WHAT IS exactly meant when the resurrection is spoken
of in the Bible?
The resurrection is that moment after death when the
soul becomes conscious of all its experience. As the soul
is connected with everything in the universe, the individual
resurrection is a universal resurrection.
Now I will explain two passages from the Bible. In one
of them it is said: 'Now is Christ risen from the dead and
gone unto the Father, and is become the first-fruits of
them that slept, and whosoever believeth in him should not
die but live'.
11a The dead are those who have
not realized their immortality; he rises who realizes his
immortality. 'He is gone unto the Father', means that he
has gone from the personal being, which was meant for his
message to be delivered upon earth, to that unlimited existence.
'He hath become the first-fruits of them that slept', means:
he has become an example to those who sleep, to those who
are unconscious of their divine being.
'Whosoever believeth in him' has been interpreted to
mean: who believes in his limited personal being. It means:
who has the knowledge of God, of immortality, shall never
die, and those whom the world calls dead, but who have the
belief in God, which is knowledge, are not dead.
In another passage it is said, 'For since by man came
death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead'.
Man alone understands what death is; beasts and birds feel
the inactivity, the absence, but they do not realize what
I have seen a bird, when its mate fell dead shot by hunters,
settle beside it, feel it with its beak and, when it felt
the stillness and lifelessness, before the hunter could
approach, it dropped its head and its life was gone. I have
also seen a dog die instantly when its companion dog with
whom it had spent its life was dead. But still, animals
feel only the inactivity, the absence of the friend. They
do not realize the true nature of death.
It is only man who has understood the real nature of
death in its full extent. Therefore Sufis in the East often
make their houses, their cottages in the jungle or else
near cemeteries: that by seeing the dead they may realize
that now is the time to awaken, to conquer death, to realize
And it is again man, as the holy being, who awakens man
to the knowledge of his immortality.
If the resurrection merely meant that Christ after his
death rose again, it would be a story to be believed or
disbelieved. If it were believed as a belief, how long would
this last? Its lesson is much greater than that. It means
the resurrection from this mortal life to immortality.
Christ said, 'The children of this world marry and are
given in marriage, but they who are accounted worthy to
obtain the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor
are given in marriage, neither can they die any more; they
are the children of the resurrection, being the children
Those who have arisen to that immortal One Being where there
is no distinction of husband and wife, brother or sister,
father, mother, or child they are the sons of the resurrection.
The story is that, when Mary Magdalene and the other
Mary went to the tomb where Christ had been laid, they found
the stone that was before the tomb rolled away, and looking
in they saw the clothes (i.e. the wrappings and the head-cloth.)
lying there, the turban lying by itself. But the body of
Christ was not there. The stone is the same stone that is
spoken of in the Hindu myth. Krishna is called Giridhar,
he who holds the stone, who lifts it up. Under this stone,
the stone of the external self, every individual soul in
the world is suppressed. When it is lifted up, then man
rises to immortality. From what does he rise? He rises from
the body and above the mind. The clothes and the head-cloth
lying separately, symbolizing the body and the mind, show
Great poets, great musicians, great writers often rise
above the body. They do not know where they are sitting
or standing, they are lost in their imaginations, unconscious
of the physical existence, but they do not rise above the
mind. When the consciousness rises above the mind, above
the thoughts, then it is free, it is active in its own element,
and then this consciousness can give of itself to the mind.
The rising to that consciousness in which there is no
distinction is the highest degree of resurrection. There
are other degrees, just as in the lift one cannot arrive
at the seventh floor without passing by the second, third,
fourth and all other floors.
There is that resurrection in which there is the exact
counterpart of the physical body which walks, sits down,
and can do all that the physical body can do. This is called
by Sufis alam-i mithal. There are mystics who have
mastered this so completely that they can act independently
of the physical body; death is nothing to them for they
remain alive after death. This is done by amal. Someone
who had been studying this wrote to me the other day, 'I
have lost all fear of death, because death has tied a turban
on me'. There is no death when this is mastered.
If a poet is writing his poetry and his wife, his servant,
a hundred people pass before him, he does not see them,
he does not know whether anyone has been there. If a little
love of poetry can do this, how much more can the love,
the absorption in the life within draw the consciousness
It is told in the Gospel that Christ after his resurrection
was seen by the disciples several times. It is the experience
of every person who has practiced concentration, who has
meditated, that he sees that which he has held in his consciousness
not only inwardly but outwardly before him. This is the
first experience that every mystic has. The disciples were
lost, absorbed in the thought of Christ – how should they
not see him?
Christ's words are, 'Handle me, and see that it is myself,
for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me having'.
And he said unto them, 'Children, have ye anything to eat?'
And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and he took
it and did eat before them. The word spirit is used in many
different meanings. It is used for ghost, or for the soul,
but really it means the essence which is the opposite pole
All that the eye has seen resurrects in the eye. If someone
mentions a certain person – though you had forgotten the
person altogether – he rises up in your eye: in that house,
in that place where you had seen him. It is not in this
physical eye, but in that eye which is beyond. The materialist
may say, 'it is all in the brain'. How could the brain contain
so many thousands and millions of things and beings!
Of course without training a person does not see the
spirit, but I will say that in the dream you see yourself,
you experience yourself, in different surroundings, in the
company of different people. If you say, 'It is a dream',
I will answer: When do you call it a dream? You call it
a dream when you wake up. When you see the contrast with
your surroundings in waking condition, then you say, 'It
was a dream. If not, it would have remained with me, but
everything is different'. But if, while you are dreaming,
someone comes to you and says, 'It is a dream', you will
never believe it.
The resurrection is the rising to that real life, that
true Friend on whom alone we can lean – upon all other things
and beings upon which we think we can lean, we cannot rely
that Friend who alone is always unchanged, who has always
been with us and will always be with us.