The lives of such Personalities as Jesus are lived out, in order to establish the welfare of humanity, the prosperity and peace of the world, and individual liberation from bondage to sensual desires and passions. This is illustrated by the strange phenomena that occur at the time of their Advent. It is believed that when Christ was born there were such manifestations. The ruler of the realm had ordered a census, and each had to be counted in his own village. So Mary and her husband moved along the road that led to his native village. Mary was with child; the pains started midway; they knew no one in the hamlet through which they were passing; so they took refuge in a cowshed. Joseph made ready the space between the cows, and went out into the road after midnight, to seek some woman who could help. But soon he heard the Baby's cry.
And the story says, there was a Star in the sky, which fell with a New Light, and this led a few Tibetans and others to the place where the Saviour was born. What the story signifies is this. There was a huge halo of splendor illuminating the sky over the village when Christ was born. This meant that He, who was to overcome the darkness of Evil and Ignorance had taken birth, that He will spread the Light of Love in the heart of man and the councils of humanity. Appearances of splendour and other signs to herald the era that has dawned are natural when Incarnations happen on Earth. Jesus was to shatter the darkness that had enveloped the world and the Aura of light was a sign that announced the event. The Masters arrive in answer to man's prayer, "Lead us from darkness unto Light!"
There are various theories about the date of birth of Jesus based on the 'bright star that appeared on his birth'. It is visible once in 800 years, it is said. Some say he was born on the fifteenth day of September. But he was born at 3:15 am (early morning) on the 28th of December, nineteen hundred and eighty years ago (spoken on 12/25/1979). It was Sunday. The Star that appeared that day appears only once in 800 years. But, Jesus was himself a "Star" of infinite value, spreading brilliance of infinite dimension. Why posit another less brilliant glow?
The Ascending Star
After Joseph and Mary returned from Jerusalem, Jesus felt that service to his parents was his foremost duty, because he owed everything to them. In this spirit, he used to assist his father in his carpentry work. After his father's passing, Jesus sought his mother's permission to devote himself to the service of the needy and the forlorn.
Like most seekers, Jesus first searched for the Divine in the objective world. But he soon realized that the world is a kaleidoscopic picture created by one's own imagination. He then sought to find God within himself. Jesus at first thought himself as a Messenger of God. Later, he asked himself, "Am I just a messenger, or am I more closely related to God, a part of God with the Divine as my essence?"
Journey to the Himalayas
He spent many years in austerities so that he could shower compassion and love on all humanity. His stay in the Himalayan monasteries in Kashmir and in other centers of Eastern asceticism and philosophical inquiry, gave him greater awareness. From the attitude of being a messenger of God, he could now call himself the Son of God.
Jesus' original name was Isa which when repeated , is Sai. Isa and Sai, both mean Isvara, God, the eternal Absolute, the Sath-Chith-Ananda (Being, Awareness, Bliss). In the Tibetan manuscripts at the monastery where Isa spent some years, his name is written as Issa, which means "the Lord of all living beings".
Return to Jerusalem
At the end of this period, he returned to the society of men and announced "I am the Son of God". At that time, the priests of the holy temples of Jerusalem had become corrupt and commercialised. They had deteriorated into proud and selfish men. Jesus condemned them and tried to root out the evil practices. For, all forms were in the eyes of Jesus, Divine Forms and he could not tolerate any action which belied this status. So, when asked by people who he was, he could reply, "I and my Father are One".
As the name and fame of Jesus spread, opposition to him developed among a section of the Jews. After his father's death, young Jesus considered it his duty to help his mother and revere her as divine. Jesus preached the primary obligation of everyone to show one's gratitude to the parents.
His mother was worried about the activities of Jesus. Jesus was critical of the ways of the Jews in the temple of Jerusalem. he came out against the harmful practices in the temple and preached the omnipresence of God in all living beings. He exhorted the people not to cause harm to anyone. What he preached was in accord with the basic teachings of all religions. he engaged himself in a mission of mercy to the sick and the poor. He offered food to the hungry. Seeing his acts of love and kindness, people declared that he was a "Messenger of God". Jesus constantly referred to God as the father. Later he declared: "I and my Father are one". Jesus dedicated his life to the propagation of faith in one God who is common to all mankind.
