The Elephant in a Dark Room by Rumi

– Posted in: Choice, Personal Growth, Soul Development

This begins a collection of stories, quotes and parables for Meditation…
The first considers how we, trapped within our body’s perceptions, are challenged to understand the nature of our Souls.

Buddhist version, Blind Monks Examining an Elephant

“The Elephant in a Dark Room”
This parable can be found within the Jainist, Sufi, Hindu & Buddhist traditions. When you cannot perceive something with your physical senses, you may have to go within to gain understanding.

The Elephant in a Dark Room

by Rumi Translated by E.H. Whinfield, M.A. found on this site.

Some Hindoos were exhibiting an elephant in a dark room, and many people collected to see it. But as the place was too dark to permit them to see the elephant, they all felt it with their hands, to gain an idea of what it was like. One felt its trunk, and declared that the beast resembled a water-pipe; another felt its ear, and said it must be a large fan; another its leg, and thought it must be a pillar; another felt its back, and declared the beast must be like a great throne. According to the part which each felt, he gave a different description of the animal…

Comparison of the sensual eye to the hand of one that felt the elephant.

The eye of outward sense is as the palm of a hand,
The whole of the object is not grasped in the palm.

The sea itself is one thing, the foam another;
Neglect the foam, and regard the sea with your eyes.

Waves of foam rise from the sea night and day,
You look at the foam ripples and not the mighty sea.

We, like boats, are tossed hither and thither,
We are blind though we are on the bright ocean.

Ah! you who are asleep in the boat of the body,
You see the water; behold the Water of waters!

Under the water you see there is another Water moving it,
Within the spirit is a Spirit that calls it.

Always infinite possibilities… always your choice.

Music Credit (in podcast): “Evanescent” ©Copyright 2002 by Axiom of Choice

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