One of the most influential books in all history, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, also called The Book of the Great Awakening and the Papyrus of Ani, which dates from the second half of the XVIII Egyptian dynasty (about B.C.1500-1400) describes in great detail the religious views of the people of Thebes who, more than five thousand years ago, proclaimed the resurrection of a spiritual body and the immortality of the soul. The purpose of these Pyramid Texts was ultimately to help the dead king take his place among the gods, in particular to reunite him with his divine father, Ra.
Referred to as one of the most influential books in all history, this ancient text details “the Doctrine of Eternal Life.” It describes a ritual to be performed for the dead, with meticulous instructions that served as the most important repository of religious authority for some three thousand years. Chapters of this text were carved on the pyramids of the ancient 5th Dynasty and selections were also painted on mummy cases well into the Christian era. In a certain sense, according to the archeologist/author, Dr. E. A. Wallis Budge, it stood behind all Egyptian civilization.
The Great Eternity and the continuity of life was also the note and message sounded by the Christ when last publicly teaching on Earth. Through the example of His Life, He taught that resurrection is the keynote of nature; death is not. As today’s esoteric wisdom describes it, “death is only the ante-chamber of resurrection. Resurrection is the clue to the world of meaning and this is the fundamental theme of all the world religions—past, present and future. Resurrection of the spirit in man, in all forms, in all kingdoms, is the objective of the entire evolutionary process and this involves liberation from materialism and selfishness.”2
The cyclic occurrence of the manifold expressions of Life are all around us. In nature, in the heavens and in the cosmos, cycles of birth and death abound — providing unquestionable testimony that birth and death evolve out of each other.
As we are born into one level of existence, so we die unto another. As the tree sprouts through the darkness of the earth, reaching towards the light, so the seed disintegrates. As the fruit appears, the flower withers. As the butterfly develops its wings, the caterpillar disappears. The moon wanes only to wax again in a monthly rhythm of dark and light. And over eons of time, one solar system disintegrates only to make way for another. St. John emphasizes the beneficence of such cycles: "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit." (John: 12/24) The end or death of one cycle is the beginning or birth of another — the door which on one side reads "Exit", on the other side reads "Entrance."
The Agni Yoga wisdom succinctly affirms: “We do not die, but change” and then proceeds to rhetorically ask, “can one speak any more clearly about eternal life?”3
It was after the civilization of Atlantis that a wrong understanding of death appeared and then, earthly life was locked in a shell of ignorance and narrow-mindedness. Denial and fear replaced knowledge:
“The fear of death is one of the great abnormalities or distortions of divine truth for which the Lords of Cosmic Evil are responsible. When in early Atlantean times they emerged from the place where they had been confined, and forced temporarily the retirement of the Great White Lodge to subjective levels, their first great act of distortion was to implant in human beings fear, beginning with the fear of death. From that time on, men have laid the emphasis upon death and not life, and have been ridden by fear all their days.”4
However, the Hierarchy of Light and Love, the Elder Brothers Who have guided humanity through long centuries, are today preparing humanity for the next great evolutionary change, which will bring in an understanding of the continuity of consciousness. In this evolving New Age, the concept of death is being superseded by the concepts of resurrection/livingness, spiritual unity, transference and service, so that a new note is entering human life, bringing hope and joy as well as power and freedom — and the recognition of the unbreakable chain of consciousness.