After the resurrection
As we have already stated, Westerners are obsessed with temporal becoming. For this reason, they are unable to consider the facts for what they are. They must consider them only in the historical perspective, as if history were able to explain its meaning. The Hebrew part of the Bible, known as the Old Testament, is the history of the Jewish people and. The Christian part of the Bible, the New Testament, is the history of Jesus and his direct disciples.
The events that followed the death Jesus and his burial are very enigmatic. The data that the epistles, the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles provide us are not sufficient to reconstruct those happenings. As we will see, these events can be interpreted symbolically. However, due to their ignorance of the symbolic meanings, Christian exoteric theologians have always endeavored to demonstrate only the historicity of the facts. And by doing so, they obviously had to falsify history.
On Easter Sunday several disciples went to the tomb where Jesus had been buried. All of them, though separately, saw either two men, one young man, or two angels. A woman thought that the unknown gardener she had met could have been Jesus and wanted to touch him to verify his identity, but that man eluded any physical contact (Lat.: noli me tangere, Hin.: हाथ मत लगाओ !). These mysterious figures informed the disciples that Jesus had resurrected. The Gospels agree that all of them were dressed in snow-white clothes1. It is interesting to note that the only religious Jews who did not wear striped clothes were the Essenes, who always wore solely white clothes. Considering that the tomb had been lent by Joseph of Arimathea, a priest of the Temple and secret disciple of Jesus, one can easly guess that the direct witnesses of the brahmalina were in fact his own Essenian disciples2.
The Gospels narrate that in the forty days after Easter, the resurrected Jesus appeared eleven times to the apostles, to his disciples and even to a crowd of about five hundred people. All these apparitions have one common feature: no one recognized him as Jesus. Only later he was recognized, not for his appearance, but for his words, for his actions and, in some cases, for the exhibition of his wounds suffered during the crucifixion. The Gospels emphasize that this was a man of flesh and blood and not a ghost; but in one episode Jesus entered the room through a closed door3. In another episode he disappeared before the eyes of his witnesses while they were talking to him4. In these accounts there are many contradictions, and it is evident that the exterior disciples did not understand what was happening. On the fortieth day after his resurrection, Jesus ascended into heaven before the eyes of all his disciples. While they watched him ascending, two white-clad figures approached them and explained that Jesus would again descend one day from heaven5. Of all these confusing news only the Essenes evidently were able to give some explanation.
As we wrote in the 23rd chapter of this series, Jesus had paid close attention to behaving and speaking coherently with the Old Testament prophecies regarding the coming of the Messiah, in order to be recognized as the predestined one. However, neither the return of the Messiah from the realm of the dead nor of the resurrection of his corpse are mentioned in the Old Testament6. This explains the great embarrassment of his disciples about the resurrection of Jesus and his ascension to heaven. Therefore, we can understand the reason for the contradictions found in the New Testament. In fact, as previously mentioned, only the Acts of the Apostles and just one of the Gospels7 report this episode.
However, it seems that the Gospels – which were written at least fifty years after these events – mistake two separate episodes of the life of Jesus. Before beginning his public life, Jesus spent forty days in the desert performing tapas. At the end of this period, he underwent the temptations of the Devil, just as Naciketas8 and the Buddha Śākyamuni were tempted by the King of the dead, Yama or Māra, as they were reaching the fruit of their meditations. In all these cases, the protagonists, after descending to the reign of the dead, find open the way to reach the supreme heaven9. This is nothing else but the account of the “initiatic death”. That is to say, to experience death while remaining alive.
The second event corresponds to the bodily death (dahānta), with the definitive achievement of the supreme heaven (Brahmaloka10). In the case of Jesus – and of some other figures of different traditions – death is followed by the integration of the body into its subtle principles (taṅmātra), which manifests itself with its disappearance. Thus, the Gospel clearly mistakes the two events, which are very distinct for those who have some knowledge of the initiatic sādhanās. Therefore, this account inaccurately repeats the delay of forty days before the ascent of Jesus into the heaven11, inspired in reality from the previous episode of his seclusion in the desert. Evidently the compilers of the so called three synoptic Gospels12 were merely exterior followers with little understanding of the initiatic mysteries.
Ten days later, that is to say fifty days13 after the disappearance of the body of Jesus, the apostles gathered in a certain house. “And suddenly there came a big noise from heaven as of a furious mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting; and there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with by the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”14
This collective possession is considered as the beginning of history the Christian Church. The Jewish Pentecost commemorates the covenant of God with the Jewish people. On the other hand, the Pentecost for Christians is the celebration of the new covenant between God and the new-born Church. The Church was organized using the Jewish Sanhedrin as model, which consisted of the council of the seventy priests of the Temple and, at the same time, a governing assembly for the Jews. The seventy disciples of Jesus were the priests of the new Sanhedrin and the members of the Parliament that ruled the kingdom of the Messiah in the expectation of his return to earth. Among them, the eleven apostles became the bishops. At the head of the Church, the Supreme Priest was St. James, brother of Jesus15, flanked by two councilors-archbishops: St. John, brother of Jesus16, and St. Peter. Therefore, St. Peter was definitely not the first head of the Church, and neither was the second, since to St. James was in fact succeeded by Simon of Jerusalem17.
