Two frogs in a well

1001 Tales told by the Master

After telling the anecdote, Osho says: “I am challenging you to jump out of the well … And the moment you see the ocean, there will be no need for me to convince you that this is bigger than your well.”


Have you heard the story of a frog from the ocean who happened to come to Oregon? He was on a journey towards the White House. The moment he heard that even chimpanzees can become presidents in America, he said, “What is wrong with me, a perfectly beautiful frog?”

Feeling thirsty – in Oregon, who would not feel thirsty? – he jumped into a well. In the well there was another frog who had owned the well as far back as he could remember. He was surprised to see this frog, but frogs are not so hostile to strangers as Oregonians are.

He welcomed the new frog and said, “Any news about the outside world? – I don’t go anywhere, I simply live here. It is perfectly beautiful: enough water, enough shade, enough food.”

The frog from the outside said, “My boy, you don’t know anything. I come from the ocean.”

“Ocean?” the frog said. “What is that? What kind of a well?”

The frog from the ocean said, “It is not a well at all.”

The frog of the well asked, “Then how big is it?”

It was difficult for the ocean frog to give some estimate of the vastness of the ocean.

He said, “It is very difficult to express. You have to experience it.”

The well frog said, “I will give you some measurements.” He jumped one-fourth of the well, and he said, “Is it that big? No?” Then he jumped half of the well and said, “Is your ocean that big? No?” He jumped the whole well from one corner to the other, and he said, “Is your ocean that big?”

The ocean frog said, “Please forgive me, you don’t understand at all. From your well, there is no way to measure the ocean.”

And the well frog said, “Just get out of here! You are insulting your host. This is all a lie! There is no such thing. It is just your idea, just to make me feel humiliated. This is not the right attitude, right etiquette! Just get out of this place immediately; otherwise I will kill you!”

I am challenging you to jump out of the well. And the ocean is not far away – just come with me up to Portland. It is not a long journey either, because my methods are jet-age methods. By the time you have put the belts on, you have reached, it is time to get out of the plane. And the moment you see the ocean, there will be no need for me to convince you that this is bigger than your well. In fact, I will see tears flowing from your eyes, of sheer joy, of great gratitude that the ocean was so close and you remained confined in a small well your whole life. And you were thinking it was very juicy.

Now you know the beauty of vastness.
Now you know the song of the tide, the waves.
Now you know the sunset on the ocean.

In your well it was always night: dark, dismal, dull. Here, confronting the ocean, every moment is change. The ocean is never static; waves upon waves… it is moving. It is so full of energy; it is not something dead, it is alive.

But it is up to you; nobody can force you into enlightenment. Only you, if you have any courage, can take the jump.

Osho, From Death to Deathlessness – Answers to the Seekers of the Path, Ch 12, Q 3 (excerpt)

Series compiled by Shanti
All excerpts of this series can be found in: 1001 Tales

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