God in human form

A Christmas Message

As it’s Christmas, here’s a Christmas message from a beautiful yogi, Swami Krishnananda. He is termed a great philosophical writer, as he was very learned and knowledgeable, with a great command of English also. But he was above all, a true Yogi, or God-realized being. He left his body, or attained mahasamadhi as they call it, in 2001.

The reason for having a picture of both Christ and Krishna in this post is because Swamiji’s message is about how God comes to incarnate as a human, which both Christ and Krishna are said to be.

Swami KrishnanadaThis Christmas message was delivered by Swamiji in 1993. It is very apt, especially I feel for this time of external chaos and terrible events. It’s also perhaps one of the most powerful Christmas messages you can find in any satsang or church today.

The only issue with listening to audios of Swami Krishnanada is that you may miss a word or phrase here and there, due to a strong Indian accent (although his English vocabulary is remarkable imo). However I’ll also add the link of the transcript of this discourse with the audio below, so you can follow his words and read them if you wish at the same time.

Listen to audio

Read the transcript

Swami’s wish was to make his discourses freely available to all. I love him for that alone. Through this act of compassion and generosity there are so many audios and videos to listen to, plus pdfs of some of the audios. Listening to them is a great sadhana (spiritual practice).

I hope you will like Swami Krishnananda’s teachings. If you do devote your sadhana time to them, may they expand your awareness and merge this with joy and bliss, which are freely available to all.

To leave you with some thought-provoking  words from Swami Krishnananda:

The practice of true spiritual sadhana is a terror to the human ego. It comes like a fierce lion or tiger, threatening it. Sadhana is not a comfortable process to the human ego, which is involved in personal and physical relationships with people. Even spiritual seeking cannot be wholly free from a subtle longing for recognition, appreciation, and a promise of security for its existence. It is on account of this weakness, which subtly operates from within us, that we many a time feel uncomfortable in our life. Due to this weakness that is present in us, there are occasions when we react sharply in respect of other people. Our dependence on external factors is too much, and that is the reason why we feel insecure and unhappy. There is no strength within us. The strength is external, a borrowed facility which seems to be maintaining us, and it can be withdrawn when our relationships with people change on account of a change of circumstances.

That we are sitting together here in a hall, that we have a community of our own to which we seem to belong, that we have people who can be regarded as our friends, supporters and well-wishers—all this is a transitory bubble that has arisen before us on account of certain effects of our deeds in previous lives. When the momentum of those deeds is exhausted, these relationships will also change. We will not be in the midst of the very same people with whom we are sitting and chatting today.

Our present relationships of every kind, positive or negative, pleasurable or otherwise, are entirely the consequence of certain deeds that we did in our previous lives. The result of a particular karma is not permanent. It is only temporary. As every action has a beginning and an end, the product of that action also has a beginning and an end….

There is what is called individual prarabdha and group prarabdha, individual karma and group karma. We are all human beings living in a common realm of experience on account of a similarity of actions, broadly speaking, which we did in our previous incarnations, because of which we are here on a common platform.

It is impossible for us to look upon the world as a manifestation of God because though it is easy to say this, when we think about it and begin to feel it and manifest it in our lives, our heart quakes. That would be something impossible for the mind to contain, and would mean another set of circumstances altogether around us. But, this is the psychological background which every sadhaka should prepare for, and this alone can keep us safe, secure and happy throughout the day and night. We stand on our own ground, and therefore we are happy and possessed of a sense of security and strength.

To love God is not easy, because God is not a person like a human being; and, therefore, it is difficult to trust God. Our understanding of the nature of God is humanly conditioned, socially limited, personally interpreted, and so it falls to the ground when we are actually in need of its support. Even yogis and seekers of Truth cannot reach God so easily, unless there is that strength within them by which they can take to the spiritual point of view, the standpoint of the Spirit in the judgment of things outside and the understanding of life in general. The spiritual seeker is a God-man who stands alone, unbefriended, in front of that Mighty Alone, the Great Creator of the Cosmos.

Thus, to take to the spiritual path, to lead a spiritual life and to practise spiritual sadhana would be to die completely to the old prejudices of our life. “Die to live,” as Gurudev Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj used to say. To take to spiritual life is a veritable death. Are we prepared for death? Nobody is prepared for it. We have our own small preferences, likings, weaknesses and sentiments which assume large proportions when they are given a long rope. We remain human beings till the end, and die like human beings, repenting for not having utilised our lives properly as it ought to have been. We are still the old persons with the same desires and the same weaknesses. May this be shed.

We are perpetually connected to God. He is not separated from us even by an inch; and yet, it appears as if He is totally dead to us, just as the waking world of experience is regarded as totally absent in the dream world.

We have to reconstruct our consciousness from the point of view of the laws and regulations of spiritual life, and then we will realise God, just as a dreaming person will realise that he is sleeping on the bed when he wakes up. He will know where he is. What happened to him was only a reshuffling of the constituents of his consciousness. He has not travelled somewhere to catch the bed. He has not moved an inch; he is just there, and yet what a difference it makes to him. He comes to a different world altogether merely because of the change in the constituents of consciousness. Similarly, we are on God even now. We are sitting on His chest, as it were. We are living and moving and having our being on Him, and yet we are crying for Him as if He is far away. What a pity!

We can imagine what sort of spiritual practice is expected of us to realise That, on the basis of which our very existence and activity are possible. What should we do to realise That on which we are seated? We are not to run about here and there, frantically in search of it. We are on it, so why are we searching for it? Our mind has wandered away in a dreamland, and therefore it looks as if we have lost it.

Hence, spiritual sadhana is not a hectic activity of the physical personality or the social individual; it is a spiritual retransformation of the very consciousness which we really are. It is difficult to conceive what spiritual sadhana is. Though we advertise it, print books on it and talk about it to others, it has not really entered our spirit, and so we are still weeping. Our weeping has not stopped. It is necessary, therefore, to reinterpret ourselves, to understand our situation once again in a proper form and perspective, and to stand undaunted, confident and perspicuous in our understanding. Can any of us believe that we are in the very presence of God just now? But, this is the fact.

Therefore, it is imperative for us to reconsider our position in this world, to reconsider our relationships to other people and things, and to reconsider the very meaning of sadhana. If this truth is properly grasped, we should regard ourselves as thrice blessed. It is a hard thing to understand, and is very difficult to absorb into our feelings and emotions. Though our intellect may appreciate it and come to a sort of logical conviction, the feelings will not retain it for more than a few seconds because of the human and the temporal conditions into which our consciousness seems to have fallen, by which it is conditioned and in which it is involved. We have to raise ourselves from this mire of limiting sentiments and emotions, which are merely the state of human consciousness, to a higher pedestal of appreciation, understanding and meditation. We have to truly become spiritual seekers.

– Swami Krishnananda

So all that’s left for me to say for now is to wish you a Merry Christmas. I know many are ill with colds and seasonal bugs (of the normal kind), and this year has presented many very difficult challenges for a lot of people the world over, challenges that were altogether previously unknown and unimagineable.

Whatever situation you are in, and wherever you are, please feel the big festive hug I am sending you right now, and may the New Year be rich with peace, love and sadhana.

Reena Gagneja
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