He is risen in our minds, our hearts, our souls – there is no separation between him and us. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Christianity is not the only spiritual tradition that finds meaning in Easter and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. And I’m not referring to the pre-Christian celebrations that form the basis of many practices observed today – from the fertility egg and rabbit to the rites of Spring. No, I’m referring to the beliefs of yogis past and present, one being the Paramahansa Yogananda, who brought yogic teachings as well as the practice of Kriya yoga to the west.
And he had a few things to say about Easter and its importance to humanity.
Paramahansa Yogananda took the Biblical account of the story of Jesus quite literally, but his interpretation was not what you’d hear in a church. To many students of eastern philosophies, Jesus was an advanced yogi whose life provided an example of what lies ahead for all of humanity. Through the Biblical account, we see the progression that must be followed in order to achieve true freedom and salvation from the trappings of a life of illusion.
In his book, The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You , Yogananda describes a complex process by which Jesus withdrew his soul from the three bodies – physical, astral, and causal – in order to achieve a permanent resurrection from death, karma, and illusion. The process even continued after the day of his resurrection, and explains why he told Mary, “do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father”. He still had residual karma that needed to be shed, such as the karmic debt incurred in his moment of forgetfulness while on the cross as he exclaimed “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Is this accurate? One thing that Yogananda says in his book is that so much of his understanding of Jesus’ resurrection process came through intuitive insight gained during his own meditations.
It is impossible with mere intellect to comprehend fully the intricacies of the astral and causal passageways to liberation and their correlation with the spiritual eye. They are gradually revealed to intuitive perception by the practice of Kriya Yoga.
I do believe that spiritual insight has to be experienced first hand. You cannot benefit from blindly believing in the say-so of someone else. And based on my own meditative experiences, I do know that it’s possible to gain insights into all sorts of matters through meditation. Unfortunately, I must admit that this is a practice I’ve neglected for a number of months now. Perhaps the possibility of understanding the awakening process can be another motivation for me to rekindle this practice.
We each have our own unique experiences and spiritual perspectives. That said, we can all gain something from considering Christ’s resurrection on Easter day. If it moves us to grow in our connection with the spirit, then that’s what really matters.
As you consider Christ’s resurrection this Easter, may you grow closer to the Spirit, in whatever form that takes.
May your faith in your salvation be strengthened.
May you be strengthened in the hope that all things will be renewed.
And may you consider your own awakening.