The Mystical Meaning of the
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 of God."" Those who have arisen to that immortal One Being where there is no distinction of husband and wife, brother car 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* 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 this.
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 alm-e-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 within!
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 practised 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 then not see him?
Christ's words are, "Handle me, and see that it is myself, for a spirit bath 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 to substance.
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.