Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Spirit of Christmas


Christmas, the festival of jingle bells, plastic pines, polymer stars, carols and donations, is round the corner.  As long as I lived in Delhi, the festival meant little more to me than a plastic Christmas tree and a plastic coated star.  Now that I live in a place that will resonate with carols for a few days, I’m tempted to ask this question: What does Christmas mean to me?

Jesus was an enlightened person like the Buddha was.  An evolved brain.  One of the few persons who are born once in a few centuries [Sambhavami yuge yuge?] with a mutated brain.

Normal human beings are descendants of the ape.  The ape continues to dominate our hearts though we have a slightly better brain which can do more things than the ape like learn the formula of (a+b)2.  The heart didn’t evolve much.  It carries all the savagery of the ape. 

Jesus, like the Buddha and many others, tried to civilise that heart.  This is what I love most about such people.

Take this story about Jesus.  It’s from the Bible [John 8] but retold in my own way. 

The religious leaders wanted to trap Jesus because they didn’t like his teachings which curtailed their powers over the people.  Jesus was redefining religion and its laws. Jesus was liberating people from absurd traditions and rituals.  Jesus was helping people to look within and discover god there, in their own hearts. 

So the leaders laid a trap.  They brought a woman caught in the act of adultery.  According to the Jewish law, an adulteress must be stoned to death.  Nothing happens to the adulterer, of course.  Religious laws are usually made by man.  It is Eve who ate the forbidden fruit first.  She led Adam to sin.  The woman is the incarnation of sin. 

There she stood, dragged and bedraggled, amid a mob of bloodthirsty men who carried stones with them for the evening’s entertainment.  She stood with her head bent down.  She knew that many of the men who were clamouring for her blood had kissed her ruby lips not so long ago. 

Jesus looked at the men.  The leaders hurled the question at him.  “What shall we do with this woman?”

If he let her go free, they would label him a law-breaker.  If he punished her... Well, could he do that?  Did he ever punish anyone really?  Except the religious leaders themselves who converted the synagogue into a market of money-changers and animal traders?  Punishing was not his way. 

Jesus was watching the men.  Looking into their eyes.  He knew that many of them had shared the bed with this woman not so long ago.

“The one among you,” said Jesus slowly, looking into the eyes with a penetrating gaze, “who has not broken any law so far,” he paused for a dramatic effect – he was good at it really, “let him hurl the first stone at her.”  He had pronounced the verdict.  He continued to stare into their eyes.  One after another. 

One after another the stones fell to the ground.  There were murmurings in the air. 

The religious leaders were the last to leave.  They had not carried stones; they carried knives in their hearts.

Jesus wished to clean their hearts.  All hearts.  “Man is not made for laws,” he declared boldly to a society which valued their laws more than anything else.  Jesus sought to liberate the human heart from the clutches of rusted laws.  “Love.”  That was his only law. 

That is the meaning of Christmas for me. 

Wish you a different Christmas this time.  If you like :)




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19 comments:

  1. I have read this story before and loved reading it again.
    Merry Christmas to you and all your loved ones. :)

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    1. The story is popular enough.

      Thanks for the greetings. May you too be blessed.

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  2. A different take. Hope love prevails ultimately

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  3. I highly believe in Jesus.I have been reading the Bible and am so affected, so lost in it. I am yet to read "John". This little story was amazing. Merry Christmas! Hope it brings loads of happiness to everyone!

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    1. As narrated here, the story gets my own imaginative additions. But the spirit remains unadulterated. Merry Christmas to you too.

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  4. As always, liked your rendition. Merry X-mas, your and my kind :)

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    1. Wish you too especially since there's something common to our Christmas.

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  5. Tomichan Matheikal has blogged on Christmas - One of the best write I have read in my life - rich in thought, emotion and from the head and the heart in unison. The message of love that brings peace and joy has been well explained with conviction that finds acceptance and trust in the reader..

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  6. You are on3 writer who inspires me with every post, whether long or short. I wonder when I would get as many followers as you have . Merry christmas
    A warm and prosperous New year wishes.

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    1. Thanks for the compliment, Rakhi.

      Wish you too a glorious year ahead as well as the blessings of the season.

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  7. The main problem with a famous folklore or an anecdote is that it has always been told and retold umpteen times, and it's nearly impossible to interest a reader, till there is something different. The way you analyzed Christ managed to create an interest. And, loved the realistic way you retold the tale!

    You are absolutely right about the enlightenment part. All those stalwarts, like Buddha, Jesus, Mohammad, Zarathustra, Mahavir etc were enlightened beings with a different plane of understanding. It's difficult to keep one's followers for few years, let alone for millennia without a true substance and preaching. It's the followers, who later turn them into demigods and then use their 'ape' brains to undo the works of those geniuses. The ideas became religion and instead of convincing, the religions started to intimidate and force the skeptics and cynics into submission... and finally they lost!

    Beautiful story!

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    1. Every time they make a religion out of it, the original teaching is killed. What would Jesus do if he were to see the religions being practised his name today? I'm sure you're familiar with Ivan Karamazov's Jesus and the Grand Inquisitor.

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    2. That's true for every religion, sir. It's always the religious, than the religions, which are intolerant. Faith, like love, is one of the real white magics in the world. It vests unlimited power in the followers. It heals and brings peace. However, all kind of powers corrupt eventually. That's why the religious forget the teachings and turn into fanatics. Just to preserve that power.

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  8. Fydor Dostoyevsky's poem The Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov could be the answer for the dangers of being too good/pious.
    Buddha was undone by his own disciples when they shifted from Hinayana to Mahayana which ushered in Idol Worship....something which he hated...

    Anyways I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2017 !!!

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    1. Those who create neat systems out of enlightened teachings are the culprits. Both the Grand Inquisitor and the successors of the Buddha made that mistake. On the other hand, only a refined consciousness can live without the crutches of systems.

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  9. The message of Love is the message of all religions.....but the followers contain that love to include only their kin.....Wish you a great year ahead....Hope your recovery is going well.....

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    1. People use religion for fulfilling their selfish agendas.
      Wish you too a glorious new year.
      I'm recovering rapidly.

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