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Why and how do (some) Hindus celebrate Christmas?

What have any modern Hindu Gurus commented on this practice?


EDIT

I don't think this is an opinion-based question. From What types of questions should I avoid asking? I think this fits into constructive subjective questions: "inspire answers that explain why and how"

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    1.That is the practice which became popular after the entry of catholic schools into the country. 2. Effect of secularism on the minds of younger generation. 3. Effect of hollywood movies and internet. – Sarvabhouma Nov 30 '16 at 4:29
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    You can remove "why" part. As purely Christmas is non Hindu festival, "why" is primarly opinion based. – The Destroyer Nov 30 '16 at 4:49
  • Yeshua wasn't even born on 25th December. The Bible's description of the surroundings of his birth suggest he was born around September. 25th December used to celebrated as the Pagan Festivals of Saturnalia and Yule. But after the Roman Empire adopted Christianity, they decided to celebrate 25th December as Christmas. – Surya Kanta Bose Chowdhury Dec 17 '18 at 7:57
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The Ramakrishna Mission celebrates Christmas with a puja. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda looked upon Jesus Christ as one of the incarnations of God. Most of the centers have some type of puja or recognition of Christmas as the celebration of Jesus's birth. See - http://media.belurmath.org/festival-calendar-of-belur-math-for-2016-17-634

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I think that orthodox Hindus do not celebrate Christmas.
... And that would mean that those Hindus who do celebrate Christmas are not orthodox Hindus.

  • orthodox -- conforming to what is generally or traditionally accepted as right or true; established and approved; strictly keeping to traditional doctrine and ritual
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    Don't ISKCON people believe that Jesus is an Avesha Avatara of Vishnu? – Keshav Srinivasan Nov 30 '16 at 6:51
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    @KeshavSrinivasan haha, I knew you'd be bothered with that and ask something like that. Yes, ISKCON devotees take statement of Srila Prabhupada, actually it is said that his guru said that first, that Jesus is a Shaktyavesa avatara (especially empowered incarnation) to preach a religious principles as some derivative of the vedic religion. But I think that Gaudiya Vaishnavas prior to that time did not recognise Jesus as such. And although that issue seems to be typical for modern Gaudiyas, it was not typical for early Gaudiyas. So I'd say modern Gaudiyas are not orthodox on that point. – brahma jijnasa Nov 30 '16 at 7:17
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Thus it could be that some modern Gaudiyas do celebrate Christmas because they recognise Jesus as a Shaktyavesa avatara, and thus they want to show, let's say, some kind of respect or appreciation for his efforts to enlighten the people back than 2000 years ago. But I think this is not typical for Gaudiyas in general, and I'd say it's somewhat unorthodox. And even then, I'm sure, they do not celebrate Christmas with the same understanding as Christians do, for they perceive Jesus quite different. – brahma jijnasa Nov 30 '16 at 7:47
  • 'orthodox' Hindus 1) believe in God 2) accept the vedas as the revealed word of God and 3) believe in cycles and reincarnation. All modern orthodox Hindus follow 1) the Gita 2) the Brahma Sutras and 3) the Upanishads. A person can accept Jesus as an incarnation and still be an orthodox Hindu... – Swami Vishwananda Dec 1 '16 at 4:40
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    @SwamiVishwananda Please see the definition of the word "orthodox" that I have posted above in my answer, that I took from the google translate dictionary at translate.google.com So, if an orthodox Hindu follows that what you said then you should be able to find some verses about Jesus and celebration of him in the Gita, Vedanta Sutras or Upanishads, and thus when you celebrate Jesus you would be an orthodox Hindu. But if you can't find verses about Jesus, but you still celebrate him, then you are not quite an orthodox Hindu. It's very simple. ... – brahma jijnasa Dec 2 '16 at 6:58
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The Sri Sathya Sai Ashram celebrates Christmas every year in a grand manner. The previous evening usually comprises a program by an International Music Orchestra, that plays Christmas Carols. On Christmas Morning, (proper) Christians and other Hindu devotees from all over the world and India, go in a candle procession around the Ashram. Christmas evening sometimes has a play or cultural program on the life and message of Jesus Christ, or a music program by an international artist.

The Ashram is decorated colorfully with stars, lights etc. In the last few years, every year, a different country is given charge of the grand decoration activity. Devotees from that country decorate the ashram with volunteers.

