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  Selected Articles ::
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Detached Detachment
Happiness is your Birth Right
Giving is Life
Truth - A Practical Necessity
Taking Responsibility For Life

Related Articles
Two Swamis – Getting Stuck
 

Truth - A Practical Necessity ::

Truth as a concept is universally known and understood but it defies a perfect definition. Words like fact, accurate, real, honest indicate to what ‘truth’ is but none of them can fully define ‘truth’ per se. Similarly words like false, deceit, incorrect, unreal, dishonest point to what is not ‘truth’. Truth is one of the very basic principles of nature and it imparts nobility and excellence to human dignity and empowers the human conscience.
 

Understanding Is Truth

Concept of truth can be better explained by giving similes of what it is and what it is not? Following famous words of Mark Twain point to an essential nature of truth: “If you tell the truth, you do not need to remember anything”

There is but one truth for every situation - the stark reality without any reference to any personal perceptions, beliefs and ideologies or isms. But there can be any number of untruths to negativate the truth.

A person who tells a lie undergoes stress. The lie detector tests are based on this concept. On the other hand, telling the truth reduces stress and relaxes a person. Another important advantage of telling the truth is that the person appears confidant and sounds more convincing.

Mark Twain once advised: “When in doubt, tell the truth”



 

We all appreciate ‘truthfulness’ in all the persons we meet and interact with - our family, friends, bosses, colleagues etc. but fail to appreciate the need and compulsion to be truthful in our own behaviour. We fail to stick to the path of truthfulness in all situations under all circumstances, at all places and with all people. Truth demands a high degree of character, confidence and courage of conviction and a strong will. The lives of all great men point out that the basic necessity for the development of truthfulness is a strong will and the ability to live up honestly to our intellectual convictions within our fundamental values and ideals. It calls for sincerity, freedom and good character in a person to speak truth, nothing but the truth. Gandhiji’s entire life was based on truth. Maybe that is why he succeeded where many others failed.

Truth is easy to believe - it touches the heart. It is without malice and in the larger interest of every one concerned.  Truth is simple, stainless, luminous and straight without any ill design and conceit in contrast to stained, polluted, coloured, twisted or exaggerated.
 

Untruth 

On the other hand, untruth is every thing that negates the truth. It is falsehood, untrue, unreal, and incorrect or deceit. Truth is the strength of pious and righteous and the faith of the simple while the untruth is the imitation of strength for the weak and practice of the meek. Untruth punishes the person himself more than anyone else - as the person can never conceal the truth from his own conscience. Lot of energy is wasted in telling a lie and more energy is drained subsequently in meaningless effort to stick to the untruth. It makes a person morally weak and coward at heart.
 

An eloquent but deceitful person with his command over words and language may lie convincingly and seem to get away with untruth. Spicy lies often appear to be attractive, persuasive, impelling, interesting, and easy to believe. These can mesmerize the listener and motivate him to accept incorrect thoughts and actions. Adolph Hitler by his command on language, words and good delivery was able to mesmerize the entire German Nation to situation of confrontation and destruction of world. The Second World War brought the humanity on the brink of catastrophe, truth does not remain hidden for long.
 

 It does surface sooner than later to expose the untruth. Even the truth that is twisted, exaggerated, spoken with ill intentions or with malicious motives does eventually hurt the teller himself. Adolph Hitler died a broken man. Thoughts of his name generate memories of an uncomfortable phase of human history.
Speech is a powerful vehicle. It reflects the intellectual calibre, mental discipline, moral courage and physical self-control. Speech can be used to integrate the personality of the speaker. Speech should be true, agreeable and beneficial and must not cause shock or disturbance to others or be irritating or obscene. Truth that is spoken to gain undeserved personal gains at the cost of others can weaken a person.s
 

Absolute Truth?

At times telling the truth or the complete truth may not be in the larger interests of the family, organization or society. In such a situation, keeping the mouth shut or telling whatever is essential may be a better option. For truthfulness, one must not become a disagreeable creature in society. When truth is disagreeable or harmful to others, maintaining discrete silence is best for a righteous person. Truth that is spoken to create humour at the cost of others is self-defeating if truth is painful but is in the larger interests of the family, organization or society, then it must be expressed in the softest manner so that its hurt can be minimized.
Ralph Waldo Emerson - a great thinker of our times has said about truth at different times.
 

“Some men’s words I remember so well that I must often use them to express my thoughts. Yes, because I perceive that we have heard the same truth, but they have heard it better.”
 

“The greatest homage we can pay to truth is to use it.”
 

For untruth, Ralph Waldo Emerson said.

Every violation of truth is not only sort of suicide in the liar but is a stab at the health of human society”

Said Raymond B. Fosdick:

“The search for truth is, as it always has been, the noblest expression of the human spirit. Man’s insatiable desire for knowledge about himself, about his environment and the forces by which he is surrounded, gives life its meaning and purpose, and clothes it with final dignity. Yet we know, deep in hearts, that knowledge is not enough.... Unless we can anchor our knowledge to moral purposes, the ultimate result will be dust and ashes - dust and ashes that will bury the hopes and monuments of men beyond recovery.”
 

Do you want to reach a destination of life, which is peaceful, harmonious, joyful and happy? Then the road of ‘truth’ is the only one worth travelling. Any other road will take you away from your destination. One must be truthful even in ordinary things and occasions of life before he can be truthful to himself and to his God.
 

Truth is spiritual and a deep kindness by itself.
 

Truth is life. It is a quality of the heart and soul that provides moral authority to a human being.
 

Truth alone is certain and final. Power of truth can lift even any mediocre man to great heights. It can make a simple man morally courageous and powerful.
 

The ultimate test of what a truth means is the conduct it dictates and inspires
 
Lighthouse embodies truth.
 

Truth is eternal ‘dharma’ of nature and its elements and all creations of God. Foundation of earth and sky is truth. The light and heat in the Sun is truth. The water in the rivers and ocean and the air in space is truth. The colours and smells in the flowers are truth. Truth ultimately prevails all.

 

William James said:

“Let our desire for truth transcend all other considerations. It will generate a solid foundation for our character, success, peace, harmony and happiness. It is the secret of a magnetic personality."

Throughout in his life and in his book ‘My Experiments with Truth’ Mahatma Gandhi expresses the validity of truth in all dimension of life.  In his book he writes ‘ My uniform experience has convinced me that there is no other God than Truth’ At other place he says ‘ The little fleeting glimpses, therefore, I have been able to have of Truth can hardly convey an idea of an indescribable luster of Truth, a million times more intense than that of a Sun that we sees with our eyes’.

People, races, centuries, situations and cultures may come and go but truth will remain as the nature’s treasure for all times to come. Persons who speak the truth are the precious jewels in the crown of humanity. Will you be among such persons? Choice is yours!

 

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