Blessed are the merciful, full of compassionate conduct without judgment or condemnation, for they shall be treated likewise and receive mercy, knowing God’s love will overcome all hardship
-Sermon on the Mount
Truer and more noble words were never spoken. If one did not know the wise man who said these words, it could have been written in any of the world’s most spiritual scriptures. The entire essence of Jesus’ teaching is in the Sermon of the mount, as are of the Seers of the Veda in the Upanishad, and Buddha in Dhammapada, all emphasizing the same truth. Instead, people fight over words never uttered by these noble wise ancient beings. Religions divide them, rather than integrate.
It’s said that Buddha told his disciples that he should never be worshipped, and his dhamma should be venerated with the Bodhi tree as the symbol. I have visions of Buddha turning circles in his crypt whenever I enter a Buddhist temple. So did probably Jesus. He never asked to be venerated and worshipped. His words were far more important. So, he remains crucified and suffering, despite his resurrection.
We celebrate Jesus’ birth. I say, we, because many people from many religions including Hindus like me, venerate Jesus and celebrate his coming. It’s not uncommon, especially in the South of India, to find a picture of Jesus amongst the several Gods in the worship altar. Why do we celebrate his birth, when we do not even remember his words, let alone practice them?
The word Jesus, from the Hebrew Yesu, is the same as the Turkish Isa, and the Sanskrit Isa. In Sanskrit, Isa is commonly translated as a leader or even God. Going by the first verse of probably one of the oldest scriptures in the world, the Isa Vasya Upanishad, ‘Isa Vasyam Idam Sarvam’, which I interpret as ‘all this is energy’, Isa is the formless source from which it all began. Jesus is that energy, as is Buddha, as is Krishna, as is Shiva.
In the name of Jesus, Christians quote from the Old Testament. Why? There is probably not a word in the Old Testament mythology that Jesus approved of and spoke about. He spoke against those beliefs and for that, he was crucified. Yet, there are those who speak of Genesis and other patently unscientific beliefs, as if Jesus was responsible. Poor man! When will they ever learn?
There is something special about Christmas. It’s the birth of not only a man, who many believe is God or Son of God but of a lifestyle that was gentle, compassionate, merciful, and wise, replacing the harsh, cruel, punishing beliefs before him. On this special day, can we in addition to all our celebrations as individuals and families, spend some time in the reflection of the Sermon of the Mount. I am sure the Spirit of Jesus will rejoice.
Jesus said, ‘I have come to turn an upside down world right side up again.’ Not very different from Krishna, who said in the Gita, ‘I shall appear again and again, to nurture the good and merciful, and to eliminate the evil doers.’
Jesus also said, ‘you will reap what you sow just as you did with judgments in your heart’, the essence of Karma in the Hindu and Buddhist tradition. It’s not merely our actions, but the intents of our heart that evoke Karma and its consequences. The Brihadharanyaka Upanishad says, ‘You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.”
Today, our thoughts are intolerant, divisive, and destructive. Nature is responding to our negativity. Our world is upside down, not far from dystopia. It needs another Jesus, Krishna and Buddha, perhaps all together, to save us from intolerance to one another, inequality and destruction of one another and nature.
Given the pathetic leadership the world now has, hope for that energy of Christ is all that we have left.