Sunday, 18 January 2009

Christmas 2008 and New Year Celebrations at Sacha Dham ashram, Rishikesh

Jesus Christ Came for All

Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ who, through his life of love and sacrifice opened the way on the inner planes so that man can reach the Heart of God more easily. Indeed, when upon the cross he gave up the spirit, then the veil of the temple was rent in two, meaning that a significant opening in the veil of ignorance (maya) separating man from God was made, and henceforth man can more easily apprehend the truth leading to the Kingdom of God so that it can become a reality for him. Man then gained access to his soul more easily, as an opening in the the veil between his soul and his outer self was also made. And as Shri Hans Raj Maharajji has pointed out in his message, Christ never came for just one person or one group of people, he came for everybody, and his spiritual work on the inner planes touched all mankind.

As usual, Christmas was celebrated at Sacha Dham ashram. Indeed, the Master of this ashram, Shri Hans Raj Maharajji is beyond religion, having achieved unity with God and the Whole through enlightenment in 1955. All his disciples are his children, whatever path they follow, and so different religious festivals, including the Christmas Day celebration, regularly take place at his ashram. This year, present were the disciples who live at the ashram, along with Western and Indian disciples who come to be with their respective Gurus — Maharajji, ShantiMayi and Prem Baba during the Christmas season.

Showers of Blessings

Christmas is a time when love is more openly manifested, and so gifts are often given, reminding us of the love for others Christ taught us through the example of sacrifice and abnegation he showed. Gifts are only a symbol of this brotherly love among human beings. Disciples at the ashram gave their Masters presents to show their love and gratitude for all they do for them and the entire humanity.
The Gurus, in silence, shower blessings on all present and also on those who connect with them through their hearts in spite of their being away from the ashram. Christmas is indeed a time when the energy of the Christ is poured down on the Earth, on all men, in response to humanity’s call for Peace and Goodwill towards all men at this particular time. Masters who work for the welfare of humanity receive this energy and then redistribute it all over the world and it is our duty to open our hearts to receive what is given; indeed, one cannot receive with a closed heart, or with a heart already filled up with other things. But only those who have consciously tuned in with the saints associated with the festival in question and who have opened their hearts on this occasion reap any significant benefit.

On Christmas day, as usual, the carol singing took place early in the morning at around 7 a.m. The joyous group of singers went around the ashram, warming our hearts with traditional carols. They stopped to sing for Maharajji on his verandah, then sang for the Mother (Mataji) of the ashram, Anitaji, and then for ShantiMayi. Presents and a mala (rosary of beads) were given to all three of them, and a mala given for Sacha Baba (Maharajji's Master who is no longer in our world but whose statue is in the temple). Christians and non-Christians alike were happy at the merry Christmas spirit this created in the ashram.

Follow the Example of Love

At about 11.30, Maharajji went to the hall to deliver his Christmas message. He was accompanied by ShantiMayi and Prem Baba. Maharajji reminded us that Jesus Christ had come for all mankind and insisted on the importance and universality of his message: that we should love one another. Even while he was being crucified, he told his disciples to love those doing him wrong just as much as they loved him. Maharajji repeated that we must love one another regardless of our different origins, and live as one family, also loving those who do us wrong, He concluded by saying that love is God and that this is the easiest way to attain realization.
Prem Baba then gave his message. He stressed the fact that although Jesus Christ was well-known for his great miracles, few people were able to see that the greatest miracle was the fact that he had accepted to die on the cross and still kept his compassion for others intact. Even while he was being crucified, he did not deviate from this love, and was even able to pray for his assassins, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” He thus showed us the way, the way to love.

ShantiMayi pointed out that like his life, Jesus Christ’s birth also had a very strong signification. At this event, there was a guiding star which guided everyone to Him. That had something to do with us as Earth people, as a living family of the Earth, being of the Cosmos, that we open our hearts rather than just being Earth-bound; that we open our minds to the whole of the universe. This ideal has to do with the guiding star which came that day; we remember that He was born on this day which was a new beginning for the great power. And this great power should not be feared for it is the power of love which is in every single human being.

Receiving the Blessings

During the messages, the spiritual atmosphere became very charged and one’s heart felt touched and uplifted by “something”, which could be called “spiritual blessings”. Following the messages, bhajans were sung by the disciples. These songs, added to the messages opened our hearts, and many a tear was wiped away as our hearts overflowed. The following beautifully expresses the experience which a disciple had on a similar occasion :

"On Christmas day all the foreigners were in the temple and most of them were disciples of ShantiMayi. Maharajji was present and his hands radiated a sort of energy in the form of white tear drops which entered all the participants alike.
Maharajji told us that to be in contact with him was enough to put our hearts into contact with his. This is what I think: it is not necessary to be physically at his side to feel his energy." ( Ascension, Spain)

After this celebration, ShantiMayi's disciples went to the Ganges river nearby to carry out a ritual for the benefit of humanity. Standing on the Laxman Jhula bridge, they poured flowers into the holy Ganges to the rhythm of the Gayatri mantra, as a prayer for the enlightenment of humanity. This beautiful ceremony lasted for about twenty minutes.

Then came the bhandara (agape or religious meal shared as a sign of love and fellowship) which was excellent. Added to the disciples, children from nearby schools along with pupils from the ashram’s Sanskrit school participated, adding a special touch to the day.
At about 3:30 in the afternoon, ShantiMayi’s disciples received their present for the New Year.

Prayers for Humanity for the Coming Year

Continuous prayers for the enlightenment of humanity were said for the New Year. The divine mantra Prabhu Aap Jago revealed to Sacha Baba Kulanandji was chanted without interruption for twenty-four hours in order to enhance the spiritual atmosphere of the world and bring humanity closer to God.

Disciples who participated were deeply marked by the strong, purifying vibrations of this mantra, and it also brought them great joy. They were happy to serve God and humanity, and these celebrations had offered them many occasions to do so with others. These past days of spiritual celebration were indeed days of fellowship and blessing.

Om Shri Sache Maha Prabhu Ki -Jay Ho !

1 comment:

Glennis said...

You are right Jesus did come to Earth and dwell with mankind to save everybody, His love covers us all, if we choose to accept it. He made it possible to speak directly to God, through His son Jesus.
Peace to you and all your followers.