Monday, December 29, 2008

From This Limited Perspective...

I haven't had much to say lately, so I thought I'd post a parable that I found tonight by Rumi.

I'd like to know your thoughts on this.

SOME Hindus had brought an elephant for exhibition and placed it in a dark house. Crowds of people were going into that dark place to see the beast. Finding that ocular inspection was impossible, each visitor felt it with his palm in the darkness.

The palm of one fell on the trunk.

'This creature is like a water-spout,' he said.

The hand of another lighted on the elephant's ear. To him the beat was evidently like a fan.

Another rubbed against its leg.

'I found the elephant's shape is like a pillar,' he said.

Another laid his hand on its back.

'Certainly this elephant was like a throne,' he said.

The sensual eye is just like the palm of the hand. The palm has not the means of covering the whole of the beast.

The eye of the Sea is one thing and the foam another. Let the foam go, and gaze with the eye of the Sea. Day and night foam-flecks are flung from the sea: oh amazing! You behold the foam but not the Sea. We are like boats dashing together; our eyes are darkened, yet we are in clear water.


Alexander M Zoltai said...

Of course, the beginning is known by many people--the varying perceptions by varying people; but the end of the tale is fascinating!

My 2 cents would be to focus on the word "Sea". Not only Rumi but many mystic poets use the Sea as the symbol for the all-surrounding living water of God's love and His manifest Word. So, then, the eye of the Sea is seeing as God sees...

The "foam" of our limited perceptions obscures the "clear water" that surrounds us...

~ Alex from Our Evolution

Don said...

I would say that it's a lesson in systems theory, that one may perceive subsystems of the whole and not know the overall system that they form.

Sophia said...

Hi Alex,

Yes, I've seen it start out in other ways, like with blind monks feeling the elephant instead of crowds of people in a dark house.

I am glad you've helped me to have a better understanding of the symbolism in the last paragraph. Thanks! :)

Sophia said...


Exactly!! That's a great analogy. :)

Don said...


Thank you!

Hope you come out of your funk. Just give it some time.