Ilayaraja's view on the resurrection of Jesus Christ compared to his beloved Ramana Maharshi has sparked debate.
Isai Jnani Ilayaraja, the Sage of Music can in fact just be called a Spiritual Sage. In a recent interview cum Q&A event at Google headquarters in the USA, he made a very valid point and opined that the resurrection of Jesus after death is a very dubious event, whereas the death experience of Ramana Maharshi is more believable.
In this video clipping from the event, Ilayaraja talks about Ramana Maharshi, Jesus Christ, and Resurrection.[The original interview of Music Maestro Ilayaraja has been taken down from ‘Talks at Google’ channel and is no more available from Google. It is quite shocking that Google would suppress an interview that it itself conducted just because Ilayaraja had his own opinion on the matter.]
He recounts that after penning that song he didn’t feel like penning songs on mere mortal themes. He then talks about realized souls and the resurrection. Here is the gist of what he says in Tamil which I have paraphrased:
It is said that Jesus was resurrected. The very foundation of Christianity rests on this premise. However, many historians have now opined that such an event never happened, as I come to know from the YouTube documentaries that I watched. However, a real resurrection happened when Sri Ramana Maharshi was sixteen and had a near death and out of body experience. He was pronounced dead but came back to life. He transcended the death experience and became liberated. There is no one comparable to Sri Ramana Maharshi.
For this, Christian outfits protested against him saying that he ‘insulted’ Jesus during the Easter season. The media is also projecting this story as if it was an expression of bigotry by the music maestro. The protesting groups, who are also very active in proselytizing, continuously call Hindu Gods as devils and false throughout their propaganda literature, speeches, and sermons. And as usual, the spineless seculars are silent in their support to Ilayaraja’s freedom.
Let us consider some comparisons. I am not getting into the concept of resurrection after death; that I leave to neurophysiologists and researchers. I am only comparing what is said and believed through logic and history. And then see which is more viable a resurrection, if such is indeed possible.
|Was supposedly killed by Romans and the Jewish people who held him rebellious and libelous to Jewish traditions. (Christians present this as Jesus dying for the sake of sins of humanity, they assume that all of us are sinners, without our knowledge or permission and that Jesus saved us)||Voluntarily embraced and simulated the experience of death, to understand the nature of consciousness.|
|Was tortured and mortally wounded, before he died. But life returned to such damaged body, which could not stay alive in the first place.||He voluntarily chose to embrace the onset of death, stopped breathing, shutting down organs and then he returned to the undamaged physical body.|
|Vanished entirely after the resurrection. No remains were found, supposedly ascended to heaven.||Lived many years on this earth after his death experience. Was physically present to teach and guide many people,|
|The story of his resurrection started making rounds only a century after his supposed death, Written by a series of councils to edit, re-author and align the stories about Jesus.||His experience was narrated personally in first person to the people who met him directly in his own lifetime.|
|The people who wrote up the story of Jesus were sponsored by the Eastern Roman Empire to set up a religion. They had a vested interest in the success of their religion and in suppressing the existing ones.||After this experience, he left town and into seclusion for years. Was then slowly recognized and still lived in peripheries of social life, owned nothing, had nothing but his mountain Arunachala. Taught mostly by silence, established no globe-spanning operations|
Again, I do not presume to understand whether such a resurrection is possible or achievable. But if I place these 2 events as described side by side, I know what is more believable. We have many resurrections stories. A favorite one is to compare the Thevara Moovar (The 3 Shaiva Saint Composers of the Tamil Devaram Canon)
• Thirunavukkarasar revived from death, the son of Apoothi Adigal, whose physical body, was available.
• Thirugnanasambandar revived from death Poompaavai, whose ashes and bones alone, were available.
• Sundarar revived from death, a boy who was eaten by a crocodile years ago, whose memory alone was available. (i.e. With no remains and got him back as he would have been, if he had never died, appropriately aged)
Now all these are challenging for empirical science, hence a matter of faith. So how is the faith in Jesus’s resurrection more valid, than faith in Ramana’s resurrection? One could say that each one can have their own faith and not comment on others. But is that something followed by Christians, that they protest about Ilayaraja?
But the crux is here. Assume Ramana’s resurrection never happened, it would have no impact because it is his teachings and guidance that matter. They are a greater miracle than death, life or any resurrection, Death does not faze us, either we are reborn or attain moksha. While for Christians, life is a one-shot affair, they die and lie in suspended animation till judgement day, when their souls and bodies combine again.
But assume that Jesus’s resurrection never happened. would Christianity survive? There is nothing original as philosophy or praxis in Christianity, it is mostly copied from other traditions. It is entirely dependent on the personality of Jesus, his immaculate conception and resurrection after death and that they are events unique only to him. Ilayaraja had every right to consider these 2 events, and as a seeker arrive at this own conclusion about them. He is free to express them as he sees fit. If Christians can’t deal with criticism, they should learn not to criticize in the first place.
– If Ramana’s resurrection is proved a sham, it has an insignificant impact on his teachings or Hinduism.
– But if Jesus’s resurrection is proved a sham, then what is left in Christianity, but plagiarized philosophies and appropriated traditions.
– If both are proved true, then again Jesus’ is no more unique and hence Christianity is no more exclusive, so again false.
– If both are proved false, again Ramana’s teachings rooted in Advaitha holds good, whereas Christianity’s unoriginal teachings do not warrant the universal groupthink, it strives for. Jesus at best would be yet another teacher and at worst a figment of scamsters imagination.
– Given that Christianity is predicated on the uniqueness of Jesus being more than a man, in any of these possibilities, Christianity is on a very shaky ground, hence the ostriches want to raise a sandstorm to hide.
– Ad hominem, just by comparing Jesus to another man’s experience, Jesus is reduced to a “homo — just a man”, that itself is seen as an affront to Christianity.
Link to the Tamil version – https://bit.ly/2MNlpxL