Jesus Christ and Christmas
Merry Christmas! A great many numbers of people adhere to a very popular faith called Christianity. Christianity is one of the many faiths to reach God like other faiths of the world. Each faith is a specific way to immortality. Sincere approach to any faith can help one to reach enlightenment. This conviction and realization are the core of all faiths. A great saint of 19th century Sri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa practised different faiths of the world including Christianity and realized this oneness of truth. He declared that all religions are true. Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Shinto, Taoism, Bahai, Zoroastrianism and so on are some of the faiths that people at different parts of the world believe in and practice. Each faith is filled with great knowledge to enlighten our inner conscience. All prophets of the world have served the humanity with their message of universal love and in their lifetimes they displayed extraordinary abilities. Jesus Christ is one of those powerful incarnations of God who we all revere and accept as the guide to entire humanity. Christianity is His teachings and the honest practice of it is the highway to heaven.
Jesus Christ and His life story – Jesus Christ was born at Judea in Bethlehem. His mother Mary and father Joseph were Jews so He was a born Palestine Jew. Jesus is said to be born of an immaculate conception. As a child He was meek and humble. He would often enquire about the truth of life and His words would surprise even wise people of the time. For some years, His parents took Him to Egypt where He had interactions with people from various Essene communities. When He was twelve years old, His parents took Him to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. When they were returning, they found Him in the Temple having discourses with the priests. Mother Mary chided Him for thus slipping away from them. At this child Jesus replied in these mystic words: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” By father He meant, “God”. The Holy Bible does not detail much about His Childhood days. According to some historical facts about the unrecorded life of Jesus Christ, Jesus made His way to India to receive divine enlightenment. For about eighteen years thereafter, Jesus lived in India like a Hindu or a Buddhist monk. There are records of Him in India and nearby places in the old texts as well. Please refer to Bhavishya Purana (19.17-32, Chaturyuga Khanda) about His conversation with then king of India Shaka Shalivahana. The facts say that He studied at Nalanda University in Bihar, participated in Jagannath Rath Yatra at Puri, visited Varanasi, studied at the Hemis monastery in Tibet, visited Pashupatinath temple in Nepal and so on. When He was about thirty years of age, He returned from India. At the time John the Baptist; the son of the priest Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth, according to angel Gabriel’s prophecy had begun to baptize people and prepare them to receive the light of Jesus. John baptized Jesus on the banks of the river Jordan. Jesus had vison of God’s spirit descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. He heard the heavenly voice: “Thou art my beloved son, I am well pleased with thee.” Following the baptism, Jesus went in seclusion for forty days and practised extreme austerities and fasted. At the end of 40 days of such fasting He faced three temptations of Satan; the evil one which He overcame. The Evil One disappeared and Jesus rose to the state of a Guru. He began to preach the pathway to immortality. He healed the sick, brought smiles to the sad, provided strength to the weak, hugged the abandoned, faced the odds of life and so on. He prepared twelve disciples to preach His teachings. Some orthodox people complained about Jesus. He faced the legal process of the time. Consequently, He was persecuted even though there were no sound evidences against Him. Then followed crucifixion. According to historical facts, Jesus survived the crucifixion. After the resurrection on the 3rd day of crucifixion, Jesus returned to India with His mother Mary. They lived in Kashmir. After His mother’s demise, Jesus also left the world around 80 years of age. The tomb of mother Mary and Jesus still exists in Kashmir. Jesus remained as innocent as a child throughout his lifetime. He was a trained Yogi of the East who went to Palestine to preach. Jesus’ watchwords were love for God and fellow humans.
Immaculate Conception of Jesus Christ – According to one of the Puranic theories of creation in Hinduism, the first order of creation was mental. Through mental projection only the new progeny was brought such as the creator Brahma created first the four Kumar (eternal celibates): Sanaka Kumar, Sanatana Kumar, Sanandana Kumar and Sanata Kumar (Srimad Bhagavata Purana, 3.12.4). Later on the second order of creation happened through physical sexual intercourse (Srimad Bhagavata Purana, 3.12.52,53). Birth without sexual intercourse between opposite gender seems unscientific but there are many examples to this fact in different scriptures. In Hindu scriptures we have references of those kinds of births such as birth of Hanuman, Arjuna and his four brothers, birth of Draupadi and her brother Dhristadyumna, birth of hundred brothers called Kauravas, birth of great sage Veda Vyasa and so on. In sexual intercourse there is a material transfer of the vital matter through material means but if the same matter is transformed into some subtler form and transferred through subtler means then this would seem to a higher possibility. We all know from science that matter and energy are interconvertible. No wonder in the past people were capable of knowing some possible ways to bring some level of transformation in matter and energy. Hindus know that at the time of generation crisis the sage Veda Vyasa was requested to bring progeny to Kuru Dynasty. The sage arrived and asked the queens and one maid servant to stand before His eyes and then go. Through the eye contacts He was capable of having those women conceive children. Such extraordinary human skills were known to people of the past and may be in the present time as well some people are capable of this possibility. Therefore, we need to appreciate this knowledge as a higher possibility and source of inspiration.
