“So true is it that all transactions of pre-eminent importance are wrapped in doubt and obscurity; while some hold for certain facts the most precarious hearsays, others turn facts into falsehood; and both are exaggerated by posterity.” – Tacitus
Greetings and good wishes to fellow Pagans, Heathens, Idolators, Polytheists, Pantheists, Animists, Henotheists and other non-monolatrous peoples on the occasion of the impending Winter Solstice. This is the period of rejoicing when the Invincible Sun, Glorious Mithra, commences his travel toward the northern reaches of Mother Gaia. As He bids farewell to the south, and sets His Luminous Visage northwards, we regard with awe and worshipful reverence his unwearying fidelity to the Great Law of Father Varuna.
As Pagans continue to cherish this magical time in their own unique ways handed down by revered ancestors of yore, their attention cannot but be called to parallel celebrations that superficially resemble their own.
The Abrahamic cultic theology under scrutiny mandates scorn for the Reborn Sun and advocates veneration for the birth of a human son nearly two thousand years ago, and promises the said son’s ‘second coming’ in the future.
When we closely analyse the Jewish purANa on which this interesting and widespread misunderstanding is based, things will become much clearer. The Jewish purANas that form the nucleus form for this belief abound in accounts of much-revered and always-feared notables called ‘prophets’ but, all the same, do not enjoin celebrations of the birthdays of even one of them – not even major figures like Moses or Abraham.
As the Jewish purANas posit a clear division between the creatOR and the creatED, there is simply no scope for such adulation. Predictably, the said purANa is replete with much polemic and ‘direct action’ against Pagan modes, places and objects of worship. Thus, Pagan piety and observances are remorselessly placed at par with crimes such as theft and murder in this value system, leading to their eventual banishment or extirpation.
The Jewish people eventually established a kingdom, but it was short-lived, ground down by one imperial power after another, culminating in the Roman conquest. This precarious existence naturally gave rise to hopes that eventually a redeemer, a ‘messiah,’ would arise from among them who would re-establish the lost kingdom and rebuild their ravaged temple.
Such a hope, as Pagans will recognize, is quite natural for humans and they generously grant every people their redeemer(s) as circumstances may require. However, what concerns us here is the contrived exclusivity and finality of the redemption that we have set out to investigate.
The cynosure of these birthday celebrations, a Jewish magician named Jesus, claimed to be the ‘messiah’ who would re-establish the Jewish state that had been overrun by mighty Rome. He managed to acquire some legitimacy through the agency of a rather charismatic itinerant recluse named John the Baptist, who vouched for the authenticity of Jesus by momentarily immersing him in the Jordan river and proclaiming his messiahood.
Needless to say, such a claim would naturally be scrutinized, and even contested, from within any tradition. So, this was not accepted by the entire Jewish community. The more law-abiding (or Roman-fearing) among the Jewish leaders feared that the sins of this rabble-rouser would be indiscriminately and impartially visited on heads of the entire Jewish community by imperial Rome.
After all, the Jews were dealing with a pitilessly impartial war machine that could gaily ‘create a desert and call it peace,’ as Tacitus put it. Therefore, he was condemned by the Jewish priesthood and handed over to the secular Roman authorities for punishment.
Jesus was thereafter crucified by the Roman authorities of Judea on charges of treason. However, it seems somewhat likely that Jesus was taken down from the cross shortly thereafter, allowing him to survive the gruesome ordeal, and even met his followers following a period of recovery.
Understandably, after this unfortunate episode, he could move around but only in secret. In order to keep some hope alive, at least within his inner circle, he prophesied of his own imminent ‘second coming’ as a conquering hero. To make the occasion doubly fraught with portents and significance, he said that it would coincide with the end of the world – and that was nearly two thousand years ago. Not surprisingly, this delay is a sore point with his followers because he has kept them waiting for centuries and generations ever since, presumably on grounds of the continued existence of the world.
The above summary, embellished in the original sources with miraculous occurrences and pious homilies, is now well-established as an addendum to the Jewish purANa on which the contemporary creed of Christianity is based.
The theological explanation current for the ancient messianic failure among the adherents is that the self-proclaimed messiah will reappear only when the entire world acknowledges him as the said ‘messiah’ or, at least, has had a chance to hear about his tall claims.
As all humans are not believers in this prophecy or have not heard about this (i.e., ‘unreached peoples’), this becomes a tautology rather than a theology. However, the in order to achieve the necessary uniformity of belief or universality in advertising in the hope of precipitating a second coming, there arises the famous ‘great commission’ professed by the believers, who must, indeed inevitably must, compel people to ‘come in’.
Had his ancient followers, most notably Saul (later Paul), but cared to introspect why any non-Jews – Greeks, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Aztecs or Australian Aborigines for that matter – should worry about a clearly Jewish messiah with a clearly defined role limited to the re-establishment of a Jewish state in its ancient range, there would have been no doubt, no religious argument and no fighting for among Jews to start with, and between Jews and Christians for centuries on end.
As an interesting aside, we point out that, nearer our own times, the Jewish state of Israel has been established with no messiah in sight, but the temple hasn’t been rebuilt, which compounds the confusion among the believers. Consequently, some orthodox Jews are opposed to Israel, aligning with the adversaries of Israel, many of them latter-day Abrahamics of Christian or Islamic persuasion. To get back to our story, we can also discern in the new purANa the haphazard fusion of two distinct traditions –Jewish and Greek.
Jesus, whose birthday is claimed to fall during this time, is said to have been born of the union of Mary, a Jewish virgin, and the ‘Holy Ghost’ – inadvertent if glaring evidence of reckless dabbling in the occult arts.
Indian Pagans may justifiably recognize the story as a variant of the story of Kunti of the Mahabharata who ignorantly used an incantation for fecundation given her by Rishi Durvasa, as a result of which she gave birth to Karna, the son of Surya (the Sun), but regained her virginity regardless.
Similar parallels may be found in several Pagan traditions if one but cares to look e.g. the story of Perseus’ birth. However, by insisting on the exclusive and unique status of its particular instance of virgin birth, Christianity is predisposed to perceive witchcraft and black magic in the world around and has, for centuries on end, zealously striven to extirpate suspected witches by the expedient of incineration, but that is another story.
Observers of Christmas who are unfamiliar with European history are most likely to arrive at conclusions similar to that of the rough and ready Bushmen anthropologists, as documented in turn by a Canadian anthropologist, Richard B. Lee: “Praise the birth of white man’s god-chief.” This is only partially true, though.
As stated earlier, there’s nothing in the Jewish purANa or its Christian addendum that directs the faithful to praise anyone’s birth, leave alone celebrate it with revelry. These outward celebrations are the result of Paul’s recruitment of Gentiles to provide the numbers required to shore up his schism against the mother religion.
Paul’s frank and winning strategy was to make sure that Christianity was ‘all things to all people’. But Gentiles will be Gentiles, and cannot be persuaded to live as observant Jews, giving up all their former ceremonial and observances, especially when the schismatic proselytizer is in a tearing hurry to gain converts and numbers on his side in a surreal anticipation of democratic vote-rigging by mobilizing ringers.
So, all agreeable forms and modes of worship and celebration were re-oriented (or more accurately, subverted) towards Jesuolatory, and tolerated so long as there wasn’t any suggestion of a co-equal partner to Jesus, such as Pan or Apollo, for instance.
At this point, we must note that the worship of Mithra was widespread throughout the Pagan Roman empire, and several authors have remarked on how the festivities and traditional accounts associated with the solstice festival were eventually appropriated by the Church Fathers, who had to distinguish themselves from the Jews who would accept Jesus’ Jewishness, but not his messiahood.
This would have been another instance of unconscious cultural exchange, what with neighbours attending each other’s festivities, but Christianity also denounced the more ancient Mithraic worship as being an imitation and profanation of their own latter-day cultic practices.
When Christianity was confronted with the greater antiquity of Mithraism, its own recent arrival on the scene, and the logic that only a succeeding event can imitate the preceding one, Christian apologetics displayed the limits that it could stoop to.
Justin Martyr proclaimed with chutzpah that “Demons” (presumably he was familiar with their ways, which raises inconvenient questions as well) had, in anticipation of Jesus’ arrival, spread similar accounts to confuse mankind! Thus, the tenuous credibility of the alleged Saviour’s supposed birthday is salvaged by Demonic Intercession!
Given this history, we feel that the preparation of the Christmas turkey by American natives (not native Americans, in case you are confused) provides an apt metaphor for Christianity’s idea of an acceptable outcome from an ‘inter-faith encounter.’
Miraculously, the same metaphor extends to the post-Christian secularist’s condition as well, as we shall see. Christianity has effectively plucked, gutted and eviscerated several SuparNAs (golden eagles or Garudas) of Euro-Pagan traditions of their philosophies, theologies and metaphysics, hurriedly stuffed them all full of Jesus, and unrelentingly enforced the new ‘tradition’ to the active exclusion and forced extinction of all others over centuries.
