May 2, 2009

Story of the Tenth Men

Ten foolish men forded a stream and on reaching the other shore
wanted to make sure that all of them had in fact safely crossed
the stream. One of the ten began to count, but while counting
others left himself out. "I see only nine; we have lost one.
Who can it be ?" he said. "Did you count correctly?" asked another,
and did the counting himself. But he too counted only nine.

One after the other, each each of the ten counted only nine, missing himself.
"We are only nine, they all agreed, "but who is the missing one?"
they asked themselves. Every effort they made to discover
the 'missing' individual failed. "Whoever he is that is drowned,"
said the most sentimental of ten fools, "we have lost him."

So saying, he burst into tears, and the rest of the nine followed suit.
Seeing them, weeping on the river bank , a sympathetic wayfarer
inquired for the cause. They related what had happened and said that
even after counting themselves several times they could find no more than nine.
On hearing the story, but seeing all the ten before him, the wayfarer
guessed what had happened.

In order to make them know for themselves
that they were really ten, that all of them had come safe from the crossing,
he told them, " Let each of you count for himself but one after the other
serially, one, two three and so on, while I shall give you each a blow so that
all of you may be sure of having been included in the count, and included
only once. The tenth 'missing' man will then be found."

Hearing this, they rejoiced at the prospect of finding their "lost" comrade
and accepted the method suggested by the wayfarer. While the wayfarer
gave a blow to each of the ten in turn, he that got the blow counted himself aloud.
" Ten", said the last man as he got the last blow in his turn.
Bewildered, they looked at one another. We are ten, " they said with
one voice and thanked the wayfarer for having removed their grief.

As told by Ramana Maharshi

Thursday, April 2, 2009 at 1:58am

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