24 December 2007 — Amritapuri
On holidays such as Christmas and Krishna Jayanti, Amma often reminds everyone that the real birth of Christ or Krishna must take place in one’s heart, and that to truly celebrate a mahatma’s birthday is to put his or her teachings into practice.
This was the focus of this year’s Amritapuri Christmas play put on by an assortment of Amma’s Western ashramites. The play centered around three American youth called to find “the new messiah.” Following a series of clues, the young men wind up in Amritapuri, where they approach Amma and ask her if she is the one they are looking for. Amma then explains to them how everyone’s true nature is one of divinity and that God must be found within. The play was full of music and jokes, including a wild ride in an Indian taxi, during which the driver told the spiritual tourists, “Don’t worry. You worry, then I worry.”
When the play was over, Amma spoke about the significance of Christmas and other such holidays. Amma said, “If one lives 80 years, one will celebrate 80 Christmases, 80 Krishna Jayantis and 80 Muslim Id Celebrations. They will also celebrate their own birthday 80 times. When we celebrate our own birthday, we never remember that we are moving closer and closer to our death-day also. Most importantly, we forget the fact that we need to attain Atma jnana, the knowledge of the Self, before the unalterable arrival of our death-day. When we celebrate the birthdays of great souls like Christ, Krishna and Mohammed, there is one prayer that we should never forget to recite: “Please bless us to realize the eternal ‘I’ in me.” This prayer should be part and parcel of our spiritual life. Amma doesn’t want her children to forget this prayer when they celebrate.”
Amma also spoke about the love Christ’s disciples had for their master, explaining how the bond between the guru and disciple is essential for spiritual progress. “Before the guru, a spiritual aspirant may take the attitude of a disciple, a devotee, a child or even of a Vedantin. Whatever the attitude may be, for one to attain spiritual progress, love born out a bond with the Guru’s external form is necessary. That devotion should be based upon the fundamental principles of spirituality. However, we get an immediate, tangible experience of those principles through the guru’s physical body. That is why the guru’s physical form is so important.”
Amma ended her satsang by reminding everyone that, regardless of the path, the experience of Self-realization is one. “Sri Krishna, Sri Buddha, Jesus Christ and any one else who attained Self-realization all had the same inner experience,” Amma said. “There is no difference in that because Truth, the ultimate reality, is one.”
It was then five till midnight, and Amma led all the ashramites and visiting devotees in praying for world peace by chanting ‘Om lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu‘ until the clock struck 12:00.
The evening concluded with Amma serving all prasad in the form of chocolate cake—brought to Amma, of course, by Father Christmas.