"The term Christmas has been derived from the Roman language. Truly speaking, Christmas falls in the month of March, not in December. Since it is very cold in December and people are confined to their homes, they utilize this time to celebrate Christmas. Actually, Jesus was born in the month of March. With the passage of time, this fact has been distorted and misrepresented in the Bible. Opinions vary from person to person (Munde Munde Matir Bhinnah). Each one interpreted the Bible in his own way. Some wrote that it was the brother of Jesus who was crucified, not Jesus and that he was in Japan all that time. This is all imagination. Jesus is truth." Sai Baba, SS. 1/99. pp. 5 & 6.
Purpose Of Christmas Celebration
"This day is a holy day, the day on which Jesus was born. He announced Himself as the Messenger of God. In fact, all humans are bom as Messengers of God. The sole purpose of this human career is to propagate the omnipresence of God, His might and glory. No one has incarnated for merely consuming quantities of food and catering to one's senses. Human life is much more precious than that. That is why the capacity to appreciate beauty, truth and goodness has been endowed only on man." Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-76, p. 84
"Religions arise from the minds of good men, who crave to make all men good. They strive to eliminate the evils and cure the bad. It is therefore appropriate that the birthday of Jesus, who felt the need to save mankind and who strove to achieve it, be celebrated. But the celebration must take the form of adherence to the teachings, loyalty to the principles, practising the discipline and experiencing the awareness of the Divine that He sought to arouse. These days, the world is deriving satisfaction in mere words, and in witnessing clever ruses designed to cover up one's faults. The birthdays of the Great are honoured by such hypocrisy and external pomp. There is no examination in the light of the message they gave, nor, any effort to practise it and derive the bliss it promises". Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. VIII, discourse on 25-12-72. p. 129
Christmas Belongs To All
"The birthday of Jesus must be celebrated by all mankind, for such 'Karana-Janmas' (Masters born with a purpose) belong to the whole human race. They should not be confined to a single country or community." Sai Baba, SSS, Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-78, p. 232
Jesus' Original Name
"Jesus was honoured by the populace as Christ, for they found in his thoughts, words and deeds, no trace of ego. He had no envy or hatred, and was full of love and charity, humility and sympathy. Jesus' original name was 'Isa' which, when repeated, is Sai. 'Isa' and 'Sai', both mean Ishvara, God, the Eternal Absolute, the Sat-Chit-Ananda. In the Tibetan manuscript at the monastery, where Isa spent some years. His name is written as 'ISSA', which means the Lord of all beings." Sai Baba, Vol. X. discourse on 25-12-78. p. 231
Meaning Of Jesus
"In Christianity, the term 'Esu' (Jesus) is used to describe Christ. This term also signifies the oneness of Divinity. The inner significance of the term 'Esu' is the recognition of the One Divine in all beings." Sai Baba, SS,~ 1/92'. p.2 "Jesus is truth." Sai Baba, SS. 1/99, p. 6
Birth Date Of Jesus Christ
"There are various theories about the birth date of Jesus based on the "bright star" that appeared at his birth. It is visible once in 800 years, it is said. Some say that He was bom on the fifteenth day of September. But He was born at 3:15 a.m. (early morning) on December 28. It was Sunday. The star that appeared that day appears only once in 800 years. Its appearance had nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. There is no rule that, when Divine Energy or Divine Incarnation descends on earth, a star has to appear. That is the opinion of devotees only. But, Jesus was himself a "Star" of infinite value, spreading brilliance of infinite dimension. Why posit another less brilliant glow?" Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. XI. p. 13
Birth Place Of Jesus Christ
'Two thousand years ago, in Palestine, a province of the Roman Empire, there were Jews professing Judaism. The Jews believed in one God called' Yehovah'. They believed that God would send a messiah for the people of Israel. Jerusalem was the sacred city of the Jews and continued to be so even under the Romans. This was the time when Jesus was bom." Sai Baba. SS, 1/92, p. 3
"Jesus' birth took place in a manger in Bethlehem." Sai Baba. SS. 1/89. p. 2
Visit Of Three Kings To See Christ At His Birth
"It is said that when Jesus was born in a manger, three kings were led by a star to Jesus' place of birth. In fact, they were not kings but three shepherds. One of them, seeing the infant Jesus observed: 'This child will be lover of God'. A second one said: 'No. God will love him.' The third one said: 'Verily he is God Himself. The true significance of these three statements is: To love God is to be His messenger. To be loved by God is to be a son of God. The final state is to be one with God. As Jesus said: 'I and my Father are one'. Thus, all persons are messengers of God. This means that they should divinise themselves. When can men call themselves 'sons of God'? Recognise what pure actions are done by God, selflessly for the sake of all. There is no trace of self-interest in Him. Everything men do, speak, or think is born out of selfishness. Men can describe themselves as 'Sons of God' only when they are completely free from selfishness and become Godly. To call yourself the 'son of God', you have to manifest the qualities of the Father." Sai Baba, SS. 1/95. p. 4
Enlightenment Of Jesus
