The Crooked Milk Pudding
Two young boys, who were very poor, lived by begging for their food from house to house in the city and in the countryside. One of them was blind from birth, and the other helped him; in this way they made their rounds together, begging for food.
One day the blind boy fell sick. His companion said, “Stay here and rest. I’ll go round to beg for us both, and I’ll bring the food back for you.” And he went off to beg.
That day it so happened that the boy was given a very delicious dish: khir, Indian style-milk pudding. He had never tasted this dish before and enjoyed it very much. But unfortunately he had no container in which to bring the pudding back to his friend, so he ate it all.
When he came back to his blind companion, the boy said, “I am so sorry, today I was given a wonderful dish, milk pudding, but I could not bring any back for you.”
The blind boy asked him, “What is this milk pudding?” “Oh, it is white. Milk is white.”
Being blind from birth, his companion did not understand. “What is white?”
“Don’t you know what white is?”
“No, I don’t.”
“It’s the opposite of black.”
“Then what is black?” He did not know what black was either. “Oh, try to understand, white!” But the blind boy could not
understand. So his friend looked about him and seeing a white crane, he caught hold of the bird and brought it to the blind boy saying, “White is like this bird.”
Not having eyes, the blind boy reached out to touch the crane with his fingers. “Ah, now I understand what white is! It is soft.”
“No, no, it has nothing to do with being soft. White is white! Try to understand.”
“But you told me it is like this crane, and I examined the crane and it is soft. So the milk pudding is soft. White means soft.”
“No, you have not understood. Try again.”
Again the blind boy examined the crane, passing his hand from the beak to the neck, to the body, to the tip of the tail. “Oh, now I understand. It is crooked! The milk pudding is crooked!”
He cannot understand because he does not have the faculty to experience what white is. In the same way, if you do not have the faculty to experience reality as it is, it will always be crooked for you.
Source: The Art Of Living book – by S.N. Goenka & William Hart