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Christmas—Its Spiritual Meaning
Swami Sivananda

Christmas is known to all men the world over historically as the memorable day of the birth of Jesus, the Saviour. Though it is true that Christmas is thus celebrated as the day of the advent of Christ into this world, yet it also symbolises a very deeply significant truth of the spiritual life. Jesus Christ lived and symbolised Divine Consciousness. He is the very personification of Divinity. He was born at a time when ignorance, superstition, greed, hatred and hypocrisy prevailed upon the land. The rulers were arrogant and unrighteous. The people were avaricious, indolent and heedless. Purity was forgotten. Morality was neglected. They were intent upon worshipping mammon than adoring God. There was no idealism.

In the midst of these conditions, Christ was born and He worked a transformation in the lives of people. He gave a new and a spiritual turn to the lives of man. There came a change upon the land. People started upon a new way of life. Thus a new era dawned for the world.

Those conditions of darkness, impurity and materialism that prevailed before the coming of Christ signify to you the inner state of the seeker’s personality before discrimination had dawned upon him and before a spiritual awakening had taken place. In that period the seeker has no thought of God or higher spiritual life. He is immersed in the pursuit of the material things of this external physical world. He is the slave of his senses. He has no spiritual ideal in life. He is desire-ridden. Arrogance, avarice and sensuality characterise his personality. He lives a life of lust, anger, greed, deluded attachment, pride and jealousy.

If this state of things must cease and the seeker must enter into a new life of spiritual aspiration, purity and devotion, then the Christ-spirit must take its birth within his heart. That is the real Christmas when the Divine element begins to express itself in the heart of the man. From then onward, light begins to shine where darkness was before. Ignorance gives place to the beginning of wisdom. Impurity is replaced by purity. Hatred ceases and love begins to blossom forth.

In his innermost core, man is essentially Divine. But upon this field of human personality two forces keep acting. They are the forces of good and evil, of light and of darkness. The Divine and the undivine both operate in the human consciousness of man. To completely overcome and eradicate the undivine elements and to fully manifest the supreme Divine element in all its radiant light and glory is to be achieved only through the living of the Christ-life, in the utmost faithful detail. This is spiritual life. This is Yoga. This is Sadhana (spiritual practice). This is the method of Self-realisation. This is the great Path which leads us to Immortality, Supreme Bliss and Eternal Peace.

If the Christ-life is to be lived, first of all, the child-Christ has to be born in us. Then only the real spiritual life commences for the aspirant. The first manifestation of the Divine urge in the form of spiritual aspiration and the recognition of the spiritual ideal signifies the birth of the infant Jesus within the seeker’s being. From hence starts the living of the Christ-life in all its spiritual details of sublime purity, faith in Divinity, mercy, compassion, love, selflessness, desirelessness, prayerfulness, etc. Hence starts the life of earnest Yoga and Sadhana, of self-restraint and simplicity, of unbroken serenity and peace, balance of mind, unflinching courage in the face of all oppositions and perfect dedication to the worship of God through the service of man. This is the spiritual implication within of the Christmas that is celebrated without.

With the advent of this Christ-spirit within the heart of the seekers, all human desires come to an end and they are replaced by pure higher Divine aspiration, Spirituality overcomes materialism. You break free from your slavery to the senses. You begin to live a new life, a divine life of purity, love, renunciation, humility, non-attachment and selflessness. Your life becomes sublime like the life of Christ. You begin to live a life of complete faith and dependence upon God. You always think of God, talk of Him and live for Him. Helping others becomes a real joy to you. You become a living witness of the Divine. All your life’s activities flow towards God.

Here a very small, but very beautiful, point of deep significance is to be noted without fail. It reveals a deep spiritual Law
. It is the time and the manner of the birth of the Lord upon the holy Christmas day. Jesus Christ was not born in a grand palace. He was not born to very wealthy or learned parents. Also He was not born in the full blaze of daylight with the knowledge of all men. Jesus Christ was born in a simple lowly place, a corner of a stable. He was born to humble and poor parents, who had nothing to boast about, except their own spotless character and holiness. Also He was born in the darkness in the obscure hour of midnight, when no one even knew about it, except a few Divinely blessed people.

