With decorated trees, carols and Santa Claus, the beautiful season of Christmas is here again. It also reminds the philosophical story of three wise men who traveled from the east to worship Jesus.
Indeed time flies by very fast. It was in the Christmas season of 2017 that I choose to pour my heart out. Looking back, it was an eventful year in blogging for me. I learned a lot and had some very beautiful experiences.
Christmas this year was great fun. We decorated our house with stars and lights. But it really kicked off by first week of December, with YMCA carol competition. The week before christmas, as part of our church carol team, I got to go from home to home singing carol songs and spreading the good news. Later we attended the mass in the eve. Christmas day was filled with visits from our friends and family. My three-year old nephew Ephrem spiced things up with his naughtiness.
The three wise men
When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem. They inquired to King Herod where the King of Jews is born. Terrified, Herod convened a meeting of the chief priests but they could not be of much help. Herod sent off the wise men, to find the child convincing them that he wanted to worship Him. They departed and the star guided them to the manger where they worshiped and presented gold, frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus. Going back to their own country, they took a different route,to avoid Herod.
The story is the perfect allegory for a spiritual journey. The three Kings teach us five philosophical constructs that any seeker should keep in mind
1) Paradox of spirituality and materialism
The wise men speculated that the “King of Jews” will indeed be born in the palace of the King. So they started their search from Herod’s palace. But all they could find was a power mongering pompous society enslaved by materialism.
A contemplative often repeats the mistake of the wise men. To seek truth amidst the plush of the world, is a great folly. In fact money, power and fame deters the seeker from true path. Indulging in them in search of happiness, often misguide the contemplative and violates the sanctity of the spiritual experience.
2) Guiding star in the east
The story narrates the exasperation of wise men in the palace and their rejoicement when they found the star in the east in the silent night sky. It went before them, guiding them to the place of great joy.
Here the star is synonym of the ever-present silent guide that the seeker dismissed in the clamour of life. After tedious search for the absolute, when all hope seems lost, the contemplative turns to himself and an inner voice arises like the star in the horizon of his conciousness. When he becomes silent and meditative, it will guide him to the ultimate truth.
3) Humbleness of the heavenly abode
Contrary to their expectation, the wise men found Mary and the young child wrapped in torn blankets in the manger. The humble circumstances of the great event totally surprised the eastern men.
Similarly, the journey guided by the inner voice, overturns all the presumptions of the seeker. The humblest and the most unexpected places may provide great enlightenment. The picture also paints humbleness as the prerequisite of spirituality. The Omnipotent resides in the hearts of the innocent and the indigent.
4) Submission to the Reason
The sagacious men seeing baby Jesus presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
An unconditional submission is imperative to imbibe the essence of the omnipotent. Gold, frankincense and myrrh are symbols for mind, intellect and ego. Without the complete submission of these three, no one can reach enlightenment.
Once the contemplative reaches the truth, all the knowledge seems irrelevant. He unconditionally gives himself up and becomes one with the Omnipresent.
5) Giving up the old ways
The satisfied wise men avioded the pretentious Herod and traveled through a different path back to their country.
Jesus (read the Absolute) transforms the seeker forever. Once the contemplative realizes the truth she stays away from materialism. Fame, power and money no longer seduces. Her is life is never the same.
An opportunity for a new beginning.
I sometimes get awe-stuck when a seemingly simple story holds so much wisdom. It is our ignorance that binds us from achieving it. Once we free our mind and put to meditation these rare gems, we will reach a realisation similar to the three kings.
Each Christmas brings with it the opportunity to follow the path of the wise men and transform our lives. It is never too late to change. The sooner we get to the realization the better.
May this year bring all the happiness of the biblical magi to our humble hearts.