Incidents in the life
In the Company of the Father
Jesus exemplified the spirit of social service. The inspiration for this came from his mother Mary. From his childhood Mary taught him such good qualities as truth, kindness, compassion and justice. While still a boy, Jesus and his parents went to Jerusalem for a festival. In the crowds the parents lost trace of Jesus and searched for him everywhere. Not finding him anywhere, Mary sat under a tree and prayed to God to come to her help. At that moment, a thought flashed in her mind that Jesus was perhaps in a nearby temple. And Jesus was there sitting in a corner of the temple and listening to the words of the priest. Mary affectionately rushed towards him and embraced him. "Child, what agony I went through on your account", she said. Jesus told her, "Mother! Why should you have any fear? Those who believe in the world will have fears. But why should anyone believing in God fear at all? I am in the company of my Father. Why do you fear? You taught me that God is everything for us. How, then, can you worry like this?" Jesus had learned his lessons from his mother and developed his spiritual faith.
The Three Resolutions of Jesus
It was to teach mankind the greatness of divine love that Jesus came. After his father passed away, with the permission of his mother, he embarked on his ministry of service to the people. He resolved on three tasks: one to be filled with Divine love and to share it with others was the main purpose of his life; two, he should not succumb to praise or censure in carrying out his mission; three, to inspire in others the conviction that the Divinity within is omnipresent.
Jesus considered spreading the gospel of love as his foremost task. He encountered many ordeals in carrying out his mission, but he regarded them all as challenges to be overcome. He was determined to treat pleasure and pain, sickness and failure with equanimity. He could not bear to see any one suffer. He was opposed to the traffic in birds going on in the temple in Jerusalem. The affected persons turned against him. But Jesus carried on, regardless of their hostility. In the end he sacrificed his life for the sake of others and out of his love for all.
Parable, - Greater Authority than the Priest
Sincere effort and actual activity entitle you to the Grace of God. When Jesus Christ entered the precincts of the Temple of Jerusalem, and found people sacrificing doves and birds and other living things to God, he released the birds and condemned the acts of blood. The priests and scholars resented his act and argued: the God in whom they had faith accepted the sacrifice and was propitiated thereby. They asked him evidence of his authority to interfere with the dictates of religion. Christ went on to tell them a parable.
"Once there was a farmer who had two sons. He asked his first son to go out to the field so that he may watch the crops ready for harvest. The son refused to obey him. Thereupon he asked the second son, and he readily agreed. But, what really happened was, the second son later calculated the bother and the sleeplessness which the watching will bring to him; he did not go. The first son later repented for his refusal to do as bidden; he went and watched the crop. Now, Christ asked, who among the two pleases the father more - the son who declared assent by word of mouth and disobeyed in action or he who disobeyed by word of mouth but obeyed in action?"
"You obey in words but disobey in action. My action reveals that I do acts which God has commanded. You are your own witness, whether you follow the dictates of the Divine Father. I have greater authority than you, for your action shows that you disobey whereas my action proves that I follow his commands."
Advice to Starving Man - Depend on God, not Others
God is the basis of all that exists. Rely on God rather than on things which are dependent on God. Develop self-reliance on the basis of faith in God. This was the lesson which Jesus taught to a man who was starving. On the first day he gave the man some fish to eat. The next day Jesus met the man and asked him: "You ate the fish I gave you yesterday. How are you going to get the meal today? How long am I to relieve your hunger by giving fish day after day? You must know how to secure fish for appeasing your hunger. Then you will have no need to depend on others."
Faith Supplied the Healing Force
The power of faith is illustrated in an incident from the life of Christ. Once a blind man approached Jesus and prayed: "Lord, Restore my sight." Jesus asked him: "Do you believe that I can restore your sight?" The blind man replied unhesitatingly: "Yes, Lord!" "If that is so then open your eyes and see", said Jesus. The blind man opened his eyes and got his sight.
Where is Heaven?
Christ declared that God can be realized only through love. Once a high priest in Jerusalem called Jesus and asked him: "Are you King of the Jews?" Jesus replied: "I do not say so". The priest told Jesus: "You are leading the people astray by your wrong teachings. You are telling them that everyone can enter Heaven only through you." Jesus said that he had been telling the people to seek the Kingdom of Heaven. The priest asked: "Where is that Kingdom?" Jesus replied: "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you, within everybody. When this is my teaching, how can I be accused of claiming that the Kingdom of Heaven can be attained only through me?" How did Jesus get the courage to speak in this fashion? It was because he was proclaiming the truth. Truth is born of love, which comes from faith in God.
