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            Shankara and the Voice of God

        This is a story I learned from Professor Philip Ashby at Princeton University, probably around 1966. Shankara was a Hindu teacher of the late 700s CE.
        One day a young prince had been visiting Shankara. The lesson was on the immanence of God: God is everywhere, God is in everything. “ I am God, You are God, the Sky is God, The Tree is God.”
       After the lesson the young prince was walking home, following the road, reviewing his lesson: “I am God, the Sky is God, the Sun is God, the Earth is God, the Road is God...”
       Suddenly he heard a voice behind him loudly calling “Clear the road! Mad Elephant!”
       The prince was meditating, “I am God, the Road is God, the Elephant is God. How could God harm God?  He continued to walk and meditate.  The elephant came up behind him, swatted him with its trunk, and knocked him into the ditch beside the road.
      The prince picked himself up, found a few bruises but no major injuries, and limped back to Shankara.  “I am God, the Road is God, the Elephant is God, how could God harm God? What went wrong?”
       Shankara replied, “It is true that You are God, the Road is God, the Elephant is God. But didn't you hear the Voice of God hollering ‘Clear the Way! Mad Elephant’?”

Edward Ordman posted 2012.

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