Tales and Parables Ramakrishna – PARTIAL KNOWLEDGE BREEDS NARROWNESS

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PARTIAL KNOWLEDGE BREEDS NARROWNESS

FOUR blind men went out to see an elephant. One touched the leg of the elephant and said, “The elephant is like a pillar.” The second touched the trunk and said, “The elephant is like a thick club.” The third touched the belly and said, “The elephant is like a big jar.” The fourth touched the ears and said, “The elephant is like a big winnowing basket.” Thus they began to dispute hotly amongst themselves as to the shape of the elephant. A passer-by, seeing them thus quarrelling, said, “What is it you are disputing about?” They told him everything and asked him to arbitrate. The man said: “None of you has seen the elephant. The elephant is not like a pillar, its legs are like pillars. It is not like a winnowing basket, its ears are like winnowing baskets. It is not like a stout club, its trunk is like a club. The elephant is the combination of all these – ^legs, ears, belly, trunk and so on.”

In the same manner, those who quarrel (about the nature of God) have each seen only some one aspect of the Deity. (202)

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