Overview
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The Raising of Lazarus

John 11:38-44
38. So Jesus, again being deeply moved within, came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39. Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” 40. Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41. So they removed the stone. Then Jesus raised His eyes, and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. 42. I knew that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said it, so that they may believe that You sent Me.” 43. When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44. The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The Raising of Lazarus symbolism refers to the figure of speech narrative of the Good Shepherd.


In the narrative of the Good Shepherd:
1. The door is open by the doorkeeper - John 10:3
2. The Shepherd calls his sheep by name - John 10:3
3. The sheep hear his voice - John 10:3
4. The Good Shepherd leads the sheep out - John 10:3
5. The sheep follow the Good Shepherd - John 10:4
6. The sheep will find pasture - John 10:9
7. The Good Shepherd gives his life for the sheep - John 10:11
8. Jesus gives eternal life to the sheep - John 10:28
9. Jesus must bring other sheep not of this fold and there shall be one fold and one shepherd - John 10:16
In the narrative of the Raising of Lazarus:
1. Jesus ask to remove the stone- John 11:39
2. Jesus call Lazarus by his name - John 11:43
3. Lazarus hear his voice - John 11:43-44
4. Jesus ask Lazarus to come out - John 11:44
5. Lazarus follows Jesus - John 12:1
6. Lazarus has a meal - John 12:2
7. The priests and the Pharisees decide to kill Jesus due to the Raising of Lazarus - John 11:46-53
8. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead - John 12:1
9. Jesus should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad - John 11:52

Jesus calling Lazarus and leading him out

John 11:43-44 - He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth.

We find in the narrative of the Good Shepherd (the figure of speech not understood by the apostles - John 10:6) a parallel with the narrative of the Raising of Lazarus: Jesus the Good Shepherd call by name his sheep and lead them out. In the narrative of the Raising of Lazarus, Jesus call Lazarus by his name and ask him to come out.

In Shaiva Siddhanta the shepherd/cowherd is Pati, the Lord.
The sheep/cows or any domesticated animal is Pasu, the individual soul or self not yet liberated.
Pasa are the bonds that bind the soul to the cycle of birth and death (Samsara). They keep the individual souls ignorant of their true divine nature.

Pati, the shepherd, will liberate Pasu, the individual souls, from these bonds (Pasa) and then Pasu becomes one with Pati.

In the narrative of the Raising of Lazarus Jesus (the Good Shepherd, Pati) liberates Lazarus (The individual soul, Pasu) from the wrappings (The bonds, Pasa).
- Jesus represents Pati the shepherd
- Lazarus represents Pasu, the individual soul
- The wrappings binding the body of Lazarus represents the three Pasa: Maya, Karma and Anava.

The cave and the stone

John 11:38 - Jesus came to the tomb. Now it was a cave, and a stone was lying upon it.
Brahmarandhra, meaning "cave of Brahman", is a hole at the crown of the head. This hole is where is located the door of Brahma, ‘Brahma Dwara’ - the ‘Door to Pure Consciousness’. In the Indian tradition the cave is associated with the cranial vault of the yogi at the crown of the head:
A mountain cave is the macrocosmic replica of the cranial vault of the meditating yogin, the tumulus (samadhi) in which deceased yogins are interred. David Gordon White, The Alchemical Body

The wrappings binding Lazarus

John 11:44 - The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

In Saiva Siddhanta, pasas are the bonds that keep the individual souls ignorant of their true divine nature. They are called bonds because they bind the souls or jivas to the limited reality and subject them to temporary ignorance of their true Siva consciousness. The three pasas are Maya (Illusion or ignorance, a veiling of Brahman, the true Self), Karma (actions that have consequences) and Anava (egoism or individuality).

The three wrappings around the body of Lazarus are associated with the three pasas of the Saiva Siddhanta tradition:
- The piece of cloth veiling Lazarus face represents Maya (Illusion or ignorance, a veiling of the true Self).
- The wrappings around the hands (Organs of action) represent Karma (actions that have consequences).
- The wrappings around the feet represents Anava (egoism or individuality). The feet are associated with the "I ams", symbol of egoism or individuality.

Martha, Mary and Lazarus

Martha, Mary and Lazarus are associated with the first three stages of Sadhana, the path of enlightenment: charya, kriya and yoga.

- Martha represents charya: virtue and selfless service, the path of the servitor.
John 12:2 - So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving.
- Mary represents kriya: devotion, the devotee is close to the Lord.
John 12:3 - Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair.
- Lazarus represents yoga: the path of the Lord's friend, leading to the attainment of the state of Jivanmukti (liberation while living).
John 11:11 - He said to them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep”.
John 11:44 - The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

The Raising of Lazarus and the Resurrection of Jesus

The Raising of Lazarus narrative parallels the Resurrection narrative:

The narrative of the Raising of Lazarus:
1. Lazarus is laid down in a tomb with a stone as a door - John 11:38
2. Jesus ask to remove the stone - John 11:39
3. Jesus ask to remove the wrappings and napkin of Lazarus - John 11:44
4. Lazarus is called by his name by Jesus - John 11:43
5. The body of Lazarus starts to decay and is smelling - John 11:39
6. Lazarus is being touched during the removal of the wrappings - John 11:44
7. Lazarus remains who he is - John 12:2
8. Lazarus continues his life - John 12:2
9. Jesus weeps - John 11:35
10. Lazarus is resurrected after 4 days - John 11:39
The narrative of the Resurrection of Jesus:
1. Jesus is laid down in a tomb with a stone as a door - John 20:1
2. The stone is already taken away - John 20:1
3. The wrappings and napkin of Jesus are found in the tomb - John 20:6-7
4. Jesus is called by Mary Magdalene but not by his real name - John 20:16
5. The body of Jesus is not smelling
6. Jesus ask not to be touched - John 20:17
7. Jesus is not being recognized for who he is - John 20:14
8. Jesus is about to leave this world and ascend to his father - John 20:17
9. Mary Magdalene weeps - John 20:11
10. Jesus is resurrected after 3 days - John 19:31, 20:1 and 2:19-21

The Resurrection of Jesus corresponds to the state of Videha mukti, "liberation without the body" referring to the "liberation" attained by a person after death. After Videha Mukti what remains is soundless, odorless, touchless, formless. The person is eternal and deathless.

The Raising of Lazarus corresponds to the state of Jivanmukta, liberation while in the body. After liberation, the Jivanmukta regains full awareness of the world and the use of his 5 senses: smell, taste, form, touch and sound. His life continues (Lazarus is present at the Anointing at Bethany, eating a meal - John 12:2.)

Jesus calling Lazarus by his name

In the Indian tradition, the name and the possessions are meant only for the mortal body and not for the immortal self. When the body changes the name also changes. Lazarus, in a state of Jivan Mukta (liberated while living), keeps his body and so keeps his name. Jesus at the resurrection, representing the state of Videha Mukti, leaves his body and so is not called by his name by Mary Magdalene (John 20:16).