25 December 2006 — Amritapuri
Christmas celebrations in Amritapuri
Christmas is always a special time in Amritapuri. Not only does it mark the anniversary of the birth of a Jesus Christ, but also—with so many people around the world having time off from work—the Ashram is overflowing with devotees from Europe, America, Russia, Japan and all over India.
On Christmas Eve, Amma gave darshan in the bhajan hall, beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing until midnight on the 25th.
For a few hours in the evening, Amma decided to sing a joyful set of bhajans as she gave darshan. It was a real celebration, with as many as 5,000 people singing along to bhajans in several different Indian languages, including “Inji Mahimano,” “Ramakrishna Govinda Narayana Hari,” “Sristiyum Niye” and “Banda Krishna.”
Around 11:00, devotees from the West gathered to sing Christmas carols, including a version of “Silent Night” that drew upon 15 different languages. There was also a short children’s play about finding God within.
Darshan finished about halfway through the carols. Amma then came down and listened to the rest of the music sitting in a chair on the bhajan hall floor, requesting the carollers to take the stage.
Around 1 a.m., Amma delivered her Christmas message, speaking of Jesus as an embodiment of truth, love, compassion and self-sacrifice.
“Although Jesus was born more than 2000 years ago, he still lives today in the hearts of countless people around the world,” Amma said. “Mahatmas never die. Even after their time, they continue to live through their teachings and the power of the example they set during their lives. To truly celebrate Christmas is to remember the teachings of Jesus Christ and to try to put them into practice in one’s life.”
Amma said that Jesus never abandoned his ideals in life, even when he was being crucified. “If we hold firm to our ideals, we can, in fact, transcend fear. This is what Mahatmas show us through their lives,” Amma said.
Amma concluded with a prayer that God takes birth in everyone’s heart. “Let us decorate the manger of our heart with good thoughts, kind words and compassionate actions,” Amma said.
But that was not to be all. As has become the Christmas tradition in Amritapuri, Amma then began distributing chocolate-cake prasad.