former nature and to turn herself back again [to chastity and unity with the divine]. That is her baptism.
Then she will begin to rage at herself like a woman in labor, who writhes and rages in the hour of delivery. But since she is female, by herself she is powerless to beget a child. From heaven the father sent her [the Messiah] her man, who is her brother, the firstborn. Then the bridegroom [Yehidah] came down to the bride [Neshamah]. She [as Mary Magdalene] gave up her former prostitution and cleansed herself of the pollutions of the adulterers [desires], and she was renewed [to chastity] so as to be a bride [a virgin]. She cleansed herself [by means of chastity, sexual transmutation] in the bridal chamber; she filled it with [the] perfume [of chastity]; she sat in it waiting for the true bridegroom [Christ]. No longer does she run about the market place [the wheel of Samsara, Maya, the the world of false appearances], copulating [psychologically and physically] with whomever she desires [envy, pride, lust, etc], but she continued to wait for him - (saying) "When will he come?" - and to fear him, for she did not know what he looked like: she no longer remembers since the time she fell from her Father's house. But by the will of the Father [the Messiah descends from Yehidah] and she dreamed of him like a woman in love with a man.
But then the bridegroom [the Messiah from Yehidah], according to the father's will, came down to her into the bridal chamber, which was prepared. And he decorated the bridal chamber [with the light of Yehidah].
For since that marriage is not like the carnal marriage, those who are to have intercourse with one another will be satisfied with that intercourse. And as if it were a burden, they leave behind them the annoyance of physical desire and they turn their faces from each other. But this marriage [is a process of the light in the consciousness]. But once they unite with one another, they [resurrect in each other and] become [as Abba and Aima, El and Eloah: an Elohim] a single life (Chaiah). Wherefore the prophet said (Gn 2:24) concerning the first man [Messiah from Yehidah] and the first woman [Neshamah], "They will become a single flesh." For they [as Chaiah: Abba and Aima] were originally joined one to another when they were with the Father [Yehidah] before the woman led astray the man, who is her brother. This marriage has brought them back together again and the soul has been joined to her true love, her real master, as it is written (cf. Gn 3:16; 1 Co 11;1; Ep 5:23), "For the master of the woman [Neshamah] is her husband [the Messiah]."
Then gradually [through the Venustic Initiations] she recognized him, and she rejoiced once more, weeping before him as she remembered the disgrace of her former widowhood. And she adorned herself still more so that he might be pleased to stay with her.
And the prophet said in the Psalms (Ps 45:10-11): "Hear, my daughter [Batshebah, Neshamah], and see and incline your ear and forget your people and your father's house, for the king [David, who is the anointed one, the Messiah] has desired your beauty, for he is your lord."
For he requires her to turn her face from her people and the multitude of her adulterers, in whose midst she once was, to devote herself only to her king, her real lord, and to forget the house of the earthly father, with whom things went badly for her, but to remember her Father who is in heaven. Thus also it was said (Genesis 12:1) to Abraham: "Come out from your country and your kinsfolk and from your father's house."
Thus when [through the Venustic Initiation] the soul had adorned herself again in her beauty [Tiphereth] enjoyed her beloved [the Messiah], and he also loved her. And when she had intercourse with him, she got from him the seed that is the life-giving spirit, so that by him she bears good children and raises them. For this is the great, perfect marvel of [spiritual] birth. And so this marriage is made perfect by the will of the Father.
Now it is fitting that the soul regenerates herself and become again as she formerly was. The soul then moves of her own accord. And she received the divine nature from the Father for her rejuvenation, so that she might be restored to the place where originally she had been. This is the resurrection that is from the dead. This is the ransom from captivity. This is the upward journey of ascent to heaven. This is the way of ascent to the Father. Therefore the prophet said (Ps 103:1-5):
"Praise the lord, O my soul, and, all that is within me, (praise) his holy name. My soul, praise God, who forgave all your sins, who healed all your sicknesses, who ransomed your life from death, who crowned you with mercy, who satisfies your longing with good things. Your youth will be renewed like an eagle's."
