The Crazy Philosopher

Once there was a philosopher who was very well known in the kingdom. On the one hand, he was very wise and everyone admired him. On the other hand, at times he seemed to be crazy. But people forgave his craziness because of his inner wisdom. They saw only his good side. The king cared for men of wisdom, so he liked the philosopher. He knew that sometimes people who are geniuses can act a little crazy.

One day the philosopher left his house for good. At night he slept in a cave and during the day he roamed the streets trying to avoid people. Those who could get near him asked, “Why do you always roam around alone?”

The philosopher answered, “I keep to myself for a simple reason: because you people are all dishonest. I’m looking for an honest man. You may be friendly but you’re not honest. “

Everyone was shocked at the philosopher’s rude behavior, for each considered himself an honest person. But the philosopher said, “I myself am not honest, but I’m looking for an honest man.”

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

The angry officer said to the king, “He called us thieves! How dare he!”

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

Then the king said, “If I were not the king, I would give up everything and live the same kind of life that this man is living. I would live a simple life and 1, too, would search for an honest person on earth. I’m king, but even for me honesty is something beyond my imagination. No matter how hard one tries to be honest, it is extremely difficult. He is looking for honesty in others. I would have tried much more sincerely to be honest had I not been king.”


from Garden of the Soul
by Sri Chinmoy

Published by Health Communications