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Awaken the Jesus Within!

At this time of the year, people from many lands, many faiths and cultures are gathering at Prasanthi Nilayam to celebrate the holy festival of Christmas and honour the birth of Jesus Christ. Each year, on the occasion of Christmas Day, Sathya Sai Baba gave a discourse to those gathered there to remind us of our divine nature and to share the message and life of Jesus.  He cautioned us to avoid regarding Christmas as an occasion of feasting and revelry, but as an opportunity to resolve to follow the teachings and example of Christ.

He reminded us that it is our destiny to journey from humanity to divinity. On this journey, there are many obstacles and trials. God takes birth in human form from time to time, to teach man how to overcome the obstacles and reach the goal of divinity. On the occasion of Christmas Day, 1982, Swami urged “Awaken the Jesus Within You!”

Jesus as the Embodiment of Love

Sathya Sai indicated that Jesus taught simple, practical lessons, supported through His own example of compassion and love, demonstrating how we can cultivate these divine qualities. Jesus served the poorest of the poor and taught His followers that whenever we serve the needs of the poor, the needy, the hungry and the diseased, we are serving God:

Jesus Said:

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand,

Come blessed of my Father;

Inherit the Kingdom prepared for you,

From the foundation of the world.

For, I was hungry and you gave me food.

I was thirsty and you gave me drink.

I was a stranger and you took me in.

I was naked and you clothed me.

I was sick and you visited me.

I was in prison and you came to me.

Then, the righteous shall answer him saying,

Lord, when did we see you hungry and when did we feed you?

Or, when did we see you a stranger and take you in?

Or naked, clothed you?

And the King shall answer them, saying,

Truly, I say to you, in as much as you have done these things,

For the least of these, my brothers,

You have done it to me.

The Holy Bible, St. Mathew, Chapter 25, Verses 34-40

Swami declared that it was to teach the greatness of divine love that Jesus came and that this was His prime task. Although He experienced many ordeals and obstacles, Christ was determined to undergo with equanimity all trials, insults and criticisms, returning hatred with love, even sacrificing His own life. It is because of His abundant love that Jesus is known all over the world.

Jesus as the Inner Divinity

Christmas Choir, Prasanthi Nilayam, 2002

Jesus proclaimed initially that He was the Messenger of God, then that He was the Son of God, and finally – that He and the Father were One.  In explanation of this Sathya Sai stated:

When Jesus declares that he is the Son of God, he becomes entitled to the paternal majesty and power. These he can claim only when he grows in the qualities that his Father has. As a result, he attains mergence, which leads him to assert, “I and my Father are one.”

Christmas Discourse, Brindavan, Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 13, 25/12/1976

Here, Swami is reminding us that to attain the God within, we need to develop the qualities of God, thus enabling us to merge with divinity. In speaking of the life of Christ, He indicated that the most significant sacrifice made by Jesus was that of His ego, the most difficult of all to surrender. He also sacrificed His personal happiness, prosperity and position.

Jesus as a Great Master

Sathya Sai Baba proclaimed that the great masters belong to all of mankind and that Jesus took human birth to arouse in all people the awareness of their inner divinity. Jesus taught that the “Kingdom of Heaven is within – within everybody.”

Today is the birthday of Jesus, celebrated amidst December snow falls with lights and Christmas trees and prayers. However, it is useless to pray just one day and forget God the rest of the year. This 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 any two teachings of His, that would be enough.

Christ said, “All life is one, my dear son! Be alike to everyone!”

If we truly follow this, it would be enough to fulfil our destiny.

Christmas Discourse, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 14, 25/12/1979

Jesus taught through His example. He lived the teaching “Treat your neighbour as yourself.”

Jesus as Servant of Mankind

The birth of Jesus took place in a stable, amongst the animals sheltering from the cold. He lived a life of simplicity and in service to others.  Swami states:

In the Bible it is recorded that Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Concerned about this, His disciples enquired what He was doing. Jesus answered “I am washing your feet as your servant, so you may learn to serve the world.”

Christmas Discourse, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 17, 25/12/1984

Sathya Sai explains the significance of giving service in this way. He said that:

Every man is, to begin with, a messenger of God. When he fulfils his duties as a messenger, he realises that he is a son of God and then achieves oneness with the Divine.

Christmas Discourse, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 17, 25/12/1984

 

The message Jesus gave was through His actions. He demonstrated to others His role as servant of mankind.

In awakening to the Jesus within, we have the opportunity to awaken to our own divine nature. We can realise that we are embodiments of love, can exhibit the divine qualities we possess and become exemplars of these divine teachings, overcoming our ego. Through service to mankind, we serve God and realise our true nature:

The yearning for bliss is the best proof of our holy nature.

Man is bliss;

He seeks bliss;

Bliss is blessedness for him.

Since God is bliss, happiness is union with God.

Nothing else can award that joy;

This joy is unaffected, by whatever happens or does not happen.

The heart of Jesus was pure and calm;

Therefore, it is honoured as sacred.

We must make our hearts sacred,

So that either we merge in Jesus or Jesus merges in us.

When we merge, it is called Bhakti.

To have Jesus awakened in us is called the path of Jnana.

Jesus was a Messenger of God;

But you should note this also -

All of you are messengers of God.

Jesus was not the only son of God;

You are all His children.

Jesus and his Father are one.

You and God are also one and you can be aware of it.

Christmas Discourse, Prasanthi Nilayam, Sathya Sai Speaks Vol. 15, 25/12/1982

Materialised Crucifix by Sathya Sai Baba for Dr. John Hislop