Friday, November 14, 2008
20 Blind Men & The Elephant
By Manuwant Choudhary
Even as the world's Group of 20 leaders meet in the United States to solve the world's economic problems I am reminded of the great Indian story of the blind men and the elephant.
It has its origins in Hindu scriptures but later even Buddhist and Jain scriptures mention them. Here is the Buddhist version
Udana 68-69: Parable of the Blind Men and the Elephant. Buddha tells the story of a raja who had six blind men gathered together to examine the elephant.
"When the blind men had felt the elephant, the raja went to each of them and said to each, 'Well, blind man, have you seen the elephant? Tell me, what sort of thing is an elephant?'
They assert the elephant is like a pot (head), winnowing basket (ear), ploughshare (tusk), plough (trunk), granary (body), pillar (foot), mortar (back), pestle (tail), or brush (tip of the tail).
The men come to blows, which delights the raja.
The raja says:
O how they cling and wrangle, some who claim
For preacher and monk the honored name!
For, quarreling, each to his view they cling.
Such folk see only one side of a thing.