This patented behavior is in keeping with the Christian assumption (also termed ‘doctrine’) of being the ‘only true religion’ worshipping the ‘only true god’ who sent to earth, monotonously and rather predictably, an ‘only begotten son’ as well.
Now, when the western secularist outgrows Christianity, he hurriedly gets rid of the stuffing but then, something seems missing that is poetically described in certain egghead circles as a ‘god-shaped hole.’
There is generally no viable replacement in the immediate environs; and the original innards have been discarded as offal long ago. Eventually and usually, the secularist finds a passable substitute in reckless consumerism, incidentally, incrementally and inexorably imperiling the planet and, most ironically, hastening the arrival of something Christianity had been waiting for with bated breath for the last two thousand years – The Last Days!
So, the average western secularist proceeds to emulate the alleged demeanor of the lilies of the field that ‘toil not, and spin not’ and, without a thought about the morrow or greenhouse gas emissions, heads off to the nearest mega-sale, perhaps to procure finery and baubles that King Solomon of old was rumored to be arrayed in.
Thus, while most people await with feelings of eager anticipation the breaking forth of leaves from the sleeping buds of bare trees, Christian observance requires its adherents to cut down pine trees that, exceptionally among northern trees, stay green throughout winter.
The trees, torn from their forest, are further desecrated by being used in homes as rough-and-ready shelves and coat-hooks on which are arranged several gaudy baubles and trinkets. Beneath this tree all manner of presents are placed. It is claimed that an elderly elf named “Santa Claus’ is the source of this largesse, but we protest this completely baseless indictment of the Elfish Folk, the original ‘green party,’ who cannot come anywhere near such a mutilated tree-stump without an attack of apoplexy.
And when the uprooted tree slowly disintegrates, people complain about all the pine needles on the carpet, as if it were the poor tree’s fault. This is but the merest hint of Christianity’s inexhaustible fount of misunderstanding and calumny that has been refined to a fine art by centuries of practice and successful deployment, to the progressive detriment and eventual extinction of many of our sister communities in several lands, including their own ancestral ones.
As if this were not enough, the word ‘Claus’ (in Santa Claus) offers clues about the less than wholesome essence of the entire business, regardless of the Elf’s portrayal as a lovable old man in folk paintings and popular cinema current in Christian lands, but actually derived from Scandinavian and Teutonic folklore.
Astute readers would have already smelled another stuffed and trussed Christmas turkey in the entire affair. Anyway, the phonetic similarity of ‘Claus’ to ‘kali’ (कलि, not कालि) strikes us as less than accidental, but we leave the detailed resolution of the issue to philologists of the school of imaginative linguistic analysis pioneered by the late Shri P.N. Oak.
However, we are of the firm opinion is that even if this were an entirely coincidental phonetic semblance, it is not without ominous significance. Kali, discerning Indian Pagans will note, is the personified spirit of the current age of falsehood, that all followers of Rta assiduously guard against.
This is a very sensible precaution because, when Kali possessed the great and good king Nala of NishAda, he was induced to gamble away the kingdom, lose his own clothing, abandon his wife in a forest, and ended up as a palace cook. (We hazard a guess that parents harried by the unceasing demands of their offspring for presents, and their importunate caterwauling of carols to wheedle tidbits out of the audience during Christmas, would be tempted to follow suit, if only to obtain temporary relief and welcome distraction in some gainful employment.)
When parents realize that Claus promotes greed and avarice, not to mention rank disobedience and tantrums among infants, they will doubtless shudder to think of the kind of adults their children might grow into, and the kind of dotage they are condemning themselves to.
Thus, we aver that the festival of ‘Christmas’ can be most accurately and faithfully understood by Pagans, especially Indian Pagans, as Mithra-Jayanti – the (re)birth of the sun (Mithra), a time to reaffirm ties with family and friends (mithra again, in Sanskrit), and to express in beautiful and fruitful ways our compassion towards human and non-human life-forms alike.
For, the object of our adoration, the Sun, is indeed the faithful and inseparable friend of all men, Heathen, Abrahamic or otherwise, and illuminates alike the paths of saints and sinners with a generosity rivaled only by that of Mother Gaia.
We pray to luminous Mithra and implore Him to illuminate the intellects of those held in thrall by modes of revelry hurriedly cobbled together during ancient historical crises. We hope that He will truly empower all His troubled children with “the tolerance and gentleness of the mature mind, the quiet content of the unacquisitive soul, the calm of the understanding spirit, and a unifying, pacifying love for all living things.