The above point of deep significance tells you that the spiritual awakening comes to the seeker, who is perfectly humble and “meek” and “poor in spirit.”
The quality of true humility is one of the indispensable fundamentals. Then we find simplicity, holiness and the renunciation of all desire for worldly wealth and pride of learning. Thirdly, even as Christ was born unknown to the world and in the obscurity of darkness, even so, the advent of the Christ-spirit takes place in the inwardness of man when there is total self-effacement self-abnegation. Where self-aggrandisement and vanity abide, there the descent of Divinity cannot occur, for these expressions of egotism are ever a bar to the unfoldment of the Divine consciousness. Empty thyself and I shall fill thee—is the Divine admonition of the Lord. The Kingdom of Heaven within is for the lowly in spirit. Thus, true humility and self-effacement are the beautiful harbingers, the dawnlights, as it were, that herald the break of the joyous new day, the advent of the new era of a life in Spirit. When they appear within you, then the holy Christmas takes place. There is a new birth then.

This is the birth into a Divine Life.
It was the secret of this birth that centuries ago the Lord Jesus sweetly explained to the good Nicodemus. The good man did not quite understand what precisely Christ meant when He taught that a man must be born again if he is to attain the Kingdom of God. “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. Then it was that Christ explains that this birth is inward, not of the body, but in the Spirit. Such inner spiritual birth is essential if the Supreme is to be attained, if true bliss is to be experienced. Rejoicing takes place only when Christmas has come.

O humanity! O modern age! Hearken to this significant inner message of Christmas. May the true implication of the Divine Christ Personality dawn upon your hearts! Realise fully that so long as the thirst for mammon and the arrogance of power infects the nature of man, so long the Christ-spirit of peace, blessedness and true happiness cannot enter into your life. When Christmas is being celebrated all over the Continent and in England, America and in the entire Christian world, may this be borne in mind that, “unless ye be born again, ye cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven,” and that unless the simplicity and the purity of heart of the little children come to indwell the hardened, unregenerate nature of the modern man, the advent of the Divine Grace as peace, prosperity, universal well-being and concord are indeed far, far away. As with the individual, even so with the nations of the world, the fundamentals of true faith, true charity, genuine humility and a spiritual rebirth alone can usher in true bliss and brotherhood upon this earth. It is when such a transformation occurs in the nations of men and it is when they renounce their policies of hatred and greed that the modern world will truly enjoy the blessings of the real, universal Christmas. Then will be the advent of the Blessed Christ into this despairing world. Till then Christmas will be but a travesty of the real glory of the Lord’s advent. Be born again and live anew, O World of Today! May the bliss and radiance of the Lord’s advent permeate the earth!

But seekers, mark this! When Divinity is to manifest, welcome it with open arms. Do not be so engrossed in the world and deny place to the Lord. At His blessed advent the land was so engrossed in counting men and reckoning of money that the inns and houses of Bethlehem were so crowded out that there was hardly any place left to receive the Lord. The census and the taxation signify the soul’s bondage to and preoccupation in earthly human relationships and attachments and its engrossment with lucre. Let the aspirant beware of these two vital mistakes. Turning away inwardly from all pursuit of earthly wealth and overcoming all attachment, be thou ever fully receptive to the expression of the Divine Spirit within.

Beloved seekers, usher in now the real and spiritual Christmas within your being, become desireless. Conquer egoism. Become embodiments of true humility. Develop meekness and lowliness of spirit by humble surrender unto the Lord. Be courageous to overcome all obstacles. Joyously renounce mammon. Welcome the descent of the Light of Grace within. Rejoice in the advent of the Divine. Thus celebrate the Christmas that ultimately leads you on the glorious climax of Transfiguration, Resurrection and Ascension. Be crowned with Divine glory. Attain immortality, perfect freedom and be for ever steeped in infinite bliss. Through Christmas realise the Christ-consciousness and the radiant light of Atmic (divine) Wisdom. Amen.

General Discussion / Re: Christian quotes
« on: December 24, 2012, 06:52:07 PM »
Happy Birthday Hari and Christmas Greetings to you and your family .

First of all Sending Christmas Greetings to all the members here .
Here I am sharing a Christmas Message from Swami Sivananda .Though it is primarily addressed to the Western Disciples of Swami Sivananda who have take the path of Yoga and Divine Life ( i.e path of Divine Life Society , Rishikesh ) , the message is equally applicable to all .


Christmas Message

Beloved Children of the Christ!

The Holy Christmas approaches us all once again. On this sacred occasion, I send you my warmest greetings and my best wishes for the birth of Lord Jesus in your heart!

It is good to rejoice; it is good to feel and to radiate joy and happiness, especially on an occasion which marks the Coming of One Who pointed out to us the Way to Bliss. But, you who have taken up the Holy Yoga and who tread the Path of Divine Life, have a special responsibility. It is to meditate on Lord Jesus, recollect His Teachings and propagate by practice and precept His Life-giving Message.