"Like most seekers, Jesus first searched for the Divine in the objective world. But He soon realised that the world is a kaleidoscopic picture created by one's own imagination, and sought to find God within himself. His stay in the Himalayan monasteries in Kashmir and in other centres 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'. The bond of relationship increased. The 'I' was no more distant light or entity. The light became a part of the 'I'. With body-consciousness predominant. He was a messenger. With the heart-consciousness in the ascendant. He felt greater nearness and deamess. So, the son-father bond seems natural at this stage. Later as the Atman-Consciousness was established, Jesus could declare: 'I and My Father are One'. The three stages may be described as: 'I was in the Light', 'the Light was in me', and 'I am the Light', and may compared to the Dwaita (dualism), Vishishta-adwaita and Adwaita (non-dualism) stages as described in Hindu philosophy. The final stage is the one when all duality has been shed. This is the essence of all religious disciplines and teachings". Sai Baba, SSS, X, discourse on 25-12-78. p. 231
"Christ spent all His life in the service of mankind. He spent twelve years alone, promoting the inner vision and realising God. While engaged in the service to the diseased and the downtrodden, He announced Himself as the 'Messenger of God'. Later on, for some years Christ reflected the divine nature present in Him and came to the conclusion that he was the 'son of God'. Thus He moved closer to God. Christ lived for five years in the Himalayan region of Bharat (India). He settled in Kashmir and met many exponents and practitioners of the Adwaita system of thought, which declares there is only one God. He realised the One-ness beneath diversity, then He spread the truth that 'I and My Father are one.' Sai Baba, SSS, Vol. X. p. 142
"When Jesus proclaimed that He was the 'Messenger of God', He wanted to emphasize that everyone is messenger of God and has to speak, act and think like one. This is the true Karma (action) Kanda of the Vedas: Sadhana, Japa, Seva and Dhyana. When progress is furthered, Jesus asserted, each one can recognise all as 'sons of God', children of God, brothers and sisters of oneself, and so. The Upaasana (adoration of God) Kanda is the scripture in Sanatana Dharma (eternal code of conduct) for this stage. Finally, knowledge ripens into wisdom and the goal ofJnana (wisdom) Kanda is reached, when each one realises, 'I and my Father are one'. Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-78. pp. 232-233
Early Life Of Jesus
"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. In his twelfth year, Jesus and his parents went to Jerusalem for a festival. In the crowd, the parents lost the 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. Jesus was there sitting in a comer 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 learnt His lessons from his mother and developed His spiritual faith. After they 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. When Joseph, His father, passed away, He sought His mother permission to devote Himself to the service of the needy and the forlorn." Sai Baba. SS, 1/95. p. 3
After leaving home, Jesus had Himself baptized by John. Then for forty days, Jesus observed severe austerities without food and drink. At first he considered Himself as a 'Messenger of God'. After the penance, He realised He was the 'son of God'. He began His ministry with a group of fishermen 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. Jesus further declared to them: T and my Father are one'. Sai Baba. SS, 1/95. p. 3
"As Jesus went on with His preaching and drew multitudes towards him, some of the priests and those in authority grew envious of His popularity. This happens in all countries. They started persecuting Him and charging Him with treason. Jesus, however, continued His mission of love and righteousness, first, as the Messenger of God, and later as the son of God." Sai Baba, SS, 1/89, p. 3
"How did Jesus get the courage to speak in this fashion? It was because He was proclaiming the truth. Truth is bom out of love, which comes from faith in God
Where there is confidence, there is love.
Where there is love, there is peace.
Where there is peace, there is truth.
Where there is truth, there is bliss.
Where there is bliss, there is God.
This-is way to develop faith in God
Sai Baba, SS. 1/88, p. 4
"Jesus was a Karana-janma, a Master bom with a purpose, the mission of restoring love, charity and compassion. He had no attachment to the self, nor paid any heed to joy or sorrow, loss or gain. He had a heart that responded to the call of anguish. He went about the land preaching the lesson of love. His life was a libation for the upliftment of humanity". Sai Baba, Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-78, p. 230
"Love must be manifested as service. Seva (human service) must take the form of food for the hungry, solace for the forlorn, consolation for the sick and the suffering. Jesus wore Himself out in such Seva." Sai Baba, SSS, Vol XI, discourse on 25-12-81. p. 225
The Inner Meaning Of Jesus's Teaching Given On His Last Supper
"Jesus said that the bread taken in the 'last supper' was his flesh, and the wine his blood. He meant that all beings alive with flesh and blood are to be treated as He Himself and that no distinction should be made between friend or foe, we or they. Everybody, sustained by the bread, every drop flowing in the veins of every living being is His (God), animated by the activity that the wine imparted to it. That is to say, every man is Divine and has to be revered as such." Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. X. Discourse on 25-12-78. pp. 232 & 233
Jesus's Spiritual Work
"Jesus announced Himself as a 'Messenger of God'. He spent many years in austerities so that He could shower compassion and love on all humanity. 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?' Jesus spent twelve years wandering alone in deserts engaged in this inquiry. At the end of this period. He returned to the society of men and announced, 'I am the son of God'. At this time, the priests of the holy temples of Jerusalem had become corrupt and commercialized. They had deteriorated into proud and selfish men. Jesus condemned them and tried to root out the evil practices. For, all forms, in th^ eyes of Jesus, were Divine Forms. 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'. Jesus tried to teach the Fatherhood of God and 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 tried to purify the society." Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. XI, pp. 11 & 12.
