By: Keyur Seta
The scenes were unique at Mumbai’s Ramakrishna Math when the monks of the Ramakrishna order and a Catholic priest came together to celebrate Christmas Eve ahead of Christmas. This day is celebrated each year at various branches of the Ramakrishna Math.
The people gathered got to witness special scenes in the form of rituals and aarti for Jesus Christ by Ramakrishna monks. Along with the Christmas tree, colorful decoration, lights and a host of food items kept around the pictures of Jesus Christ and Mother Mary provided an enchanting picture.
Swami Shrimohananda started the celebration by reciting important verses from the Holy Bible. He also spoke about the high importance of the Christmas Eve with regards to Ramakrishna Paramhansa and Swami Vivekananda.
“Swami Vivekananda and fellow Ramakrishna disciples took Bramhacharya on December 24. Swamiji cited the example of the greatness of Jesus and his renunciation. But he and the rest did not know it was the Christmas Eve. They came to know about it later,” he said. He also spoke how Ramakrishna Paramhansa got absorbed in the picture of child Jesus once.
Father Joe D’Souza, who was the revered guest at the event, was overwhelmed to see such high number of Ramakrishna devotees attending Christmas Eve celebrations. He narrated the life story of Jesus along with other events surrounding it. He added, “We use candles to remove external darkness. But now, time has come for us to light a candle inside us to remove internal darkness.” He was pointing towards the mindless violence taking place around the world.
But the biggest highlight of the evening arrived when D’Souza narrated an incident. Three weeks back, he was getting late for a speech so he pressed the accelerator of his car when he shouldn’t have. It resulted in his car hitting another car belonging to a Gujarati couple. The owner asked the Father to pay for the losses. He agreed but said that as he is a priest, he doesn’t carry money all the time. But he promised to visit their house and pay. The couple agreed.
Two days later, the Father received his salary. So he visited the couple to pay for the losses. But the couple warmly greeted him and said they just wanted to check whether he is a genuine priest. They not only strictly refused to accept the money but also urged the Father to give them Aashirwad and have breakfast with them.
Later on, the Father realized that the amount of Rs 5000, which he wanted to pay to the couple, is a gift from God. So he divided it into five parts and donated it to the needy.
Filled with emotion, he exclaimed, “Isn’t this exactly what Christmas is?”
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