Christmas is the Festival that celebrates the child in us!
Do share the following story with your children.
Did you know that there are interesting similarities in the life of Christ and Krishna? Their names also sound similar.
Kansa, the king of Mathura was warned that a child (already born) would kill him (Kansa) when the child grew up.
So Kansa decided to kill young babies.
Herod, the king of Palestine was also warned of being killed at the hand of a child born recently…Herod also decided to slaughter the new-borns.
Krishna was born in jail and Christ in a manger.
Both were saved from the wrath of Herod and Kansa.
Hindus believe that Krishna is an Avtaar (Incarnation) of God.
In simple words, God came to earth taking the body of a human being.
Christ’s birth commemorates the manifestation of divinity in the world.
In simple words, it means that godly things came to earth along with Jesus’ birth.
While we are on the subject of Jesus’ birth, let me tell you a few more things connected with it. You all have heard of Christmas. Have you heard of Epiphany?
Epiphany is called the ‘Festival of Lights’ and it falls on the 12th day after Christmas. When I was a child and lived in Spain, we used to get gifts on the day of ‘Reyes’.
Reyes literally means ‘Kings’ and it is on that day (5th of January) that the Wise men from the East visited baby Jesus and gave him the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
It is believed that the Wise Kings, were led to baby Jesus by a bright star in the sky. I like to believe that it was the position of stars. The kings were probably learned astrologers, and the stars predicted the birth of a divine child.
The Kings came from the East. I like to believe that maybe they came from India.Read what Marguerite Theophil has to say:
Most of us know the genial red-suited Christmas giftgiver as Santa Claus or Father Christmas. Interestingly, in many countries there are traditions of gift-bringers known by other names, too. Many of these bring gifts to children not in December, but on January 6, celebrated in some places as the feast of the Three Wise Men.
An interesting gift-bringer tradition is that of La Befana, a character in Italian folklore who delivers presents to children on the eve of January 6, filling their stockings with candy and presents if they are good or a lump of coal or dark candy if they are bad. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves. A small glass of wine and a plate of food are often left for her – the disappearance of which ‘proves’ she did visit!
Though depicted as a witchlike old woman, complete with sharp nose, black shawl and a broom, she is no figure of fear, but children in Italy eagerly await her visit. Several tender stories are associated with La Befana.
One story tells of the three wise men, wandering in search of Christ the child. They decide to stop at a small house late one night to ask for directions. An old woman holding a broom opens the door to see who is there, and finds on her doorstep three colourfully dressed men, asking for directions to where baby Jesus could be. She has no idea, but generously provides them with shelter for the night, and before leaving, they ask her to join them on their sacred journey in thanks for her kindness to them.
She declines immediately, saying she has so much housework to do – sweeping, dusting, chopping wood and cooking for guests who might drop in. But after they leave she feels as though she has made a terrible mistake, and packing a bag of gifts for the newborn, decides to catch up with them. Even after many hours and days of walking and searching, sadly she is not able to find them.
Each year on the eve of the Epiphany she sets out looking for baby Jesus. On her journey, she leaves all good children toys and candy, and in an attempt to get children to behave well, parents warn that naughty children would get a chunk of coal instead.
Another Christian legend takes on a sadder tone with Befana who loses her dearly loved child. Her resulting grief maddens her. Hearing news of Jesus being born, she set out to see him, delusional that he is her son. She eventually meets Jesus and presents him with her gifts. The infant Jesus gives La Befana a gift in return – she would be the mother of every child in Italy.
It is interesting that one take on her name could be a mutation of the word Epifania or Epiphany, which can be translated as ‘the display of Divinity’; a revelation of a great, enduring truth. An epiphany is a deep understanding of the nature of the world that can change the way one looks at things. ..
To continue with similarities between Christ and Krishna, Krishna said: “Sarva bhuta hite ratah” which means that ones must act for the good of humanity. Christ’s main teaching was that of love and service. All religions that I have read about practice meditation, and chanting in one form or another. For a Christian, to practice meditation is to become aware of God who resides in the stillness of ones heart.
Do you know what Chanting means? It means ‘to repeat a spiritual word or short phrase from a Scripture, over and over again’. It is a kind of prayer. And it is supposed to be powerful. If you ask me, I believe the constant chanting keeps one, from thinking unnecessary thoughts. One listens to ones Mantra as one repeats it…And God likes that! God does not like it when we constantly think and worry about things and situations that cannot be helped. God likes it, when after one does ones best, One lets go (of the problem) and lets God (handle it).
Chanting is practiced in all the major religions. Hindus chant Mantras with the help of a ‘mala’ and Christians repeat the ‘Hail Mary’ with the help of a rosary. Hindus chant Aum, Christians say ‘Amen’ Both sound similar.
Hindus chant ‘Hare Rama’ Christians chant “Maranatha” (Means: The Lord comes) I believe that both the prayers reach the Lord at the same time. What is important is to pray with a pure heart. And all Great Masters appeared on Earth to teach us the above fact. Ponder on the above facts. Jesus said: “Love thy neighbor as thyself” And your neighbor is one who lives next door to you and shares the same neighborhood or building. We share the same planet and as such, all who live in this world are our neighbors. And we must learn to love one another.
Think about it.