Then when she becomes young again, she will ascend, praising the Father and her brother, by whom she was rescued. Thus it is by being born again that the soul will be saved. And this is due not to rote phrases or to professional skills or to book learning. Rather it is the grace of the [Yehidah], it is the gift of the [Chaiah]. For such is this heavenly thing. Therefore the savior cries out (John 6:44), "No one can come to me unless my Father [Yehidah] draws him and brings him to me [the Messiah]; and I myself will raise him up on the last day [for God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made]."
It is therefore fitting to pray to the Father and to call on him with all our soul - not externally with the lips, but with the spirit, which is inward, which came forth from the depth - sighing; repenting for the life we lived; confessing our sins; perceiving the empty deception we were in, and the empty zeal; weeping over how we were in darkness and in the wave; mourning for ourselves, that he might have pity on us; hating ourselves for how we are now.
Again the savior said (Mt 5:4, Lk 6:12): "Blessed are those who mourn, for it is they who will be pitied; blessed, those who are hungry, for it is they who will be filled."
Again he said (Lk 14:26), "If one does not hate his soul he cannot follow me." For the beginning of salvation is repentance.
"The true repentance has its foundation in the sexual mysteries." - Samael Aun Weor.
Therefore (Acts 13:24), "Before [the Spirit of Yehidah, the Messiah] Christ's appearance came John [in Yesod, sex], preaching [to Herod and Herodias - humanity, the mother of Salome, the adulterers of the world] the baptism of repentance."
"Salome, naked, intoxicated with wine and passion, dancing in front of King Herod with the innocent head of John the Baptist in her erotic arms, shook the lands of Tiberias, Jerusalem, Galilee and Capernaum... However, we must not be so outraged: Salome lives within the intimate psychological depths of many women... You know this... and no male must presume that he is perfect, because within each male a Herod is concealed." - Samael Aun Weor
And repentance takes place in distress and grief. But the Father is good and loves humanity, and he hears the soul that calls upon him and sends it the light of salvation. Therefore he said through the spirit to the prophet (1 Cl 8:3), "Say to the children of my people, 'If your sins extend from earth to heaven, and if they become red like scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, and if you return to me with all your soul and say to me 'my Father!', I will heed you as a holy people.'"
Again another place (Is 30:15), "Thus says the Lord, the holy one of Israel: "If you return and sigh, then you will be saved and will know where you were when you trusted in what is empty."
Again he said in another place (Is 30:19-20), "Jerusalem wept much, saying, 'Have pity on me.' He will have pity on the sound of your weeping. And when he saw, he heeded you. And the Lord will give you bread of affliction and water of oppression. From now on, those who deceive will not approach you again. Your eyes will see those [within you] who are deceiving you."
Therefore it is fitting to pray to God night and day, spreading out our hands towards him as do people sailing in the middle of the sea: they pray to God with all their heart without hypocrisy. For those who pray hypocritically deceive only themselves. Indeed, it is in order that he might know who is worthy of salvation that God examines the inward parts and searches the bottom of the heart. For no one is worthy of salvation who still loves the place of deception.
Therefore it is written in the poet (Homer, Odyssey 1.48-1.59), "Odysseus sat on the island weeping and grieving and turning his face from the words of Calypso and from her tricks, longing to see his village and smoke coming forth from it. And had he not received help from heaven, he would not have been able to return to his village."
Again Helen <...> saying (Odyssey 4.260-261), "My heart turned itself from me. It is to my house that I want to return."
For she sighed, saying (Odyssey 4.261-4.264), "It is Aphrodite [sexual beauty] who deceived me and brought me out of my village. My only daughter I left behind me, and my good, understanding, handsome husband."
For when the soul leaves her perfect husband because of the treachery of Aphrodite [sexual beauty], who exists here in the act of begetting, then she [the soul] will suffer harm. But if she sighs and repents, she will be restored to her house.
Certainly Israel would not have been visited in the first place, to be brought out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, if it had not sighed to God and wept for the oppression of its labors.
Again it is written in the Psalms (6:6-9), "I was greatly troubled in my groaning. I will bathe my bed and my cover each night with my tears. I have become old in the midst of all my enemies. Depart from me, all you who work at lawlessness, for behold the Lord has heard the cry of my weeping and the Lord has heard my prayer."
If we repent, truly God will heed us, he who is long suffering and abundantly merciful, to whom is the glory for ever and ever. Amen!
"The true repentance of the soul has a sexual foundation." - Samael Aun Weor