A Matter of Individual Perspective

by Dr. Pran Rangan

An elderly saint was bathing in a river along with his pupils. A traveler passing by the river stops to inquire about something from the saint.

He asked: Sir, can you tell me how the people of this place are? I have just arrived here and have no knowledge of the place.

After listening to him, the saint asked: I will answer your question after you answer mine first. How are the people of the place you came from?

The man replied: The place I came from abounds in crafty and stupid people. That is why I have left the place and wish to settle down here.

The saint told: Gentleman, crafty and stupid people are in plenty here also.

On hearing this, the man moves on. After some time, another traveler passes by and pays his respect to the saint.

He then asks: Sir, I don't belong to this village. I have come from a place quite far off and wish to settle down here. I don't know much about the place. Can you tell me how this place is and how are the people inhabiting the place?

The saint asked him the same question too: I will answer your question after you answer mine first. How are the people of the place you came from?

The man replied: The place I came from abounds with honest and wise people. I didn't want to go from there but I have come to this place because of business matters. I find the climate of this place quite conducive to health. That is why I asked you about the place.

The saint told: Gentleman, honest and wise people are in plenty here also.

The man bid him goodbye and moved on. The pupils were listening attentively to the conversation of the saint with both the travelers. Some of the pupils couldn't understand why their teacher had given different answers to them.

So they asked him: Sir, will you kindly clarify why you had given the different answer to them?

The saint began explaining them with a smile: Dear children, we view things and people around us according to our own perspective, which speaks aloud about us. In other words, our perspective shows what kind of person we are. If we want to view craftiness and stupidity in people, we will find so many, who are crafty and stupid. In the same vein, if we want to view honesty and wisdom in people, we will find so many, who are honest and wise. It is simply a matter of our own perspective.

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