Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Many Faces of the One

Once a man asked Ramakrishna why there are so many quarrels over God's nature. Why are there so many different opinions and images of God? Why do the people argue over all of this?

He replied:

Image hosted by Photobucket.com"Once a man went into a wood and saw a beautiful creature on a tree. Later he told a friend about it and said, 'Brother on a certain tree in the wood I saw a red-coloured creature!' The friend answered: 'I have seen it too. Why do you call it red? It is green.' A third man said: 'Oh, no, no! Why do you call it green? It is yellow.' Then other persons began to describe the animal variously as violet, blue, or black.

"Soon they were quarrelling about the colour. At last they went to the tree and found a man sitting under it. In answer to their questions he said: 'I live under this tree and know the creature very well. What each of you has said about it is true. Sometimes it is red, sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue and so forth and so on. It is a chameleon. Again sometimes I see that it has no colour whatsoever.

"In the like manner, one who constantly thinks of God can know His forms and aspects. God has attributes; then again He has none. Only the man who lives under the tree knows that the chameleon can appear in various colours, and he knows, further, that the animal at times has no colour at all. Others not knowing the whole truth quarrel among themselves and suffer."

6 comments:

Mark Walter said...
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Mark Walter said...

Excellent story. Very profound, if we just pause and listen.

Allison said...

Wow, I found you via my statcounter -- and I'm glad I did! If this is an example of the sort of post you typically write, I know I'll enjoy hanging out here for a while.

Thanks for linking to me!

isaiah said...

"None so blind as those who will not see."

Thanks for the post

Meredith said...

Thanks Trev for this wonderful teaching story. I am going to save it.

Now here is one for you:

This is an old Sufi story about a crazy holy man named Nasrudin. He was called upon to judge the complaint of one neighbor against another. After the prosecution made its case, Nasrudin said, "That seems right to me." After the defense finished, he said, "That seems right to me." Outraged, the concerned parties demanded a decision. "YOu must do better than that," they protested. "Only a terrible judge would agree with both sides." Nasrudin replied, "That seems right to me."

Trev Diesel said...

Haha, thanks Meredith. That's an awesome story.

Allison - thanks for stopping by! I love your blog.

Mark and Isaiah - thanks guys.