The secret of the resurrection is staring us in the face, in the whole of nature. It is just waiting for us to understand and make up our minds to die consciously so that the ‘new man’ or ‘new woman’ can emerge from us. Very few, even amongst initiates, have succeeded in rising from the dead and becoming immortal, because there is nothing more difficult than to defeat our lower nature. It is so skilful and has so many tricks up its sleeve: it knows exactly what to do to persuade us. It takes a great deal of discernment, unshakeable love and tremendous willpower to escape its charms.
In certain initiations in the past, those candidates who had successfully measured up to all the preliminary ordeals had to face one final trial, that of death and resurrection. They would be placed in a sarcophagus, and there they stayed for three days and three nights, watched over by their Masters. By means of secret methods known only to them, their Masters kept them in a hypnotic trance and, detaching their astral and etheric bodies from their physical body, allowed them to travel through space and visit every region of creation.
They saw hell and heaven; they were amazed, bewildered, terrified and ecstatic in turn; they touched truth itself. And when their etheric and astral bodies were reunited with their physical body, the bonds that bound them to each other were of a totally different nature. Everything the disciples had seen, all the impressions and experiences they had lived through, were now recorded in their brain, and they could remember it all in detail.
They determined that they should raise themselves to the Godhead and melt into it and, at the same time, draw it down into themselves so that it could dwell and manifest itself in them. You will say, ‘Lord, it is no longer I who live and reveal myself but your Spirit in me’, you lose yourself and melt into infinite space until not a cell remains of your own old self and he, the great, the strong, the mighty One, comes and takes your place! This is how we must understand the death and resurrection that is required of us from the spiritual point of view. You must destroy not your physical body but the principle of death within you.
Omraam Mikhaël Aïvanhov
Izvor Book 209, Christmas and Easter in the Initiatic Tradition