Let Divine Love Grow Within
You Day By Day!
A Christmas Message by Swami Jyotirmayananda.
Christmas Day is a day of joy and festive celebration. During the winter season when the snow and cold chill of winter fills the atmosphere, there emerges a fleeting period of Christmas festivity. The magic of Divine Love that once unfolded in the blessed personality of Lord Jesus, begins to sweep over the hearts and minds of many. Christmas trees are set up in every home, the candles are lit, and there is a gleam of joy in every heart and a joyous thrill in every home. People remember their friends and relatives as they send out Christmas gifts and the negative sentiments of animosity and resentment are lacking. Moreover, there is a pervading atmosphere of love and gracious generosity.
However, the Christmas cheer and spirit will come to an end after only a few days of festive celebration. The Christmas trees that once dazzled with numerous colored lights and ornaments will soon be discarded without a trace of their former splendor, instead thrown out in forlorn conditions along with old packaging and trash. Hearts will again harbor the morbid sentiments of animosity and resentment and some will begin to look forward to the next Christmas for a brief glimpse of the joy and goodwill that once pervaded and enchanted the hearts and minds of many. How wonderful it would be if the Christmas Spirit could stay in everyone’s heart and not simply vanish after only a few days?
This blossoming of Divine Love is exactly what a student of yoga must bring about within his personality. He should so prepare himself that the awareness of the Love of Christ must continue to grow in him day-by-day. Instead of waiting for the arrival of Christmas Day, a yogi should be able to convert every day into a festive celebration of Christmas. Instead of placing colored lights on the Christmas tree, he should adorn the tree of spiritual aspiration with the multi-colored lights of spiritual virtues. The external festivity of Christmas must become an internal spiritual process, leading all aspirants onward to the Divine glory of Self-realization.
Hearken to the teachings of the Divine Savior – Lord Jesus. Learn the art of being reborn in the Spirit. By doing so, you partake of the inexhaustible gift that the Lord gave to humanity through his Divine embodiment. It is only by receiving this gift from Christ, and by sharing it with others, that one will truly celebrate Christmas in the greatest manner possible.
Lord Jesus gave the gift of Divine Love, of self-effacement, and of communion with the Divine Self. He taught, “I and the Father in Heaven are one.” Thus he declared his identity with the Divine Self, and the identity of every soul with the Supreme Divinity. In order to cultivate a deeper understanding of this intrinsic Divine Union, an aspirant must bring about a complete transformation of his personality. This is the method by which one is able to partake in the gift that was presented by Lord Jesus through his embodiment.
Christ gave the essence of his teachings in the following statements: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, and with all thy soul.” This is the first and the greatest commandment. And like onto this, there is another – “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self.“ On these two commandments hang the teachings of all prophets, sages, and saints.
Lord Krishna, declares the same truth in the Gita: “Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice for Me, offer obligations 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 provides insight into loving God “with all thy mind” by the practice of meditation and Samadhi. And Jnana Yoga (the Yoga of Wisdom), 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 within the society of human beings. Rather, your inner advancement must express itself through selfless acts of service to humanity. You must ultimately discover the level of Universal Love that enables you to consider your neighbor as your very self. Furthermore, with the increasing expansion of your heart, you must realize that everyone in the world is in fact 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 that was taught by Lord Krishna thousands of years before Christ. It is the same teaching that is taught by every religious system throughout the world , though apparently expressed in different languages and narratives.
Evolve a delightful balance in your daily life. Instead of perpetuating the same egoistic vision of life where one is caught in the repetitive boredom of sensual enjoyments, try to adopt a vertical, transcendental movement. A movement whereby you learn to control the senses with the mind, the mind with the intellect, and the intellect with the intuitive vision of the Self. This vertical movement negates the horizontal movement of a life steeped in ignorance. It is the secret of bearing the Cross in one’s every day life. Bear this Cross in your heart and you will find yourself in the world of an ever-growing Christmas festivity.
Love God. Serve Him in humanity. Meditate on His Divine Nature. Realize, “I am He.” Thus, enter into the everlasting festivity of the glorious Kingdom of Heaven – the blissful realm of nirvana and moksha. As you join those near and dear loved ones to celebrate the Christmas season this year, may the Divine blessings of Lord Jesus fill your hearts and your homes!
May God Bless You! Hari OM Tat Sat!