Christmas Celebrations, at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 24 December 2019
On Christmas Eve, Paramahamsa Vishwananda spoke about the real meaning of Christmas and the powerful reminder of who we really are.
What does Christmas mean, really?
Of course, people think that Christmas is what we see on the outside. But Christmas is not that. Christmas is this unity when everybody comes together. That’s what Christmas stands for, no? In ancient times, people would come together to celebrate, even if Christ was not born on the 25th of December. Because according to the astrological chart, that constellation happened on 27th of September. So, you see, it’s not about that. It’s a reminder of the most important thing in our life.
Very often, during this time you will see that people come together in a peaceful way, because they are, of course, reminded of a child who was born 2000 years ago, and who brought certain changes. But when we look at that child’s life, that's not what we are celebrating. He came as a reminder of God’s love and yet, He was crucified.
When we were on the pilgrimage in Israel, we saw many places where Jesus was, and where He had done so many miracles. In one place, He fed 5000 people; in another place, He fed 4000 people. Masters do these things, you know, but how many people were around Him? Twelve. When He was crucified, none of them were there. They had all abandoned Him. Who was there? Three women.
You see, often we like an idea what makes us feel good. But as long as Jesus was alive, He was a threat, no? Once He was gone, then you like the memory of Him. You like that memory because there is nobody to tell you that you are wrong. If there was somebody to tell you that you were wrong, would you still follow him? No, you'd have to get rid of that person. Most of the time people don’t want to hear; they want to be fully in control through everything outside.
The spirit of Christmas we see nowadays is the whole process of consuming. How many people come together? Yes, we here are one family, and we come together. But when we look outside, the spirit of Christmas has become commercial. It’s not that one should not give. Giving is an expression of that love. But what we really should give is that love from one heart to the other. And that is the spirit which people have forgotten. For one day of Christmas, yes, they will all sit there, and the next day they will all fight again. When this child came, He came as a reminder of the unity. What did He remind us of? That we are all sparks of that Divinity; we are all sparks of God. He didn’t come to say ‘Yes, follow me.’ He said, ‘Follow, I am a reminder of who you are.’
What we really should give is that love from one heart to the other. And that is the spirit which people have forgotten.
It reminds me of Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 14, Verse 4, and what Krishna said, so beautifully. He said,‘In different wombs through Prakriti, through Nature, everything gets manifested, but I am the seed. I am the father of everything.’ So, if we take that verse and we analyse it, it doesn’t matter that we are all different. Even the animals, the plants, each person is different, but yet, there is a spark inside. This is the seed of the Father. That’s why Krishna said, ‘I am that seed, I am the Father of everything.’ Without that, nothing would exist. Everything is created through Nature, but there must be a power which gives that power for everything to act, no? If that power is not there, how would everything act? Would your eyes see if there is not that power in it? Would your nose smell, would your mouth talk, eat, would your ears hear, would your hands do something? No, there would be no energy. A body is made up of minerals. If we take life out of it, what would it be? Manure.You would be rotten and a tree would grow from you! That’s what you will become and that’s what you have been made of. This physical body is made up of that. Whether you want it or not, it is made up of that.
There is something inside, that spark, that consciousness, which gives power to the mind, the intellect, to the body, to act. And that spark is a part of the Divine within each of us. Christ has come to remind of us that, you know. That we are that spark. And when you will realise that spark? Only when we really long for it to awaken. Many people say, ‘Yes, we have the Divine inside of us, and we don’t do anything.’ The whole world knows about it. Everybody, all the religions will tell you, ‘Yes, we have been made in the image of God. We have the Divine inside.’ But why do only a few realise that?
