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I cannot remember where I read this story or, the form it was presented! My apologies therefore for not being able to credit the source and for any inaccuracies in rendering:
A modern day Spiritual Teacher had just delivered a lecture; as soon as he opened the floor for questions from his Seekers audience, the hall came alive with an avalanche of questions! It was as if every answer he proffered elicited even more questions!
At one point, a lady popped up a very intriguing question, “Which religion teaches the Truth?”
The Wise One requested for a glass of clean water, slowly drank the water to the last drop and placed the glass conspicuously on a pedestal!
He stared at the glass for some time apparently deep in thought thus, inducing the audience to join him in gazing at the glass with bathed breath! A serene atmosphere prevailed!
After what seemed like hours to the Seekers, the Wise One cleared his throat and spoke in measured tone:
“During pre-school age a little boy was taught by his loving mother that a glass like this is empty!
A few years later, his elementary school teacher told the child, “The glass you call empty, is filled with air!”
Much later in high school, the adolescent youth was taught that the glass actually contains more gases than those of the usual atmospheric ‘air’ earlier mentioned to him!
And in the university, when the young man had the opportunity, he asked about the “empty glass”! His bespectacled professor explained that there is a whole world in the glass: innumerable gases, water vapor, light waves, audio-visual waves and signals; ground and inter planetary emanations and gravitational energies and much more; all swirling, vibrating, oscillating and radiating at astronomical speeds! In addition, there could be tons of microscopic living organisms floating or crawling within the glass”
The Wise one then paused, turned to face his listeners and asked:
“Who among the mother, the elementary school teacher, the high school teacher and University lecturer, is right?”
A pin-drop silence ensued as each Seeker struggled inwardly to find the right words for his/her thoughts, while the Knowing One looked on almost bemused!
Before we continue with the story, I also want to throw it to you, my dear friends:
Who told the child the truth?