|Infant Jesus Christ with Mother Mary|
This is illustrated by the strange phenomena that occur at the time of their Advent. It is believed that when Christ was born there were such manifestations. The ruler of the realm had ordered a census, and each had to be counted in his own village. So Mary and her husband moved along the road that led to his native village. Mary was with child; the pains started midway; they knew no one in the hamlet through which they were passing; so they took refuge in a cowshed. Joseph made ready the space between the cows, and went out into the road at midnight, to seek some woman who could help. But, soon, he heard the Baby’s cry.
And, the story says, there was a star in the sky, which fell with a new light, and this led a few Tibetans and others to the place where the Savior was born. This story is read and taken on trust by many, though stars do not fall or even slide down so suddenly. What the story signifies is this; there was a huge halo of splendor illuminating the sky over the village when Christ was born. This meant that He, who was to overcome the darkness of evil and ignorance, had taken birth and He will spread the Light of Love in the heart of man and councils of humanity.
“He whom Christ Announced”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 11, December 24, 1972, Bangalore
In Christian thought, the Bible has been taken as an authority. When we read the Bible, we look at Christ as an ideal figure who proclaimed truth to the world. When we learn about His life story, we come to the conclusion that He was born of Virgin Mary. The moment this story of Christ’s birth to Virgin Mary is revealed, all those who follow Christianity rightly feel very proud and feel that this mysterious birth is the result of some Divine power and that Mary was a very sacred woman. They further proclaim this fact to the world with great pride. We should understand this aspect and learn how they accept such an event.
“Brahman”, Summer Showers in Brindavan, 1974, Brindavan
Try to be like Jesus. Jesus was a person whose only joy was in spreading Divine Love, offering Divine Love, receiving Divine Love and living on Divine Love. There are various theories about the birth date of Jesus based on the ‘bright star that appeared at His birth.’ It is visible once in 800 years, it is said. Some say He was born on the fifteenth day of September. But, He was born at 3:15 am (early morning) on December 28, 1980 years ago. It was Sunday. The Star that appeared that day appears only once in 800 years.
Its appearance had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. There is no rule that, when Divine Energy or Divine Incarnation descends on Earth, a star has to appear. That is the opinion of devotees only. But, Jesus was himself a ‘Star’ of infinite value, spreading brilliance of infinite dimension. Why posit another less brilliant glow?
“The Way of Jesus”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 14,
December 25, 1979, Prasanthi Nilayam
On December 25, when Jesus was born, three kings came to His birthplace. These three gave expression to three different views about the new-born babe. One of them, looking at the infant, said, “This child looks like One who will be a lover of God.” A second king said, “God will love this child”. The third king declared, “Verily, this child is God Himself”. The first one viewed the child from the physical point of view. The second saw the child from the mental viewpoint. The third saw from the Atmic (spiritual) point of view. The three declarations indicate how one can progress from the human to the Divine level. What is needed is the destruction of the animal and demonic qualities in man.
“The Journey in the Jungle”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 07,
April 22, 1967, Madras
Two thousand years ago, in Palestine, a province of the Roman empire, there were Jews professing Judaism. The Jews believed in one God called Yehovah. They believed that God would send a messiah for the people of Israel. Jerusalem was the sacred city of the Jews and continued to be so even under the Romans. This was the time when Jesus was born. From His childhood Jesus displayed such sacred qualities as compassion, love and sacrifice.
“Develop Spiritual Oneness” Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24,
December 25, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam
|A Young Jesus Christ amidst learned scholars with His parents looking over Him|
The child was brought up by mother Mary and his father was working as a carpenter. It was the time of a festival in Jerusalem and the child Jesus was taken there along with His parents. They lost the child in the crowd and could not find Him anywhere. Mother Mary naturally was very much worried. Finally, they went to the temple to pray. To their astonishment, they found young Jesus coming out of the temple. All the while the child had been in the temple, listening to the holy discourse of the Rabbi of the temple. The anxious mother took hold of her child and started asking Him several questions as to what He was doing all the while. The child replied, “Mother, why were you afraid? All the while I was in the hands of God. I have been listening to the words of God expounded by the Rabbi in the temple.” Thus, the child was God-minded from a very young age. After some time, father Joseph passed away. Mary told her son, “Now that Your father passed away, You should continue Your father’s profession, so that we may earn our livelihood.” But the boy was not inclined to continue in His father’s profession. The mother was also not interested to oppose the natural inclinations of young Jesus. One day, young Jesus went to a lonely hilltop. The mother was very much worried, nay, depressed due to the absence of her son. Jesus was sitting and meditating on God all the while. After some time, He returned. As He was returning, He ran into a group of worried men on the coast of the Sea of Galilee.