"Jesus found that scholars and ritualistic had befogged the true religion. He engaged Himself in teaching both spirituality and morality, for education is the very light of life. Jesus found that people are running after glass-beads, imagining them to be diamonds and attaching great value to them. He went round the holy shrines and discovered that they had become bazaars where (God's) grace was being bartered and commercialized. He condemned the priesthood, which tolerated and encouraged these practices. So, He drew upon Himself the anger of the heads of temples and monasteries". Sai Baba, Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-78, p. 232
"Jesus was compassion (Karuna) came in human form. He spread the spirit of compassion and conferred solace on the distressed and the suffering. Noticing the torture of birds and beasts at the temple in Jerusalem, He reprimanded the vendors and drove them out of the precincts." Sai Baba, SSS, XI, discourse on 25-12-81, p. 224
Disciples Of Jesus
"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 them had faith in Him and lived up to His teachings. But, Judas yielded to greed. He betrayed his Master for a mere 30 silver coins. He could not find joy in life after this treachery. His mind gave him no peace. He had to take refuge in suicide. Betrayal by people who pretend to adore (their Masters) is happening since ages. Corrupt, greedy and selfish people spread falsehoods about their own Masters. We hear of Judas. 2000 years ago. But in the Kali age, people are obsessed with money
and Judases have multiplied. They seek to amass paltry riches, whereas good character, good conduct and knowledge of God are the three real treasures to be gathered."
Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. XI, discourse on 25-12-79, p. 12
"Vedanta says, 'Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati.', the knower of Brahman becomes Brahman himself. John resembled Jesus in all respects, as he constantly contemplated on Him. As you think, so you become. If you think of God incessantly, you will assume His form." Sai Baba. SS. 1/99. p. 4
"Initially, Paul hated Jesus. One day, Jesus appeared in his dream and asked him lovingly, 'Paul! What harm have I done to you, why do you criticize me? All your travails are the consequences of your own actions. I am not responsible for your sufferings.' Then Paul was transformed and attained sainthood. Thus, Jesus transformed many sinners into-saints. Sai Baba, SS, 1/99, p. 5
"Speak softly and sweetly with a smiling face. That will silence the critic. Smile is the best answer to criticism. When Paul went on accusing Jesus, He lovingly went to him and gave a pleasing smile. The sweetness in the nectarine smile of Jesus transformed the poisonous heart of Paul." Sai Baba. SS, 1/99, p. 7
Matthew And Thomas
"Matthew was a tax collector. He would meet fishermen regularly and enquire as to how they acquired faith in Jesus. Thomas used to doubt the divinity of Jesus. Such doubting Thomases are on the rise. Never be in the company of such people." Sai Baba, SS, 1/99, p. 5
Disciples At The Time Of Jesus Crucification
"One has to worship God both in times of pain and pleasure. Unfortunately, due to the effect of Kali Age, people worship Him when everything goes well, but criticize Him in times of difficulties. When it was ordered that all the devotees of Jesus should be crucified along with Him, even His closest devotees, Peter, Matthew, and Paul refused to identify themselves. Can these be called true devotees? One should be prepared to sacrifice everything for the sake of God." Sai Baba. SS. 1/99. p. 4
Crusification Of Jesus
"They (heads of temples and monasteries) tempted one His (12) disciples with 30 silver pieces, to betray Him into their hands. The Roman rulers were told that Jesus attempted to assert himself as King and so could be punished for treason. Their insistence made the Governor order his crucifixion. When the nails were being driven into him to fix him on the cross, Jesus heard the Voice of the Father saying, "All life is one. My dear son. Be alike to everyone," and He pleaded that those who were crucifying Him be pardoned, for they knew not what they did. Jesus sacrificed Himself for the sake of mankind". Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. X. discourse on 25-12-78, p. 232
"When Jesus was on the cross and overcome with agony, an unseen Voice said from Heaven: "Death is the dress of life." The body is the dress, which the Divine Spirit puts on. Therefore, we should not weep when the body is worn out or falls or is injured. Death is an event, that is the very nature of the body. Men seek the cause for death, but no one seeks the Divine source of life." Sai Baba, SSS. Vol. XI, discourse on 25-12-79. p. 14
The Inner Meaning Of Making A Christan Cross Sign By Hands
You should not be afraid of difficulties. They are passing 'clouds. Do not waver. Follow the heart, which is steady and unwavering. Unity of head, heart and hand is essential for man. This is the true significance behind the Christians making cross sign by hands (Swami made a sign of holy cross to show how it covers heart, hands and head). Install God in your heart. Contemplate on Him and undertake good deeds. Consider every activity as God's work and act accordingly." Sai Baba. SS. 1/99. p. 3
