Infinite Truth Open To Interpretation

Published: 26.01.2008
Updated: 12.03.2009

24 Jan 2008

Truth is infinite. No single word or language can express even a part of it. Neither is that much right as a man knows, nor only that which he knows. Similarly, how can it be that only that which was known in the past is right and that all else is not? New achievements will continue as long as the truth is sought.

Life does not have only one aspect. Can a hungry and thirsty person be satiated with literature? Once a patient visited physicians practising different systems like Ayurveda, Homoeopathy, Allopathy, Yunani and Naturopathy.

Each one emphasised the importance of his system and decried the rest. But what will Naturopathy do if surgery is needed? The Ayurvedic system tries to root out the disease, while Allopathy offers momentary relief. While Ayurveda is capable of long-term treatment, Allopathy is capable of short-term treatment. One can approximate truth by taking into consideration the individual, the place, the time and the existing situation. An absolute view cannot reveal the truth.

Many stress the importance of spirituality but do not like yoga or breath control. For attaining a particular state, religion is helpful but in the liberated state religion becomes non-essential. Insistence on absoluteness is not right in any field. Believing in the universality of something leads to difficulties.

We are advised to speak neither truth, that is likely to hurt others, nor untruth. Once a one-eyed king invited a few painters. He said to them, "The portrait you make of me should be beautiful and true but only barely true". Three painters agreed to do the portrait.

One took the painting to the king, who said, "The portrait is beautiful and life-like but not true because it shows both eyes normal". To the other painter he said, "Your portrait is beautiful and live, but it portrays the bare truth by showing me one-eyed. "The third depicted the king stringing the bow so that one eye got hidden behind the raised hand. The king rewarded him.

The third portrait was neither untrue nor bare, but partly true. Untruth to please others does no good. Partial truth is both acceptable and useful.

Our viewpoint should be complete, harmonious and relative, not far removed from truth. I have no right to impose my truth on anyone. I am bound to Syadvada, the doctrine of qualified or non-absolute assertion. If the eyes are directed towards truth, life will have no unhappiness. Acharya Tulsi researching Agams (Jain canonical texts) told me: Never think in terms of sectarianism. Express only that which strikes true. Mention what our traditional beliefs are, but truth should not be tinged with our beliefs".

Is truth preferable or the individual? Are circumstances preferable or truth? Acharya Bhikshu said, "What I am saying today is untinged according to me. If a polymath or metaphysician finds it wrong tomorrow, he should abandon it". He never drew an absolute line beyond which truth did not exist for that would have meant presumptuousness.

No word, language or substance can explain truth fully. We should accept an idea as qualified truth. There can be many sources of light and they can be quite compatible with one another. But light is light. The sun gives light, so does the oil lamp. Truth is no different.

Whether expressed by an all-knowing or an ignorant person, truth is truth. There can be a difference only in degree.

Sources
Times Of India, by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg.
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  1. Acharya
  2. Acharya Bhikshu
  3. Acharya Tulsi
  4. Agams
  5. Ayurveda
  6. Ayurvedic
  7. Bhikshu
  8. Lalit Garg
  9. Syadvada
  10. Times Of India
  11. Tulsi
  12. Yoga
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