When young Jesus enquired from them the cause of their worry, they said that they were fishermen and that for quite some time past, they were not able to catch any fish in their nets. Jesus said, “Follow me; are there any waters that do not have fish?” He took them along with Him in their boats to the middle of the sea and asked them to cast their nets at a particular spot. To their utter astonishment and great joy, the fishermen found that their nets were full with fish. This event created a lot of faith in the minds of the fishermen. Hence, faith is indispensable for humanity.
Jesus could instill such great faith in those people. One of those fishermen was named by Jesus as Peter. He developed intense love and faith towards Jesus. From then on, the fishermen regularly used to take Jesus out on their fishing expeditions and after their return in the evening, Jesus used to expound spiritual matters to them. When Peter’s father passed away, his mother was filled with sorrow, but Jesus consoled her by telling, “Death is but a dress of life. Wherefore do you shed tears? Death is like changing one’s dress. Therefore, stop grieving. These physical bodies come and go, so do not waste your thought on these ephemeral things. The indweller (Dehi) who lives inside this body is the true divinity.” In this manner, Jesus preached and instilled confidence in the people around him. Thus, the fishermen’s community was spending its time happily in the company of Jesus. At that time, one Mathew, who was a tax collector for the Romans, used to visit them on official work and, during his visits, he also used to listen to Jesus and take notes of His teachings. Finally, he became a disciple of Jesus.
After a while, Jesus started facing obstacles and opposition to His preaching. Anyone donning a physical body cannot escape such vicissitudes of life. Without hardships man cannot exist. Death follows birth and with the same certainty misery follows happiness. Sukha Dukhe Samekrutwa Labhalabhau Jayajayau (One should remain equal-minded in happiness and sorrow, gain and loss, victory and defeat). Pleasure is an interval between two pains.
Spirituality does not mean simply doing Bhajans and performing some acts of worship. Cultivate noble qualities. Always be helpful to others and earn a good name. Jesus earned such a good name by sacrificing His body on the cross. You also must be prepared for such a great sacrifice. Jesus Christ developed such noble qualities. He gave protection to several poor and destitute people with a loving heart. In fact, several such people sought refuge in Him. In the process, He had to face the wrath of several enemies. You should help people even if you have to undergo some difficulties. Never indulge in reviling others, for the same Atma is permeating every living being. If you abuse others, it amounts to abusing your own self. If you do not like them, keep yourself away from them, but never abuse them. Any amount of good work done by you will be of no use, if you do not give up bad qualities.
If you cannot do good to others, at least speak good words. You cannot always oblige, but you can speak always obligingly. If you find someone suffering, try to help him. Today it is his turn, but tomorrow it could be yours. Always keep this in mind. Nobody can escape from pain and suffering. Always pray for the welfare of all.
“Love and Morality—The Need of the Hour”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 35, December 25, 2002, Prasanthi Nilayam
Jesus wandered purposefully in lonely places for twelve long years, engaging Himself in study, spiritual exercises and meditation on God. Of course, one must protect and preserve the body, which is a Divine gift, a boat equipped with instruments through which man can cross the sea of perpetual change and reach Divinity. This goal of life has to be reached before the body-boat develops leaks and disintegrates, through illness, sloth and senility. Physical, mental and spiritual health has to be fostered with vigilant care. Nevertheless, ‘one’ must be ever ready to east the body away in defense of Dharma or Daiva (goodness or God). Have Jesus as your ideal for this. He exhorted all to observe the basically valid teachings of the ancient scriptures and to derive peace and joy therefrom.