Sacrifice Of Jesus Christ
"People talk of Christ's sacrifice as evidenced by his crucifixion. But, he was surrounded and bound, and crowned by the crowd who captured him with the 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 everything, 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 his 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 sacrifice is greater than the sacrifice of the body under duress. The celebration of His birthday has to be marked by sacrificing your at least one desire or two, and conquering at least the more disastrous urges of ego." Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. VIIJ, 25-12-72
Important Christian Days
"Jesus was crucified on a Friday and He rose from the tomb on a Sunday. That is why Sunday is taken as the day of worship and service in churches. Catholics give importance to Virgin Mary, the mother of Christ, while Protestants give importance to the birth of Christ. Catholics celebrate Christmas by worshipping Mary on the evening of 24th (of December) and Protestants celebrate the birth of Christ on the 25th (of December)". Sai Baba, SS, 1/93, p. 4 '
"Today is New Year's Day associated with the birth and life of Jesus. It is a good occasion to give up the old and welcome the new- in thought, word and deed." Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. X, p. 141
The Christmas Tree
"There is a custom of putting up a Christmas tree on this day. The genesis of this custom can be traced to Germany. A preacher by name Jensen from England once visited Germany. When he was travelling in Germany on his mission, he noticed some Germans attempting to offer a child's life as sacrifice to propitiate God who, they believed, lived in an oak tree.The priest was warned and questioned-them as to why they were offering an innocent child as sacrifice to a tree. As they asserted that God lived in the tree, he took an axe and cut the tree. To his surprise, he was shaken by the inexplicable vibration from head to foot. He noticed the form of a child between the two portions of the tree that was cut by him. This incident teaches the truth that God lives not only in human beings but also in plants and trees. From that time onwards people started putting up a Christmas tree." Sai Baba, SS, 1/93, p. 4
"Today is the birthday 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, during the rest of year. That is empty show. It does not emanate from the heart. We are true Christians only when we live according to the teachings of Christ and practise them in daily life. Even if we follow two teachings of His, that would be enough." Sai Baba. SSS. Vol. XI, discourse on 25-12-79, pp. 13 & 14.
Sai's Teachings For Christians And Others
"There are many who are deeply devoted to Jesus. Their duty is to glorify the great message of Jesus. The most important of message of Jesus is the establishment of 'Peace on earth and goodwill among men.' At present there is a growing tendency among propagators of the Christian faith to cast aspersions on other religions. Money is being spent lavishly to spread Christianity. None of you should play any part in such activities. This type of propaganda does great harm to the personality of Jesus. Jesus was supremely pure and sacred person. To forget Jesus' teachings and to profess love for Him is no love at all. You must remember: 'God is one. Love is God. Live in love.' Only by this means can humanity, despite the many divisions that exist at present, be united. Absorb the teachings of the great seers and prophets. Do not despise anyone. Everyone is entitled to accept what is good from any source. Differences of creed and caste are irrelevant. There is only one caste, the caste of humanity. There is only one religion, the religion of love. There is one language, the language of the heart. There is only one God; He is omnipresent" Sai Baba, SS, 1/86, p. 4
"You have to get rid of the ideas of 'mine' and 'thine'. Regard yourselves as the children of one God, who is the universal protector. Bear in mind three things: love of God, fear of sin, observance of social morality." Sai Baba. SS. 1/88, p. 5
How To Celebrate Christmas?
"Carols and candles, readings from the Bible and acting out the incidents that surrounded his birth, are not enough to celebrate the birth of Jesus." Sai Baba. SSS. X, discourse on 25-12-78, 232
"Jesus sacrificed His life and poured out his blood to instill love and compassion in the heart of man, so that he (man) may be happy when others are happy and sad when others are sad. It is not by festivity and fun that you should celebrate Christmas. Celebrate it, rather, by resolving and putting into practice at least one of the ideas He (Christ) enunciated, or endeavour to reach at least one of the goals that He placed before man".-Sai Baba, Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-76, pp. 86 & 87.
