From the narrow vision of 'individual need' man must voyage out into the broad vision of the 'Universal.' When a drop of water falls into the ocean, it loses its narrow individualities, its name and form, and assumes the form, name and taste of the ocean itself. If it seeks to live separately as a 'drop,' it will soon evaporate and be reduced to non-existence. Each one must become aware that he is part of the one Truth that encompasses everything in the Universe. It is reprehensible to stick for one's whole life-time to the low narrow paths of selfishness, envy, and greed. Make the heart big and the mind pure. Then only can peace and prosperity be established on the earth.
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 born 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.
To acquire awareness of the Divine, one need not journey to any special region or place. It is enough if the eye is turned inwards. In the Bhagavad Gita, the inner reality, the Atman, is described as 'resplendent like a billion suns.' But man has not become aware of the Light and Power within; he still flounders in the darkness of ignorance. The scriptures proclaim that man is Amritasya Putrah (the child of Immortality). But man is unaware of this glorious heritage. He feels he is mortal, his end is imminent and his existence is temporary. Man reduces himself to the level of beasts. The scriptures also say that the Atman, the Real Core of the individual, is Ananda Swaruupa (the very embodiment of bliss). But man being blind to this truth, invites sorrow and anxiety to hold mastery over him and discards the joy that awaits him.
Every man is a messenger to fellowmen, entrusted with the task of spreading knowledge of the joy that is being missed. If he misuses this mission and fritters away his years in gratifying his senses, he only loses the chance and reduces himself to the level of beasts. He who announced Himself as the Messenger of God, developed, through the blossoming of Divinity and the expansion of compassion and service in Him, to a stage when he declared Himself as the Son of God. And then, finally, He rose to the status of 'I and my Father are One.' 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 Sayujya (mergence), which leads Him to assert, 'I and my Father are one.' The scriptures say, Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati: He who knows Brahman, becomes Brahman.
These three stages are referred to as Dwaita, Vishishtadwaita and Adwaita in Vedic thought. Messenger and master, the two are basically separate, and so this stage is one of Dwaita (dualism). The son and father, though two separate entities, are bound by affection and kindred feelings and attitudes. They are like the whole and the part, the body and the limb. This stage is called Vishishtadwaita (qualified non-dualism). And when the Son and the Father are One, the stage is of Adwaita (non-dualism).
Even a child would be eager to pass from one class to the next higher one; he would hate being in the same class, vegetating for years. Then what can we say of persons with intelligence and discrimination, satisfied with the attainment of the lower steps? Jesus passed through the entire process and inspired all mankind by His example and teachings, to be generous and kind, detached and discriminating, and to bring Light and Love to all. He attracted people by His miracles and transformed them into apostles and exemplary servants of man.
You must realise that the Divine current that flows and functions in every living being is the One Universal Entity. When you desire to enter the Mansion of God, you are confronted by two closed doors - the desire to praise yourself and the desire to defame others. The doors are bolted by envy, and there is also the huge lock of egoism preventing entry. So if you are earnest, you have to resort to the key of Prema (love)and open the lock; then remove the bolt and throw the doors wide open. The education must train you in the difficult operation. Give up the two evils of self-praise and scandal You undergo training in various subjects of study, but the crown and cries of all subjects of study is Adhyatmic Vidya (spiritual wisdom). People desirous of bathing in sacred rivers are advised by Thyagaraja, the famous mystic, poet and singer, to bathe, in the Ocean, for all rivers pour their waters into it. Therefore a bath in the Ocean means bathing in the waters of all the rivers at the same time. So, too, the Atma Vidya if mastered, is the key to all knowledge. It teaches us That, which if known, all else is known. It reveals to us that the One is in the many and that the many are really One. Isaavaasyam Idam Sarvam: “All this is enveloped by God,"as the Shruti (sacred text) declares.
Sadhana is the name for the mental discipline and intellectual effort to realise this Unity. Jesus sacrificed his life and poured out his blood to instill Love and Compassion in the heart of man, so that he 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 ideals He enunciated, or endeavouring to reach at least one of the goals that He placed before man.
Let Me call upon you to give up, in memory of this holy day, two evils from your mind: self-praise and talking scandal. Adopt one habit: the habit of loving service to the distressed. If you spend all your time and energy in worldly comfort and sensual delight, you are disgracing this human existence. Life is not to be spent In just eating; eating is only a necessity for living. You consider this habitation on of yours as your body; no, It is the temple of God. God resides therein. Keep it clean, fresh and fragrant through developing Compassion and Love. Use the temple of God only for holy thoughts, words and deeds. Do not demean it by using it for low, trivial and unholy tasks. Wherever you are, whatever you do have this resolution steady and strong.
Source: Christmas Day Discourse by Sri Sathya Sai at Brindavan, December 25, 1976