Ironically we celebrate Christ’s birthday, without knowing the date of His birth for sure. The holy Bible is silent about the timing of His birth and there are no other historical documents on this subject either. All that Biblical gospels of Luke and Matthew tell us is that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea to a virgin called Mary and His birth was caused by “divine intervention”, without a biological father. Date and time are surprisingly missing.
What we ‘know’ in this respect is a result of an arbitrary decision or at best, only a guess. The date (December 25) was randomly fixed by an enterprising Pope around year 350. See the audacity. The Church on its own can decide when the ‘Son of God’, is supposed to be born. Unmindful of this convenient fabrication, millions of believers and non-believers, continue to celebrate the day, without a second thought.
Christmas is a big business, and its celebrations bring normal life to a halt in most parts of the world. The festival has grown into a huge cultural and commercial phenomenon – sustaining, and in turn being sustained, by a multi billion industry, spanning across continents.
So, the massive celebrations of Jesus’s purported birthday on December 25 are based only on faith and not on any recorded facts. The huge extravaganza that we see in the name of Christ and His ‘birthday’, has no basis whatsoever, either in science or in history. Science obviously can’t accept conception by a woman, without a biological father.
Fortunately, none in the recent times has questioned the rationale of Christmas celebrations on December 25, though in past there were numerous occasions when Christians got sharply divided on the issue. Both, Christians and non Christians now celebrate the day as a festival, marked by community prayers, feasts and gaiety.
NO QUESTIONS ASKED
Though Christians are just 2.3 percent of India’s population, Christmas is a public holiday in the country. All Government offices are shut, all schools and colleges too are closed for over a week to mark the festive occasion. Markets and shopping centres are festooned with multi-coloured electric lights and multiple decorations. Mercifully no questions asked: why waste so much effort & resources on an event, kicked off by an obscure Pope.
WHY HINDU TRADITIONS DEMONISED
However, as a Hindu I feel hurt. Not because we celebrate Christmas. Those of us who want to, are welcome to do so. Any occasion or pretext that brings hope or cheer to life, in these difficult times, is worth holding on to. But why no such consideration in the case of my faith? All the time I am asked to provide proof about Lord Rama or Lord Krishna’s birth place or their very existence, or the rationale of my beliefs, traditions, rituals and religious practices. Why?
Most of my festivals are systematically demonised and sought to be painted as social evils. Diwali is noise and air pollution, Holi wastage of water & hooliganism, milk offering to Lord Shiva on Shivratri- squandering of precious nutrition because of pagan ignorance, sustained by blind faith and superstition, and so on.
This smear campaign, against the traditions which define timeless Indian ethos and spiritual underpinning, is not run by some random characters. There is a well oiled machine, funded and inspired by alien creeds and forces (with hired local help) that has been working systematically for over a century to destroy the very foundations on which the edifice of plural, secular and democratic India rests.
LORD RAMA A MYTH?
Recall 2007. The Government of India (remote controlled at that time, by Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, a practising Catholic Christian) filed an affidavit on the Sethusamudram project in the Supreme Court claiming there was no historical or scientific evidence to establish existence of Lord Rama and Ram Setu. In the Ram janambhoomi case, questions were asked about Ram’s existence and evidence to prove the location of His birth place in Ayodhya.
Repeated assertions were made claiming that Lord Rama was merely a myth. If Ram is a myth, then so is India. Because without Lord Rama and Krishna and their message, there can’t be any India. It was indeed a cunning and devious move, aimed at taking out Indianness from within India. Minus its spiritual content, India is an empty shell, devoid of its spiritual content.
However, fearing a huge public backlash, the then Government, subsequently withdrew the blasphemous affidavit. But why am I put to such obnoxious tests repeatedly? How do I prove the existence of Lord Rama in a Court of Law? Or the place of His birth ? Or that of Lord Krishna? Or antiquity of Vedas? Or that Aryans had not come from outside and that residual India is my punya and Pitra Bhomi? Are the Courts even competent to deal with such issues? I am glad no such ridiculous questions are asked about either the Christ or celebrations connected with His ‘birthday’.
