Topic: THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT
Registered: Jul 2005
posted February 03, 2008 04:02 PM
Once there were six blind men, and one day they heard that the local prince had acquired a new elephant. The blind men had heard of elephants, but they had never met one. So they decided to go to the palace of the prince and find out what an elephant was. When they reached the palace, the guard let the six men in. The first man touched the elephant's side, the second touched the trunk, the third felt the tusk, the fourth man the leg, the fifth the ear, and the sixth the tail. They then rested under a tree and began to talk about their experiences.
"Now I know the elephant is like a wall", said the first man, who had touched the trunk.
"Oh no! It is like a snake", replied the second man, who had touched the trunk.
"You both must be stupid", objected the third, who had touched the tusks. "The elephant is like a spear".
"Have you gone mad? The elephant is like a tree", cried the fourth man, who had touched the leg.
"You are all wrong. The elephant is like a fan", said the fifth man, who had touched the ears.
"No, no, it is like a rope", yelled the sixth man, who had felt the tail.
A huge row ensued. They were about to come to blows when the prince came to ride the elephant. He asked, "Why are you all so agitated?"
"We cannot agree on what an elephant is like", said one of the blind men. "We all touched the same animal, but to each of us the animal was completely different".
The prince laughed. "The elephant is a large animal; its side is like a wall, trunk like a snake, with tusks like spears, legs like tree trunks, ears like fans and a tail like a rope. You have to put all those aspects together, then it is the whole elephant".
This story reveals that all knowledge is impartial. Realising this, we can be free of fixed ideas and opinions. Free of fundamentalism. We can accept plurality of beliefs and yet be free of beliefs.
Rise to the complete and holistic view. Look at the world and see it whole with all the wealth of its attributes.
~ In the words from Satish Kumar's book "You Are, Therefore I Am".
From: Blue Star Kachina
Registered: Mar 2002
posted February 04, 2008 10:13 AM
Another story about the elephant to share.
According to his evolution, man knows truth.
Bowl of Saki, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
Every person's desire is according to his evolution. That for which
he is ready is desirable for him. Milk is a desirable food for the
infant, other foods for the grown-up person. Every stage in life has
its own appropriate and desirable things.
When one realizes the ultimate truth, one comes to understand that
one single underlying current to which all the different religions,
philosophies and faiths are attached. These are all only different
expressions of the same truth, and it is the absence of that
knowledge which causes all to be divided into so many different sects
In India there is a well-known story exemplifying this fact: that
some blind men were very anxious to see an elephant. So a kind man
one day took them to see one. There, standing by its side, he
said, "Now, here is the elephant, see what you can make of it." Each
one tried to make out by touch what the elephant looked like, and
afterwards when they met together they began to discuss its
appearance. One said, "It looks like the big pillar of a palace,"
another said, "It looks like a fan." And so they differed and
discussed amongst one another, then they quarreled so much as to come
to a hand-to-hand fight. Each one said, "I have seen it, I know what
it is; I have touched it." Then the man who took them to the elephant
came and said, "You are every one of you right, but you have each
seen only a part of the elephant."
So it is with the religions. A person says, "This religion is the
one, this doctrine is the only one, this truth is the only truth
possible." That shows a lack of knowledge of the ultimate truth. As
soon as one comes to the realization of the depth of truth, one
begins to discern that it is the same truth which the great ones have
tried to express in words. They could not put it fully into words.
They have done their best to help humanity to evolve and reach to a
point at which it is able to understand what can never be explained
Somebody can be praised by one and hated by another, and ten people
may all have a different idea of the same person, because each
understands him according to his state of evolution. Each sees that
person according to his own point of view, each looks at him through
his own eyes, and therefore the same person is different to each
being. In the mind of one the person is a sinner, in the mind of
another he is a saint. The same person who is considered gentle and
good by one is considered the opposite by another. If this can be so
in connection with a living being, it is equally possible that
various ideas of the deity should be formed in each heart, and that
each soul should mold his own deity according to his own evolution
and according to his way of idealizing and understanding. Therefore
the deity of every heart is different and is as that person has
imagined; but the God of every soul is one and the same, whatever
people imagine. It is the same God that they all imagine, but their
imaginations are different and it is the lack of understanding of
this that has caused the differences in religion.
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world is immortal"~
- George Eliot
Registered: Jul 2005
posted February 04, 2008 01:12 PM
Thanks, that was lovely, Juniperb.
Such profound wisdom in the world, yet such profound foolishness!
We need leaders of countries to be WISE as well as clever!!!!
Registered: Jul 2005
posted February 08, 2008 11:18 AM