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Dialogue On Truth and Tolerance

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  • nicolai73
    DIALOGUE Newsletter | List of Newsletter On Truth and Tolerance Baidyanath Saraswati The
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2008

      Newsletter | List of Newsletter

      On Truth and Tolerance


      Baidyanath Saraswati


      The IGNCA provides a forum for creative and critical dialogue on fundamental themes. Earlier we had presented a similar theme on Culture and Development which appeared in the back issues of Vihangama Vol. III No. 2 (July-September 1995) and No. 3 (October-December 1995) respectively. This time we present yet another thematic exchange of dialogues between the teacher and the pupil by the same author elucidating Truth and Tolerance - the two primordial principles of human existence:

      ShisyaSir, the other day you taught me many good things. Can you tell me how to hold on to the good in order to keep it with me all my life, because if it is not fastened it will run away.
      GuruI am not unprepared for your question. If you want to keep the good you will have to fasten it by Truth and Tolerance.
      ShisyaWhat is Truth? Who is it?
      GuruTruth is the honey of all beings, and all beings are honey for Truth.
      ShisyaWhat is this honey?
      GuruIt is the honey-wisdom : a word for interdependence of all, like honey and bees.
      ShisyaWhat is Word? Who is it?
      GuruThe Word is the first-born of Truth.
      ShisyaCan one understand it?
      GuruNo one fully. Only one-fourth of it is understandable to man.
      ShisyaWhat is Tolerance? Who is it?
      GuruTolerance is the highest human virtue, the form of the good, whose business is to cling to the Truth.


      There is No Law Other Than Truth
      ShisyaSir, Is Truth the honey of all men?
      GuruIt may sound a bit strange at first hearing: Lying is peculiar to man.
      ShisyaIs this true? Or is it otherwise?
      GuruIt is true that all men are not truthful. Nor are men all-time truthful. Yet, Truth is the honey of man and man is honey for Truth.
      GuruWell, this at least is obvious. Made of Earth, Man cannot live without the Earth. He also lords over the Earth : as he is more than the Earth.
      ShisyaDoes man support the Earth?
      GuruYes and No. By Truth is the Earth supported. Truth belongs to the saints. Thus, not all men but saints support the Earth.
      ShisyaWho are the saints?
      GuruSaints are those whose desires are Truth, whose purpose is Truth, who do not desist Truth, for they themselves are Truth.
      Shisya How are the world of saints and the world of sinners related?
      GuruThey are not two separate worlds. The existential order encompasses the ethical and the cosmic order. Both are interwoven in human life. Man is aware of this fact, as also of the possibility of preparing himself for assuming the role of good or evil?
      ShisyaDoes this mean that good and evil are not isolated in an absolute way?
      GuruYes, decidedly. There is no order other than Truth.
      ShisyaIs Truth knowable?
      GuruTruth is hidden. The whole Truth is unknowable.
      ShisyaWell, then, what about the modern scientific worldview which rests on the claim that science deals with Truth and tells exactly how the universe is ordered?
      GuruMany scientists deny such a grandiose claim. The nature of scientific Truth is contentious. Scientific theories are the models of the real world, rather than the reality. The models refer to theoretical advance. Scientific statements refer to solely mathematical investigation.
      ShisyaCan any model of Truth hold something eternally for everyone?
      GuruTruth is, itself by itself, the same in every case. And the untruth, opposite of all the Truth, is in turn not like itself. Everything which is false has a certain single character with respect to falsehood.
      ShisyaWho knows how things stand true?
      Guru No one fully. Only part-Truth is knowable. The ancient philosophers and religious leaders have offered a more encompassing view of Truth. God is Truth, Truth is God. There are many Gods, many Truths.
      ShisyaCan the many-Truths be realized by one?
      GuruThe Buddha spoke of four kinds of Truth: the Conventional Truth - as found in language, apparent phenomena, social ranks, and values; the Empirical Truth or scientific Truth - as derived from analytic and synthetic investigation; the Metaphysical Truth - as of things that lie beyond the reach of the senses and can be deduced by logical reasoning; the Noble Truth of suffering, as in the cause of suffering, the extinction of suffering and the way to the extinction of suffering. All these Truths are something to be realized by self-effort. They are testable in the range of human experience.
      ShisyaIs the concept of many-Truths understandable by Einstein's theory of special relativity?
      GuruI don't think so. The theory of special relativity is based on the idea that, "the laws of science should be the same for all freely moving observers, no matter what their speed." The human experience of the many-truths, on the other hand, varies qualitatively with the paths of social Truth. Each path is set to a different goal of life to be pursued by the observer in space-time. The social Truth does not transform from one reference frame to another. All the human paths of Truth lead to the ultimate reality of the One-and-the Many.
      ShisyaIsn't the experience of each path of Truth, itself by itself, the same for all those who pursue that path?
      GuruPerhaps the same. But not the same in the case of the other paths of Truth. Each path comes into being with its own space-time. The experience of one path of Truth cannot be reached through another space-time. Each path is complete space-time in itself. It is difficult to comprehend it. No genuine experience can be fully expressed.


