The king of the mosquitoes and the elephant

1001 Tales Discourses

Osho states, “We come and we go; we are like the line drawn over water…”

King of mosquitoes

There is an ancient story from Tibet:

There was a small mosquito. Since the story was written by man, he calls the mosquito small. Actually, it was the biggest among mosquitoes. Nay, he was the king of mosquitoes! Now some mosquitoes lived on the dung-hill, others in trees, yet others in various other places but it became a problem as to where they should house their king. Then the ear of an elephant was agreed upon as a befitting place for his residence.

Now all the mosquitoes went up to their king and requested him to go and stay in the elephant’s ear as that was, according to them, the worthiest place for their monarch. The king went up to the elephant’s ear and proclaimed: “Listen O beast! I, the king of the mosquitoes, have decided to honour you by condescending to make your ear my abode!” Thrice he made this proclamation for it was not considered proper to occupy a place within someone and not even inform him.

The elephant stood silent. The mosquito thought, “Silence is acceptance, and hence the elephant is silent.”


He stayed many years thus. He would fly in and out; he bred his young ones and his family increased considerably. In spite of this, there was ample place even to entertain guests! Then the mosquitoes decided to find another place for their king.

Before leaving, the mosquito stood once again before the elephant’s ear and said, “Listen O beast! I, the king of the mosquitoes, had graciously adorned your ear by making it my royal residence. Now I go!” But there was not a sound from the elephant. Should he take this silence as a sign of acceptance, even now? This was rather difficult and degrading. But perhaps the elephant has not heard, for he neither says yes nor does he say no! The mosquito called out louder and louder. At last a faint voice reached the elephant’s ears – “I, the king of mosquitoes, stayed within your ear out of great compassion. Can you hear me or not?”

The elephant replied: “Respected Sir, I do not know when you came. How long you stayed, I do not know. You come and stay, do whatever you like, I have no knowledge of it!”

The Tibetan Fakir tells this story with a purpose.

Man comes into the world. He creates philosophies. Religious Paths, Truth, Principles and words. He shouts from all the four corners of the vast existence: “Listen ye all – Ram is His name!” or, “Listen ye all – Krishna is His name!”

The skies are silent. That Infinite Expanse has no knowledge of this. The elephant did finally hear the mosquito, for in spite of the great difference in size there is no qualitative difference between the two – the elephant is a giant mosquito and the mosquito is a diminutive elephant. There is no qualitative difference to make communication impossible. It is possible, though with some difficulty. The mosquito will have to speak very loudly and the elephant will have to hear more intently. But this is not impossible.

But between Existence and the mind of man there is not even this little bit of connection – or is there? It is not aware of the fact that we are born, though we proclaim it with feast and music to all the world; nor is it conscious of our death! We come and we go; we are like the line drawn over water – no sooner are we formed than we are destroyed. But in this very short period between the line’s formation and extinction, God knows how many words we create, how many shastras and organisations we create!

We spread a whole web of our mind within such a short period.

Osho, The Way of Tao – Discourses on Lao Tse’s Tao-Te-King, Vol 1, Ch 1 (translated from Hindi, excerpt)

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

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