Three Not So Wise Men


This morning (16-12-2006) a Malayalam daily news paper carried a small report in its rather unimportant corner which said ‘a tribal person of 56 died of starvation’ in a tribal village in Palakkad district of Kerala. He was not on hunger strike for any political or social or even religious cause. He did not have anything to eat or drink for several days in a row. The news paper also carried the report about the ADB (Asian Development Bank) loan of several crores of Rupees accepted by local administrative bodies in Kerala for developmental projects.

Jesus was born in a cave (Syriac text of St. Luke). He found a comfortable crib in the straw filled manger. He probably lived in that situation for several weeks. Then came the three wise men. They saw the star in the sky telling them about the birth of a future king. Naturally they sought him in the king’s palace. They could not find him there. Rather they found a villain who wanted to get Jesus, the hope of the future, killed. The king was not a bad person by himself. It so happened that when there was a potential challenge against his position and comfort in life, he had to act as one; it is just that simple and innocent.

In this event, we have two potential sources of salvation. King’s palace is not a bad place for Jesus to be born after all. But he was born in a cave. Wise men sought him in the palace. But not so educated men (the shepherds) found him in the manger. Where do we see the foundation of our success and prosperity, our salvation and liberation, the fulfillment of all our dreams and aspirations? Today we talk a lot about success and development. Several years back, most of the Christian donor agencies stopped giving aid to Kerala projects since they got the impression that Kerala is a developed state. Now we talk about smart city, fourth airport at Kannur in this tiny state, express highway, ADB and IMF loans and more of such big things. When we look around, we do not see any manger any more. They are invisible. We see only the palaces as symbol of and hope for our development and prosperity. Christian Church is also not so much an exception. Monuments to Parumala Thirumeni spending a crore and half is a sure see in Kerala. Spending twenty million for a Church building or ten for a parish hall or a minimum of one million for a ‘Kurisadi’ is no matter of surprise any more. Yet deep in the villages of tribal people adults die of starvation and children of mal-nutrition, in the dark corners of their houses farmers commit suicide, in the bushy corners of vacant land girls being raped, in the luxury-car running streets jobless young people hang out; all in this affluent and literate state of Kerala; and the picture of all of India is no exception, unimaginable?

People look for success and prosperity in affluence, in big projects and in fabulous and colorful life style. It is not bad to have a bit of celebration; it is not evil to have a palace or some spending. But when considered there are millions of people starving, suffering and in deprivation of basic needs and when still we mindlessly look for more an more spending and colorful lifestyle, then the palace becomes the house of villain and the manger a permanent place of living for Jesus and for many in this world made in His image and likeness.

When we spend countless amount of money out of our pockets or our plastic cards, to have a ‘good time’, will we ever remember that Jesus did not have a ‘good time’ in the cave? Of course he was born and suffered a lot to make our lives better; but mind it, not only just of our (of mine and my family) lives, rather the lives of all in this world. When we are too concerned of our personal security, ‘fun’ and success mindless of those others around us, then we become villains. A recent UN study told us, if every one in the world wants to spend like the Americans do, then we might need five earths to feed us all. Gandhiji said, "We have every thing for our need in this world, but not enough for our greed". Even people in the poorest countries of the world want to live a life like those in the so called developed countries. But for that we may have to kill still more people in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in Syria, in Iran, in Vietnam, in Korea etc. etc. just as the old king of Jesus’ time did. When we are up on the top of the world in celebrating Christmas, just think are we playing the villain role? Are we trying to make our lives better at the cost of someone’s basic needs? A simple mindful responsible life on my part will certainly help a lot of people around the world feel happy (I am not using the word MERRY) that Jesus was born. I am not asking you to do charity to satisfy our prick of conscience, rather live a life of value and dignity, rather than affluence and luxury, which will provide life of dignity to others.

Advertisements