      There is No Love Other Than Tolerance
      ShisyaCan material science explain the social Truth?
      GuruMaterial science may be good at explaining material Truth, but has limited utility when it comes to love, morality and meaning of life. Religion and philosophy teach all the three.
      ShisyaWhat is Love, Who is it?

      Ontologically speaking, love is one of the cosmic laws that links being and the realm of beings. It arose in the beginning of the universe. It is the first principle of activity. God is love, love is God. There is no distinction to either in the nature of God or in the nature of love.

      ShisyaWhat about human love?
      GuruGod as love is within all human beings. Love is the highest of human qualities.
      ShisyaIs the love of God superior to the love of humans?
      GuruThis is clear if we consider what Yajnavalkya spoke to his wife Maitreyi: "It is not for love of a husband that a husband is loved, but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of a wife that a wife is loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of sons that sons are loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of wealth that wealth is loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of the priesthood that the priesthood is loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of power that power is loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of the worlds that the worlds are loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of the gods that the Gods are loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of creatures that creatures are loved but rather for love of the atman. Nor is it for love of all that all is loved but rather for love of the atman".
      ShisyaSir, I did not follow it. What does this really mean?
      GuruIt means that only that love which is transparent to the soul can be the means of ascent, the way to liberation and immortality. In the Christian tradition the same view has been stated in yet another way : Love God above everything and your neighbour as yourself. This is a commandment from God. As Eckhart says, "If you love a hundred marks more in yourself than in another, that is wrong. If you love one man more than another, that is wrong. If you love your father and mother and yourself more than another, that is wrong. If you love blessedness in yourself more than in another, then you love yourself, then God is not the sole object of your love, and that is wrong".
      ShisyaThen, what kind of love is that which negates the very person who loves?
      GuruIt is the "maternal" love, which has the ability to give, to protect, to love, to forgive, to console in all kinds of tribulations that affect or afflict the worldly beings - man, animal, birds, insects, reptiles and all that moves.
      ShisyaWho is that mother?
      GuruIt is the divine mother, the human mother, and the mother Earth - all of which possess the seed of Truth and tolerance. As the famous Sankaracarya hymn to the Divine Mother says. "A mother does not forsake her son even if the son have innumerable faults. A bad son may sometimes be born but there is never a bad mother."
      ShisyaHow does mother's tolerance work?
      GuruThe law of tolerance works, just as the law of gravitation works. The force of tolerance is infinitely more wonderful and subtle than the material force of nature. Love can never express itself by imposing suffering on others. It can express itself only by self-suffering which brings self-purification.
      ShisyaDoes anyone like to suffer?
      GuruIn the sacred worldview, suffering is not a negative concept. "The greater the suffering, the less the suffering, and the easier to bear, just as is the case with two buckets : the heavier one is, the lighter the other" says Eckhart. The truly religious Hindus believe that suffering is exceedingly good as it endows spiritual power and turns the mind of man to God. Kunti, the mother of the Pandava, prayed to Krsna that, "let calamities always overtake her, because she would then have the God's sight which prevents rebirth." Basavanna, the most famous medieval saint of Virasaivism, asked the Lord, "to cripple him so that he may not go here and there, to blind him so that he may not look at this and that, to deafen him so that he may not hear anything else."