Jesus’ Philosophy and Teachings – The words of Jesus were not collected till some generations after they were talked about. There is no record of the life of Jesus Christ until He was fully grown up. He delivered all his teachings orally and His followers also did not write even a single word which He spoke during His life time. His words have been widely misunderstood. Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh puts the gist of Jesus’ teachings in the following way – God is Spirit. God is omnipresent. God loves His creatures. God is the Father of all. The theological doctrine of Jesus is – belief in the Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. In Godhead there are three Persons, viz., Father, Son and the Holy Ghost or Spirit. This is the Trinity of Christianity. All men are brothers, because they are all members of the family of God.
Historical facts about unrecorded life of Jesus Christ – The war correspondent of Russia Nicholas Notovitch, during his wanderings in Ladakh in 1887, found some facts on the life and teachings of Jesus in India and published it in his book known as “The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ”. The great saint Sri Ramakrishna and his disciple Swami Brahmananda, Swami Rama Tirtha, Swami Papa Ramdas and Paramhansa Yogananda had visions of Jesus Christ. Swami Rama Tirtha and Swami Ramdas had visions of Jesus while staying at Vashishtha Guha (the cave towards northern side of Rishikesh). Swami Abhedananda and Swami Trigunatitananda who were disciples of Sri Ramakrishna, journeyed to Ladakh to verify the facts about life of Jesus. Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri; the guru of Yogananda, proved that Jesus had lived in India and His teachings were identical with the Sanatana Dharma. In the twentieth century the Shankaracharya of Puri, Jagadguru Bharata Krishna Tirtha, found proofs of Jesus actually having lived at the Govardhan Math, in Puri. Paramhansa Yogananda’s commentary on the Gospels of Jesus called “The Second Coming of Christ”, is one of the most reliable documents of Jesus’ real teachings. Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh also wrote a beautiful book entitled “Life and teachings of Lord Jesus”.
Christianity – Early Christians were Jews born in Palestine. After the death of Jesus, they acknowledged him as the Messiah and began to practice His teachings. Christianity progressively spread all over the Roman Empire. In 392 AD, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Christianity derives its name from Christ. Christianity is based mainly on Judaism and partly on Buddhism. Jesus dealt with the illiterate fishermen of Galilee so He taught only moral precepts and the way of righteous living. Buddhism prevailed already in Palestine when Christ was born. Christ received it through His master John the Baptist. There is a close resemblance between Buddhism and Christianity in their precepts, forms, ceremonies, architectural style of their temples and stories about lives of their founders. The teachings of Jesus are embodied in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord’s Prayer and in certain parables.
Christmas Tree – Paramhamsa Yogananda describes the Christmas tree in the following way –
The Tree – Symbolic of the astral spine (Sushumna Nadi).
Lights – Reflects the colourful lights of the Chakras.
The Star – At the top is the spiritual eye.
The Christmas tree symbolises the tree of spiritual life, liberation and immortality. It reminds us the message of Jesus Christ. It guides us that our lives are meant to follow the precepts of holy masters and attain Christ consciousness; enlightenment. This is the truth of entire humanity irrespective of any distinction that we may draw.
Christmas and Christ Consciousness – Christmas is a day for realizing the Christ Consciousness or cosmic consciousness. It is a day of remembering the great deeds of God Jesus. Christmas is a very important festival to invoke within us the state of spiritual awakening. The real Christmas is to realize the Kingdom of Heaven within ourselves, to hold union with Jesus and God in the temple of our hearts, to regain our lost purity and divinity, to attain Christ-consciousness, to embrace all, to love all and to be one with all beings.
The Cross – The Cross of Jesus is a supreme example of love and suffering without any sense of revenge. It is a classic example of love resisting evil and overcoming it. When Jesus was put to the Cross, He spoke: “My Lord! They do not know what they are doing. Please forgive them.” What a huge heart and extraordinary power of endurance He displayed! He who has such control over the flesh, the life-passions and the lower nature, can only bear the Cross.
The New Testament – Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh elaborates that The New Testament contains 27 books. The first four books are Gospels which describe the life of Christ. The next book describes the Acts of Apostles, particularly of the important Apostle Paul. The twenty-one shorter books describe the ideas underlying the Christian faith of the early Christians. The last book is the book of Revelations which gives a description of the series of visions such as, the lamb of God and the heavenly city. The author is John who is the favourite Apostle of Jesus. All these books were written in Greek language, which was the language of educated people at the beginning of the Christian era.
Sermons on the Mount – According to Great saints ‘the sermons of mount” is the essence of Jesus’ teachings. Here is His “Sermon on the Mount” –
Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Conclusion – All faiths are the ways to God and different faiths are required for different kinds of people. The message of Christmas is the message of universal love, divine glory, splendour, peace and goodwill among all nations and people all around world. Christmas is more than a day of rejoicing and festivity. Christmas does not consist in ringing bells, singing songs, sharing expensive gifts, displaying Christmas cards, enjoying rich repasts, heavy dinners and eating cakes. Lord Jesus was an embodiment of mercy, love, humility, non-injury and peace. We should study the gospels again and again, meditate on divine form of Lord Jesus and feel How sweet, compassionate, gentle and loving He was! Let’s study the Sermon on the Mount again and again and meditate upon it. May we all be living embodiments of the Sermon on the Mount! May we all realize the Kingdom of God within us!
With Love and Gratefulness (Founder Rohit Kumar)
Source – Holy Bible, words of Paramhamsa Yogananda, Swami Sivananda and personal study.
Hari Om Tat Sat!