One of the great characteristics of the truly transformative personae of history is that they signify and speak to you in simple, straight-forward terms. Yet, the simplicity of their terms of discourse does not detract from their essential radicality.
There are three elementary themes from the life of Christ which resonate with us even today and the celebration of Easter is therefore much more than an annual ritual.
That Christ signifies "Love" is universally acknowledged, by those who believe and indeed, by those who believe not. Secondly, it is the risen Christ —not the Jesus before the Passion — who became the all-powerful spiritual dynamo. In rising from the sepulchre, he released surging waves of incorporeal energy, which then flooded the world to create the world's largest following for a religion. Third but not definitely in that order, upon his Resurrection, he revealed himself first to a woman, Mary Magdalene. His 12 male disciples came later in this hierarchy.
The theme of Love first. "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you" is from his Sermon on the Mount, a favourite of Mahatma Gandhi. As we grapple with the reality of violence of man against man, whether in Kyiv or Kerala, the eternal validity of this theme rings true. Hatred and violence are no solution — even in a strategic or tactical sense, an eye for an eye will only leave the whole world blind. So either we hate and perish or we love and flourish, as one civilisation —the choice is ours.
Easter signifies the rising. In our individual lives too, there are sufferings. Even the lowliest have to bear their cross. At times we may feel that the cross will crush us down to dust and we may not be able to rise again. The greatest glory of life lies not in never falling or failing but in getting up each time you fall or fail. The message of Resurrection is also to us of the potential for each of us to pick up the threads again as it were, even if our world were to fall apart sometime.
The third important message from Easter, to my mind, is about womanhood/motherhood and both ideas indeed conflate. It is womanhood or motherhood that sustains the world. By motherhood what is meant is the motherly trait in a gender-neutral sense that "transcends all other affections of the human heart" as Washington Irving described.
Mary Magdalene was the chosen one to receive his visitation first after he rose. Whether she was a woman of virtue or one given to wanton ways is a matter yet to be settled among various Churches. To my mind, the radical teacher that Christ was, it is quite probable she was the latter!
"Had I lived in Palestine, in the days of Jesus of Nazareth, I would have washed his feet, not with my tears, but with my heart's blood!," said Swami Vivekananda. Easter should remind us of the profound but ever-radical message of Jesus Christ.