Stories have been used to illustrate important ideas in different cultures for thousands of years, with some of the same stories appearing in more than one culture. This story comes from the Vedic tradition and was told by Srila Bhaktsiddhanta Swami, the guru of the guru of my guru (spiritual teacher).
The Blind Men & the Elephant
A group of blind men heard of a strange animal called an ‘elephant’ from some elderly people. Naturally they had a very strong urge to have first-hand experience of such an animal via the sense of touch. Walking sticks in hand, the blind persons arrived at the elephant stable in the royal palace, and requested the elephant keepers to permit them to touch the elephant’s different limbs.
Some of them got up on the elephant’s back with the assistance of the elephant keepers, some touched the trunk of the elephant, others touched its tail, and some felt its legs.
The blind person who touched the trunk of the elephant decided it must be some sort of large serpent. The one who touched the legs assumed that it was some pillar-like creature. Another who touched its ears, believed it to be something like a large fan, and the one who touched its belly concluded the animal must be like a big drum.
Thus, none of the blind persons, collectively or individually, fully understood the elephant.
The Meaning of the Story
Those who arrive at their own conclusion about the constitutional form of the Supreme Person by applying their materialistic knowledge and methods — so-called mundane education or objective observation — also suffer from such an imperfect and concocted conception of the truth.
Charley aka Caitanya das