A Christmas Message by Swami Jyotirmayananda
Instead of perpetuating the same egoistic vision of life caught in the repetitive boredom of sensual enjoyment, try to adopt the vertical, transcendental movement wherein you learn to control the senses by the mind, the mind by the intellect, and the intellect by the intuitive vision of the Self.
Christmas Day is a day of joy and festivity. During the winter days, when the snow flurries and chill of winter fills the atmosphere, there emerges a fleeting period Of Christmas festivity. The magic of Divine Love that unfolded in the blessed personality of Lord Jesus begins to sweep over the hearts of many. Christmas trees are set up, the candles are lit, there is a gleam of joy in every heart, and a thrill of festivity pervades every home. People remember their friends and relatives as they send out Christmas gifts. The sentiments of animosity and resentment are slackened, and there is an atmosphere of love and gracious generosity.
However, Christmas is soon over. The Christmas trees that once dazzled with numerous colored lights will be thrown away, desolate and forlorn. Most human hearts will again harbor the morbid sentiments of animosity and resentment. Many will look forward to next Christmas for a glimpse of joy and good will.
How wonderful it would be if Christmas could permanently stay in everyone’s heart? This is exactly what a student of Yoga must bring about within his personality. He should so prepare himself that the awareness of Divine Love of Christ continues to grow in him day by day. Instead of waiting for Christmas day to come, you should be able to convert every day into a Christmas festivity. Instead of placing colored lights on a Christmas tree, you should adorn the tree of spiritual aspiration with the multicolored lights of spiritual virtues. The external festivities of Christmas must become an internal spiritual process leading you to the Divine Festivity of Self-Realization.
Hearken to the teachings of the Divine Savior, Jesus. Learn the art of being reborn in the Spirit. By doing so, you partake of the inexhaustible gift that Lord Jesus gave the humanity through his Divine embodiment. It is by receiving this gift from Jesus and sharing it with others that you celebrate Christmas in the best way possible.
Lord Jesus gave the gifts of Divine Love, self effacement, and communion with the Divine Self. He taught, “I and the Father in Heaven are One.” He declared his identity with the Divine Self and thus, the identity of every soul with the Supreme Divinity. By understanding the implications of this intense divine unity, you work out a complete transformation in your personality. In this manner you will be able to partake of the gift that Jesus presented by his embodiment.
Jesus gave the essence of his teachings in the following statements: “Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy soul.” This is the first and greatest commandment. Then another, “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself.” On these two commandments hang the teachings of all prophets and teachers.
Lord Krishna declares the same truth in the Gita: “Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, offer oblations to Me. Thus having united yourself with Me, having taken refuge in Me alone, you will surely come to Me.” (Gita Ch.9-34“)
Bhakti Yoga gives insight into the art of loving God “with all thy heart.” Raja Yoga gives insight into loving God “with all thy mind” by the practice of meditation and samadhi. Finally, Jnana Yoga teaches the technique of loving God “with all thy soul” by discovering the true nature of the soul in the form of the Absolute Self.
While you practice devotion, meditation, and wisdom in your daily life, you must not ignore your role as an individual in society. Rather, through Karma Yoga, your inner advancement must express itself in acts of selfless service of humanity. You must discover a level of universal love that enables you to consider your neighbor as your very self. Then, with the increasing expansion of your heart, you realize that everyone in the world is your neighbor, your very Self.
The teachings of Lord Jesus have thus indicated a glorious blend of devotion, meditation, wisdom, and action. This is the same teaching taught by Lord Krishna thousands of years before Christ and the same taught by every religious system, though in apparently different forms.
Evolve a delightful balance in your daily life. Instead of perpetuating the same egoistic vision of life caught in the repetitive boredom of sensual enjoyment, try to adopt the vertical, transcendental movement where in you learn to control the senses by the mind, the mind by the intellect, and the intellect by the intuitive vision of the self. This vertical movement negates the horizontal movement of a life steeped in ignorance and is the secret of “bearing the Cross” in your every day life. Bear His Cross in your heart, and you will find yourself in a world of a never-ending Christmas.
Love God. Serve Him in humanity. Meditate on His Divine Nature. Realize, “I am He.“ Thus, enter in to the everlasting festivity of the Kingdom of Heaven – the blissful realm of Nirvana. May you receive the blessings of Lord Jesus!
OM Tat Sat!