Chapter 7: The Time Is Short
I have heard a story about a faraway mountain land where a community of blind people lived. Nobody was born blind, but there was a certain fly whose bite made the person immediately blind. Every child was born with eyes, but those flies were all around, it was impossible to escape from those flies. All the older people, the adults, the mothers and fathers, could not do anything - they were all blind, the whole community was blind.
The fly was affective only to a certain age-group, below five years of age. Five years is a long time for a child, and the fly was all around. Within those five years.any moment. In fact, within six months every child was blind; those flies were not waiting for five years.
For the first time, a stranger came into the community from faraway lands, he was an adventurer. Seeing thousands of blind people from the hilltop, he could not believe his own eyes. He felt immensely sorry for them, he forgot about his further exploration in the mountains and he remained with those people. He wanted to help them somehow, he wanted to find what had happened. It is acceptable that in thousands of people there may be one man blind - that he knew - but in thousands of people not a single man with eyes? It was a great challenge for him; he wanted to find out what was the matter, what had happened.
Soon he was able to find out that every child was born with eyes, and every child became blind within six months. He discovered the fly, too, which was a common fly. But while he was doing this research into why these poor people had all gone blind, he fell in love with a blind girl. She was immensely beautiful - he had seen beauty before, but this girl’s beauty was a category in itself, incomparable. Although she was blind, she looked like a marble statue made, not by any amateur, but by some Leonardo da Vinci.
The girl was still unmarried. A great problem arose in the community, because never before had it happened that anybody from their community had married somebody.particularly a stranger - and more emphatically, a man who is mad because he thinks he has eyes. But they were simple mountain people, they did not want to make these two young people miserable.
The community agreed that the man could marry the girl, but first he had to become blind. Then he would be one of them, no more a stranger. First he had to drop that madness that he had eyes - who had ever heard about eyes? If he was not willing to drop that insane idea, then the marriage was not possible, he was not only a stranger, he was insane too. The man so loved the girl that he destroyed his eyes. In his life, for the first time love became blind. For love, he became blind.
Why could those people not accept that he had eyes? It was against the egos of the whole community, they were blind and he had eyes. He was somebody special, so either he was mad - imagining, hallucinating about eyes - or perhaps he had eyes. But then he could not be tolerated, allowed to continue to have eyes, because he would remain a stranger, an outsider, and the very idea that he had eyes made everyone feel inferior. The day he destroyed his eyes and said, “I have dropped that idea of being a man with eyes,” there was great rejoicing, dancing, singing.