This story has been narrated before by many. Sometimes there is a need to remind ourselves, hence the desire to write it in a different way.
Four people were called upon to a test by a wise person. The rule of the test was that they will accept to be blindfolded and feel with their hands to make an assessment of what they feel. The four people felt this would be a good adventure and decided to embark on it.
One morning they assembled in the front door of a large hall to which they were called in after being blind folded. A guide walked them to a rather warm area.
"Welcome!", said the wise person. "You may move forward one by one now, when I call you to come forward. You will have one minute to feel what is in front of you, then you will tell me what you think this is."
He called them one by one forward, each were guided in a circumlocutory way by a guide to the spot where they were going to make an assessment.
"This is nothing but a warm, leathery rope!", said one; "I am sure of it!"
"This is a big tree trunk, may be covered with cloth", said the second; "I am pretty sure of this!"
"There is no doubt!", said the third; "This is a wall, more dome like. But a wall, solid wall!"
"No! This is a snake", said the fourth person; "I can feel it hissing and hot air coming here. I can feel it twisting!"
The wise person said, "Thanks to each of you for showing us all a good lesson!", and requested the guide to remove their blind folds.
The four people looked at in astonishment at the being in front of them. The wise person was sitting atop a beautiful elephant! With a leathery tail, tree trunk like legs, wall like body and an ever moving snaky trunk!
"The truth", concluded the wise person; "is probably like this!
Perceived in many ways by many, it has no solitary explanation.
Each sees their own side and each is right in their own way and assure it by their experience, indeed! Is there any point in contesting over it?"
~ Story adapted and modified based on ancient Eastern fable
- Narayan Srinivasan, Saturday, June 13, 2009