      ShisyaIn what way suffering endows power of the spirit?
      GuruAs with what happened to Gandhi's experiment with Truth. "Once when I was in Johannesburg" writes Gandhi, "I received tidings of the moral fall of two of the inmates of the asrama. I felt that the guardian or teacher was responsible to some extent at least, for the lapse of his ward or pupil. So I imposed upon myself a fast for seven days and a vow to have only one meal a day for a period of four months and a half. My penance pained everybody, but it cleared the atmosphere. Everyone came to realize what a terrible thing it was to be sinful, and the bond that bound me to the boys and girls became stronger and truer."
      ShisyaIn what way suffering is good for the society?
      GuruTolerance resides in suffering. The greater the capacity of self-suffering, the higher the perfectibility of tolerance. Tolerance leads to peace and goodness. Intolerance leads to violence and evil.
      ShisyaIs poverty the root of intolerance?
      GuruWell, poverty by itself is not the cause of intolerance. Jesus, Muhammed, Buddha, Nanak, Kabir, Caitanya, Sankar, Dayanand, Ramakrsna were men who moulded the character of thousands of men and made the world richer for their having lived in it. They were all men who deliberately embraced poverty as their lot.
      ShisyaAnd what about their fellow-men?
      GuruCertainly, every true follower of these great men enters into a similar practice.
      ShisyaCan this ideal make its way to social system?
      GuruOf course. Varnasrama Dharma, for instance, made it socially lawful. It harmonized the difference between high and low. Varnas are four to mark four universal occupations : imparting knowledge, defending the defenceless, carrying on agriculture and commerce, and performing service through physical labour. Traditionally Brahmans, whose hereditary occupation was imparting knowledge, occupied the highest social position but lived on charity by choice. Ancient society believed that virtue is made perfect in poverty and suffering. The wisemen take pride in their poverty.
      ShisyaNow if knowledge is of such a value, then illiteracy must be the cause of intolerance?
      GuruNo, indeed. Literacy in itself is no education. The dry knowledge of the three R's can never be an essential condition for the highest development of the mind and the soul. In ancient times the highest knowledge was transmitted orally and even now many philosophers disregard the written word. Many saints who have taught the higher spiritual value were themselves illiterate.
      ShisyaIt is true, Sir, but the answer still is partial to the question : Why do people become intolerant?
      GuruBecause they disagree with one another.
      ShisyaBut what is the disagreement which causes enemity, anger and violence?
      GuruDisagreement can be of a varied nature. If the disagreement is about a question of the larger and smaller, one can put an end to it by taking measurements. But if it is about the just and the unjust, the beautiful and the ugly, the good and the evil, one cannot easily reach a satisfactory decision. More often, it is this that makes people enemies, and angry at each other.
      ShisyaBut why do ideas make us enemies?
      GuruBecause we value human ideas and not human beings, we value art and not the artist, we value affluence and power and not love and Truth.
      ShisyaIs tolerance the property of the intellect?
      GuruTolerance is a virtue that comes from Love and Truth. A truthful man knows that he ought not to repay injustice with injustice, or to harm a man, no matter what he suffered from him, his hands. He believes that the place of deepest love is in self-suffering. As Kabir says, "he who plants thorn for you, for him you plant flower. You will have the flower for the flower (that you planted), he will have the thorn." There is a verse in the fifth chapter of Mathew : "Love your enemies.... that you may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven."
      ShisyaHow many people hold this view?
      GuruOnly a few in modern times.


