I was once a part of a team writing spiritual curriculum for children and had the fascinating assignment of writing the story for the Easter lesson. It was fascinating and challenging because I was asked notto refer to the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ. This group took a more scholarly approach to the life of Christ and did not believe in the resurrection.
My first thought was, what is the point of Easter if it is not about the resurrection? If there is no triumph over death or joyful celebration of the eternal reality of Spirit, why bother? I even considered saying no, but as a disciple of Yogananda I knew there was a deeper purpose at work and perhaps I was being asked to look more closely.
Jesus was born into the depths of Kali Yuga, the darkest hours in the cycles of time. Think of the consciousness that was present to even allow crucifixions to happen to anyone. It was not an extraordinary form of execution reserved for Self-Realized masters. It was common practice.
Jesus came to change that consciousness and to make a lasting impression—he had a great mission. So he gave the most material, graphic, outward demonstration of the power of divine truth over fear, hatred, and unspeakable suffering.
He was nailed to a cross and his body died in front of witnesses. He then created a new body and dramatically showed up alive again; a walking testimonial of God’s power and personal love. It made an impression—we are still talking about it. Some of us are celebrating. I am thrilled to my very core every time I hear the words: He is risen!
Another Self-realized master was born 2000 years later, at a time when mankind was awakening to more subtle spiritual truths. He was able to use different tactics to teach those who were ready to hear.
Paramhansa Yogananda said that resurrection is more than the physical death and rebirth of the material body. Another way to look at resurrection, Yogananda explained, is relaxation away from our identification with the body and an increased awareness of our reality as Spirit, or Christ Consciousness. He said that resurrection can be any beneficial or uplifting change.
Swami Kriyananda explained that if we understand the lesson of the cross is the resurrection, then that means, for us, the lesson of every test we go through is resurrection from that test to a higher level.
Every day we can resurrect ourselves and come closer to understanding our true nature. Every mistake and every triumph can be a resurrection and renewal, a step toward the complete freedom that Christ and Yogananda have.
Truth exists on every level of reality, so of course Jesus could resurrect his body after being crucified, and of course, there is much more for us to understand than one empty tomb.
Jesus taught the subtle truths that Yogananda did, but not many were ready for that level of understanding. Now we can dive more deeply into the hidden lessons behind the resurrection and celebrate the eternal truth of Christ’s life and his infinite consciousness.
I want to tell my scholarly friends that when you peel back the layers of an avatar’s life, you find more truth, not less.
Therefore, pass this Easter, at least a few hours of it, in lifting your consciousness from the domain of matter into the vastness of the Silence within your own temple and commune with the risen Christ there. Rise above the body consciousness. Resurrect yourself from the tomb of ignorance. Sit on the throne of Christ Consciousness and say in Realization: ‘I and my Father are One.’ —Paramhansa Yogananda, April 1933