Christ, Krishna, Buddha and Mohammed all lead us to the same gate that opens out into a Heaven of LOVE—a love that does not admit of hatred, even as the light in the sun knows no darkness. May Lord Jesus reveal Himself to you! May you become an embodiment of His Teachings! May you shine as a True Christian, a true and faithful descendant of the Lord! May the blessings of Lord Jesus be upon you!


General topics / Re: Azhwar Songs
« on: December 24, 2012, 09:45:20 AM »
Sri Atmavichar, I am referring from this link - If i find a better one, shall keep you updated, the commentary of some verses may not be universal.

Thanks Nagaraj for the link . It has word by word explanation for the pasurams .
Om Peace .

Dear Subramanian,

One quick question!

If a person has done some mistake, may be a big one and after few years he becomes self realized and does the person still has to face the consequences?

Om Arunaachaleshwaraaya Namaha!

After he becomes self realized ,he will not be bothered much about what happens to him .

General topics / Re: Azhwar Songs
« on: December 24, 2012, 07:10:36 AM »

Is there any online source where one can get all the Alwar songs - the tamil text , english translations as put up by you here .If so kindly share the source of the same .

Om Peace 

General Discussion / Re: Gita Jayanti - 23 DEC 2012
« on: December 23, 2012, 07:13:52 PM »
The ideal way to celebrate Gita Jayanti is by reading at least a stanza from the Bhagavad Gita.
I celebrated it by attending the Bhagwad Gita Talk of Swami Paramarthananda after a long gap and co-incidentally or so today he handled the concluding verses of Chapter-4 which talked about the need for the formal association of Guru + Scriptures in the path of Self Knowledge but before that he stressed the need for a disciplined lifestyle based  on the sastras ( i.e Sanathana Dharma ) as per ones situation and condition to keep oneself fit to receive this knowledge .
As a simple step he asked people to :
1) Resist Taking morning coffee / tea immediately after getting up and to have the same after having one's bath and after saying one's prayer .This minimum  Tapas one must have to make oneself eligible for self knowledge  :)
2) Avoid looking at Cell Phone /TV /Internet during this time  i.e keep it all after finishing one's prayer .Also do the same some time before going to bed and start the day with prayer/God/Meditation   and end the day with prayer /God /Meditation and not with Cell Phone /TV /Internet /News Paper .  :)
3) Maintain "Vak Tapas " as much as possible i.e avoid impulsive talk and speak only what is to be spoken .

So if we can win over the morning coffee/tea , I think we have done a great tapas  :)

General Discussion / Gita Jayanti - 23 DEC 2012
« on: December 23, 2012, 07:05:07 PM »

Gita Jayanti - 23 DEC 2012

Gita Jayanti, also referred as Bhagawad Geetha Jayanthi, is the day when the Bhagvad Gita was rendered by Lord Krishna to Arjuna in the Kurukshetra on the first day of the famous 18-day battle in the Mahabharata. In 2012, the date of Gita Jayanti is December 23. Gita Jayanthi falls on the Ekadashi day of Shukla Paksha (the bright half) of the Margashirsha month (November-December) in traditional Hindi calendar.
The greatest quality of Bhagavad Gita is that it prompts you to think, it prompts you to take decision, and it prompts you to look at life differently and refreshingly and all this without surrendering your individuality.
Bhagavad Gita adapts to the present and discusses an issue by rooting itself in the present. Every moment a confused Arjuna opens the Gita to take the advice of Krishna. And through the immortal Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna has been discussing and debating and finding solutions to the various problems faced by the confused Arjunas for centuries and will continue to do the same forever.
The day is observed all around the world with the reading of Bhagavad Gita, which is referred outside India as the Bible of the Hindus. Discussions and seminars are organized on the day.
All Hindu temples, especially those dedicated to Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna, conduct special pujas on the day.
The ideal way to celebrate Gita Jayanti is by reading at least a stanza from the Bhagavad Gita.

General topics / Re: Sangam Literature
« on: December 23, 2012, 08:38:50 AM »
Dear Nagaraj,

This reminds me of U.Ve. Swaminatha Iyer. He came to have darshan of Sri Bhagavan. He listened to Him and then said:
Bhagavan! You wanted us to leave all paRRu (attachments) but I am not able to leave my Tamizh paRRu.

Sri Bhagavan smiled and said: Who wants you to leave Tamizh paRRu? Tamiizh is Sivam. Love is Sivam. All great things in life
are Sivam!

Arunachala Siva.

Subramaniam Sir

That is a well known incident .But I heard that Bhagwan had a different advice to Muruganar on his Tamil Pattru and told him to be bit detached of the same . Kindly correct me if I am wrong .

