Thursday, June 9, 2011

Same Medicine Different Effect

Here is one of my favourite Sufi teaching stories, ancient wisdom, which I loved to narrate during my stint as an HR Manager:

A cobbler who suffered from severe stomach pains rushed to see the local town doctor. The doctor checked him thoroughly but could not diagnoze what was wrong with the man and hence was confused as to what medicine to give him.

The cobbler asked anxiously, "Doctor, I am in terrible pain, please give me some medicine."

"I cannot diagnoze the root cause of your stomach pains and hence I do not know what medicine to give you," replied the doctor.

Soon the cobbler was writhing in unbearable agony and to the doctor it looked like the cobbler was going to die.

With a heavy heart the cobbler said, "Well, if there is nothing left to do, then I have just one final wish. I would like you to take a large cooking pot, fill it with half a kilo of rajma and a litre of vinegar, and cook the whole lot. I am sure this will cure me." 

The doctor shrugged his shoulders and said, "I don't think much of this idea, but if you think it will work, we will go ahead and try it." So the doctor cooked the rajma in vinegar as per the recipe and gave it to the cobbler who ate the whole bowl.

The whole night the doctor waited for a knock on his door informing him that the cobbler's condition had turned serious or even died.

However, the next morning to the doctor's amazement the cobbler was hale and hearty and cured of his illness. 

The doctor wrote in his journal, "Today a cobbler came to me with severe stomach pains. I could not diagnoze the reason and and I did not know what medicine to give him, but half a kilo of rajma cooked in a litre of vinegar cured the man completely."

A few days later, the doctor was called to help a tailor who was extremely ill with severe stomach pains , identical to the cobbler's symptoms. Once again, the doctor could not diagnoze the reason so he disappointedly admitted to the tailor that there was no cure available. The tailor cried out in pain, "Please doctor, can't you think of any other possible cure?"

The doctor thought a minute and then said, "Recently a cobbler came to me with similar stomach pains. He was cured by half a kilo of rajma boiled in a litre of vinegar."

"That sounds like a strange remedy, but I will give it a try," replied the tailor. The tailor ate the same concoction of rajma cooked in vinegar, but unfortunately, he died the next day.

That day the doctor wrote in his journal, "Yesterday a tailor came to me with severe stomach pains and I could not diagnoze the reason, so I gave him rajma cooked in vinegar but he died today morning. What is good for cobblers is not good for tailors!"

In HR situations too, the same medicine sometimes yields different results, depending on the situation and persons involved.


Anonymous said...

Good posting..


Unknown said...

Simply amazing!!
I also memorize this story in the hope that it will be a good example for the situations like "1 size does not fit all".