Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

The whole in everything

Author: Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho
When Ketu turned twelve years old he was sent to a master, with whom he studied until he was twenty-four. Upon finishing his training, he came back home filled with pride.
His father asked him:
“How can we know what we can’t see? How can we know that God the Almighty is everywhere?”
The young man began to recite the sacred scriptures, but his father interrupted him:
“That’s all too complicated. Isn’t there an easier way for us to learn about the existence of God?”
“Not that I know of, my father. Today I am a learned man and I need this knowledge to explain the mysteries of divine wisdom.”
“I have wasted my time and money sending my son to the monastery,” complained the father.
And taking Ketu by the hand, he led him to the kitchen. There he filled a basin with water and poured in a little salt. Then they went for a stroll in the city.
When they came back home, the father told Ketu:
“Bring the salt that I put in the basin.”
Ketu looked for the salt but did not find it because it had already dissolved in the water.
“So you can’t see the salt any more?” asked the father.
“No, the salt’s invisible.”
“Then taste a little of the water that’s on the surface of the basin. How does it taste?”
“Try a little of the water in the middle: how does it taste?”
“As salty as on the surface.”
“Now taste the water at the bottom of the basin and tell me what it tastes like.”
Ketu tried it and it had the same taste as he had felt before.
“You have studied for many years and can’t explain simply how Invisible God is in all parts,” said the father. “Using a basin of water, and calling God “salt”, I could make any peasant understand that. Please, dear son, forget the wisdom that moves us away from men and look again for the Inspiration that draws us closer.”

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