The crazy philosopher

Once there was a philosopher who was very well known in the kingdom. On the one hand, he had such wisdom and everybody admired him. On the other hand, at times he was very, very crazy. But people forgave him because of his inner wisdom. They always saw only his good side. The king cared for men of wisdom, so he also liked the philosopher. He knew that sometimes people who are geniuses can act crazy. The king felt that he needed this philosopher and he greatly admired him.

One day the philosopher left his house for good. At night he would stay inside a cave and during the day he would roam the streets, always trying to hide from people. Everybody asked him, “Why do you always roam around alone? Why do you not allow anyone to accompany you?”

The philosopher would answer, “I roam around alone for only one reason: because all you people are dishonest. I am looking for an honest man. You may be my friends, but you are not honest.”

Everybody was shocked at the philosopher’s rude behaviour, for each one considered himself to be an honest person. But the philosopher said, “I myself am not honest. I am looking for an honest man.”

One day a court officer brought the philosopher before the king and said, “Today a thief stole something and with great difficulty we chased him and arrested him. When we were bringing him to jail we passed this crazy philosopher. He said to us, ‘Two big thieves have caught a little thief’.”

The officer was very mad at the philosopher. He said to the king, “He called us thieves! With great difficulty we caught the real thief, and look what he said!”

The king looked at the officer and then at the philosopher. He thought for a few seconds and then he said, “He is right, he is right. We are all dishonest.”

Then the king said, “Had I not been king, I would definitely have given up everything and lived the same kind of life that this philosopher is living. I too would have lived a simple life and I too would have looked for an honest person on earth. I am king, but even for me honesty is a far cry. No matter how hard one tries to be honest, it is extremely difficult. The philosopher is looking for honesty in others. This is also what I would have liked to do, but I cannot because of my position. I would have tried much more sincerely to be honest had I not been king.”

From:Sri Chinmoy,Is your mind ready to cry? Is your heart ready to smile? part 8, Agni Press, 1981
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