The Cow – a parable

Amardeep has posted the following Sufi parable related by Idries Shah with a request to respond to his humorous interpretation. I left a comment there. Others might be interested to read it and interpret it.

The Cow
Once upon a time there was a cow. In all the world there was no animal which so regularly gave so much milk of such high quality.
People came from far and wide to see this wonder. The cow was extolled by all. Fathers told their children of its dedication to its appointed task. Ministers of religion adjured their flocks to emulate it in their own way. Government officials referred to it as a paragon which right behaviour, planning and thinking could duplicate in the human community. Everyone was, in short, able to benefit from the existence of this wonderful animal.
There was, however, one feature which most people, absorbed as they were by the obvious advantages of the cow, failed to observe. It had a little habit, you see. And this habit was that, as soon as a pail had been filled with its admittedly unparalleled milk – it kicked it over.

My response

.. There is evidently a spiritual interpretation …. the greed and avarice that keep the full pail of milk away from those who marvel at this apparent wonder. The other side of this story, in quintessential Sufi thought, would refer to the absolute disregard of the cow of its special status. The cow kicks the “material” and retains its inner gift by crushing its ego. It in fact rejects what others find so amazing about this cow. Many Sufis were self effacing and in constant state of undermining their worth – only to remind themselves that the only thing worth valuing was Love for the Creator and seeking Him.

I have tried to capture some nuances of this thought process – though on a second reading of the above shows how far I am still from a good comprehension of this parable.

Please note that Sufi-inspired understanding can only be reached ‘from within’ so many readers might find the above nothing but mumbo-jumbo..

Please read more here

Published on May 7, 2007 at 12:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

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