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Man or Worm?
Man or Worm?
A story by Swami Paramarthananda
There was once a man who thought he was a worm. So convinced was he of this that he was too afraid to go outside because of his fear that a bird would eat him. This went on for many years, seriously compromising his quality of life, as you can imagine. Finally, in desperation, he went to see a doctor. He explained his problem to the doctor who told him, “No problem, I can fix this condition for you.”
The doctor took a picture of the man and of a worm, and placed them next to each other on the table in front of him. He asked the worm-man, “Look carefully at these pictures and tell me, which one are you?”
The man replied instantly, “Oh, that’s easy, I am the man.” He was so happy because finally his problems were over, so he thought. He thanked and paid the doctor, and rushed gleefully outside, only to rush back inside, greatly alarmed.
“What’s the matter?” the doctor asked, “I thought you agreed to the obvious truth that you are not a worm but a man.”
The man replied, “Yes, yes, I am now convinced I am a man and not a worm!“
“So what’s the problem?” the doctor asked, perplexed.
To which the man blurted, “The birds don’t know I am a man and not a worm!”
Sundari: The moral of the story: when you know that you are the Self, and not the frightened small-self, don’t expect the world to see you differently. They will still see you as a worm because that’s what they believe they are. So what? Love them and bless them, everyone, with the greatest love and affection for their ignorance and laugh in joy at the absurdity of it all.