The Blind Men and Color Perception

blind men

Once there were three men taken to a hospital because of cataract of the eye, which they hoped to be operated on there. Now naturally all these men suffering from cataract were stone-blind and had only the four senses left to them. One day they began to dispute as to the color of the window glass.

One said, “My son who is a student at the University was here and told me the glass is yellow. It must be Yellow”. Another said, “My uncle who is a municipal commissioner was here to the other day and told me ‘the glass is red’. He is very smart and he knows”. Then the third said that a cousin of his who was professor at the University had called on him, and while visiting him told him the glass was green. Of course he ought to know. Thus they quarreled as to the color of the glass. Then they began to try and find out for themselves, what the color of the glass was.

First they put their tongues on it and tried to taste it, but color was not to be known that way. Then they tapped it and listened to the sound, but color could not be distinguished even that way. They tried to smell it and they felt it not. But alas! Their sense of touch, smell, taste, and hearing could not tell them what the color of the glass was.

Similarly, we cannot know the Infinite through senses. Now see, how impossible that would be. If you could know the Infinite through the senses, the Infinite would necessarily have to be smaller than the finite. Absurd. It is only through cosmic-consciousness, the God-consciousness that we know the Infinite. Suppose, I take a match-stick in my hand. Now the match-stick is smaller than the hand which it is held. Do you see how the finite could not perceive the Infinite? The senses cannot perceive that which is beyond them.

Do not depend upon anything outside of you to reveal the Self to you like the blind men who were told the color of the glass, but did not know for themselves what the color of the glass was, and were taking for granted that it was red because the cousin said so, that it was yellow because the son said so, and so on.

Moral: The Infinite cannot be perceived by the senses, because it is beyond them. It can only be perceived by the cosmic or God-consciousness.

Also read: The Milkmaid’s Faith

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