27 Dec 2014

Christmas Celebration 2014 with Sri Swami Vishwananda

Sri Swami Vishwananda's unmatched devotion while performing Abishekam on a murti of baby Jesus
At Shree Peetha Nilaya, on the 24th December, everything and everybody was getting ready to celebrate Christmas with Sri Swami Vishwananda, who sent via Twitter several messages of Christmas greetings to all his devotees like:

"I wish you all a Merry Christmas! As Christ is born in this world bringing the peace of God to all, may His Grace be with all and awake Love in all."

"Wish you all a Merry Christmas! May the Lord of Love, patience and unity bless all with His Grace and Joy."

The murtis of Shree Peetha Nilaya Temple were properly dressed for Christmas Day, namely Ganesha (up left); the following photos were sent by Sri Swami Vishwananda Himself via Twitter: Mahalakshmi and Narayana (up right), Ladoo Gopal Krishna (down left) and Mahalakshmi (down right)

On 25th of December, Sri Swami Vishwananda introduced the celebrations of Christmas Day by giving a talk about how to apply the meaning of Christmas in our spiritual path (see below an excerpt of this talk and the youtube videos). Afterwards, Swamiji performed an abishekam on a murti of baby Jesus while Christmas carols and Christian songs were being sung by the Bhakti Marga Choir supported by devotees of several countries. Then, a group of children performed a Christmas play and finally each person could have Darshan of baby Jesus. To finish the morning program, a Bhakti Marga International Christmas Lunch was served.

Baby Jesus Abishekam
Every year in the morning of Christmas Day Sri Swami Vishwananda performs an abishekam on a murti of baby Jesus. Since last year, all children present at Shree Peetha Nilaya are given the opportunity to get closely involved in this ritual.

During His talk Swamiji reminded us, “Christ have said, ‘If you want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven be like the children.’ You see, children, they don't hang on good and bad. They forget about it quickly.” “Reach that innocence which you have carried through many lives and don't lose that.”
Sri Swami Vishwananda does the offering of Prasad and Arati with the children

Bhakti Marga Children's Play
After performing the Christmas play, every children received Christmas presents and Sri Swami Vishwananda Himself distributed bracelets and necklaces made of Tulsi beads to the children

Bhakti Marga International Christmas Lunch
In the last few years, at Shree Peetha Nilaya, the Christmas lunch menu is prepared by several groups of devotees from different countries. Each group is invited in advance to plan and organise a traditional dish from their respective countries. 

Sri Swami Vishwananda check the International Christmas Lunch Menu and gives His Blessing
This year, the International Christmas Menu included Russian Salad, Masoor Dal (United Kingdom), Orecchiette (Italy), Catchupa (Cape Verde), Alho Francês à Braz (Portugal), Pierogies and Silesian Potatoes (Poland), Dutch Cheese, Latvian Rye Bread Dessert and Honey Cake (Portugal).

While enjoying the dessert, the Bhakti Marga family assembled in the dinning hall had a wonderful opportunity to listen to very special moments of sharing by devotees and disciples who have experienced the first steps of Bhakti Marga with Sri Swami Vishwananda.

Highlights of Sri Swami Vishwananda's Talk

“Until Christ is born inside of you in the heart you still search for Him and long for Him...When we look at Christ, He showed two qualities: His meekness and His humbleness. His mind was not focused on competition, on showing to the world that He is great. No. He is great because He doesn't need to prove it to anybody. His whole life was a life of serving. Service stands for humility. From the beginning, how He was born till the end, how He left this world, it was a life of surrender to the Will of God in complete humility. And these two things made Him to be remembered so that more than two thousand years have passed and we're still celebrating His birthday. And until now people are still celebrating the life of Jesus...if you take these two qualities from Jesus which have made Him Christ, His meekness and His humbleness, you'll see that that's your strength. But it's not just a strength that will make you feel proud or arrogant, because in that state, pride and arrogance disappear. Competition which you have on the spiritual path will also  disappear.

Christ was born in a manger. This is very symbolic. Divine Mother represents the heart of men which is longing for God, which conceived God. What can conceive God apart from your heart? Your mind can't conceive God! Your mind can't comprehend, can't understand even a fraction of Him. But when you enter the chamber of your spiritual heart, here you can perceive the Divine, you can feel Him. Then we see that Jesus is born, no? This is the revelation. Christ is this new revelation inside of you, the revelation of all your goodness, the revelation of God, not outside, but God within you. This is when He is born. You don't perceive Him outside, you perceive Him inside of you in your heart.

We see the shepherds. These are the countless of lives that one has gone through. Through lives you have waited to be free. The shepherds stand for the watchfulness, stand for the awareness, stand for knowing what you have been searching through lives. It's rare to be at the Master's Feet. That's why the angels call them, ‘Come! The One you have been waiting for has been born. Come and receive the salvation. Awake within your heart.’ What is happening inside the shepherds' hearts at that moment? There's doubt, there's confusion, there's amazement, there's joy, there's fear, there's a mixture of thoughts and feelings until they come face to face with the baby, until they become face to face with that reality, a reality which challenges the mind itself. And that reality happens only when the heart is fully surrendered.

When one surrenders to God one becomes meek and humble, one transforms from a normal human being into Christ. That's why He could say, ‘What I have done you could do also much more.’ Because He was well aware that what was inside of Him is also inside of each one and He has come here to remind mankind of that. He was also full aware to whom He was saying they are capable. God has send them to Him so that He can guide them and He is guiding them because He knows that they are capable. They have this strength and they have cultivated that strength for countless lives. Due to that grace, due to that accumulation of punya they have a good bank account in the heaven. So, due to that good bank account they have encountered Christ. Due to that good bank account you are all sitting here. So, you are very rich. Don't forget about that richness, that treasure which you carry, because as it had a beginning, it has also an end. So, don't let it finish...don't waste time becoming depressive and miserable! Utilise it to be joyful and to make others happy and joyful. Then time bears its fruit. If God called you on a spiritual path, even if it is very challenging, be strong! Be humble. And like I said, be meek like all the Masters. Don't see the challenges as something bad. Know that every challenge that comes on one's way, after it passes you become stronger. And whenever somebody else will have that same challenge you'll have the solution for that person, isn't it?

As Christ is born, let Him awake inside of your heart, let Him be born, not only today, but every day meet Him inside your heart. There you will meet Him, you will see Him, you will realise Him, you will learn to love how He has loved.”