Sai Baba's Christmas Message
"You work as a messenger or servant. Later, you worship, as a son does his father. Finally you achieve the wisdom that 'You' and 'He' are 'One'. That is the spiritual journey that Jesus has shown the way in clear terms. He announced very early in life that He had come to illumine the spiritual path. Even as a bud. He emitted fragrance. He had the light in Him, or else how can the tiny glow-worm light a lamp. To elevate, to raise the level of his consciousness. He (God) has to incarnate as man. He has to speak to them in their own style and language. He has to teach them the methods that they can adopt and practise. Birds and beasts need no Divine Incarnation to guide them, for they have no inclination to stray away from their Dharma (right conduct). Man alone forgets or ignores the goal of life." Sai Baba, SSS, Vol. X, discourse on 25-12-78. p. 233
"Jesus was the embodiment of compassion and love. His heart melted in sympathy when He saw anyone suffering. His entire life was dedicated to service. In the interest of truth. He laid down His own life. Such persons are revered in this world, however times may change. Jesus was engaged in Sathya Narayana worship throughout His life; that is to say. He was adhering to truth." Sai Baba, SSS, Vol. X, p. 141
Sathya Sai Baba & Jesus Christ
''There is one point that I cannot but bring to your special notice today. At the moment, when Jesus was emerging in the Supreme Principle of Divinity, He communicated some news to his followers, which has been interpreted in a variety of ways by commentators and those who relish the piling of writings on writings, and meanings upon meanings, until it all swells up into a huge mess. The statement itself has been manipulated and tangled into a conundrum. The statement of Christ is simple. He who has sent me among you will come again.', and he pointed to a lamb. The lamb is merely a symbol, a sign. It stands for the voice - Ba-Ba. The announcement was of the advent of Baba. 'His' Name will be 'Truth', Christ declared. 'Sathya' means 'truth'. 'He' will wear a robe of red, a blood-red robe. (Here Sri Sathya Sai Baba pointed to the robe He was wearing!). He will be short, with a crown (of hair). The lamb is the sign and symbol of love. Christ did not declare that He would come again. He said: 'He who made me will come again.' That Ba-Ba is this Baba, and Sai, the short, curly hair-crowned red-robed Baba, has come. He is in everyone of you, as dweller in. the heart. He is there.. short, with a robe. of the colour of the blood that fills it." Sai Baba. SSS, Vol. VIII. discourse on 25-12-72. p. 134
"Jesus was love. Sathya Sai too is love. That explains the gathering of Christians of all sects, which we see here (at Prasanthi Nilayam). In Rome today, Catholics gather to celebrate the Advent of Jesus. The Protestants celebrate it by themselves in their churches. The Jews are not welcome anywhere. But in the presence of Sathya Sai, all are equally welcome." Sai Baba, SSS, Vol. XI, discourse on 25-12-81. p. 225
Sathya Sai Baba Disclosed His Nature On Christmas Day
"Twenty years ago when Christmas was celebrated for the first time in Prasanthi Nilayam, I sang a song (as follows):
"Love in my form,
Truth is my breath,
Peace is my food
My life is my message
Expansion is my life.
No reason for Love, no season for Love
No birth, no death"
Sai Baba, SS. 1/99. p. 8
"Sai Baba sang the same above famous Bhajan on 25 December 1989, a Christmas day, at Poomachandra Auditorium, Prasanthi Nilayam, announcing His divine nature." SS, 1/90. p. 4
Christmas Celebration At Prasanthi Nilayam
"We have been celebrating Christmas every year here. True Christmas is celebrated only in Prasanthi Nilayam, where people of all religions join together to celebrate it. Generally, the Hindus celebrate Hindu festivals, the Muslims celebrate their festivals, and the Christians celebrate their festivals, so on and so forth. It is only in Prasanthi that people of all religions - Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, etc. come together to celebrate Christmas. Prasanthi Nilayam symbolizes the unity of all religions. Elsewhere, people drink, eat non-vegetarian food and make merry in the name of Christmas. But Christmas in Prasanthi Nilayam is celebrated in a holy atmosphere, not a 'holiday'. Sai Baba. SS, 1/99, p. 8
"The Christmas festival is celebrated in many countries with a lot of fanfare, merriment and riotous festivities. You should note one thing. No where in the world is Christmas celebrated in the same manner as it is done in Prasanthi Nilayam. People belonging to different countries, different faiths and different cultures, coming together to adore God and celebrate this festival in such a holy atmosphere, which cannot be found anywhere else. Christmas is celebrated in America, Germany, Italy and other countries. But in what manner? By sumptuous eating, drinking and dancing and wasting time. Here also you indulge in drink. But what is it you drinking? You are drinking Pure Divine Love. It is this love that you must offer to the world." 'SaiBaba, SS. l/91~7p. 22
Unity Of All Religions On Christmas At Prasanthi Nilayam
"Complete unity of all religions can be seen only in Prasanthi Nilayam (on Christmas. 25 December 1999). Imagine what a phenomenon it is that the Christians from 64 countries of the world have assembled here to celebrate Christmas. This principle of unity is the sign of true devotion." Sai Baba. SS. 1/2000. p. 1
"Great teachers belong to the entire mankind. It is wrong to believe that Jesus belongs only to the Christians and that Christmas is a holy festival for the West only. Christ, Rama and Krishna - they are for all men everywhere. Various limbs and organs together form the body; various states and communities form the World. The sustenance of love, endowed by the Divine Grace, has to circulate in every state and community to make the world live in peace and happiness. If this truth is realised, there will never arise any idea of difference." Sai Baba, SS. 1/2000, last back cover page; SSS, Vol. VIII, Discourse on 25.12.1972
Sathya Sai's Benediction On Christmas
The following benediction was sung in English by Sai Baba on Christmas, 25 December 1989, at Prasanthi Nilayam, Pooma Chandra Auditorium:
You all are in the Kingdom of Sai!
