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Article 4

 

ELEPHANT AND THE BLIND MEN
In a darkened room stands an elephant brought by Hindus promoting spectacle
throngs enter the pitch black to see it but eye-blind, they grope with palms to sense it.
Each in turn describes aloud what he feels he sees as follows:
(Touching the trunk)     It's...a drain pipe
(Reaching the ear)      It['s]... a fan
(Feeling the leg)          [It's]... a pillar
(Petting the back)        [It's]...a plank!
And so it goes: each knows the beast by the part where he feels it
Their words seem to outward eye in discord one calling P what the other calls Q
But give them a candle to hold up to it and discord departs from what they intuit!

Translation by F. Lewis, Rumi Past and Present, East
and West, One world Pub., 2000. My ellipses.
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