Accumulate the Wealth of Grace
Jesus set no value on wealth or position. Once a rich man came to Jesus when he was in the house of Martha and Mary. The rich man told Jesus that despite all his wealth and possessions he was not having peace of mind. He was harassed by many worries and appealed to Jesus to show him a way out. Jesus told him: "There is a simple way, but will you follow it? You have been accumulating riches and your worries have grown with them. What are you going to do with all this wealth, which some day you will have to leave behind? Distribute it among the poor and the needy and your worries will go. Accumulate instead the wealth of God's grace through love of your fellow men."
Crucifixion and After
The Real Item to be Sacrificed
The followers of Jesus have got broken into schisms on various counts; but the life of Christ is a lesson on Unity. When Christ was on the cross, ill-feelings towards the men who tortured him troubled him. Suddenly he heard a voice alerting him, "All Life is One, my dear Son! Be alike to everyone!!"; this was followed by another admonition, "Death is the Dress of Life". As one casts off the worn clothes and dons another set, so , the soul dons and doffs bodies. Therefore, Jesus was warned against hate and ill-feelings, as well as the lamentation to which man is heir.
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 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 a desire or two, and conquering at least the more disastrous urges of the ego.
The Disciples - Flickering Lights
Jesus tried to teach everyone the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Tradition-minded and egoistic men considered Jesus a false prophet and they tried by every means to thwart his mission. Jesus however did not waver. Faced with opposition, he continued to be an example of living Truth, and to purify society.
Jesus began his ministry with a group of fisherman as his first disciples. He taught them that they should first seek the Kingdom of Heaven. To enter that Kingdom they had to cultivate loving hearts. Then, their hearts would become the Kingdom of Heaven.
Many disciples followed Jesus but throughout history, it has been the experience of Rama, Krishna, Jesus, and Muhammad that disciples, however close, are seldom fully dedicated. Most are only part-time devotees. Jesus had 12 disciples, most of whom had faith in him and lived his teachings. But Judas yielded to greed. He betrayed his Master for a mere 30 coins. He could not find joy in life after this treachery. His mind gave him no peace. He had to seek refuge in suicide.
Among the remaining disciples differences developed and they fell apart. Only Matthew remained true to Jesus. He propagated the gospel. Peter was the first among Jesus' disciples. But he denied Christ when the authorities questioned him.
St. Paul, who was in the beginning an inveterate critic of Jesus, became the first propagator of the Christian faith after having a vision of Christ in a dream in which Jesus told him: " Every man is a spark of the Divine. When you hate me, you are hating yourself and hating God".
Daily, not Once a Year
Christmas Day 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 practice them in daily life. Even if we follow two teachings of his, that would be enough.
Story of "Photograph" of Jesus
On December 25th, 1987, Christmas was being celebrated as usual by Sathya Sai Baba at Prashanti Nilayam, in India. As usual thousands of devotees from all over the world had assembled for this unforgettable expression of unity among world religions and cultures. Sai Baba was walking among the lines of eager devotees giving Darshan when one of them stood up with his camera and asked Sai Ram (as he is affectionately called) to wait for a moment while the devotee snapped a picture. Sai Baba joked with him that there were a number of shops outside where he can procure photographs, why did he want yet another photograph? But the devotee persisted and he finally agreed, but curiously after the picture was taken, Sai Baba uncharacteristically told him to go and get the film developed. When the photographer got the film developed, to the surprise of all it turned out to be a picture of Jesus, not of Sai Baba. Evidently he wanted to impress upon them that all Avataras of God come from the same essence and in that sense are One. As Sai Baba says of such mysterious phenomena: "No one can understand my mystery. The best you can do is get immersed in it."
The Divine is not separate from you. You are the Divine. This conviction must grow in you. In the beginning you regard yourself as a mere human being. Then, you reach the stage when you recognize your potential divinity. Finally you reach the stage when you realise your divinity. These three stages could be noticed in the career of Jesus. At the outset, he declared: "I am a Messenger of God." Then he said: "I am the Son of God." Finally he affirmed: "I and my Father are One." Through this process Christ achieved oneness with the Divine