The Jews held the rituals and regulations lay down by the prophets in the scriptural texts as valid for all time and so, they held the teachings of Jesus as wrong. They were not moved by personal hatred towards Jesus. The problem arises in every age, the conflict between the letter and the spirit, the doctrines that are held sacred, the Mantra (sacred formula) that is held to be holy, the various do’s and don’ts that have to be scrupulously followed, and the underlying truth. In the Vedic Faith also, one can find today this conflict between the upholders of ancient tradition and the promoters of deeper understanding. These later also base their teachings on the Vedas.
Jesus grew up at Nazareth till He reached thirty. After Joseph’s passing, Jesus sought His mother’s permission to embark on His Divine mission. He got baptized by John, the Baptist, and spent forty days in penance in a forest. During the penance, He prayed to God for three things, One- He should be blessed with the quality of loving equally everyone; Two- He should have the strength and forbearance to suffer patiently any indignity or persecution that He might be subjected to by anyone; Three- He should be enabled to use His God-given body wholly in the service of God.
After forty days, Jesus emerged from his penance with the faith that His prayers had been granted. Jesus encountered the fishermen, at Galilee, who became His first disciples. He told them that He had come to establish the reign of love on earth and those they would be His helpers in His mission. He spoke to them about the preciousness of human birth and urged them to seek the Kingdom of God within themselves.
By the way of illustration, Christ told them the following parable. In a river the water is flowing in a swift current. But even the tiny fish are able to swim in it and move about merrily. In the same river, a huge elephant caught in the rapids, is likely to get washed away or drowned in spite of its enormous size. Whatever the speed of the current, the small fish are able to swim freely in the river and enjoy themselves. But an elephant is unable to survive in it. The reason is, what you need for survival in a river is not bulk but the ability to swim. Likewise man, who is caught up in the ocean of worldly existence (Samsara), needs not so much metaphysics, scholarship or detachment, as the grace of Divine love.
“Love - The Key to Human Unity”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, December 25, 1988, Prasanthi Nilayam
Realising from His early years that the discharge of one’s duties was the primary obligation of a human being, Jesus used to help His father in His work as a carpenter. The father passed away in Jesus’s twelfth year. For a while He carried on His father’s work, but in due course He set out His ministry in the service of the people. Like the fragrance in the bud of a flower, Jesus’s divinity was evident from His boyhood.
“Develop Spiritual Oneness” Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 24,
December 25, 1991, Prasanthi Nilayam
Jesus exemplified the spirit of social service. The inspiration for this came from His mother Mary. From His childhood, Mary taught Him such good qualities as truth, kindness, compassion and justice. In His twelfth year, Jesus and His parents went to Jerusalem for a festival. In the crowds the parents lost trace of Jesus and searched for Him everywhere. Not finding Him anywhere, Mary sat under a tree and prayed to God to come to her help. At that moment, a thought flashed in her mind that Jesus was perhaps in a nearby temple. And Jesus was there sitting in a comer of the temple and listening to the words of the priest. Mary affectionately rushed towards Him and embraced Him. “Child, what agony I went through on Your account,” she said. Jesus told her, “Mother! Why should you have any fear? Those who believe in the world will have fears. But why should anyone believing in God fear at all? I am in the company of my Father. Why do you fear? You taught me that God is everything for us. How, then, can you worry like this?” Jesus had learnt His lessons from His mother and developed His spiritual faith. After they returned from Jerusalem, Jesus felt that service to His parents was His foremost duty, because He owed everything to them. In this spirit, He used to assist His father in his carpentry work. After Joseph passed away, Jesus sought His mother’s permission to devote Himself to the service of the needy and the forlorn. After leaving home, Jesus was Himself baptized by John. Then for forty days Jesus observed severe austerities without food and drink. At first He considered himself as Messenger of God. After the penance He realized He was the Son of God. He began His ministry with a group of fishermen as His first disciples. He taught them that they should first seek the Kingdom of Heaven. To enter that Kingdom they had to cultivate loving hearts. Then, their hearts would become the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus further declared to them, “I and my Father are one.”
“Spread the Message of Love”, Sathya Sai Speaks Volume 27, December 25, 1994, Prasanthi Nilayam