The Supreme Light descended into this mortal world of gloom and darkness, two thousand years ago.
The Law governing the Lord's descent upon earth is the same at all times, everywhere. When unrighteousness grows and righteousness is waning, when the forces undivine seem to be stronger than the divine forces, when the Word of God or commandments of His Messengers are forgotten or disobeyed, when religious fanaticism follows the letter of the scriptures killing the spirit, it is then that the Lord incarnates Himself on earth, to save Man, to save righteousness. That is why we find so much in common between the birth of Lord Jesus and the Avatara of Lord Sri Krishna.
Even at birth, the Lord had silently begun to deliver His Message. He chose, not a palace but a stable to be his first earthly home. He chose, not royal parents, but humble, poor, but faithful and pious people to own Him the Lord of the Universe, as their offspring. His scale of values is different from mortal. In His eyes, earthly pomp and splendour, as also pride of piety and vanity of intellect, are not receptacles worthy of His descent: for, "blessed are the pure at heart, for they shall see God."
Mary, the Divine Mother of Lord Jesus, had already been informed by His Angels that the Son of God would be born of her. She married a good man named Joseph, the carpenter. They lived in Nazareth. The ruler of the country in which they lived passed an order that all the people should register their names in their native town or village and then pay tax. Joseph had, therefore, to go to Bethlehem, their native place. However, when they did arrive there, they found that they had virtually no decent house or inn to live in, and had to spend the night in a stable. It was here that the Lord was born.
The blessed, pure and pious shepherds were the next to see the Lord. They were keeping watch over their sheep in the country; and an angel appeared before them and informed them of the Divine Birth. Then the angels sang a beautiful song in praise of the Lord and in so doing, revealed the Purpose of His Descent:
Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace,
goodwill toward men.
Lord Jesus had come into this world of men in order to re-establish the true and the highest glory of God, peace on earth, and goodwill in the hearts of men towards all fellow-beings. These blessed shepherds were the very first blessed souls on earth to literally worship the Saviour.
Eight days after His Birth, His parents took Him to the temple at Jerusalem for being presented to God, as was the then Jewish custom. A good old man of Jerusalem, named Simeon, was the next to recognise the Divinity of Lord Jesus. When he saw the Lord in the temple, he knew that Jesus was the Saviour, the Divine Light that had descended on earth to dispel the darkness of ignorance and sin, to redeem the people and to lead them along the path of love and goodness, to the realisation of the Kingdom of God within. In the temple that day Anna, a prophetess also saw Lord Jesus and proclaimed that Jesus was the Son of God, who would shine as the Light of the World.
Soon after, the Wise men of the East arrived at Bethlehem to pay their homage to the Lord. When the Lord was born, an exceptionally brilliant star shone upon the sky; and this these wise men knew to be the sure sign that the Messiah promised by earlier Prophets had come. They set out to worship the Messiah. They followed the direction of the star and came to the kingdom of Herod. They explained their mission to King Herod whom their tale frightened, more than it pleased; and Herod requested them to let him, too, know of the whereabouts of the Divine Child, to enable him, as he said, to worship Him, though in his heart of hearts he desired to do away with the child. The wise men continued to pursue the Star which shone above the house of the Lord. They recognised the Divine Babe, fell on their knees and worshipped Him and offered Him costly presents, as a humble token of their devotion and reverence.
Angels warned them not to reveal Jesus's whereabouts to Herod and so the wise men went their way without meeting Herod once again. Herod, thus, frustrated in his nefarious ambition, ordered that all children in Bethlehem below the age two should be mercilessly killed. The King's officers readily carried out his orders; and thousands of little babes were quickly despatched to the Lotus-Feet of the Lord, in Heaven.
But Joseph and Mary, along with Lord Jesus, had been forewarned by angels of the coming danger, and they had escaped into Egypt over which Herod had no authority. The Lord remained in Egypt for some time, till the angels once again appeared before them and announced the death of King Herod. Though Joseph, Mary and Jesus returned to their native country, they chose to proceed to Nazareth, as Joseph felt life was not safe near King Herod's son who ruled in Judea.
At Nazareth, Lord Jesus, the Son of God, the Incarnation of His Light, the Saviour, grew up as a dutiful son of the pious parents and learnt carpentry from Joseph. The Divine Master who later in life was to shape the twelve great apostles, and whose flaming words were to shape for all time to come the destinies of countless human beings and even nations upon earth,He busied Himself in learning carpentry, shaping tools and furniture from raw wood.
When the Lord was twelve years old, Joseph and Mary took Him to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Jesus was very much interested in the Temple and the discourses of the priests there. In fact, He was so much engrossed in the thoughts of God and His Divine Law, that when His parents had left the temple and were returning to Nazareth, He returned to the temple and joined a group of religious teachers who were discussing religious questions. Even to these masters of philosophy, His words were astounding.
Soon Joseph and Mary discovered that Jesus was not following them. In great consternation they returned to the temple and found Him there. Mary gently chided Him for thus slipping away from them to which the Lord replied in those wonderful mystic words: "Did you not know that I must be about My Father's business?" The fond parents were only even more puzzled.
For about fourteen years thereafter, Jesus spent His life in India and lived like a Hindu or a Buddhist monk. He had burning dispassion and the spirit of renunciation. In India he assimilated Hindu ideals and principles. Some Christians do not believe in this account of the Lord's "missing period." They argue it is not specifically mentioned in the Bible.
In matters connected with persons who lived as far back as nearly twenty centuries ago, there is bound to be slight divergences of view. The Old Testament naturally cannot contain any reference. The New Testament consists of Gospels, etc., written by His Disciples, after He was enlightened. It is obviously futile to search for a reference about the period preceding this,which was the period during which he travelled in India where He got initiation from sages and seersin accounts of His actions written by people who could never have had any knowledge of His earlier days. It has been the belief of many historians that at some time during the missing period Jesus travelled in India. Anyway there is nothing untenable in this view, and its acceptance would only strengthen the bonds of love between the East and the West, and promote good will between the two hemispheres, which is the Mission of the Lord.