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The Mad Elephant

Originally told by Sri Ramakrishna

The Mad Elephant - Peter Malakoff

Once a master and his disciples were gathered in the jungles of India.

The Master had been teaching his disciples: "Everyone is God, everything is God

and we should bow down to God in everyone and everything".

Now, the next day, when the disciples were out in the jungle gathering fruit for their meals,

off in the distance was heard

the bellowing, trumpeting and crashing of a great bull Elephant,

wild with rage;

And, all of a sudden,

he was crashing through the jungle

precisely in the direction of the assembled group of disciples.


The Mahout,(the man who rides the elephant) was shouting to all in front of him,

"Get out of the way! Get out of the way! The elephant is mad!"

Seeing the approaching terror, all of the disciples began to run, except for one;

He remembered the Master's words,

"God is in everyone and everything and we

should bow down to God in everyone and everything."

The elephant was thundering towards him

and the Mahout was shouting for him to get out of the way,

but, remembering his Masters words,

he bowed down to the approaching elephant.


The elephant, plunged towards him,

picked him up with his trunk,

smashed him to the side

and thundered on through the jungle.


The disciples came back after the elephant had gone

and finding him unconscious they brought him to the Master.

When he came to his senses, he was given tea

and then the Master asked him :

"Why did you not run away?"

The devotee replied,

"Master, you yourself had said that God was in everyone and everything

and to bow down to God in everyone and everything.

I have simply followed your words".


The Master replied:

"It is true, God is in everyone and everything.

There is God in the Elephant,


there is God in the Mahout too,

and the Mahout said;

'Get out of the way!'"

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