Sri Sathya Sai on Jesus Christ – Part 3 (Significance of His Birthday)

The Traditional Nativity Scene
More than 2,000 years ago, when ego and pride became human nature, ignorance reigned supreme and the demonic nature of man was at its peak, Jesus Christ descended on earth and through His message of love and compassion demonstrated the path of righteousness. Today, you must recognise the most important aspect of the life of Jesus Christ. In the very beginning of His life, Jesus declared, “I am a Messenger of God”. He proclaimed that all are embodiments of Divinity in this human form, and all are messengers of God. He said that every ounce of this human body till the last drop of blood should be dedicated to the service of mankind. “A heart filled with love and compassion is the real temple of God”, declared Jesus. The alarm clock wakes us by ringing the alarm at the right time. The great sages of ancient times would wake man from the slumber of ignorance by warning him at the appropriate time and in the appropriate manner. They would warn man to recognise the Divinity which is all pervading. One must remember these teachings and put them into practice every moment of our lives. Celebrating the birthday of such a great and pious soul as just another ritual is not what is expected. The day you understand the teachings of Jesus, and implement them with your heart and soul, that day will really be the Birthday of Jesus Christ. The words of such great people should constantly ring in your hearts and should be the guiding light of your lives. Your real offering to God will be the dedication of your life to practicing these teachings.  

“The Descent of God is for the Ascent of Man”, Discourse 01, My Dear Students, Volume 05 

You celebrate the birthday of Bhagavan. But do you follow the teachings? You will experience the fruits of celebrating the birthday only when you follow the teachings. Jesus said, “Love everyone.” Christmas is celebrated, but how far does one practise love? None at all. There is love in everyone’s heart. Share it at least with ten persons every day. This is seldom done. People are keener on receiving than on giving. They are willing to give away only things which they do not relish. There is no sacrifice in this.
“Purity, Patience, Perseverance: Steps to Divinity”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 26, November 23, 1993, Prasanthi Nilayam

It is therefore appropriate that the birthday of Jesus, who felt the need to save mankind and who strove to achieve it, is celebrated; but, the celebration must take the form of adherence to the teachings, loyalty to the principles, practicing the disciplines and experiencing the Awareness of the Divine that He sought to arouse. These days, the world is deriving satisfaction in mere words, and in witnessing clever rules designed to cover up one’s faults.

The birthdays of the Great are honored by such hypocrisy and external pomp. There is no examination in the light of the message they gave, nor, any effort to practice it and derive the bliss it promises. The Great teachers belong to mankind. It is wrong to believe that Jesus belongs only to the Christians and the Christmas is a holy festival for the West only. To accept one of them as one’s own and discard the rest as belonging to others, is a sign of pettiness. Christ, Rama and Krishna- they are for all men everywhere.

“He whom Christ Announced”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 11, December 24, 1972, Bangalore

It is not right to celebrate Christ’s birthday by feasting, drinking, singing and merry-making. The ideals taught by Jesus should be put into practice. That is the right way to celebrate His birthday. Whomsoever you adore, you must try to live up to His teachings. What kind of devotion is it when the devotee does not practice what he professes? It is pseudo-devotion. Remember the Lord with love. Worship Him with love. Sanctify your life with love.

“Love - The Key to Human Unity”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 21, December 25, 1988, Prasanthi Nilayam

Far more beneficial than honouring the great is the practice of loving them. Praise, glorification and eulogy raise them on to an unreachable pedestal. Love binds one heart to another. Gratitude for the inspiration and instruction received must bind the hearts in love. The celebration of Christmas should not conclude with some carols, tableaux and made-up trees and Santa Claus. It must be soaked in the resolution to practise at least a few of the lessons Jesus taught us. The very first need is faith in God and in our own Divine Nature.

 “Everyone is a Son of God”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 15,
December 25, 1982, Prasanthi Nilayam

The Birthday of Jesus must be celebrated by all mankind, for such Karana-Janmas (a Master born with a purpose) belong to the whole human race. They should not be confined to a single country or community…Carols and candles, readings from the Bible and acting out the incidents that surrounded His Birth, are not enough to celebrate the Birth of Jesus. Jesus said that the bread taken in the ‘last supper’ was His Flesh, and the wine, His Blood. He meant that all beings alive with flesh and blood are to be treated as He Himself and that no distinction should be made of friend or foe, we or they. Everybody is His Body, sustained by the bread; every drop of blood flowing in the veins of every living being is His, animated by the activity that the wine imparted to it. That is to say, every man is Divine and has to be revered as such.

