The blind men and the elephant
The blind men and the elephant is one of the oldest and well-known parables. It is considered to have originated from Buddha, but popularized by John Godfrey Saxe . The parable is found in religious texts and children's fairy tales in various formats. It sounds simple on the surface but harbors deep meaning. It features the nature of truth, the relationship between people and the way of enlightenment.
The "blind and the elephant" allegory holds a special place in Jainism, where it is used to illustrate the fundamental doctrine of Anekantavada (literally meaning "the doctrine of non-exclusivity"). The story was used by Buddha to solve sectarian squabbles (Udana, part of the Pali Canon of Theravada). In Sufism, the story of the blind men and the elephant is found in the works of Persian poets Hakim Sanai (1080-1131 / 41) and Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273). Hindu yogi and mystic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886) mentions the story in a certain theological context, using it to discourage dogmatism. American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) popularized the allegory. He created his own version of the allegory as a poem, which became very popular in English-speaking countries. In Russian language, it became popular under the name "Scientist dispute" as translated by S. Marshak (1940)