Chapter 2: Judge Ye Not
The old man said, “Again you are going too far. Just say that the horse is back, and say that twelve horses have come with the horse - but don’t judge. Who knows whether it is a blessing or not? It is only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read one page of a book - how can you judge the whole book? You read a sentence in a page - how can you judge the whole page? You read a single word in a sentence - how can you judge the whole sentence? Life is so vast - and even a single word, a fragment of a word, and you have judged the whole! Don’t say that this is a blessing, nobody knows. And I am happy in my no-judgment; don’t disturb me.”
This time the people could not say much; maybe the old man was again right. So they kept silent, but inside they knew well that he was wrong. Twelve beautiful horses had come with the horse. A little training and they could all be sold and they would fetch much money.
The old man had a young son, only one son. The young son started to train the wild horses; just a week later he fell from a wild horse and his legs were broken. The people gathered again - and people are people everywhere, like you everywhere - again they judged. Judgment comes so soon! They said, “You were right, again you proved right. It was not a blessing, it was again a misfortune. Your only son has lost his legs, and in your old age he was your only support. Now you are poorer than ever.”
The old man said, “You are obsessed with judgment. Don’t go that far. Say only that my son has broken his legs. Who knows whether this is a misfortune or a blessing? - nobody knows. Again a fragment, and more is never given to you. Life comes in fragments, and judgment is about the total.”
It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war with a neighboring country, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man’s son was left because he was crippled. The people gathered, crying and weeping, because from every house young people were forcibly taken away, and there was no possibility of their coming back, because the country that had attacked was a big country and the fight was a losing fight. They were not going to come back.
The whole town was crying and weeping and they came to the old man and they said, “You were right, old man! God knows, you were right - this proved a blessing. Maybe your son is crippled, but still he is with you. Our sons are gone for ever. At least he is alive and with you and, by and by, he will start walking. Maybe a little limp will be left, but he will be okay.”
The old man again said, “It is impossible to talk to you people, you go on and on and on - you go on judging. Nobody knows! Only say this: that your sons have been forced to enter into the military, into the army, and my son has not been forced. But nobody knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune. Nobody will ever be able to know it. Only God knows..”