May 10, 2015

Six Blind Men And An Elephant - A Jain Story

A king once asked that his servants bring him six blind men and an elephant.

Upon arriving the blind men were told to determine what an elephant looks like by feeling different parts of the elephant's body.

When the blind men had each felt a part of the elephant the king went to each of them and asked, “Tell me blind men, what sort of thing is an elephant?”

One blind man who felt a leg said, “The elephant is like a pillar!”

Another blind man felt the head and said, “The elephant, it is like a pot.”

The one who felt it's tail said, “The elephant is like a rope!”

The fourth blind man felt it's trunk and said, “The elephant is like a tree branch.”

After feeling the elephant's ear, the fifth man said, “The elephant is like a fan!”

Then the last felt the elephant's belly, and said, “The elephant is like a wall.”

The men couldn't agree with each other and began to argue furiously; each of them insisting they were right. "Yes it is!" "No, it's not." "An elephant is like this!" "You don't know what an elephant is!" And so on, until they came to fighting over the matter.

The king took great amusement in watching them battle.

Finally the king stopped the arguing and explained to the blind men, “You are all correct. Every one of you is telling differently because each of you felt a different part of the elephant. The elephant in fact has all these features you described.”

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