I remember the first Isha Yoga program I did. There was one section in it where they spoke about Truth & Fact. I don’t know what they spoke, but I clearly remember the distinction they made between the two. At the time I understood it, but didn’t think much about it.
Lately I have been realizing how crucial the various Truths in our life are, and also how so very often in day to day life amongst other people the Truths are often not bothered with. Facts are given undue importance while rest is random opinions and whims.
Western education is one of the reasons this happens I feel. Western education is excessively fact based. I am not saying that deviate from facts But the various Truths in a situation need to given due importance. Often it is the Truths of a situation that make a big difference.
Let me elucidate an example to explain further what I am saying,
Remember what all you learnt about the Sun in school. It is a star. Earth revolves around it. Day/Night & Winter/Summer cycle. Its composition & so on. All scientific facts. Unless kids were interested in astronomy they usually didn’t bother to know anything more about the Sun and as they grow up they remember half of these above facts and that is the end of it.
One small paragraph in your science text book might have mentioned how Sun gives warmth and Life to the planet. Again factually. The Truth is that our life is only because of the Sun (and other elements). The food we eat has grown from the Suns rays and many other natural elements. We absorb sun rays & need them too. So the Sun is part of us.
As Thich Nhat Hahn says, “There is no bread without sunshine, without rain without earth. In the bread you see everything in the cosmos coming to you, to nourish you.”
This is why in many cultures especially Hindu the Sun is revered and worshiped. If the relevance and massive importance of the natural elements in our life were inculcated to kids by giving an understanding of the Truths of life then firstly the Kids would grow up with an eye for things that truly matter. They will also grow up with a sense of respect and sacredness for these elements. These would go a long way in their life – not just remain a bunch of facts. It could also benefit the society in whole and the planets ecological balance.
So this is the kind of difference that truths can make.
It is true when Sadhguru says,
“Truth means seeing the real context and meaning of what is there now.”
Without a deeper look at various activities going on around us and even within us – our thoughts, feelings and so on – clarity in our lives is not possible. And how can we look deeper? It is with Truths.
Usually anyone in India if you ask them the difference between fact & truth they will always know from their cultural understanding that Truth is bigger. Possibly this understanding is not there for the western and other streams of culture.
My of course interest lies deeper than this. Having realized how Truths can completely change situations and matters of our lives.
A simple fact like ‘the person lied’ can ruin relations. But if you do grasp the nuances, that person’s character – while he lies he is still strong in character in many other aspects, the truth that I also did not say the entire matter and so on can really change the entire picture and how you perceive it. You can then respond to it with a deeper understanding of the situation.
In Yoga, Vedanta and many other spiritual paths Truth is placed very highly. Realizing yourself is the Ultimate Truth. The true nature of yourself and thus, everything.
Truth for me is sacrosanct. For a lot of people things get muddled because social implications are too important. But I feel society and people in general will come around if I am with Truth. How you orate/present the Truth creates the biggest impact. Here I am talking more from the perspective of action, words and behaviour – because these are what most affect other people.
Even those engaged in worldly activities, such as office work or business, should hold to the truth. Truthfulness alone is the spiritual discipline in the Kaliyuga. -Sri Ramakrishna (Vivekananda’s Guru)
So I urge folks to opt towards Truth & Transparency. Not because of any major higher purpose but simply because it is a better way to be. Most of the hangups and blocks inside us to not share the truth are just our own. If we have the right people around us then they usually just end up helping us on our paths whether by supporting us or by, obstructing us and thus making us stronger.