When Sri Sathya Sai Baba was alive, he gave a discourse on Christmas every year, mentioning the good qualities to be learnt from Christ's life and his relationship with God. The celebrations every year, make hardly any distinction between Hindus residing Abroad/India and overseas citizens/born christians, in terms of participation. The activities often begin with a chant of Omkar and end with a chant of Samastha Loka Sukino Bhavanthu and Om Shanthi as on the other Hindu festival days.

http://www.srisathyasai.org.in/pages/ashraminfo/Christmas.htm

http://media.radiosai.org/journals/vol_13/01DEC15/Christmas-Celebrations-at-Prasanthi-Nilayam-2015.htm

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Actually, it's opinion based question. Because you won't be able to accept any answer as correct. However, the answers can be interesting. Hence leaving upto community, if it should be closed or not.

I am from a very specialized section of Hinduism:

Hindu > Vaishnava > Krishna > Pre-tennage version (Bal swaroop) > ThAkorji / ShrinAthji

Though the family is very conservative, when it comes to Christmas, they are liberal. It's celebrated something like this:

enter image description here

Why. No single reason. Generally in India, I think English schooling has more to do with why people celebrate Christmas. Moreover, culturally we were influenced from Britishers. Many people believe Jesus as an incarnation of Vishnu as well & many don't. Source:
Is Jesus an avatar of Lord Vishnu?

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I think Hinduism has a history of adopting foreign gods from a very early period. There is nothing wrong with this. The saguna brahman is inexhaustible and can therefore manifest in all sorts of ways. That is why it is an entirely orthodox Hindu practice to consider Jesus a manifestation of the Godhead.

Most Hindus who do celebrate Christmas do not celebrate it like Christians do. They use Hindu ritual idioms to do so. If any Hindu Acharya can be considered an avatar by his pupils and their descendants, why not do the same with Jesus Christ? After all, he is just another Bhakti Yoga teacher.

Shri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, for example, went quite far in the direction of integrating Jesus Christ into Hinduism (Hence the Christmas celebrations at Ramakrishna Maths)

Here are a few links: http://www.spiritualbee.com/posts/sri-ramakrishna-vision-of-jesus/ https://swamishivapadananda.typepad.com/swami_shivapadananda/2010/11/jesus-ramakrishna-and-avatars.html https://vedanta.org/what-is-vedanta/the-avatar-god-in-human-form/

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    @Sarvabhouma but who defines what an "Orthodox Hindus" is? There is no central authority in Hinduism. – fi11222 Dec 18 '18 at 9:49
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    @Sarvabhouma I have added a few links to my original answer to show how widspread the idea of JC as a Hindu manifestation of the divine already is. – fi11222 Dec 18 '18 at 9:59
  • "That is why it is an entirely orthodox Hindu practice to consider Jesus a manifestation of the Godhead." How did you define what is an orthodox Hindu practice? Orthodox Hindu means who practices the religion and follows injunctions present in the Holy texts. There is definitely, a central authority in Hinduism. There are Swamijis and acharyas who following disciplinic tradition. – Sarvabhouma Dec 18 '18 at 17:15
  • @Sarvabhouma: For example, considering Jesus Christ a manifestation of the Godhead is orthodox according to Advaita. In Advaita, there is no limited list of the forms saguna Brahman can take. saguna Brahman can manifest as Shiva or as Kartikeya or as Jesus Christ because, in any case, all these forms will be transcended, and thus discarded, when one realizes nirguna Brahman. It does not matter what saguna Brahman form you worship since it is only a stepping stone towards nirguna Brahman. That is why many Vedantins, like Shri Ramakrishna or Swami Vivekananda were very open to it. – fi11222 Dec 18 '18 at 17:40
  • Well, Adi Shankaracharya condemned the worship of some demigods and goddesses in his Bhagavad Gita commentary. Everyone is not a manifestation of Saguna Brahman. Even he encouraged worshipping only six gods and goddesses. I take Adi Shankaracharya as orthodox. NoShankara mutt built churches. How are gods who were introduced a 1000 years and 300 years to us traditional and orthodox? That's a new addition. E.g I can't be Saguna Brahman if some starts worshipping me. – Sarvabhouma Dec 18 '18 at 17:52

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