AN ELEPHANT AND THE
Once upon a time, there lived six blind
men in a village. One day the villagers told them, "Hey, there is an
elephant in the village today."
They had no idea what an elephant is. They
decided, "Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it
anyway." All of them went where the elephant was. Everyone of them touched
the elephant is a pillar," said the first man who touched his leg.
"Oh, no! it is like a rope," said the
second man who touched the tail.
"Oh, no! it is like a thick branch of a
tree," said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.
"It is like a big hand fan" said the
fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.
"It is like a huge wall," said the fifth
man who touched the belly of the elephant.
"It is like a solid pipe," Said the sixth
man who touched the tusk of the elephant.
They began to argue about the elephant and
everyone of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were
getting agitated. A wise man was passing by and he saw this. He stopped and
asked them, "What is the matter?" They said, "We cannot agree to what the
elephant is like." Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was
like. The wise man calmly explained to them, "All of you are right. The
reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you
touched the different part of the elephant. So, actually the elephant has
all those features what you all said."
"Oh!" everyone said. There was no more
fight. They felt happy that they were all right.
The moral of the story is that there may
be some truth to what someone says. Sometimes we can see that truth and
sometimes not because they may have different perspective which we may not
agree too. So, rather than arguing like the blind men, we should say, "Maybe
you have your reasons." This way we donít get in arguments. In Jainism, it
is explained that truth can be stated in seven different ways. So, you can
see how broad our religion is. It teaches us to be tolerant towards others
for their viewpoints. This allows us to live in harmony with the people of
different thinking. This is known as the Syadvada, Anekantvad, or the theory
of Manifold Predictions.