In his life story, Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda, the Hindu saint who brought Kriya Yoga to the West, recounts his experience with the resurrection appearance of his beloved Master, Sri Yukteswar:
Sitting on my bed in the Bombay hotel at three o’clock in the afternoon of June 19, 1936 – one week after the vision of Krishna – I was roused from my meditation by a beatific light. Before my open and astonished eyes, the whole room was transformed into a strange world, the sunlight transmuted into supernal splendor.
Waves of rapture engulfed me as I beheld the flesh and blood form of Sri Yukteswar!
“My son!” Master spoke tenderly . . . .
“But is it you, Master, the same Lion of God? Are you wearing a body like the one I buried beneath the cruel Puri Sands?”
“Yes, my child, I am the same. This is a flesh and blood body. Though I see it as ethereal, to your sight it is physical. From the cosmic atoms I created an entirely new body, exactly like that cosmic-dream physical body which you laid beneath the dream-sands at Puri in your dream-world. I am in truth resurrected.”
The conversation continues, in great depth and length, covering matters about this world and others. The truth is, we know from current physics that Sri Yukteswar’s description of the material world is pretty much the way things are.
Many Christians will find this account surprising or disturbing, so much so that they will find a thousand ways to discredit it. Why should they? In both Matthew and Luke, John the Baptist is quoted as saying, “God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” And Jesus himself raises people from the dead in the gospels.
Ever since Anselm, Easter has become such a mess. Bloody atonement. We are so horrible that God had to kill God in order to keep God from damning us to hell. And that is where we get all tripped up in our view of scripture. Who can really believe that sacrifice for appeasement, payment of a price, was ever the desire of God/Spirit/Mind/Source? Even the Old Testament prophets consistently cried out that G/S/M/S wanted our hearts, our hearts, not our sacrifices.
I will tell you that the crucifixion on Good Friday (there was nothing good about it, friends) was about murder and the devil’s bargain, not about appeasing God’s disappointment, anger or twisted sense of purity. And the biggest message of the day, beyond the truth that evil and lies create unspeakable pain and suffering, was the ripping of the curtain to the Holy of Holies – the most powerful symbol of our false and fearful human created separation from our Creator – from top to bottom at the moment of Jesus’s death as a resounding “Enough!” Enough of death as the end, and of separation of any kind between humanity and our Creator. It was never intended, it was our invention and the true saints and avatars of all time have called us urgently and persistently back, back to the garden.
The cross, folks, is the painful suffering of our illusory world, symbolized so powerfully by the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The resurrection – of Lazarus, of Jesus, of Sri Yukteswar – is the truth and reality of the Tree of Life. We are made, everlasting, in the image of God. Rise up and follow. Rise up and follow.
© Two Trees in the Garden
The crucifixion was about murder, as you said. It was a cowardly act of the political system, comprised of those who thought Jesus wanted their power. He was reminding everyone that the kingdom is within them – that we are already God. Dying on the cross was not about saving souls. We have already been granted eternal life! We cannot avoid eternal life. But we can choose, as you said, to rise up and follow, that is, step into who we really are, or we can continue to forget who we really are. In that forgetting is separation; in that forgetting, we murder ourselves and eventually, the rest of the world. But we will rise again – and what we rise to – horror or freedom – is completely our choice. It’s so terribly tragic that Jesus got taken out so early in his ministry. There was so much more he could have taught us. Great post. Thanks.
Thank you Jerry for your very wise comments on the crucifixion, what it was, and what the Easter story can mean to us today. Amen.