Tuesday, December 24, 2013


www.dnaindia.comChristmas celebrations are all about family reunions, festivities and happiness. Christmas signifies acceptance, forgiveness, and abundant love. Let us see how these originated. Pagans had always worshiped trees in the forests, used to bring them into their houses, and decorated them while worshiping. This was adopted by the Church and led to the origin of the Christmas trees in Christmas celebrations. There was a time in Rome before the Christian era where emperors forced all the citizens to bring gifts during Saturnalia or December. This custom gradually became a habit during this time. 
The Catholic Church adopted this custom and started the tradition of gift giving by Saint Nicholas or Santa Claus. Saint Nicholas was born in Turkey in 270CE and became a saint in the 19th century. He was amongst the bishops who created the New Testament where Jews were referred to as the children of the Devil who sentenced Jesus to Death.

After Nicholas died, his followers started a cult where they created a boon giving deity called the Grandmother who gave gifts to children in their stockings. This trend continued every December 6, the day Saint Nicholas died. This custom was followed by the German and Celtic pagans who worshiped Woden who had a beard. Gradually the symbol of the gift giver became a person with red clothing, a white beard, and a vehicle to come down. 
Gradually the idol began to be called Santa Claus as Saint Nicholas is called in Dutch and the day of giving gifts began to be on Dec 25 instead of Dec 6. He also got a set of reindeers and today this is the way we see him as a blend of Christian crusader, a commercial idol, and a pagan god.

Christmas season ushers in an air of great joy, happiness and peace. It does not matter if one shares the faith of Christians or not, all feel the joy and peace of Christmas, especially the children all over the world. While thousands of pilgrims are gathered in Bethlehem, and others go to pray at various ceremonies and Christmas church services in their local churches, many people only see the consumerism surrounding these celebrations. Now Santa Claus or the Christmas Papa belongs now to the folklore of almost every nation in the world and unfortunately many people around the world enjoy the celebration just shopping, going to family reunions or wearing Santa Claus costumes, eating, drinking and sharing gifts. It is a pity that the increasingly commercial celebration of Christmas hides the simplicity of the message of Christ's birth. It is a pity that the increasingly commercial celebration of Christmas hides the simplicity of the message of Christ's birth. Many times Srila Prabhupada has explained that Jesus is Krishna’s representative, son of God, a bonafide spiritual master and a jagad-guru or a Guru of the world. By the mercy of Krsna one finds a bonafide spiritual master and by the mercy of the spiritual master, one finds Krishna; and it is not difficult to do this if we consider for example the story of how the baby Jesus appeared in the heart of his mother Mary by immaculate conception, as well as the bright star appearing in the night sky, we can see a direct parallel to the Vedic story about Lord Krishna's birth three thousand years earlier, in Vrindavan, India. (Editor's note).

Sometimes Sri Krishna descends Himself, and sometimes He sends His representative. The major religions of the world-Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Moslem-believe in some supreme authority or personality coming down from the kingdom of God. In the Christian religion, Jesus Christ claimed to be the son of God and to be coming from the kingdom of God to reclaim conditioned souls. As followers of Bhagavad-gita, we admit this claim to be true. So basically there is no difference of opinion. In details there may be differences due to differences in culture, climate and people, but the basic principle remains the same-that is, God or His representatives come to reclaim conditioned souls. ... If one loves Krishna, he must love Lord Jesus also. And if one perfectly loves Jesus he must love Krishna too. If he says, “Why shall I love Krishna? I shall love Jesus,” then he has no knowledge. And if one says, “Why shall I love Jesus? I shall love Krishna”, then he has no knowledge either. If one understands Krishna, then he will understand Jesus. If one understands Jesus, you’ll understand Krishna too.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda : 
“Raja Vidya” Chapter 6: “Knowledge of Krishna’s Appearance and Activities”
“Room conversation with Allen Ginsberg”, May 12, 1969 / Columbus - Ohio
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase

Published by dasavatara das - “Vedic Views on World News”

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