In Christianity, the whole week of Easter is called Holy Week, and even though we are of different religions, we can all comprehend why the week of Easter is holy when we get an appreciation of what Easter-time stands for.
The Easter Festival, which celebrates the full moon of Aries, a major yearly spiritual festival, in fact celebrates the initiate taking the 4th initiation.
That initiation bestows upon the initiate arhatship, or as it is called in western terminology, the crucifixion.
The whole week, starting from the previous Sunday, Palm Sunday, to the following Monday, the day of resurrection, is the symbolic path that describes to the mystic the process in his or her own heart of the triumphant entry of Christ into Jerusalem, His crucifixion, and His consequent resurrection on the cross of matter.
The Holy Week is walked by aspirants and disciples who follow in the footsteps of the most holy Light, the Christ, for the sake of alleviating the suffering in humanity and in the Earth body.
With each initiation in the soul, this time of the year has stronger effects upon the disciple. Within and without, the disciple is subjected to processes that lead him or her further onto the path. Persecution and ridicule are often consequences of this spiritual advancement.
The Christ is the great Sun God Who is reborn in nature each year. In all religions, the World Teachers who have represented the Sun God on the physical level have undergone much suffering in order to help the Sun God give birth to the yearly renewal of nature. They also have given of their own life force to further the spiritual evolution of humanity.
By self-sacrifice we learn to give up ourselves for others to live on, for others to triumph over matter. This victory over matter is celebrated not only at Easter but at all spiritual festivals.
Easter is a difficult festival to prepare for. The preparations for a major festival start many weeks before the full moon of that festival, and the higher the soul of the disciple, the more strenuous the preparations are felt in body and in mind.
The preparation, which you could call purification of the physical body and the inner bodies of the personal self, lead the aspirant and the disciple into a closer contact with the soul, and the effects are many.
If the disciple is able to bear the process with endurance and joy, that disciple will feel a rising up of his or her own lower self towards that of the Higher Self at the end of Easter Monday.
Let us here remember Lady Tarajyoti, who ascended on Easter Monday three years ago, as a living example of a disciple who rose up into the arms of the Christ to join Him in His inner work.
Let us here remember Helen Mary, who as Sister Mary rose up into the arms of Lady Mary, and let us remember Bernhard, who as Brother Bernhard rose up into the arms of Jesus, both to work under these Masters for the benefit of all of us.
Let us in one minute of silence send our love to them.
Talk given by Ananda Tara Shan, Easter, 2002
© The Theosophical Fellowship