      Testing the Fire of Truth
      ShisyaWhy are only a few people tolerant to human frailty?
      GuruTo be tolerant means to act justly, to act justly means to stand the "fire" of Truth, and to stand the fire of Truth means self-suffering. This is not an easy path.
      ShisyaIs man the same as fire?
      GuruNo, certainly not. But if Truth is faced by man, he will either make a way for it or perish in pain.
      ShisyaThat's right Sir. Then perhaps only few people can stand the Truth, isn't it?
      GuruYes. Only such persons as King Harischandra whose truthfulness was tested by the sage Visvamitra. As the story goes, in his generosity, the king gave Visvamitra his entire kingdom and all that he owned. Now he had nothing that could be given as the ritual fee to the sage. So he had to sell his wife and son into slavery and himself into bondage to serve at the cremation ground in Kashi. Thus ill fate separated them. Sufferings and hardships reached the climax when his wife came one day to the cremation ground carrying the corpse of her son who had died of snake bite. She had not even a rag to give as a cremation fee, and Harischandra who was guarding the cremation ground would not allow her to cremate the corpse unless the fee was paid. The "fire-testing" of Harischandra proved his truthfulness and tolerance even in the worst of time. In the end, God rewarded him by restoring his throne and his son to him.
      ShisyaMay we not truly call Harischandra "divine"?
      GuruThen we shall also be right in calling divine those men and women who actually undergo through fire-ordeal, fire-walking, and fire-sacrifice, and all those who are inspired and possessed by God. They say many things which are taken as the prophetic words of Truth.
      ShisyaWhat conclusions do we derive from such examples of divine dispensation?
      GuruWe really do not know how truth is revealed. But every human tradition has accepted Truth as the highest virtue. There are many ways of ascertaining the Truth. One of the ancient methods was the real fire-ordeal. As the Upanisad describes it : People bring a man handcuffed to the ordeal, asserting that he has stolen, he has committed a theft. They heat the axe for him to test him. If he is the culprit then his untruth will be demonstrated. By telling untruth he tries to protect himself with untruth, and touching the heated axe he is burned, and then he is killed. But if he is not guilty, his truth will be demonstrated. By telling the truth he protects himself with truth and, touching the heated axe, he is not burned, and then he is released.
      ShisyaIs this practice grounded on knowledge?
      GuruThe ultimate Truth is proven not by dialectics but by its own substance. In the sacred worldview, the Sun and the Fire (the subtler aspect of fire, the primordial material element) symbolize Truth. They transform all material things and mortal beings into spiritual and divine realities. The sacred universal Fire acts as the mediator par excellence where nature is divine, human, and earthly at once and at the same time. Traditionally, one comes to know the social Truth of what befell by the fire-ordeal. Fire is the all-consuming blazing light.
      ShisyaCan such Truth be empirically demonstrated?
      GuruConsider the historical examples of Socrates, Jesus, Mirabai and Gandhi whose self-sacrifice has proven their truthfulness. They proved by their own examples that Death is the ultimate Truth.