NO SIGNIFICANCE OF DEC 25 IN CHRIST’S LIFE
December 25, obviously has no special significance in Christ’s short mortal life. For Him, it is just another day. Jesus comes out as a simple, unpretentious spiritual leader, going by the fables about Him in Christian traditions. I am sure He is scandalised by spectacular, ostentatious and extravagant celebrations which take place in His name, to mark a day, which means nothing to Him or His message to the world.
For over three hundred years after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, there were no birthday celebrations for Him. Easter was the main holiday for Christians. The Christmas celebrations started in Rome, about 336 CE, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Around year 350, Pope Julius l (February 6, 337 to his death April 12, 352), declared December 25 as the ‘official date of the birth of Jesus’.
CHRISTMAS CONNECT WITH SHANI
The date was picked up cleverly. It coincided with the celebrations of Saturnalia- an ancient Roman festival in honour of God Saturn, held on December 17 of the Julian calendar, and later expanded with festivities through to December 23. With this clever move, Pope Julius managed to subsume an important pagan festival into Christianity. Today there is no trace of pre- Christianity pagan traditions in most of Europe.
It’s really uncanny. Saturnalia celebrations by Romans were dedicated to placate Lord Saturn. This Roman practice is very close to the Indian tradition of worshiping dreaded planet Shani (Sanaischara-one of the nine Navagraha). What an interesting situation! Roman pagan festival Saturnalia, the global celebrations of Jesus’s birthday (on a day declared by Pope Julius l, about 1670 years back) and the age old Hindu practice of worshipping Shani, have a common thread running.
WHEN ENGLAND, USA, BANNED CHRISTMAS CELEBRATIONS
However, Pope Julius l decision to steal a pagan event and re-launch it under a Christian brand didn’t go well with a large section of devout Christians. There were instances, when Christian authorities put a stop to Christmas celebrations.
In 1659, the Massachusetts Bay colony banned Christmas, as in subject to criminal prosecution and a fine of five shillings (now, about $ 8000) as part of its efforts to “reform” and ‘Purify’ the church by purging it of the idolatry and ceremonial excesses.
Earlier, in the 1640s, England underwent a revolution that drove king Charles I from his throne (and ultimately to the headman’s block) and established a Puritan Commonwealth. Among the ruling of new Parliament was the decree in 1644 that December 25 would thereafter be a day of “fasting and humiliation” and that anyone caught celebrating would be charged with an offense and fined.
POPES & PERSECUTION OF JEWS
The Catholic Church’s sordid record is not confined to fudging details of Jesus’s birthday. In 1466, Catholic church Pope Paul ll forced Jews to race naked through the streets of the city. They ran amid Rome’s taunting shrieks and peals of laughter, while the ‘Holy father’ stood upon a richly ornamented balcony and laughed heartily.
As part of the Saturnalia carnival throughout the 18th and 19th centuries CE, rabbis of the ghetto in Rome were forced to wear clownish outfits and march through the city streets to the jeers of the crowd, pelted by a variety of missiles.
When the Jewish community of Rome sent a petition in 1836 to Pope Gregory XVI begging him to stop the annual Saturnalia abuse of the Jewish community, he responded, “It is not opportune to make any innovation.” On December 25, 1881, Christian leaders whipped the Polish masses into Anti-Semitic frenzies that led to riots across the country. In Warsaw 12 Jews were brutally murdered, huge numbers maimed, and many Jewish women were raped. Two million rubles worth of property was destroyed.
The subsequent emergence of Hitler prior to Second World War as a devil in Europe, responsible for the genocide of Jews, was after all not in a vacuum. The Church had surely contributed a big deal in creating anti- Jew mindset over the centuries.
CHURCH ORDERS KILLING OF CATS, RESULTING IN OUTBREAK OF PLAGUE
In the 13th century, Pope Gregory IX ( Pope from 1227-1241), believed that cats had Satan himself within them . Following a Papal Bull (essentially laying down Church doctrine), virtually everyone in Western Europe began to exterminate cats. Thousands were accused of witches or devil worshipers, and either tortured, killed or both. The cat genocide petered out following Gregory death , but the gory tradition remained alive.
During another witch hunting frenzy in the late 1400s, cats were killed en masse again, as a part of Church’s war against Satan. Killing of cats on such a massive scale, resulted in a huge increase in rat population in Europe. Many attribute the subsequent outbreak of Bubonic plague, which claimed millions of lives, to the elimination of cats, under Gregory orders.
