From the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel Christmas Eve Candlelight and Carols Service, celebrating the birth of the prophets of all the great religions of the world, Tuesday 24th December 2002, 6.00 pm - 7.00pm

...All the birth stories of the great religious leaders share common elements and bear a remarkable similarity. According to the legends of their births, all were born in times of great darkness. Their births excited fear in the hearts of tyrants and led to the slaughter of innocents. All were born in obscure places to escape the wrath of tyrants, generally in caves. Miraculous portents, heavenly displays of great magnitude accompanied their births. And they were protected at birth and in their early years by magical intervention.

Click below on a prophet's name to go there directly:
Hinduism The birth of Krishna
Buddhism The birth of Buddha
Zoroastrianism The birth of Zarathustra
Judaism The birth of Abraham
Islam The birth of Muhammad
Christianity The birth of Jesus






The Lord Krishna was born in a dark dungeon in the palace of his uncle, the wicked and cruel King Kamsa, who imprisoned the parents after receiving a celestial warning that their child would be the cause of his death.

Immediately after the birth, the dungeon was illuminated by celestial light which emanated from the body of the new-born child. Angels appeared in the cell, singing his praises; they gave him offerings of flowers and worshipped him, while heavenly music filled the atmosphere. The parents, fearing for his life, burst into tears, but the babe comforted them, saying, "O mother, O father, I have come to rescue thee and save mankind; behold my divine power." On saying this, he became the babe once more. From this time began manifestations of the wonderful power of the Lord; heavy iron chains were loosened, the palace doors opened themselves at midnight and the sentinels enjoyed the sleep of death. The father carried the babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, to the banks of the Jamuna, and the mighty river, with its swift currents, gave way: he crossed it easily and arrived at the home of his friend Manda, the shepherd.

In the meantime, Narada, the messenger of God, appeared to wise men, sages, saints and innocent shepherds, heralding like the morning star, the advent and glorious rise of the Divine Son, the saviour of Mankind. The next morning, the shepherds, wise men, saints and sages came from all quarters to see the son of God. They worshipped him and presented him with their offerings. The wise men noticed in his little form the signs of an avatar, or incarnation of the Supreme Deity, and gave him the name of Krishna, the redeemer of the world.

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There was in Kapaliwastoe, a king whose wife, Mahe-Devi, was beautiful as the water lily and pure of spirit like the lotus. She lived on earth like the queen of heaven, not blemished by desires. The king honoured her in her sacredness, and the spirit of truth descended on her. When she knew that the hour of her birth was near she asked the king to send her home to her parents.

While she went through the gardens of Lumbini her hour approached. Her bed was spread under the high satin tree and the child was born like the rising sun, radiant and perfect. All worlds were inundated with light. The blind became seeing through their desire to observe the splendours of the Lord. The deaf and dumb talked to each other about the good omens which were indicated by the birth of Buddha. The crooked became straight, the lame walked. Heavenly music sounded in the sky and angels rejoiced, full of happiness. All wicked beings received a loving heart and there was peace on earth. Only Mara, the Devil, was angry and did not rejoice.

At that time, there was at the court, a holy man, Asita, a hermit. The king invited him to see the child. When Asita saw the child, his heart rejoiced and he said, "The king should be very happy, for this is a wonderfully noble son. Discard all worry and doubt. The spiritual signs indicate that the child who is born shall bring liberation to the whole world."

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Zarathustra was conceived after his mother, a young virgin, drank milk which had miraculously appeared in two virgin white cows when they had eaten from a branch of the sacred Haoma plant on which archangels had carried Zarathustra's spirit to earth.

When Zarathustra was born on earth he smiled and all in the room were surprised. His father said, "This child, surely, must be a ray of Ahura Mazda, for all but he cry at this moment. They therefore called him 'Zarathustra' which means 'Light of God'.

The king of the country, being a magician and worshipper of Satan, upon hearing about the birth, had the child brought to him and wanted to kill it by his sword. But the king's hand was paralysed at that very moment, so that he desisted in great pain and dismay.

When the mother was told what had happened she rushed to the palace where the child was and took it back to her home. The king's magicians sought other means of killing the child. But one of them, a famous magician of good intent, said, "Zarathustra cannot be destroyed by your plans as he is a friend of Ahura Mazda and the light of God is always with him. He lives in the presence of Ahura Mazda who has given him knowledge of all the secrets of existence and who sends him to us as his prophet."

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The cunning King Nimrod foresaw in the stars the coming of Abraham, who would rise up against him. In his terror he called for his advisers, who conspired to instruct the midwives to kill all new-born boys. Abraham's mother, when her time approached, left the city in great terror, fearing for her child. She walked along  the edge of a valley, and came across a cave, where she took refuge, and gave birth to her son.

The cave was filled with the light of the child's face, and the mother rejoiced greatly. But she became sad and said, "Alas that I bore you at a time when Nimrod was king. For your sake, many children have been slaughtered, and I fear for you life also. Better you should die here in this cave than that I should see you dead in my arms." She wrapped the baby in her garment and left him in the cave, saying, "May the Lord be with you; may He not fail you."

Then God sent the angel Gabriel who made milk to flow from the little finger of the baby's right hand. He was taken care of in other wondrous ways. When he grew up he left the cave and returned to his people to teach them the religion of the Law of Right Living.

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Muhammad (pbuh)

Many signs and portents are said to have accompanied the Prophet Muhammad's birth. Dried-up streams began to flow again, sterile cows gave milk and dusty fields began to yield crops. When the baby came on earth it was caught by the hands of the Angel Gabriel. An Israelite, a learned astrologer, saw by the signs and the constitutions of the heavens that this infant would become extraordinary. Also a number of signs occurred, prophesying to the nations of earth, that the redeemer had appeared.

Muhammad's father, Abdullah, died before the boy's birth, and his mother soon after. He was cared for by his uncle, Abu Talib, as part of a large and poor family. He had no formal education and, as a youth, he learned to know the hardships of desert life through herding camels and sheep.

Yet this poor, untaught shepherd spent many hours in prayer and meditation and was called in a vision to preach the religion of One God and the Brotherhood of man.

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And it came to pass that a decree went forth from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, everyone into his own city. Joseph and Mary, his espoused  wife, also went up from Galilee out of the City of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the City of David, which is called Bethlehem, because Joseph was of the house of David. And Mary was great with child. And so it was that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

(Luke 2: 1-7)

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Thanks to Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel