Monday, December 24, 2007

Yuletide Greetings

Yuletide now refers to Christmas, but the word originally comes from Old English or Old Norse. It refers to a pagan festival that lasted for twelve days. Paganism is a polytheistic and hedonistic value system practiced in Northern Europe before Christianity.

It seems everything that goes around, comes around. So the Christians borrowed a pagan holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ (whose actual birthday is unknown). And after one or two millenia of lies, hypocrisy, misuse of power, episodes of intolerance, violence and gross exploitation (e.g. the inquisition, crusades, conquistidors and colonialism, to name just a few) the prevailing mood of this now Christian holiday has again become pagan--in the form of commercial hedonism. Christmas has become the iconic symbol of consumption capitalism. The glorification of "I, me, mine"-- spirit covered by matter, universal love co-opted by global greed. Merry Christmas!


Billy said...

I have it on good authority that Christians in the spiritual world celebrate Jesus' birth on the same day as we do here. Not because December 25 is Himself's real birthday, but because it a way for everyone to do so together, for the two worlds worship together. As a practical matter, it works.

As for the historical failings of the Christian religion - well. Christianity is certainly a younger brother religion. Perhaps older pathways of glory left less than a clear pathway for those who came after them? After all, we do leave to others what we have not accomplished in clearing the way. I would think you might agree it has been a long climb out of darkness for everyone - with plenty of mistakes to go around I think.

Lastly I too share the sentiments of George's song "I, Me, Mine"; as one who has rejected the material values of my parent's generation (as you have) I understand the disdain for commercialization, especially for a spiritual event like the birth of the Avatar Jesus.

But it is at best difficult to know what is in the heart of a person. Would not judging the heart behind the gift giving of all Christians as having no spiritual inspiration at all be a bit harsh? If you love someone, is a carefully chosen material gift so vulgar a way to express consideration? Or for that matter, is a kiss on the cheek so awful because we use a material vehicle (our body) to express a divine sentiment? My experiences as a parent suggest it is not.

As I have said, it isn't the material world that is really the problem, I don't think. It is the lack of sufficient spirituality to tame it properly. And in that cause, it is said it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.

All the best to all in the coming New Year...


jauvana said...

Thanks for your comments. This entry was harsh but it was not aimed at real Christians like you. It was a commentary on kali yuga, where ALL religions have failed so many, and abuse has turned large sections of the intelligent class into atheists. I was using Christmas and Christianity as an example and the specific references i gave were mostly abuses of the Catholic Church. But certainly all faiths have seriously abused and misused their authority, including the Hindu faith.

I was not writing as a Hindu, casting a stone on Christians. Prabhupada did not introduce a Hindu movement nor any sectarian religion or cult. He introduced the religion of the holy name. Any holy name of God is suitable for chanting, and chanting the holy names is the religion for the residents of Kali yuga. This is according to the authority of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, whom we accept as God the Father, just as you accept Jesus Christ as God the Son. There is no disagreement between Father and Son, rather, perfect harmony.

I agree that it is not the material world that is the problem, but the materialistic world. Materialism covers our spiritual intelligence and our natural beauty. While telling the truth about our society is not always pleasant-- and may sound very negative and cynical-- the truth, even if unpalatable, is light, and light shall liberate us from the darkness of ignorance. Ignorance is the disease that keeps us in this materialistic world.

Again, i appreciated your comments. Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, loving and light New Year.