You all are in Sai's Home!
You all are in Sai's Light!
You all are in Sai's Heart
I will bless you, I will bless you in this Holy Night.
This is your right.
Sai Baba, SS. 1/90. p. 3
Glimpses Of Christmas Celebrations At Prasanthi Nilayam (1999)
Christmas Carols By Overseas Devotees
"Christmas celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam started in the afternoon of 24th December (1999) in Sai Kulwant Hall. For this purpose, the Hall was magnificently decorated in the traditional Christmas manner with golden, red and green colour velvet decorations. Appropriately enough, the entrance gate to Sai Kulwant Hall had a large velvet cloth hanging with the writing, 'Sarva Dharma Priya Sai Deva ' meaning the Lord Sai who loves all religions. The twelve pillars of the Hall, where Beloved Swami walks across the Darshan lines had red velvet hangings with a Cross and angel in gold, representing the 12 apostles. Pine, shining gold and red fabric decorated the entire Halló-with cherubs. A statue of Joseph, Marry and the Baby Jesus, in His crib, was placed close to the chair of Swami. The Christmas programme started at 3.45 p.m. on 24 December 1999 when Bhagavan ceremoniously lighted the sacred lamps. After chanting Omkar and welcome song in praise of Ganesha, the overseas devotees sang Christmas carols. The main choir of 400 members sang with their hearts to the merriment of huge gathering of devotees, which filled the entire Sai Kulwant Hall. To name a few carols, they sang 'Dona Nobis Pacem,' Glory to God in the Highest,' and ended with joyful clapping to "The Saints Come Marching in.' The programme came to a close with Arati to Bhagavan and distribution of Prasadam.
Jesus And The Wizard Of Love
This excellent drama adapted from the book 'The Wizard of OZ' was presented by Bal Vikas children on the evening of 24 December 1999, in the Poomachandra Auditorium in the Divine Presence of Bhagavan Baba.
The opening scene begins on a Hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee. Jesus is speaking about His message of love and compassion to a congregation of people, including five children - a Western, a Mexican, an Indian, a Chinese and an African. Jesus then exhorts the children to undertake the journey to the Emerald city, the home of His Father, the Wizard of Love.
As the children come to the home of the Wizard of Love, they are introduced to the Father of Jesus, who is none else but Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba. The Father tells the children that the qualities they are seeking - courage, compassion and discrimination -already exist deep within them. The children then ask Jesus to tell them the story of His mother, Maria. The play ends with the Nativity story unfolding. At the end, Bhagavan goes up the stage and blesses the children.
Divine Darshan On Christmas Morning
Early Christmas morning, the carolers in procession with lighted candles, walked through the Ashram, singing praise to Jesus. The small children led the-choir into the Hall carrying lanterns, followed by more children in beautiful angel costumes with golden wings.
The energy builds, the lights are twinkling, and then He appears in His White Robe, sweet smiles, and eyes of radiant light. He gives us all His Darshan from the Mandir balcony, ever so slowly, so all can see.
Later in the morning, Swami went round the Hall and blessed the devotees with His Darshan at 7.30 a.m. Thereafter, the Brass Band of the Institute enthralled the audience with some soul-stirring music. After this performance, at 8.10 a.m., the Institute and School students presented an excellent programme of carol singing. The glorious Christmas morning programme came to a close with the distribution of Prasadam and Arati to Bhagavan.
Annual Meet Of Messangers Of Sathya Sai
The Annual Meeting of the Messengers of Sathya Sai was held on 25 December 1999, on the holy day of Christmas in Sai Kulwant Hall. Bhagavan Baba inaugurated the programme by lighting the sacred lamps at 3.00 p.m.
The President of the Association, Miss K.P. Sai Leela, welcomed all to the meeting and briefly mentioned about the service activities of the members of the Association from India and abroad.
The Secretary of the Messengers of Sathya Sai. Miss Rajeshwari Patel, extended Christmas greetings to all the devotees on behalf of her Association and said that this Christmas was very special as it was the last of the millennium. Presenting the Annual Report of the Messengers of Sathya Sai for year 1999, Miss Patel informed devotees about service activities and future programmes of the Association.
A student of the Anantapur Campus also narrated her experiences and told how her life had been transformed during her stay in the college hostel.
The last speaker of the afternoon, Mr. Arthur Hillcoat, emphasized the need to put Bhagavan Baba's teachings into practice. He reminded the devotees that we could make Swami happy only by living His teachings in our day-to-day life.
After this, Bhagavan Baba gave His Christmas Discourse, exhorting the devotees to follow Christ's teachings of love and service to mankind.
Drama By Messengers of Sathya Sai
"An excellent drama entitled "There is only One Religion - the Religion of Love,' was enacted by the Messengers of Sathya Sai in the Poomachandra Auditorium on the evening of 25th December 1999.
