Chapter 9.1 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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9.1 CHRISTMAS

FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

JESUS' BIRTH

Jesus was born early in the morning at 3.15am on December 28th one thousand nine hundred and eighty years ago. 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?

Today is the birth day 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 every one." If we follow this, it would be enough to fulfil our destiny. (251279)

Jesus was a 'karanajanma', a Master born with a purpose, the mission of restoring love, charity and compassion in the heart of man. He had no attachment to the self; He never paid heed to sorrow or pain; He had a heart that responded to the call of anguish, the cry for peace and brotherhood. He went about the land preaching the lesson of love, and pouring out His life as a libation in the sacrifice to humanity. (251278)

JESUS IN INDIA

From the beginning Jesus was a pure, selfless constantly loving person. He unselfishly dedicated His every action to the good of the world. Early in His life He announced, "I am God's Messenger. I have come as a servant to all God's children". Later He retired from the world to be alone and contemplate the nature of God. He was totally immersed in the God within Himself for twelve years. The strength of His singular concentration drew Him much closer to God. By the power of His divine consciousness Jesus grew nearer and still nearer to God, and realised He was Himself the Son of God. Craving God still more, He went on a pilgrimage to an isolated part of the Himalayan mountains, dwelt even more deeply and constantly in God's Love. He continued this practice for five years. In His mountain retreat He practised a number of intense spiritual disciplines. He realised that the embracing Love of the Father was His own basic nature. He declared, "I and My Father are One".

The full awareness of His unity with the Almighty occurred while He was in India. After obtaining Divine Unity with God, and realising that He and the Holy Ghost were one and inseparable; He made His way back to the countries to the West. He had been almost completely alone for seventeen years. The time had come for Him to act as an example for others, and show them the way to live that would bring about their salvation. He taught them that He was not the only Messenger from God. We are all God's Messengers sent to make a holy mark in the history of mankind. (Eastern View JC 113)

Like most seekers, He searched for the Divine in the objective world in Nature, but soon realised that nature is a kaleidoscopic picture created by one's own imagination, and sought God within Himself. Here, His stay in the Himalayan monasteries, in Kashmir and other centres of eastern asceticism and philosophical inquiry, brought Him greater success. From the attitude of being a messenger of God, He declared that He was the Son of God, after returning from the East. (251278)

JESUS' NAME

Jesus was the name He was known by. He was honoured by the populace as Christ, for they found in His thoughts, deeds and words no trace of ego. He had no envy or hatred; He was full of love and charity, humility and sympathy. The name Jesus itself is not the original one. He was named Isa, which with the sounds reversed, is Sai. Isa or Sai both mean 'Isvara', God, the Eternal Absolute, the Being-Awareness-Bliss (Sath-Chit-Ananda). In the Tibetan manuscript at the monastery where Isa spent some years, the name is written as Issa, which means the Lord of all living beings. When Jesus proclaimed that He was the Messenger of God, He wanted to emphasise that everyone is a messenger of God and has to speak, act and think as one. (251278)

SACRIFICE

People talk of the sacrifice of Christ as evidenced 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. Honour 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 or two, and conquering at least the more disastrous urges of the ego. (251272)

JESUS' MESSAGE

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 as friend or foe, we or they. Every body 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. (251278)

Jesus lived for the Divine Glory of this sacred planet. His very action was for those around Him. Nothing was too precious for Him to give up for His people. He sacrificed His body's own blood for the good of humanity. Today is the birthday of this Divine Person. Today is the anniversary of the day when Jesus came to Earth. Of what meaning is it to spend such a Divine day feasting? Is it divine to spend the entire birthday of Jesus, the master of sense control, by over-indulging our own senses? Make this day meaningful and beneficial to yourself and mankind. Practise at least a few of the ideals that Jesus preached and gave His life for. It is ridiculous to spend the birthday of any great person gorging on expensive dishes. Who does that bring honour to?

Celebrate a true day of rebirth in your life. Practise any ideal set forth by a great person. Your Divine actions honour God who manifested as the ideal human you are guided by. You are embodiments of living Divine Love. In memory of Jesus' birthday, you must begin to change your way of living. You must honour the living memory of Jesus by beginning to act as He acted. I wish you to do this. From this day onward do your best to stop blaming others. Blame feeds the fires of jealousy and hatred. From this day forward stop compulsively praising yourself. Self-praise inflates the ego and moves you far away from God. Spend your time living in the light of God's love to do God's work. Shower love on all you meet. Serve the society you are part of. Carry on the humanitarian project that Jesus began. (Eastern View JC 87)

JESUS FORETELLS SAI

There is one point that I cannot but bring to your special notice today. At the moment when Jesus was emerging in the Supreme Principle of Divinity, He communicated some news to His followers, which has been interpreted in a variety of ways by commentators and those who relish the piling of writings on writings and meanings upon meanings, until it all swells up into a huge mess.

