The story belongs to an era of England, when the writ of the brave warlords ran far and wide. These warlords would often move around distant places adorned with their swords, and riding their horses. Sword fights, which took place at the drop of a hat, were regarded as the best way for resolving conflicts, crucial or trivial.
In such times, once two warlords confronted each other, riding their horses on a deserted path, in opposite directions. Co-incidentally, there was a metal shield hanging on the tree, near which they came face to face with each other.
“What an elegant copper shield!” exclaimed the one coming from North.
“Excuse me,” shouted the one coming from south. “The shield is beautiful indeed, but what makes you call it a Copper shield. It seems you are blind or else you have not learnt to distinguish between copper and silver, because this happens to be a Silver shield and not a Copper one.”
The first warlord was furious. With one hand gripping his sword, he shouted back. “Mind you, it is you who needs to be taught the difference between copper and silver, for it is you who thinks it is a Silver shield. Even a child would be able to make that out.”
By now, the air had heated up. Logic and understanding had receded to the back seat and abuses had started being hurled. Soon the swords were out and a fierce fight broke out. Both the swordsmen were equally skilled. After a tiring fight, having sustained deep injuries, both of them fell on to the ground, this time on different sides of the tree- the one coming from the north facing back northwards, and the other southwards.
“Oh God! I can’t believe my eyes. The Shield indeed is a silver one, but earlier it seemed to be made of copper!” said the first one.
“You were right”, replied the second one, “the shield is indeed made of copper, not silver. Let us have a closer look.”
Both managed to walk to the shield. A close look revealed the truth. One side of the shield was made of copper and the other of silver.
Both of them were right. Still a fight took place. Why?
Such incidents are not uncommon in our daily lives. Every time such conflicts end up into disasters, injuries, bloodshed.
Because, until the gory conclusion, none of the factions appreciates the fact that their adversary may also be right.
The information that we receive through our eyes or ears etc., is never complete in itself. The eye can only see. It cannot hear. It cannot feel the emotions or ideas or thoughts of the object it sees. Similar is the case of the ear, or other senses. They can only perform the function assigned to them. Individually, the senses cannot have an over-all complete view.
Such limitations have a two fold impact. Firstly, the information gathered by the senses is incomplete. Secondly the interpretation of this imperfect information is also not flawless. The mind and the intellect contribute their mite by interpreting this information on the basis of their responses, conditioned by their own cravings, aversions, and past experiences. The net result is, the conflict ridden hatred generated by the flawed assessment of the situation.
In fact, our experience based logics and judgments form the basis of our conclusions. While we can have a first hand feel of the thoughts and ideas arising within ourselves, we need to talk to the other person to have a fair view of what is in his mind, by listening to his ideas, logic and experiences.
Like in our story, the tendency to impose our own point of view, without listening to others, will only generate conflict and violence. You may be right, but the other one may be right too.
Now the point is how to determine whether the other one is right or not? For this we will have to venture out of the self-centred thinking — emanating from our own vitiated ego– conditioned and confined by the place, time and circumstances. This is a great sadhana in itself.
To understand how to best guide his child, the father will have to undergo the sadhana of stepping into the shoes of the child in order to understand the child’s perspective. The father will be able to guide the chilled effectively only by converging his experienced knowledge with the child’s undeveloped but potential mind. To achieve this state, the father will have to listen and consider the views of the child attentively and meaningfully. The same holds true for the child too. The child too needs to listen to and understand the fathers view. Inflexibility will only help in widening the gap between the two.
In a family a husband and wife always remain together. As such, unwittingly, they are intensely connected to each other at subtle levels. If conflicts appear or sustain even at that level, the matter needs immediate attention and they need to undergo the sadhana of listening to and understanding each other. The conflicts will only intensify further if even one of them insists on having his/her way.
Arriving at a conclusions only on the basis of hearsay, can be disastrous for any relationship – be it Guru-Shishya, employee-employer, Doctor-patient, Siblings, relatives, Neighbours, etc. Even your eyes alone should not be trusted fully in such matters. We must take an over-all view, considering all aspects, even the views of other experienced people, if the situation so demands.
Never take a decision resulting into harm or insult to any one. True that delayed decisions some times loose their effectives, yet hasty decisions are most likely to lead us away from the truth.
What we see may not necessarily be what actually is (which the eye may not be able to discern). What we hear may not necessarily be what is true (which the ear may not be able to perceive). What your mind concludes may be entirely different from the truth.
Keep your mind open. The other one may be right too.