The play presented stories from different parts of the world including the famous story Abou Ben Adem and Swami Vivekananda's epoch-making Address in the world Parliament of Religions to bring home the teachings of Bhagavan Baba that different religions are the paths that lead to the same God and that service to man is service to God.
Superb acting of the cast and appropriate video support left a lasting effect on the audience about Bhagavan's Baba's message of love to mankind.
Cultural Programmes By Overseas Bal Vikas Children
A drama entitled ' Solon and Croesus' was presented by the children of Sai Spiritual Education of Greece in Poomachandra Auditorium on the evening of 28th December 1999. The drama was based on the life of one of the outstanding sages of Greece, viz, Solon.
Solon's encounter with the fabulously rich King of Lydia was highlighted in this play to show that it was the practice of virtues that brought happiness to man and not wealth, which changed masters quickly.
At the end of the play, Bhagavan went up the stage and blessed the children. He also materialized a gold chain for the child who played the role of Solon. Arati was offered to Bhagavan at 8.00 p.m.
Earlier another drama by overseas Bal Vikas children depicted the hazards of modern civilization and underlined the need for judicious management of natural resources by man.
With these two dramas, the Christmas celebrations in Prasanthi Nilayam came to a happy conclusion." Editor, SS. 1/2000. pp. 28-30
Christmas Celebrations At Prasanthi Nilayam - 1995
"Given the auspiciousness of Christmas in the Christian calendar, it is befitting that celebrations take place in Prasanthi Nilayam. And every year Bhagavan Baba energizes and illumines this programme.
First decorations began to take shape in quiet places, ready to emerge and delight the eyes of Christmas Day (25 December 1995). Thus, angels knelt in adoration on either side of Swami's chair, placed centrally under the glittering crystal chandeliers on the Mandir porch and they flew joyfully around the recessed walls and on the marble columns. Huge green advent wreaths hung on either side of silver doors, garnished with candles, multi-coloured orbs and golden stars, which danced in the breeze, tinsels, hearts, Christmas tree motifs and stars highlighted the multi-coloured buntings and beautiful rose-bedecked wreaths adorned the gates. The stage was set for Christmas.
Meanwhile, international choirs were formed. A large one, with 410 members, created a programme of both traditional carols and songs of adoration of Swami. They practised all day to reach excellence associated with this event. A smaller choir wove itself into the Christmas play rehearsals.
One hundred and twenty Bal Vikas children from sixty-three countries came together under loving hands, to leam their lines, dances and their positions on the stage.
In the distant shed, costumes grew from the pieces of clothes as ladies from far-flung countries enjoyed their busy Satsang while making the costumes. Scenic arrangements went on. Innovative concepts such as ceiling drops were added and brilliant visual effects were practised.
One hundred-twenty foreign Seva Dal members took over Darshan duties, and excitement and anticipation grew daily as rehearsals were given the Divine Grace of Swami's unannounced Darshan.
Christmas Eve arrived. At 4 p.m. Bhagavan came to Sai Kulwant Mandap and sitting in His swivel chair listened with evident pleasure to the choir as they poured their love in song. Every face gazing at Swami glowed with His reflected light, as hearts swelled with peace and goodwill- a precious moment in time.
Bhajans, Aarati and Prasadam concluded the performance. The gathering reassembled in the Poomachandra Auditorium to witness the children's play.
The Childrens' Play
Telling of a family's sojourn in Prasanthi Nilayam at Christmas and the transformation in a boy's awareness, the play was also memorable as a spectacular show. Children danced and sang, a demon dropped from above (mortally wounded by Rama's arrow), firework stars cascaded and the Avatar gave a compelling message. The final scene was a grand finale. Huge bunches of helium balloons, trailing silver red streamers, were released on the stage, smoke billowed and multi-coloured glitter fell from above as children and choir and their love to Swami. He then came on the stage and gave Prasadam to every child, smiling amidst the colour and laughter and love.
Next morning (25 December 1995), the festival continued. Carol-Nagar-sankirtan (a river of candle-light) flowed into the Mandap to await Bhagavan's silver door Darshan and the soft carol singing expressed the heart yearnings from every soul. All the devotees felt doubly blessed as Swami, wearing a white robe, gave His Double Hand blessings, pouring love on one and all.
A gentle gesture, indicating Aarati, announced His leave taking and then all sat in bliss reluctant to extinguish candles. At that moment of offering, all were indeed one, hearts united by love for Bhagavan Baba.
Bhagavan returned in vibrant orange robe to sit on the porch for student's concert. This year there was an indeed an added ingredient. Maynard Fergusen, world famous jazz trumpeter, led the student brass band in an up-tempo caroling, which brought hand-clapping involvement from the crowded Mandap. As Swami sat, the trumpeters stood with Santa hats on, and His evident enjoyment of this added to everyone else's. The jolly U.K. pianist, David Bailey, dressed in black tails, added a salubrious touch as his fingers danced joyfully over the keyboard and the energy field of love and happiness was reflected in every face. Prasadam blessed by Bhagavan was distributed to the entire gathering.