It’s not only this celebration. Life itself is a celebration. Each moment of your life is a celebration. In every moment of your life, that spark is getting brighter and brighter, but you have to remind yourself: without that spark there would be nothing. And this is who you are. This is the spirit of Christmas.That’s what brings unity: when you realise that what is inside is the same Lord who is seated in every creation. Without Him being in each creation, there would be no life, there would be no power, there would be nothing. It is through that. That’s why He said, ‘I am the Father who has given that energy to everyone.’ You may have a beautiful car, but if you don’t put petrol in it (or electricity for electric cars, nowadays) that engine will not work.
So, like that, when you are reminded of the spirit of God within you, it brings a different unity; it brings a different awareness. Of course, you will not get realisation just by one day thinking of that. No, continuously your mind must be reminded. Just like you are reminded so much of your problems and your worry and you get attached to it. It becomes your reality, no? It becomes big. THIS you take time to focus on! When a problem is there, that becomes the centre point of everything. When the mind becomes negative, that becomes the centre point of everything.
Somebody tells you something that you don’t want to hear, that becomes the centre point of everything. Let’s say somebody tells you that you are a donkey, you know, what would be your reaction? Eh? You roll up your sleeves quickly, ready to give that person a punch!
But you didn’t realise that by accepting yourself, by accepting what that person has said to you, you have become the donkey. Because you took it upon yourself, you have become the donkey. That’s why you are going to fight. Before you were not. But when you are told, ‘No, you are the donkey’, and you take it in, then you have become the donkey already. So, you always have a choice, you see, to be positive or to be negative, in every situation of your life. And that choice God has given you happily, but you have to be wise to make the right decision. That’s why it is said to keep reminding yourself of who you are: are you the donkey or are you the Divine? The world tells you that you are a donkey and you believe, ‘Yes, I am a donkey’, and you start running.
So, if you really want to feel the spirit of Christmas, it is this unity; it is this love that we all share as one. And that’s what He has been putting inside of us, you know, He has revealed Himself inside of us, because to love itself it is Him, it’s a reminder of Him inside of us. If life is without love, how boring would it be? Hmmm? How is a life without loving? It is miserable.
When you are doing your sadhana, you are becoming closer to Him and He is revealing Himself more and more... Christmas above all is an awakening.
So, it is a constant reminder of His love, a constant reminder that He is ever-present with us, that we belong to Him and He belongs to us. Constantly He reminded Arjuna. He reminded not only Arjuna, He reminded everybody. And Christmas is not only now. It has to be each moment of your life, because Christ is not born only 2000 years back. He is born each time inside of you. Each time you are chanting the Divine Name, it’s a reminder of it. Each time you are doing something good, it’s a reminder of Him. And that’s what Christmas stands for. Each moment of your life is Christmas, because each moment of your life you are celebrating Him. When you are doing your sadhana, you are becoming closer to Him and He is revealing Himself more and more. And that is Christmas. And the more He reveals Himself, the more you get to know who you are. So, Christmas above all is an awakening.
You know when people sing, “Silent Night”? It’s such a beautiful song. Because the mood of everybody is calm. Everybody is in a serene mood. But for sure, for Joseph and Mary at that time, it was not very calm! Imagine: they had to go and look for a place and everybody was refusing them. But as a reminder of it, it becomes silent because when you are at peace with yourself, when you are at peace with everything. If you are not at peace with yourself, you will never be peaceful with anybody or with anything. So, that’s what it is. When we talk about silence, it is when you are at peace with yourself and when you have full acceptance. When you have that, that night turns “silent”. What becomes silent? Your mind. And when your mind becomes silent, then you have the overview of reality. If your mind is not in silence, there will always be problems.
So, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and truly, let the Divine awaken inside of you. Let yourself be reminded that you are a parcel of Him, not these gross things on the outside, but what makes you alive today, what makes each part of you. What makes your mind think, your intellect act, your body walk. For every action, it is that spark itself. Without that spark, you would not be here. And that is the most important thing that you have to remember. That spark that is inside of you, that spark of Divinity inside of you, is that spark of God. Without that, nothing would be.
Jai Gurudev, everybody!