Half-young and Half-old Fallacy




A very poor non-Hindu brought a hen to market to sell. He had no experience in bazaar salesmanship, but he observed that the more aged rice, tamarind and ghee was, the bigger price it fetched. Thinking that older goods must be somehow always be more costly, he thought he should advertise his hen as being very, very old. And although he was careful to inform every prospective customer of the dozens of winters this hen had seen, not one of them showed any interest in purchasing the bird once they heard this.

One year passed and the poor man had not yet found a buyer. Finally a friend advised him that people were not interested in buying old hens, though they might like old rice. Hens were sold only when advertised as young.

The poor man thought to himself, “What a fine fix I’ve put myself in! I’ve told everyone for one year straight that this hen is the great-great-great grandmother of great flocks of chickens. Now if I turn around and say she’s a young virgin, hardly out of the egg herself, they’ll laugh.”

So when he appeared in the bazaar on the next marketing day, he told everyone that his hen was half-old and half-young. Then they really did have a laugh. And again he found no customers.


This story may be used to illustrate the philosophy of the semi-personalists like Citsukhananda who claim that when Brahman appears on earth, He does not assume a physical body but reveals a spiritual form. However, when He returns to the spiritual sky, He resumes His original impersonal formless feature.

There are also mixed-up Gaudiya devotees of Lord Caitanya who will not worship Lord Nityananda, and vice versa. And there are those who worship Guru without Gouranga, Gouranga without Guru, or the Vaisnavas without Visnu, or Visnu without Vaisnavas. The half-young, half-old fallacy applies to them as well.


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