152. The Blind Men and the Elephant
A guide was leading four blind men through a jungle when they came upon an elephant.
One man felt the leg. "There's a pillar here!"
A second touched the trunk. "No, it's a mighty warrior's club!"
The third held the elephant's ear. "You're both wrong. This is a winnowing basket!"
The fourth rubbed the elephant's belly, laughing. "You fools! It's a big jar."
Then the guide explained to them, "This is an elephant: not a pillar or a club or a basket or a jar. You must explore all the parts, and then use your imagination to know the elephant."
Inspired by: Tales and Parables of Sri Ramakrishna
Notes: This is story 202 in the book. This famous story is known throughout South Asia and now all over the world; it even has its own article at Wikipedia. Ramakrishna's version is just one among many.