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Chapter 15: Beyond Indolence and Distraction

“Look, brother, I can see with my eyes - it is the middle of the day and the sun is shining brightly and it is very hot. You are saying that it is dark? How can I explain it to you?”

“Let us go then,” said the owl. “There is a big tree over there where there are lots of owls and great scholars too. We will ask them about it - and they know all about the scriptures, and a few of them are very learned. Come on. We will see if you are making a fool of me.”

They flew over and there were many many blind owls there. “This swan has turned up,” the owl said, “and he says that it is the middle of the day and the sun is beating down and that there is light everywhere and that’s why it is hot. What do you people say?”

“What is all this?” they cried. “Our fathers and their fathers and their fathers, in fact the whole of our community has never seen a sun, so there is no such thing as a sun. How can it be there? He is having you on. Don’t listen to him. He is either mad or a very fraudulent fellow. He is trying to corrupt our religion. We have always lived in darkness and we have always worshipped darkness. It is the very foundation of our way of life. He will destroy our way of life. That is the sort of person he is. If you want, we will take a majority vote on it.”

One owl got up and said, “What is the truth? Does darkness exist or does light?”

“Darkness, and darkness alone,” they all cried in unison.

“Why then has it got so hot?”

“Because it is so dark,” they cried. “Heat is a function of darkness.”

“Don’t let him stay here,” they all cried again. “He will spoil our religion, our tradition, our very cherished past. Drive him away immediately. He is either totally blind or utterly mad.”

This small parable contains a few truths of immense value.

First: truth cannot be transferred - there is no way to transfer it - my truth is my truth. I can talk about it to you, but talking about it is not transferring it to you, listening to it is not understanding it. You will have to open your own eyes.

The function of a real master is not to say to you that God exists but to help you to open your eyes, to open your windows of the soul so that you can see, so that you can realize the meaning of the word God in your own bones, in your own blood, in your very marrow. I cannot see for you through my eyes and I cannot walk for you with my legs and I cannot fly for you with my wings. You will have to live your life and you will have to die your death.

This is one of the most fundamental things to be always remembered; otherwise one becomes burdened with borrowed knowledge which is not knowledge at all but a pseudo coin. It looks like knowledge, hence it can deceive you.

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