The afternoon programme was in the Poomachandra Hall. First, their Annual Report was presented by the 'Messengers of Sathya Sai'. These exemplary young women spoke with humility of the Seva they selflessly perform. Then Arthur Hillcoat gave an address before 'Bhagavan Baba rose t give His Christmas-Discourse:
Swami's message of love gently reminded all to practise Divine love, not worldly love, and He spoke of Jesus who was God's messenger and son, just as all are.
He enjoined on each devotee to search for his/her own faults and to resist criticizing others and ended by saying: 'The more you love and the more happy you will be. Live a life of love.'
Then the 'Messengers of Sathya Sai' presented a dance drama of Ganga's descent to the earth through Shiva's matted locks and Swami's drawing it out of the netherworld to benefit the mankind via the Water Project. It was a beautiful display of classical Indian dance by 7-12 years olds (who had never seen Swami before) - a fitting finale to the Christmas Festival.
"Swami's Christmas Gift"
Describing the children's drama staged in the Poomachandra Auditorium on December 24 (1995), Mrs. Rita Bruce writes:
The Children's Christmas Drama began at 6:30 p.m. The name of the drama was 'Swami's Christmas Gift'. Each day of rehearsal was for the children a Christmas gift from Swami. His love and grace flowed like the holy river, Ganga, falling from Shiva's head. Never before had Swami given before the children so much Darshan.
There were 120 children from 63 countries whose ages fell between 2 and 14 years. Everyone who wanted to be in this drama was accepted, even those who came two days before the performance. This was a profound learning experience for all who attended.
Sweets For The Children
Swami gave the children many Darshans every day. He brought them apples one day and played the game of 'Catch if catch can'. Another day Swami gave them big chocolate biscuits as Prasad. He coached their performance, reviewed their costumes, looked after the props, and even fixed an angel's wing.
One day He asked, 'How many drama choir women and workers?' They told Him a number and soon after Swami returned with students carrying saris for all. The number they gave was incorrect, but Swami had the correct number with Him, 119, 'Joy to the World, The Lord has come' was reflected in the eyes and smiles of each lady. Bhagavan didn't stop giving. He gave the men white material for stitching suits.
One day there was a beautiful Christmas table with decorated cake in white, red and green frosting next to Swami's chair, a box of Prasad, and a Christmas tree.
Swami picked up a matchbox, lit the candle and while He cut the cake. He read out the writing on the frosting, 'Holy Christmas,' and blessed the Prasad for the children.
A few children did not need costumes because they wore white, but there were 100 costumes to be sewn. I asked the costume coordinator, 'how is this possible in such a short time?' She told me, 'Baba's Divine helping hands reached out to the ladies who worked on costumes for the children. He supplied five sewing machines, and a hall to work in. The one hundred children were chosen by the 20th of December. They were measured, material was brought from Bangalore, and the making of the costumes began in earnest on the 21a of December.
A huge amount of work had to be done by the morning of the 24* (of December 1995) when Bhagavan would inspect the dress rehearsal. The ladies worked from dawn to late in the night to get costumes ready. When there was still much work to be done, on the night of December 23, a blackout occurred, making sewing impossible. Baba must have known that all the ladies needed a rest. It was only through Baba's Divine help that the costumes were completed in three days and ready for the Lord to see on the morning of Christmas Eve.
The first thing He asked, 'Where is Mary?' She was brought before Baba. Baba then wanted to see Jesus and the boy playing the role of Sai Baba. When He saw the three of them together. He said, 'Very nice costumes, very happy. You have got Jesus' mother, Jesus and Sai Baba here now.'
The drama director was a Hollywood film director. Under his direction, the children had to stretch their ability a little beyond what they thought was possible. They practised
for about eight hours a day. The result of their efforts was acknowledged on the night of the performance.
The drama was about a western family planning to spend Christmas with Sai Baba. The young teen-age boy, Mathew, was confused about who Baba was and hoped that he could find the answer on his trip to Prasanthi Nilayam. He had some dreams in which Sai Baba showed him scenes from Jesus' life and taught him who he really was. Swami said to him, 'You are God, I am God, We are God.' In the finale, Swami's Christmas gift to Mathew was the answer to the proverbial question. 'Who am I?' 'I am I.'
Swami's gift to the children who were lined up according to their height, all 120, some holding coloured balloons with shiny long streamers and sparkling confetti showered down on them, was His unprecended long stage Darshan. Swami gave all the children Pada-Namaskar and handed each of them a beautiful packaged gift of a Christmas cake. Swami's hair had the sparkling confetti shining on it. Balloons with helium were floating in the air with the long tail shiny streamers dancing in the light,, while the children were at His Feet.' Swami even held a balloon. It was verily a Holy Christmas Festival and Swami's Christmas Gift to us all." Editor. SS. 1/96. pp. 6-9
From the book - An Exposition by Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba - Compiled and Edited by Suresh C Bhatnagar