The persecution of cats, or at least their images lived on in Elizabethan England, as well, where the queen’s coronation included the burning of a cat – stuffed effigy.
Over 40 countries don’t have public holidays on Christmas, but a few of them at least have some form of public observation of the festival. However, there are 16 countries- Afghanistan, Algeria, Bhutan, China, Comoros, Libya, Mauritania, Mongolia, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Uzbekistan and Yemen who don’t recognise Christmas in any form at all.
POPES & THEIR SHENANIGANS
Pope Honorius I (625-638) was condemned and excommunicated for heresy by the sixth general council in 680. Stephen VI (896-89) had the body of his predecessor Pope Formosus exhumed and put on trial (this is the famous cadaver synod) for his unbecoming conduct during his tenure. Stephen had Formosa’s papal vestments removed and two fingers from his right hand cut off. Formosa’s’ body was thrown into the Tiber. After the synod, public opinion turned against Stephen. He was deposed in an uprising and strangled to death.
Then there was John XII (955-964) who died a mysterious death, after having been accused of adultery and turning his pontification into a whore house. However, John XII had more than his match in Benedict IX to the only man to have served as Pope for three discontinuous periods, beginning 1032.
Pope Victor III described Pope Benedict and his deeds in these words, “his rapes, murders and other unspeakable acts…. his life as a Pope so vile, so foul, so execrable, that I shudder to think of it.”
What Boniface VIII (1294-1303) did during his nine year tenure as a Pope, brought under focus the extortionist face of the Church. He released one of the most important papal bulls of catholic History. Unam Sanctum. It declared that both spiritual and temporal power were under the pope’s jurisdiction, and that kings were subordinate to the age of the Church.
POINTS TO REFLECT ON CHRISTMAS
It’s Christmas season. Many of us will join the holy Christmas mass in a church of our denomination or choice. It’s time to introspect and reflect on all that has been done or is being done by the Church in Jesus’s name.
Shouldn’t we apologise today
- To millions of turkeys who are slaughtered every year to ‘celebrate’ Christ’s ‘birthday’.
According to available information, in the US, over 22 million turkeys are killed each year at Christmas alone, and 10 million in the UK. Turkeys for Christmas dinner are raised through a large scale industrialised process at a heavy cost to the environment. While we sing corals for the Lord, millions of hapless turkeys have been forced to go under a butcher’s knife.
- To countless Christmas trees which are raised to be chopped every year to celebrate the festival.
According to the US Agriculture Department, over 1.50 crores Christmas trees were cut down in 2017. This horrendous figure is only for the US. One can imagine the havoc this obsession with Christmas trees must be causing to the environment world-wide.
In many parts of the world, Christmas trees are just not available. Church enthusiasts replace them with artificial look alike, manufactured from assorted materials like wood, plastic, paper and synthetic stuff. While such ‘trees’ look dazzling in the glitz of malls and showrooms, their disposal as trash is a big environmental concern.
- To uncountable innocents tortured to death in the name of Christianity.
Millions of innocents were burnt alive on stakes, tortured or hanged by the Church after having been declared `heretics’ during Inquisition, or accused of witchcraft or heresy. Nearer home, thousands of Hindus and Muslims were persecuted, maimed killed, forced to convert to Christianity or flee, after Francis Xavier landed in Goa on My 6, 1542.
- To infinite number of aboriginals.
Before the church moved in, Americas, Australia and New Zealand had thriving rich culture. The church, through its campaigns destroyed infinite number of aboriginals and their culture.
- To millions of Dalits in India and blacks in the US, who were robbed of their original identity and traditions.
An endless number of Dalits in India and blacks in the US were cheated of their original identity, faith and traditions by the church on a false promise offering them dignity and equality in the new faith.
- To Jesus (Son of God) for first fabricating his date of birth and then playing havoc with nature on the pretext of celebrating it.
Gospels, parables, fables and legends describe Jesus as a spiritual leader who was unassuming, simple and unpretentious. He was forgiving, full of love and compassion. But sadly His birthday celebrations include violence against nature (killing of turkeys and felling of Christmas trees) and over centuries, have become synonymous with opulence, vulgar display of wealth by the rich, lavish dinners and decorations. All this is surely not in conformity with the teachings of Jesus. It is a gross injustice to the values, He lived and died for.
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