Friday, January 06, 2006


"In western Christian tradition, January 6 is celebrated as Epiphany... The term epiphany means "to show" or "to make known" or even "to reveal." In Western churches, it remembers the coming of the wise men bringing gifts to visit the Christ child, who by so doing "reveal" Jesus to the world as Lord and King..."

The Season of Epiphany (Link to Complete Article)

The wise men who came are also known as the Magi, and paintings of the event form a little sub genre of Nativity paintings called The Adoration of the Magi. This is a pivotal event for those with faith in a physical Jesus. Even allegorically, it is significant. I am not going to get into all that though. I think that Jesus being born in a manger has much more significance. I think the main point is how auspicious it was to be born in the presence of cows.

I remember when Sri Sri Radha Vrindavan Candra moved into Their new home a couple of decades ago. There was an elaborate ceremony performed by the celebrity priest in ISKCON at the time, based on ancient traditions Quite detail oriented with fire sacrifices and lists of paraphernalia and unfolding events. The climax was when the Deities had moved into the new temple, and it was the first time the doors to the altar were to be opened. The idea was that there would be a sequence of special items that would enter the main door and make a circuit in front of RVC so the first things they saw were auspicious. All the devotees were in the wings of the temple room, leaving the central area open. As I had been the logistical support liaison for the priest, I was hovering around the edges prepared to do the needful.

Ambarish went in first, leading a cow. Pitambar was standing there with a calf, waiting to go in second. Suddenly Kirtanananda turned to me and said "You lead the calf in". Perhaps he was concerned the calf would bolt in the unfamiliar circumstances and knew I had enough experience to keep it calm, or, if not, the physical strength to channel the calf's energy. As it was too late to discuss the matter, I took the halter rope and followed Ambarish at the appropriate interval. Later, I felt a little guilty about it, because this may have been a disappointment for Pitambar, and maybe it was Kirtanananda's misogyny that prompted him to make the last second change. In any case, she had been willing, and I am sure Krishna knows she was, and He will remember.

Point being, that the first things RVC saw were a cow, and then a calf. Before Jesus saw the wise men he saw a cow.


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