The statement itself has been manipulated and tangled into a conundrum. The statement of Christ is simple. "He who sent me among you will come again!", and He pointed to a lamb. The lamb is merely a symbol, a sign. It stands for the voice - Ba-Ba; the announcement was of the advent of Baba. "His name will be Truth", Christ declared. Sathya means Truth. "He will wear a robe of red, a blood red robe." (Here Baba pointed to the robe He was wearing!) He will be short, with a crown (of hair). The lamb is the sign and the symbol of Love. Christ did not declare that He will come again; He said, "He who made Me will come again." That Ba-Ba is this Baba, and Sai, the short, curly-hair-crowned red-robed Baba, is come. He is not only in this Form, but, He is in every one of you, as the Dweller in the Heart. He is there, short, with a robe of the colour of the blood that fills it. (251272)

JESUS' EXAMPLE

Because Jesus knew the value of being human, He

lived His life as God's messenger. Seeing His one Divinity, He also saw the Divinity in every other person. Jesus knew that to serve God in each individual is to serve society. To serve society is to serve God directly. After selflessly serving humanity for some years, He realised that He was something far beyond His body - far beyond physical life or death. He realised Himself to be the child of immortality - the Son of God. Since He identified Himself fully with God, the divine qualities of God manifested through Him for the benefit of all humanity.

If you wish to blossom forth as your true Self, your higher Divine Nature, you must spend the life given you serving humanity with great humility and no concern for selfish gain. Once Jesus gave Himself fully to the sacred service of all mankind, He realised that He was serving the world in human form as God serves the world. When speaking to others, He described His state saying, "I and my Father are One". When we call ourselves 'Children of God', it is a poor joke. We carefully avoid godly behaviour. We destroy any hope of Him being known for our good character. Instead we work diligently to perfect our bad qualities and frequently delight in exaggerated stories of our misdeeds.

If you wish to be worthy of the name 'Child of God', you must at least make the attempt to take on God's nature and grow closer to God. You must try, little by little, to cultivate good qualities. Good qualities are God qualities. As we cultivate, long for, and nurture godly qualities, one by one, we gradually come to know more fully God's true nature. When we know God's divine nature completely, we are One with God. There is no difference between ourselves and God. (Eastern View JC 75)

When you celebrate Christmas, the birth of Christ, you should celebrate also your own birth and the fact that you are here on earth in this form. Christmas should be a time of self-examination. Christ came 2,000 years ago to awaken man to the truth. Today the Sai Avatar is here with the same message. It is such an opportunity that you have and yet so few of you are taking it. How many have really become awakened? How many have really changed their lifestyle as a result of My teachings? How many of you are motivated by love in all that you do? The Lord cannot be deceived.

My children, awaken before it is too late. The present life comes and goes and time passes ever more quickly. What are you doing as each day passes? Are you really changing your way of life and moving away from earth-bound darkness into the light, back towards the Godhead?

Celebrate Christmas, celebrate your own presence on the earth, then come to terms with the truth of who you really are. Celebrate the wonderful opportunity that lies ahead in the light of that understanding and start afresh on a new path: the only path that will lead you out of the wilderness and back to the Godhead, where liberation and the total merging of the soul with God brings divine bliss.

In the process, as you move along that path, you should become a great beacon of light, lighting up the path so that others can find the way. This is the highest form of personal spiritual practice. (251284)

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, 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 Bliss, but, the Bliss 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. (251272)

Speak sweetly; shed comfort with every glance of yours. Do not be slaves to your sensual desires. Prahlada told his father who had conquered the three worlds that he had failed to conquer lust and desire. You should conquer lust and vanquish anger. Exile from your mind greed, hate and jealousy. Dedicate your hand to the service of mankind. Jesus teaches infinite Love and Compassion. To resurrect Love and Compassion, you must kill jealousy and selfishness, purify your hearts. Earn the true mercy of Jesus. Follow the path shown by Him and reach the position He holds. (251279)

Love must be manifested as Service. Service must take the form of food for the hungry, solace for the forlorn, consolation for the sick and the suffering. Jesus wore himself out in such service. The heart full of compassion is the temple of God. Jesus pleaded for Compassion. Compassion was His Message. He was sorely distressed at the sight of the poor. This day, Jesus is worshipped but His teachings are neglected. Sai is being worshipped but His teachings are neglected. Every where, pomp, pageantry, hollow exhibitionism! Lectures, Lectures, Lectures! No activity, no love, no service. Heroes while lecturing, zeros while putting what is said into practice. Develop Compassion. Live in Love. Be Good; do Good and see Good. This is the way to God. (251281)

 

 

 

 
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