Om Peace

General topics / Re: Sangam Literature
« on: December 23, 2012, 08:32:53 AM »
Mahakavi BhArati said:yaam aRindha mozhigaLiley tamizhai pOl inidhavadhu engum kaaNOm'(Among the Languages that I know,i do not see anything sweeter than Tamizh-He knew Sanskrit,English,French besides tamizh).

Yes Ravi

That is the most important point to be noted . There are many people who are fanatic admirers of their own mother tongue .No problem in that but when asked how many other languages they know  apart from their mother tongue they draw a blank .
In case of Sri Subramania Bharathi , he claimed Tamizh as far superior among other languages that he was quite competent with ( i.e Sanskrit , English , French ) .

Om Peace

General Discussion / Re: Rough Notebook-Open Forum
« on: December 23, 2012, 08:19:51 AM »
I am using the word Dynamic in order to distinguish it from 'the idle passivity' that is mistaken for surrender.

Dear Ravi

The biggest mistake many people in spiritual circles make is to take their idle passivity as surrender .

General Discussion / Re: Srinivasa Ramanujan
« on: December 22, 2012, 10:01:23 PM »
An equation for me has no meaning, unless it represents a thought of God.
- Srinivasa Ramanujan

General Discussion / Re: Srinivasa Ramanujan
« on: December 22, 2012, 09:58:23 PM »
On December 22, 2012, Google India celebrates the 125th Birthday of Srinivasa Ramanujan with a Doodle.It also marks the National Mathematics Day.

For more details refer this link :

General Discussion / Re: Common Discussion
« on: December 22, 2012, 11:29:08 AM »
Dear Atmavichar,
     :) Sravanam should be helping you there as well.
Just keep hearing from Parmarthananda ji.
While you listen: Have the Attitude that he is Ramana teaching you.
Hear with such an attitude.
To parmarthananda ji's teachings ...
and see what happens.

this is my suggestion. It works for most of our friends here.
But not many can hear Parmarthananda ji with the attitude that
Ramana himself is teaching.

Vedanta is a pramana ... means of knowledge. When you expose yourself
to it from a proper person who knows how to apply it ... you see the

This is my suggestion ... I have no Pramana to convince you, than to tell you
to verify it yourself. Listen to entire BG with that attitude and see yourself.

Like even ... Eyes see ... how do i convince you ... open the eyes and see.
thats all.
Sure Tushnim ,after a long gap ,I have restarted to listen to Swami Paramarthananda's talks and I enjoy it very much .
Well I do not want to bring Ramana while listening to him  :)
Bhagwan Ramana has his own flavor while conveying his answers to people's doubts and Swami Paramarthananda has his own flavor of conveying "Self Knowledge"  and Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa ,  Swami Sivananda , Kanchi Paramacharya , Sringeri Acharya ,etc have their own way of conveying the truth .
As I said in one of my earlier post : Sanathana Dharma is rich with these wide variety of Great men and their teachings and I enjoy everyone of them .
But personally  among Living persons I resonate more with Swami Paramarthananda and more than that I have personal access to him to clear any doubts with regard to Advaita Vedanta and other matters connected to Sanathana Dharma .
Om Peace .

General Discussion / Re: Common Discussion
« on: December 22, 2012, 10:21:51 AM »
Dear Atmavichar,

Ok then if I need to sum up the entire spiritual journey it  is :
1) First Prepare for receiving the self knowledge through "Sadhana Chatushtaya"
2) Then receive Self Knowledge from a Guru ( through Sravanam , Mananam )
3) After receiving the Self knowledge internalize the knowledge through Niddhidayasanam which we use the term Sadhana for "Not identifying with the non binding vasanas"

Very much true, with small comments:
1. Dont want for "Sadhana Chatushtayam". From my experience, I improved in them as I kept hearing guru ji. Start with Sravana. 3 takes care of any lapses in 1.
2. in (3) , you have made a typo : Not identifying with the non binding vasanas" , its not identifying with binding vasanas.

You are absolutely correct. And I stress the importance of Sravanam here which enables the others.
Annamalai Swami's talks are no less  that an upanishad for that matter.

For me though I  have given up lot of external activities ,still I feel I am not yet prepared for the "direct way to direct Path " and use the traditional methodology for self knowledge .As I said interest is one thing , commitment is another .While I do have interest in Jnana Marga , my samskaras are more in Yoga marga and it will have to be followed till it takes a natural shift to Jnana Marga .
Anyway thanks for your inputs .
Om Peace .

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