      Testing the Flame of Tolerance
      ShisyaNow, how about the acquisition of tolerance?
      GuruThere are different forms of consciousness which determine people's attitude towards the evil doers. At the highest level of consciousness operates the law of tolerance, or self-sacrifice. Gandhi used the word Satyagraha (lit. clinging to Truth) and Ahimsa (non-violence) to describe India's ancient law of self-sacrifice. He said, "having themselves known the use of arms, the Risis realized the uselessness of the arms and taught a weary world that its salvation lay not through violence but through non-violence. Non-violence in its dynamic conditions means conscious suffering. It does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil doer. It means the pitting of one's whole soul against the will of the tyrant. India's past training for ages has been against violence. Human nature in India has advanced so far that the doctrine of non-violence is more natural for the people at large than that of violence."
      ShisyaHow do common people respond to the existential crisis?
      GuruThe flame of tolerance is of two kinds : hard and soft. Hard tolerance is that which places essence before existence. Buddhism with its profound doctrinal insight of Sunnyata spread over the whole of Asia without shedding a drop of blood. There is no record in the long history of Buddhism, spanning over many centuries, of any prosecution by the Buddhists of the followers of any other faiths. "India", as Gandhi observed, "has never waged war against any nation. She has put up sometimes ill-organized or half-organized resistance in self-defence pure and simple. Therefore she need not develop the will for peace. She has that in abundance whether she knows it or not." These are the examples of structural tolerance which is not easy to realize.
      ShisyaWhat is soft tolerance?
      GuruSoft tolerance is that which places existence before essence. Most commonly is political tolerance, theological tolerance, and philosophical tolerance. In all these forms of tolerance there is a rupture between goodness and Truth.
      ShisyaAre they different from one another?
      GuruIndeed they are.
      GuruPolitical tolerance brings freedom and democracy. Ideally, freedom carries with it the greatest measure of discipline and humility. In practice, as generally observed, it turns out to be unbridled licence causing injury to one's self and to one's neighbours. Democracy is a great institution under which the weakest should have the same opportunity as the strongest. But, when people's freedom is reduced to the minimum and state interference is raised to the maximum the form of Government is democratic in name. In Gandhi's view, "Democracy disciplined and enlightened is the finest thing in the world. A democracy prejudiced, ignorant, superstitious, will land itself in chaos and may be self-destructive." Since statecraft is built on warcraft, political tolerance is nothing but a strategy of convenience. Most democracies today survive in the midst of terrorism, whether governmental or popular. In many cases democracy turns into mobocracy which plays the game of numbers through untruthful and violent means.
      ShisyaWhat is political violence?
      GuruPolitical violence is of two kinds : invasion of force and invasion of ideas. Of these two the invasion of ideas, as apparent today in the mass media, is mightier than the invasion of brute force.
      ShisyaWhat about theological tolerance?
      GuruTheological tolerance is a practical necessity. Here one employs emotions before logical reasoning, and lays emphasis on goodness before truth. It is also provisional. Theological tolerance is marked today by inter-faith dialogue which is an improvement upon the method of proselytizing. Gandhi held the view that, "prosetylizing under the cloak of humanitarian work is, to say the least, unhealthy." He believed that conversion "may even be a hinderance to individual or social growth, and insistence on a particular form or repetition of credo may be a potent cause of violent quarrels leading to bloodshed and ending in utter disbelief in Religion, i.e. God Himself."
      ShisyaIs democratic state more tolerant than theocratic state?
      GuruIf the former is founded on the principle of respect for all religions without distinction, and the latter on the primacy of a particular religious extremism, then the former most decidedly.
      ShisyaIs it secularism that makes the difference whether the state is tolerant or not?
      GuruOne would hope so. But if the sacred is totally decontextualized from life - the secular opposing the sacred and people clinging so greedily to political powers that they dare to break the highest laws - then the opposite may happen.
      ShisyaIf politics is lame and theology blind in respect of the highest laws, are modern men out of their minds?
      GuruNo. There are good men in our times, but no systems to impart Truth and tolerance.
      ShisyaIs tolerance teachable?
      GuruYes, indeed. The saints of other times knew how to communicate Truth and impart tolerance to others. The ancient communities had developed a self-organizing system of resolving conflict at various levels - the family, the kingroup, the caste, the village, and at the inter-village interaction. This has been destroyed by the modern state system. Regretably, religious leaders of our times are discussing more politics than Truth.
      ShisyaAnd might not the same be said of intellectuals?
      GuruYes, and of philosophical tolerance too. Intellectuals are concerned with the temporal reality which has corrupting influence, especially to those who have to do with politics. Philosophers make more out of their craft of social philosophy. Philosophical tolerance is a theoretical necessity. It rests on the respect due to what one does not understand. It leads one to respect others even though not agreeing with their ideas or actions.


