There was an old man in a village, very poor, but even kings were jealous of him because he had a beautiful white horse. Kings offered fabulous prizes for the horse, but the man would say,
“This horse is not a horse to me, he is a person. And how can you sell a person, a friend?”
The man was poor, but he never sold the horse. One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. The whole village gathered and said,
“You foolish old man! We knew that someday the horse would be stolen. It would have been better to sell it. What a misfortune!”
The old man said, “Don’t go so far as to say that. Simply say that the horse is not in the stable. This is the fact; everything else is judgement. Whether it is a misfortune or a blessing I don’t know, because this is just a fragment. Who knows what is going to follow it?”
People laughed at the old man. They had always known he was a little crazy. But after fifteen days, suddenly one night the horse returned. He had not been stolen, he had escaped into the wild. And not only that he had brought a dozen wild horses with him.
Again the people gathered and they said, “Old man, you were right. This was not a misfortune, it has indeed proved to be a blessing.”
The old man said, “Again you are going too far. Just say that the horse is back…who knows whether it is a blessing or not?” It is only a fragment. You read a single word in a sentence – how can you judge the whole book?”
This time the people could not say much, but inside they knew that he was wrong. Twelve beautiful horses had come.
The old man had an only son who started to train the horses. Just a week later he fell from a horse and his legs were broken. The people gathered again and again they judged.
They said, ” Again you proved right! It was a misfortune. your only son has lost the use of his legs, and in your old age he was your only support. Now you are poorer than ever.”
The old man said, “You are obsessed with judgement. Don’t go that far. Say only that my son had broken his legs. Life comes in fragments and more is never given to you.”
It happened that after a few weeks the country went to war, and all the young men of the town were forcibly taken for the military. Only the old man’s son was left because he was crippled. The whole town was crying and weeping, because it was a losing fight and they knew that most of the young people would never come back.
They came to the old man and they said, ” You were right, old man – this has proved a blessing. maybe your son is crippled, but he is still with you. Our sons are gone forever.”
The old man said again, ” You go on and on judging. Nobody knows! Only say this, that your sons have been forced to enter the army and my son has not been forced. But only God, the total, knows whether it is a blessing or a misfortune.”
Judge not, otherwise you will never become one with the total. With fragments you will be obsessed, with small things you will jump to conclusions. Once you judge you have stopped growing.
Judgement means a stale state of mind. And mind always wants judgement, because to be in a process is always hazardous and uncomfortable.
In fact the journey never ends. One path ends, another begins: one door closes, another opens. You reach a peak; a higher peak is always there. Only those who are so courageous that they don’t bother about the goal but are content with the journey, content to just live in the moment and grow into it, only those are able to walk in the total.