Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!
Because of Christ we have Christmas. Over the Christmas, we easily get carried away into buying and giving gifts, decorating houses, having parties and other fun and not remembering Jesus Christ’s life and teachings. We have to remind ourselves that Jesus Christ gave us his life for what he believed in. He taught to be humble, to give, to sacrifice and live a simple life, not to run after money, to love and serve all and many other things.
Sri Ramakrishna had a vision of Jesus Christ. After sincerely practicing various religions and branches of Hindu faith he realized that all religions and sects are different paths leading to the same God. All prophets teach the same fundamental things of life which are good for humanity. Their styles and language might be different, but the message is the same. For example, no religion teaches that a person who hates all is good, a person who is a lire or a cheater is good, a person who is egotistic or arrogant is good etc.
On this day, let me share the teachings of Jesus Christ which I like most. These are part of “The Sermon on the Mount,” which we find in the Gospel of Matthew, chapters 5 – 7. The students of Vedanta find these teachings very familiar.
Who will see God? Who are beloved of God? Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Resist evil with love and not by vengeance: Usually, people want to take revenge. But, prophets do not teach that. Mahatma Gandhi said that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. People who love humanity and who have inner strength resist evil with love. The path of vengeance is for the weak people.
Jesus Christ says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”
Depend on God and do Spiritual Practices; then we will succeed: We should have faith in God and do our spiritual practice. God is our father and mother and He/She will fulfill all our desires.
Jesus Christ says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
Do not find faults of others. Find first our own faults and remove them: Remember Holy Mother’s teaching of not finding faults of others.
Jesus Christ says, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
How to pray? Bhagavad Gita says that genuine devotees pray to God quietly without making any show, mediocre people pray to gain worldly pleasures, name and fame, and inferior people pray whimsically without knowing what they are doing and what they are doing.
Jesus Christ says, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
There are other inspiring teachings of Jesus Christ about controlling lust and greed, giving to the needy not for name and fame, building life on a good character like building house on a rock and others.
Happy New Year to all of you!
For the New Year I am thinking of the following possible spiritual resolutions:
1. Do japa and meditation regularly every day at a fixed time.
2. Read inspiring books to get guidance, to intensify our desire to make spiritual progress and to remove our doubts
3. Select one virtue from the shlokas 13-19, chapter-12 of Bhagavad Gita and practice to acquire it.
4. Try to memorize chapters of Bhagavad Gita. Learn, practice, and sing dhoons, bhajans and hymns to increase love for God
5. Do some unselfish service to purify the mind.
6. Seek Holy Company to strengthen the spiritual motivation and faith in God.