Cultural Psychology

What is Satyagraha – A Parable

with 4 comments

What is satyagraha, or truth force?
It’s this:

A Buddhist parable

“While a small bird attempts to save a burning forest, engaged in a seemingly futile mission, she flies back and forth from the river dripping water from her beak. As the lone bird is running out of energy, the Buddhist gods, representing a compassionate function in the universe, see her desperate efforts and are so moved by her sincerity that they begin to cry. The “rain” of their tears extinguishes the fire and the forest survives.”


Among other things, this helps show why it is so important that peace “activists” adhere to the principle of non-violence–not just in actions, but in speech. The bird’s efforts in the parable are efficacious because they elicit compassion by the “gods”. Here we may understand the gods to be the elements of compassion in the depths of the souls of other people, individually or perhaps, in some mysterious way, collectively. The bird does not elicit compassion if it chants “Impeach the president!”, etc.


Written by John Uebersax

January 17, 2007 at 12:14 pm

4 Responses

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  1. absolutely wonderful. thankyou.


    March 5, 2007 at 3:56 am

  2. Nice blog!


    April 16, 2007 at 6:16 pm

  3. Thanks, always good posts on your blog!


    April 22, 2007 at 2:06 pm

  4. Thanks for sharing this information. Really is pack with new knowledge. Keep them coming.

    Area Of Kids

    August 16, 2007 at 10:17 pm

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