These wise three men bow down into the feet of this small babe. This is knowledge bowing down before knowing, experience bowing down before innocence, Adam bowing down before Jesus, respectability bowing down before revolution.
And they offer many presents to Jesus: gold they offer, incense they offer, myrrh they offer. Those are symbolic offerings. In the East, gold is offered to kings and this poorest of the poor is the king of the kings. So they offer gold. Incense is offered to the priests and this boy is not a priest, yet he is going to be the highest priest possible. They offer incense. And in the East, myrrh is offered to somebody who is on their deathbed. Why do they offer myrrh to this boy who is just born? They know, they feel, that this boy is going to die on the cross – is destined. Because unless somebody dies totally there is no resurrection.
They offer whatsoever they have and they come back. The story says that they go back to their home…their home was in Iran. So they come back home and they bring the message that they have looked and found in the eyes of Jesus something of the unknown.
They bring the message, but Iran never became a Christian country, never. That too is very symbolic. The three wise men were the first to encounter Jesus, but still they could not bring the message back home. The experience was so deep and profound that it could not be expressed. They may have become dumb, they may have remained silent for the rest of their life, they may not have talked to anybody, they may not have said anything to anybody. Nobody knows what happened to those three wise men. Because they had come to the very source, they may have become silent.
This is a Zen parable. The first thing to be dropped is knowledge. Once you drop knowledge you attain to clarity. Look at small children – let that be your ideal and become a child again. Only children have eyes to see. Our eyes are too full of ideas.
We go on collecting knowledge, opinions, but deep down we remain the same, nothing changes. We just go on painting our personality on the surface.
I have heard.
Cohen and Goldberg were partners in the dress business. And business was terrible.
A discouraged Cohen announced to his partner that he was going to change his name for good luck.
“From now on,” he said, “I am O’Brian.”
That night Goldberg decided he would change his name too.
Both men instructed the switchboard operator to answer the phones, “O’Brian and O’Brian.”
Everything went well until a caller demanded to speak to Mr. O’Brian. “Which O’Brian do you want?” asked the operator. “Cohen or Goldberg?”