      Truth is Higher Than Tolerance
      ShisyaCan one say that Truth and tolerance have a common concern?
      GuruI don't think that way. Truth is concerned with ministering to the cosmic order, and tolerance, which is a part of it, is concerned with ministering to the human order. In other words : Truth stands for the whole of the universe, it is irreducible to mere logos or to sheer mythos. Tolerance, on the other hand, is a virtue limited by physical condition or trait that refers to human and animal types, as known to ancient Chinese and Indian people.
      ShisyaHow is tolerance bound fast by human concern?
      GuruTolerance is a law that has an anthropological foundation. It operates in the sociological realm. It is not merely a personal virtue. It is also a social virtue to be cultivated like the other virtues. As humans are limited, so is tolerance limited.
      ShisyaWhat are the laws of limits to tolerance?
      GuruThe more perfect an ideology, the less tolerant it is. The political ideology of tolerance is governed by an in-built criteria for what to tolerate and what not to tolerate. A religious ideology can tolerate error or ignorance as long as it is confident that some day Truth would win out. A moralist like Gandhi said, "I would risk violence a thousand times than the emasculation of a whole race. My non-violence does not admit of running away from danger and leaving dear ones unprotected. Between violence and cowardly flight, I can only prefer violence to cowardice. I can no more preach non-violence to a coward than I can tempt a blind man to enjoy healthy scenes."
      ShisyaIsn't it a pity that instead of the deed, people follow the word?
      GuruThat is so. Modern ideology of tolerance has itself become the source of thought. In other words : praxis is not identified with theoria. As Gandhi said, "a mere academic discussion can only hamper the progress of non-violence."
      ShisyaHow, then, will the deed and the word harmonize?
      GuruPeople have to be persuaded. Today we speak of tolerance as a matter of right not of duty.
      ShisyaWhat is wrong in people speaking of tolerance as a matter of right?
      GuruBy saying that one attempts to escape one's duty. Demanding rights before duties is typically modern, Western. In the ancient Asian worldview, to use Gandhi's expression, rights accrue automatically to a person who performs his duties. Infact the rights to perform one's duties is the only right that is worth living for and worth dying for.
      ShisyaThen, must we not admit that the UN Declaration of Human Rights needs modification?
      GuruNot only that, my dear child, UN should establish a commission for the Universal Declaration of Human Duties. Without it the noblest intention of Human Rights shall remain unfulfilled.
      ShisyaWhat are we to say about peace-keeping?
      GuruThere cannot be a peace in the world so long as there is even one trader of nuclear and non-nuclear weapons and a tamer of dehumanizing consumerism. So long as nations are not wedded to Truth, the Nuclear non-proliferation Treaty is a big joke on non-violence and peace.
      ShisyaShall we find a way to peace?
      GuruGood. The only condition to peace is reverence for all forms of life.
      ShisyaIn what way?
      GuruReverence is both ancient and divine. Going back to anthropology of fear of the invisible : invisible causes reverence, reverence brings discipline, discipline brings order, and order brings peace.
      ShisyaHow can the invisible cause reverence?
      GuruThe invisible is unchanging and eternal. God signifies an unchanging and living laws. No one has really seen Him. God and His laws are synonymous terms. Some believe in God, others in His laws. Both the terms are highly relevant for the definition of religion.
      ShisyaIsn't it true that religions have led to division, hatred and war, and religious people have too often betrayed the high ideals they themselves have preached?
      GuruIt is difficult to convince modern man that our knowledge of history is imperfect or impossible for testing any theory concerning religions. Philosophy alone can make a thorough examination. There are two kinds of religion. The first is what people form as an organization of faith in the words of God revealed by special enlightenment. The second kind of religion is that Religion which underlies all forms of religion. Both are founded on love and generosity. Both admit justice. Since the first kind of religion forms a visible temporal organization, it occasionally sinks down by its own temporality. All that is visible is changing and ephemeral. The love of the followers of the formal religion covers up human frailty.
      ShisyaHow is the modern world disposed toward religion?
      GuruThe modern world re-discovers or re-confirms religion in a new way. The UNESCO recognition of the Role of Religions in the Promotion of Culture of Peace, as reflected in the 1994. Barcelona Declaration, is the most excellent example that stands in the matter. Opening a new division for the Culture of Peace and holding regional meetings on tolerance are the other excellent things which show that UNESCO has become more actively involved in a quest for non-violence and Truth and the world has taken religion seriously.
      ShisyaAren't non-violence and Truth twins?
      GuruGandhi's answer was an emphatic no : "Non-violence is embedded in Truth and a vice-a-versa. Hence it has been said that they are two faces of the same coin. Either is inseparable from the other. Read the coin either way. The spelling of words will be different. The value is the same. This blessed state is unattainable without perfect purity. Harbour impurity of mind or body and you have untruth and non-violence in you."
      ShisyaIs Truth higher than tolerance?
      Guru One cannot reach Truth by untruthfulness. Tolerance does not come from indifference to Truth. It comes from a deeper realization of Truth. Surprisingly and not so surprisingly there is a Sanskrit verse which says, "Speak Truth, speak pleasant (words), do not speak unpleasant Truth."
      ShisyaDoes this mean that Truth has to be watered down in order to avoid the greater evil of intolerance?
      GuruIt amounts to that. It is aimed at good or civic virtue, such virtue brings peaceful co-existence, but not justice and Truth in the ultimate sense. Gandhi in his characteristic frankness said, "Truth has to be uttered, however, unpleasant it may be. Without Truth, God is no where." Sant Tulsi Das has said that should a counsellor, a physician and a preceptor speak sweet words out of fear, the kingdom, the body and the righteouness will perish sooner.
      ShisyaIs living Truth compatible with religious passion and compassion?

