Imitation (mimesis)


   In our world, true greatness is seldom understood or appreciated. But the hypocrite who affects the cloak and trappings of greatness, receives the adulation of the crowd. We pursue the shadow letting the substance fall through our fingers.

   A man had mastered the ability to grunt like a pig to a fine art. He did so well that even pigs were deceived by his grunting. He therefore decided to make some money through his talent. He started to charge admission to those who wanted to hear him grunt, and people thronged to his shows. He was a great success, and his fame spread throughout the land.

   A sage heard about this, and decided to teach his disciples a valuable lesson through this incident. So the sage caused a small pavilion to be erected in the same town not far from the place where the mimic was making his fortune. After this the sage asked his disciples to advertise widely that in his tent could be heard better grunting than completely free of charge. This attracted a large crowd, eager to see if the grunting was indeed better than that of the famous mimic.

   The people were disappointed. Not because the grunting was worse, but because it was too real! The sage had placed a pig on the stage and periodically poked it and made him grunt. “What is so wonderful about it”, they said. “We hear this every day.” In spite of wide advertisement, the crowd kept away from his tent, while they flocked to the shows of the mimic.

   After the crowd had left, the sage addressed his disciples thus: “Here is a splendid lesson for us. Men are attracted by imitation, but the reality itself holds little fascination for them. This world is an imitation of the great Atman in the distorting mirror of Maya. Ultimate Reality is accessible to all, but few want it. It is its distorting image called the material world that holds most of us in its enthralling grip. Reflect on this.”


           (From ‘The Power of Negative Thinking – and other parables from India’, by K.J. Charles)


                (mañana en español)


About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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