The Elephant And The Blind Men

Perhaps this amusing, informative story will help increase understanding between religions.
A group of blind men stumbled across [sorry] an elephant, new to them and an unknown. One grabbed its tail. declarig this animal can be used as a broom. Another hugged one of the legs and said no, this is like a tree. A third, grasping a tusk said it's not alive just a piece of smooth stone. The one swinging on the nose said it was like a giant powerful snake with breath. The fifth, holding onto an ear declared it is like a winnowing basket. They all called each other stupid and wrong, since each was convinced they "knew" what they "knew".
Religions all have a partial understanding of the Great Creator, but how arrogant are people to believe theirs is a complete and correct answer?
freeed freeed
66-70, M
20 Responses Jun 30, 2010

nice story

ElfinSong and others,<br />
I agree that the metaphor of the Blind men and the Elephant should encourage us to look at the bigger picture. In today's world, we tend to specialize in something, and dumb in everything else. I say this is especially true for me, who is quite a dinosaur in technology and I was taken aback yesterday with what a "kindle" can do - downloading a book in under 1-minute!! <br />
This is true regarding our knowledge of religions other than our own - and it is so vital that our young people equip themselves with knowledge of other religions and open dialogues rather than feeling so threatened that they are willing to explode and harm one another. <br />
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In my understanding, the observed is a fractal of the observer, yet there is a Designer who is separate from this plane of existence, while He did blow His spirit into the whole and the parts of the existence, separate from His own.

Freed and Madhatter,<br />
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The Mandelbrot set was one of the most interesting discoveries I've had this year. Thanks a million. <br />
Of course, as you might expect, I bumped into the Buddhabrot as well, and that miraculous link of religion and numbers, is not unlike the miracles of seing the face of Jesus or the Holy Mary in nature as per Christian belief, and seeing the Islamic statement of belief in Arabic "There is no God but God" appears on the clouds. So what is the modern Buddhist take on the Buddhabrot, and how divine is Buddha to the western Buddhist? What is his role essentially in one's life, given the existentialist nature of western Buddhism?

That is why I studied all get the whole picture.<br />
My major was psychology............I wanted to understand the tendency of people who claim any certain religion (normally displaying love and benevolence) to use religion as a reason for war.<br />
That was several decades ago.<br />
Of course the answer was ultimately not one of religion but of hunger for power, position or resources.

MH: insight was possible by grafting math with religion. "Numbers and mathematics are the vibrations of The Self" - Svami Muktananda, my principle teacher and guru. This elephant story was based on his teaching of it to me!!

Study exclusively of one religion won't get one far, just like they have 3D images formed from hundreds of cell phone pictures now, it is important to get different slants on a large problem.

There is a translation of The Zohar available in a set of 23 books... if you want to check it out

Another text from earlier times is important as well... it is called Yetzireh Sephira

The Bible the Koran and the Torah all have something in common.<br />
They are all coded texts.<br />
To understand the commonality along with the life of all the descendants of Abraham and David one must understand the Zohar.<br />
I agree that all religions hold a piece of the understanding ...........this is why I studied them all

NR - fabianscorpio has an avatar which is The Mandelbrot Set if you can't find one on the web. It's worth learning about fractals, which this is perhaps the first example.

Two words: Mandelbrot Set. The entire set's image is contained in a small part of the set. The smaller points may not "get" the whole set, but they ARE part of it, what they see is part of the whole set besides being themselves, and the whole set sees it all, even [maybe especially] the points of which it is comprised. "Man was created in God's image".<br />
A broken glass fragment of a hologram from which a laser shows the image, contains an image of the entire hologram, not just the broken corner piece it may be - ALL of the image [though in less resolution]. The whole is contained in the parts. God exists in YOUR heart, and as is said, in the heart of a dog and also in the heart of a dog eater [low caste outcast].

If the observer is the observed, then he or she is suddenly inflated beyond the universe. How can humility and grandeur exist on one plane?

MH: there is but One Self....the self observes only the self.

nourradiance: it slays me that small creatures such as ourselves who don't even know what kind of a fish tank [Universe] we're being kept in pretend to know ALL ABOUT the one who drops in the fish food.

I've read the Elephant and the Blind Men analogy before, but not as a similitude to religion. Thank you for the humbling story. What can be more humbling than to accept ourselves as blind in search of the light of Truth. I enjoyed reading ilhillway and puck61 as well. Thank you!

ihillway. Thanks. Here I thought I was already converted. The problem is with the doctrine. There are so many different doctrines, but what you say is wise.

Not confrontational at all .Thank you.

If the creator wishes you to follow a religious path (many religions believe yes, but some believe no) then they will have placed within you the means of finding the path. Evaluate the world with an open mind, pray, and trust your heart and mind to guide you. <br />
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Even the bible says this. <br />
1 Thessalonians 5:21. But keep in mind this is saying that we are to test everything throwing out the evil and holding (believing, trusting) to all that is good. The purpose for testing is to figure out what is good to believe and what is harmful to believe.<br />
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Look at everything, your heart and mind will help you sort out the good from the evil. We are all born KNOWING good from evil, but most of us let someone else tell us what we should believe.<br />
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Only you can find your path, there are many religions out there and they all have their criticisms. What if they have all strayed from the path? What if several are right and only differ on nit-picky details? Sort through it all.<br />
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Anyone who gets too emotional about your journey and starts telling you what to do really wants something for themself, probably money or your conversion. Be careful around these people, they are in every religion.

puck61:At the risk of sounding confrontational, this story forms a great backdrop to what I'm about to say [after I compliment you by saying I've noticed some of your other posts and like them]:<br />
Jesus truly spoke none comes to the father but through Him. One first should consider that the Bible was written to a then present audience. By analogy, we can all agree in the existence of Queen bees, which are analogous to the very rare special personages like Jesus who possess the special ability to bestow the Holy Ghost. Without The Holy Ghost one cannot proceed past the person responsible for giving it. BUT, just as several blind men announced their understanding and there are MANY Queen bees, there are also many through whom it is necessary to pass via spiritual energy transmission before proceeding to the greater God - the Transcendent. Religions have various names for such beings but a commonly known term is guru [of which many are FAKES] who as a living person recognizable to us poor humans can lead us to the Ultimate.<br />
I wish you Peace and also to all who read this in addition to all who will never read this.

Great post. I'm in a spiritual tangle of sorts. I'm a Christian and I totally agree with you, but the doctrine of my "religion" teaches that Jesus Christ is the one and only path to salvation. I wonder how I can believe everything that Christ said except for His statement about Himself, "I am the truth and the life (light?) and no man cometh to the Father but by Me" I know this is something I have to come to terms with soon.