“Isa”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 14, December 25, 1978, Prasanthi Nilayam

Special prayer session on Christmas Day at the Vatican
Today is the birthday of Jesus, celebrated amidst December snow-falls with lights and Christmas Trees, and prayers. But it is useless to pray just one day and forget God, the rest of the year. That is an empty show; it does not emanate from the heart. We are true Christians only when we live according to the teachings of Christ and practise them in daily life. Even if we follow two teachings of His, that would be enough. Christ said, “All life is one, my dear Son! Be alike to everyone”.

“The Way of Jesus”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 14,
December 25, 1979, Prasanthi Nilayam

People talk of the sacrifice of Christ as evidence by His crucifixion. But, He was surrounded and bound, and crowned by the crowd who captured Him with a crown of thorns, and later, nailed to the cross by His captors. A person bound and beaten by the police cannot say that he has sacrificed anything, for; he is not a free man. Let us pay attention to the sacrifice that Jesus made while free, out of His own volition. He sacrificed His happiness, prosperity, comfort, safety and position; He braved the enmity of the powerful. He refused to yield or compromise. He renounced the ‘ego’, which is the toughest thing to get rid of. Honor Him for these. He willingly sacrificed the desires with which the body torments man; this is sacrifice greater than the sacrifice of the body under duress. The celebration of His birthday has to be marked by your sacrificing at least a desire or two, and conquering at least the more disastrous urges of the ego.

…This day, Christmas, when we celebrate the birth of Christ, resolve to lead the lives of loving service to the weak, the helpless, the distressed, and the disconsolate. Cultivate tolerance and forbearance, charity and magnanimity. Hold dear the ideals He laid down and practise them in your daily lives. The ways in which Christmas is being celebrated now show how far men have moved away from those ideals, how much ignominy they are heaping on His name! The midnight hour is revered, illumination is arranged, the Christmas tree is set up, and then, the night is spent in drinking and dance. It is a day of Holy Ananda, but, the Ananda is reduced to the level of the poisoning excitement of intoxication!

Drink is so pernicious an evil habit, that when man puts the bottle in, he himself gets into the bottle and cannot escape! First man drinks wine, then the wine drinks more wine; and finally, the wine drinks man himself! He is sunk and drowned in drink. Liquor destroys the humanity in man! How then can it develop the Divinity in him? One must dance in Divine Bliss; instead, sensual dance is indulged in as a deleterious substitute! Make your hearts pure, your activities holy, and your feelings beneficial to all. That is the best way of celebrating the Birth of Christ.

 “He whom Christ Announced”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 11, December 24, 1972, Bangalore

There is a custom of putting up a Christmas tree on this day (Christmas Day) and worshipping it. The genesis of this custom can be traced to Germany. A preacher by name, Jensen from England once visited Germany. When he was travelling in Germany on his mission, he noticed some Germans attempting to offer a child’s life as sacrifice to propitiate God who, they believed, lived in an oak tree. The priest was worried and questioned them why they were offering an innocent child as sacrifice to a tree. As they asserted that God lived in the tree, he took an axe and cut the tree. To his surprise, he was shaken by an inexplicable vibration from head to foot. He noticed the form of a child between the two portions of the tree that was cut by him. This incident teaches the truth that God lives not only in human beings but also in plants and trees. From that time onwards people started putting up a Christmas tree and worshipping it on this Christmas day. The system of worshipping Divinity in many forms including plants and stones, which originated in Bharat, has been prevalent for a long time in other countries also.

“Unity Based On Divinity”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 25,
 December 25, 1992, Prasanthi Nilayam

Jesus taught people to love all beings and serve all with compassion. It is only by practicing these ideals that you can truly celebrate His birthday. You must live in love and lead a life of selfless service based on love. This is the only right way of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

“Mother’s Love has Immense Power”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 39, May 6, 2006, Brindavan

Jesus sacrificed His life and poured out His blood to instill Love and Compassion in the heart of man, so that he may be happy when others are happy and sad when others are sad. It is not by festivity and fun that you should celebrate Christmas. Celebrate it, rather, by resolving and putting into practice at least one of the ideals He enunciated, or endeavouring to reach at least one of the goals that He placed before man.

“Jesus”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 13,
December 25, 1976, Brindavan

Christmas Darshan at Prasanthi Nilayam
The birthday of every great person is celebrated by those who adore and follow Him. This day, being the birthday of Jesus is a holiday when offices and factories do not work. It is not sanctified as a holy day. People attend the church and join the rituals but return home to revel, drink and dance. The Cross is forgotten when the Christmas season is on. The day must be dedicated to the purification of one’s passions and emotions through meditation on the virtues and values that Jesus held forth.

“One God: Basic Truth of All Faiths”, Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume 18, December 25, 1985, Brindavan

Continued in Part 4

Source: Sai Vani: Avatar on Mahapurushas

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