1.We profusely apologize to both ‘Dr. Seuss’ and Mr. Grinch, Esq., for the appropriation and modification of the title of their much-loved book, and trust that they approve of this in a spirit of cross-cultural exchange.
2.The Greek sage Celsus (2nd century C.E.) claimed that Jesus learnt magical lore from the Egyptians. Celsus’ works were eventually burned by the conquering Church, but excerpts survive as quotations in Contra Celsum written by the Christian apologist Origen to refute Celsus. http://www.bluffton.edu/~humanities/1/celsus.htm
3. For this insight, we are indebted to the Christian apostate Herman Sommers who suggested this scenario as the solution to the vexatious question of the author of the Book of Revelation of St. John the Divine in the Bible, based on psychopathological symptoms. For the only summary of his findings available in English, see Elst K (1993). Psychology of prophetism: A secular look at the Bible. Voice of India, New Delhi, India. http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/books/pp/
4. The Bible, Matt. 24:34.
5.The Bible, Matt. 24:14, 28:19.
6. The Bible, Luke 14: 21-23 Matt. 28:16-20
7. See, for instance, http://www.nkusa.org/aboutus/index.cfm
8. Lee, RB (1969). Eating Christmas in the Kalahari. Natural History 78:14-22, available online at http://www.waketech.edu/sites/default/files/libraryfiles/ereserves/ant220/kalahari.pdf
9. The Bible. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
10. See, for example, Chapter 37 titled Oriental Religions in the West of Sir James Frazer’s monumental The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religon (http://www.sacred-texts.com/pag/frazer/).
11. “ But those who hand down the myths which the poets have made, adduce no proof to the youths who learn them; and we proceed to demonstrate that they have been uttered by the influence of the wicked demons, to deceive and lead astray the human race. For having heard it proclaimed through the prophets that the Christ was to come, and that the ungodly among men were to be punished by fire, they put forward many to be called sons of Jupiter, under the impression that they would be able to produce in men the idea that the things which were said with regard to Christ were mere marvellous tales, like the things which were said by the poets. And these things were said both among the Greeks and among all nations where they [the demons] heard the prophets foretelling that Christ would specially be believed in; but that in hearing what was said by the prophets they did not accurately understand it, but imitated what was said of our Christ, like men who are in error, we will make plain.” The First Apology of Justin, Ch. LIV. http://www.tertullian.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-46.htm#P3870_721202
12.It has been given the rather innocuous-sounding name of ‘inculturation’ to make it sound politically correct. For a detailed account, see Goel, SR (1994). Catholic Ashrams: Sannyasins or Swindlers. Voice of India, New Delhi. http://www.bharatvani.org/books/ca/index.htm
13. One estimate has it that, if British Christmas cards and wrapping paper (at 2011 levels) were collected and fermented, instead of being dumped into landfills, it would provide sufficient biofuel (ethanol) to power a double-decker bus to the moon and back, for 20 round trips.See: http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/newsandeventspggrp/imperialcollege/newssummary/news_23-12-2011-11-18-53.
And remember, this estimate is just for one small island nation, Britain, and just for the stationery.
14. E.g. The Bible, 2 Timothy 3
15. Matt. 6:27-29
16. Locating the exact reference for this assertion has been left to the reader as an exercise. As a clue, we suggest that the reader seek out Mr. Peter Jackson and Mr. Bilbo Baggins, authorities on Elfish Customs and Manners.
17. Shri P.N. Oak pioneered etymological derivations such as ‘Christianity’ from ‘Krishna-neeti,’ based on reasonable phonetic estimation of the widespread Anglo-Saxon penchant for mispronouncing polysyllabic Sanskrit words, daringly projected back into antiquity. Placing the tongue in the cheek while speaking can, on occasion, convert Krishna-neeti to Christianity, provided the aspirant tries hard enough with the lingua in the bucca, taking care to save the lingua from the dens. We politely state that Shri Oak’s derivations have never been satisfactorily disproven and excuse ourselves, but such a contention might be a logical fallacy in itself. Caveat emptor!
18. Concerning children, it’s quite a lot more than mere bad manners and greed for toys and sweets that the Christian Church has to answer for:
A very recent instance of the Church exploiting innocent children to delude adults:
“Disturbing Footage Of Toddler Being Used As Faith Healer. A Chennai church is projecting this young child as a deliverer of miracles.” https://in.news.yahoo.com/disturbing-footage-of-toddler-being-used-as-faith-healer-074055127.html
19. Durant, W (1935). The Story of Civilization. Vol. 1, Our Oriental Heritage. Simon and Schuster, New York.