      Such an exploration can begin only with the full vision of Truth. Let us turn to Gandhi, who lived in divine sweetness and died in prayer. "If we had attained the full vision of Truth", Gandhi said, "we would no longer be mere seekers, but have become one with God, for Truth is God. But being only seekers, we prosecute our quest, and are conscious of our imperfection. And if we are imperfect ourselves, religion as conceived by us must also be imperfect. We have not realized religion in its perfection, even as we have not realized God. Religion of our conception, being thus imperfect, is always subject to a process of evolution. And if all faiths outlined by men are imperfect, the question of comparative merit does not arise. All faiths constitute a revelation of Truth, but all are imperfect, and liable to error. Reverence for other faiths need not blind us to their faults. We must be keenly alive to the defects of our own faiths also, yet not leave it on the account, but try to overcome these defects. Looking at all religions with an equal eye, we would not hesitate, but think it our duty, to blend into our faith every acceptable feature of other faiths."

      ShisyaMay I urge you Sir, to tell me a little more on Gandhi's view of religion? I am so moved by him.
      Guru"Even as a tree has a single trunk, but many branches and leaves, so there is one true and perfect Religion, but it becomes many, as it passes through the human medium. The one Religion is beyond all speech. Imperfect men put it into such language as they can command, and their worlds are interpreted by other men equally imperfect. Whose interpretation is to be held to be right one? Everybody is right from his own standpoint, but it is not impossible that everybody is wrong. Hence the necessity of tolerance, which does not mean indifference to one's own faith, but a more intelligent and purer love for it. Tolerance gives us spiritual insight, which is as far from fanaticism as the North Pole from the South. The knowledge of religion breaks down the barriers between faith and faith."



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