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 Blooming Stars

Compromising with Truth

            "Truth shall set you free" said Christ over two thousand years ago. It was a simple formula for salvation. It is compromising with truth that sets us off the course, and keeps us away from God. We lie or dissemble in so many ways. Lie results when there is disagreement between what is on one's mind and what is in one's speech. We are not talking about outright lies or deceptions. We are dealing here with distortions, partial truths, fibbing, exaggerations, embellishments, white lies and other misleading statements, that slowly but surely lead to outright lies.

            I was waiting for a phone call from my nephew. It did not come when I expected it. Returning his missed call I asked him what happened. He told me that he had called me three times. I asked him if he called me three times within the last five minutes. He smiled as he knew that I knew his trick. He was truthful; nonetheless his words trying to present himself in a better light was misleading. Talking to a person who is supposed to have arrived, a not uncommon statement is: "I am keeping on coming"(njan vannukondirikkukayanu). This person may not even have started the journey. In reality this person may have only thought of starting! Words are cleverly used to hide the truth by avoiding responsibility or deflecting a bad impression.

            Very close to a place of worship on the road on a tree hung a distracting advertisement that was in bad taste. This tree happened to be also at the end entrance of our ashram. I asked the owner if the advertisement was hung with his permission. This religious man saw no problem with the advertisement practically in front of a place of worship. When the impropriety of the advertisement there was impressed on him, he stated if anybody were to remove the advertisement he would say he removed it. Does he need to say a lie when he has a right not to have any advertisement on the tree in his property?! There are times when lies are said even when the liar does not get any benefit from lying.

            By saying something with the clear intention of confusing, misleading, or deceiving, one strikes at the root of truth, slowly chipping it away out of existence. Conscience is dulled and desensitized. When lies become common and socially acceptable, truth flees. Why we are so surprised about wide-spread bribes and rampant corruption at all levels, when lying is so common?! Are we also surprised at children lying when adults model lying in such ingenious ways?! There is nothing in this world that is more important than truth. Truth verily is God. The great soul (mahatma) Gandhi realized that, and lived that. The time has come to take a stand when there is such a low level of truth, and when lies seem to swallow us all up. Mark twain, a great author and humorist once said: "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything". Because it is those who lie who have to remember what lie they said at any given time so they do not have to say new lies to cover up the old ones.


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