Stories & Reflections
By Paulo Coelho
When Ketu was twelve, he was sent to a teacher, with whom he studied until he was twenty-four. When he had finished his apprenticeship, he returned home, feeling very proud.
His father said to him:
‘How can we know something that we cannot see? How can we know that God, the Almighty, is everywhere?’
The young man began reciting the scriptures, but his father interrupted him:
‘That’s far too complicated. Isn’t there a simpler way of learning about the existence of God?’
‘Not that I know of, father. I’m an educated man now and I have to apply the education I was given in order to explain the mysteries of divine knowledge.’
‘I wasted my money sending you to that monastery,’ cried his father.
And grabbing Ketu by the hand, he dragged him into the kitchen. There, he filled a basin with water and added a little salt. Then they went out for a walk around the town.
When they got home, his father said to Ketu:
‘Bring me the salt that I put in the basin of water.’
Ketu looked for the salt, but couldn’t find it because it had already dissolved in the water.
‘So, you can’t see the salt any more?’ asked his father.
‘No. The salt has become invisible.’
‘Taste a bit of the water on the surface of the basin. What’s it like?’
‘Taste a bit of the water from the middle. What’s that like?’
‘As salty as the water on the surface.’
‘Now try the water at the bottom of the basin and tell me what that tastes like.’
Ketu tried it and it tasted exactly the same.
‘You studied for all those years and yet you cannot explain in simple terms how the Invisible God can be everywhere at once,’ said his father. ‘By using a basin of water and calling God "salt", I could make even a peasant understand. My son, forget the kind of knowledge that separates us from men and go in search of the kind of inspiration that brings us closer.’
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