After Pentecost, many disciples and apostles travelled to the Jewish communities established in the Middle East to preach the advent of the Messiah. They performed many healing miracles. This makes us think that exoteric followers of Jesus were not directly Essenes, but that they were members of a more exterior confraternity, the Thaumaturges18, renowned for their powers (siddhis) with which they healed the ill. The exterior disciples of Jesus, just like the Thaumaturges, lived in society, did not wear white clothes, were not vegetarians, and drank spirits. Even Jesus, when he began his public life, adopted such conduct.
Devadatta Kīrtideva Aśvamitra
- Generally, Christians consider these figures as angels. But there is no biblical passage that indicates that angels dress in white. Moreover, since the Gospels were written in Greek, in this language angel (ἄγγελος, read àngelos) simply means messenger, announcer. Therefore, it is likely that these were simple human beings.
- It is evident that the apostles and the exterior disciples did not mingle with the secret disciples of Jesus. In an evangelical episode, St. Peter did not understand why a certain person was following Jesus even though he was not one of the 70 disciples and apostles. Annoyed by that, he complained to Jesus. That person was St. John, kohen of the Temple, a secret disciple, future author of the most sapiential Gospel and of the Apocalypse. Jesus abruptly retorted that John was allowed to stay with him and that St. Peter was not to meddle. (Gospel of St. John, XXI.21-22.)
- Gospel of St. John, XXI.19.
- Gospel of St. Luke, XXIV.31.
- Acts of the Apostles, I.3-11. In Christian iconography they are depicted as angels.
- The Jewish religion, like Christianity and Islam as well, recognizes a resurrection of the flesh only after the end of time, which roughly corresponds to the transmigration of the souls in the Pythagorean tradition and to the rebirths (punarjanmas) in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In the Old Testament any resurrection of the corpse immediately after death is quite unknown.
- Gospel of St. Luke, XXIV .50-53.
- The Kaṭha Upaniṣad narration has a more metaphysical content in comparison with those of Buddha and Christ. In fact, Death, after trying to distract Naciketas from his goal (mumukṣā), finally teaches Vedānta to the young brāhmaṇa. This does not mean that all three stories end with the passing of the tests.
- In the case of Naciketas, it is not only about the supreme heaven, but the very mokṣa, the Liberation from saṃsāra.
- Even in some Indian schools this state is confused with nirvāna or mokṣa.
- The most intellectual among the Gospels, that of John, affirms that Jesus, the day after his burial in the guise of a gardener, said “[…] I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers, and tell them: «I ascend to my and your Father, to my and your God.»“ (Gospel of St. John, XX.17). In other words, Jesus was walking the devayāna: there is no indication of forty days of waiting.
- The fourth Gospel, that of St. John, is considered as sapiential, containing several esoteric allusions.
- This festivity is called Pentecost, which in Greek means “the fiftieth day”.
- Acts of the Apostles, II.1-4. For the Jews, the Pentecost is the day when Moses received the Law from his God in the form of fire. It is worth remembering that Moses led his people out of Egypt following a fiery whirlwind of desert wind. The Christian sect of the Sethians identified this event as the manifestation of the God Yehovah-Seth.
- Christian commentators do not accept that Jesus could have brothers. They claim that the Hebraic language of that time used to call “brothers” the cousins. However, when the Gospels speak of “his mother and his brothers” (Gospel of St. Mark, III.31, Gospel of St. Matthew, XII.46, Gospel of St. Luke, VIII.19) do they pretend to mean “his mother and his cousins”? The Jews of that time also called any old woman “mother”. Did the Gospels with “his mother and his brothers” mean “an old woman and his cousins”? A pathetic interpretation that shows only an obsessive moralistic interpretation of the virginity of Mary, mother of Christ. Instead of explaining her virginity in the spiritual sense, by considering the conception of Jesus as prodigious, Christians have given it a materialistic interpretation, transforming it into a sort of gynecological anomaly. Therefore, according to them, the Virgin Mary had to keep her reproductive apparatus perpetually sealed, otherwise she would have lost her sanctity!
- We must not confuse this John brother of the Messiah, with St. John the Evangelist, who was a secret disciple of Jesus and priest of the Temple.
- Hegesippus in Eusebius of Cæsarea, Historia Ecclesiastica, III.11.32.
- With this name were also known the members of a Jewish Gnostic brotherhood of Essenian origin, present at that time in Alexandria of Egypt, and of another Greek initiatory organization whose most famous figure was Apollonius of Tyana.