Imagine that six blind men encounter an elephant for the first time
One blind man bumps into the leg of the elephant, feeling it carefully. Another blind man bumps into the trunk of the elephant which is swaying around and groping in his pocket looking for food. Another blind man bumps into the elephant’s tail… which is hanging limply down from above, and he carefully feels the tail.
Another blind man bumps into the side of the elephant, and feels it… Another blind man groping around, feels an ear of the elephant, which the elephant is flapping back and forth… the last blind man bumps into one of the elephants tusks, feeling the sharp point of the tusk… Later, they are discussing their experience of feeling an elephant.
The first blind man says, “An elephant is like a tree trunk growing up out of the ground”. “The second blind man says, “no, no, an elephant is not like a tree trunk, an elephant is like a big snake, twisting and moving around”. The third blind man says, ” No, an elephant is not like a tree or snake, an elephant is like a thick rope hanging down from above !”.
The fourth blind man say, “no, an elephant is like a wall”… the fifth blind man says, “you are all wrong, an elephant is like a fan flapping back and forth”… and the last blind man says, “it is not like any of those things, “It is like a spear with a sharp point”.
Each one knows what he experienced and to him that is the “truth”, so each blind man is convinced that he is “right”, and the other five are “wrong”. These rational blind men will easily conclude that an elephant cannot be “a tree”, “a wiggling snake”, “a rope hanging down”, “a wall”, a “flapping fan”, and a sharp spear”, all at the same time.
If each of these blind men were a “prophet”, and the elephant were the “God concept”, each would found a different religion based on his own experience. Each would espouse a seemingly different God concept, which each would claim to be true.
The six concepts (the leg, the trunk, the tail, the side, the ear, and the tusk of the elephant) would seem to be six totally different contradictory ideas. But if they could “see” the whole elephant they would realize that there was no contradiction.
Each had experienced a detail of the total elephant. But each had missed the concept of “ELEPHANT” completely. In this way, each was true, and yet each was also false.