The Sanskrit word for “Truth” is “Satyam”. The Truth is fundamental for any one embarking on the journey for Self Realization. At face value this seems to be an obvious statement, but it is much harder then originally appears. It actually flies in the face of the conventional way of working.
For those in a School which purports to follow Truth, His Holiness Sri Shantandand Saraswati gave this principle in 1971 with respect to the leader of a School.
Shantananda (1971.7.1 & 2):
For justice, one needs to know only Truth and stand fast by It… In conducting the affairs of an organization at any level, Truth is necessary. But the only point of assuring Truth flowing freely is the starting point, the top man. If he follows Truth in Its totality, every level will learn to appreciate Truth and act accordingly. Even if they did not act accordingly, when they would come face to face with the man who follows Truth, they would not be able to conceal, for it would become obvious out of their own mouths. So it is entirely up to one single man to stick to the Truth.
It is up to one man, the leader of a school to follow Truth in its totality for the members of a school to learn to appreciate the Truth. Conversely, the conclusion can be drawn that if the leader of a school does not follow Truth in its totality, the members of the school will not be able to. His Holiness was quite categoric and uncompromising in his statement.
The starting point for being truthful is at the level of the material world. In any academic research, it is absolutely necessary to be factually accurate for the results of the research to have validity. From time to time scientists and their work have been discredited because of flaws in the methodology or because they have sought to manipulate the results to achieve the ends they want. It is always so tempting to try to achieve a certain outcome. Much has been written in terms of statistical analysis to achieve an unbiased and unblemished sampling and approach to work. Even so, when empirical evidence suggests a result contrary to deeply held ideas, the conclusions drawn can be regarded as heretical as in the case of Galileo.
The starting point then for some-one embarking on the journey to Self Realization is to be Truthful. Because younger people in the work look to those more senior to them to guide them, it is vital that those more senior people are truthful in their dealings. However, as already stated this is not as easy as it may appear on the face of it. Mr MacLaren of the School of Economic Science (the SES) used to periodically delight in saying to his senior groups, “God is not an Englishman you know”!!
Why did he say this? It was quite simply, because people operate primarily in their personal paradigm, or to use the Sanskrit term, “wyashti” circle. Secondly, they operate in their cultural paradigm or wyashti circle. What ever does not fit into this is conveniently ignored or disregarded. People have a great facility to disregard what is not convenient. Indeed Al Gore recognized this propensity in calling his movie on climate change “An Inconvenient Truth”.
An area which is problematic is what can perhaps be referred to as the “grand gesture”. It is a Western trait to want to appear to work and think on a universal scale, and so words such as “magnanimity”, “humanity” and many others are liberally sprinkled into a conversation to try to give the impression the speaker is operating from a largeness of being. An amusing example of this was to hear people confer the status of Kshatrya (The finest example of warrior class in the Hindu Tradition) to the Americans following the invasion of Iraq. It is hard to understand how this was done, as the basis for the invasion was from a flawed premise in every respect in terms of the Advaita Vedanta tradition. If an example of the correct way of operating is needed, one only needs to look at Mahatma Ghandi and see how he approached removing the oppressor from India. It was using non-violence. In the Advaita Vedanta Tradition non-violence is known as “Ahimsa” which is also very important.
So the first stage in following the “Truth” is to be rigorous in obtaining and facing the facts, and then seek to surrender one’s views in order to come to an understanding of the true situation at the physical level, rather that trying to fit the facts to one’s own views, or dismiss things because they are not convenient. If this cannot be done at the physical level, there is no hope of doing it at the subtle or causal levels. It is quite a shift for a man to be able to accept the facts and let go his own thinking in order to better understand things as they really are, the more common way is to try to fit the facts to one’s own view or aspirations.
Part of the problem is the cultural perspective. People of a particular culture reinforce in each other the “reality” of the particular culture they are from and tend to dismiss other cultures. It is only after a man has come to the point of being absolutely rigorous in his attempts to accept the evidence in front of him which may not accord at all with what he wants, that he may begin to put the Truth first, appreciating the limitations of his cultural perspective and that it is just one perspective. In this step a man has to realize that there are other mental constructs outside of his own – or at least that of his particular culture. Many appreciate this intellectually, but the realization is very rare indeed. Even if he does come to this point, it is usual that he gives validity to his own, and dismisses the other as inferior or irrelevant. It usually takes him to the point where he is desperate within his own frame work before he is prepared to even consider letting it go, or asking himself what is beyond it?
Intellectually this all sounds very nice. But in order for that to take place, one must first of all be ready to allow for the dissolution of the individual wyashti or paradigm. This is quite a remarkable situation.
If he eventually comes to that, then he has to be prepared for the deconstruction of his own mental construct – paradigm – wyashti (call it what you will). In practical terms, what person in their “right” mind is going to allow their personal mental framework to deconstruct? To consider it another way, it requires a remarkable act of faith and also inner strength to allow this to begin to happen! The more so, because it is not some nice intellectual consideration, but rather a real disintegration of the fabric of that which maintains separation. It is a most unusual man indeed who can embark on this.
For a man to follow Truth and uncompromisingly put the Truth first is very, very rare. Mostly people can go only so far and are then deflected. They are not able, nor do they want, to go beyond a certain point. The interesting thing about this is that in this deflection they begin to deviate from their original aim. Thus you see the Inquisition being the total opposite to that which Christ taught. This follows lawfully in accordance with the Law of Seven. When people reach an interval and do not cross it, they become deflected from their original aim but are not aware of it. The point they reach becomes their aim, they do not see beyond that.
What generally happens is very simple. It is said that it is only a daring man who, seeking to find himself, looks back. It is a very rare man indeed even amongst those who purport to follow the Truth who does this. What is this looking back? It is when a man looks into his heart and goes with what he knows within himself to be True regardless of the external consequences. Very few are prepared to do this. Most sacrifice the Truth for external expediency or through a fear of appearing stupid to those around. There are so many excuses for not following what one knows in one’s heart to be true, and these excuses can all appear to be justified. But the fact is, the man knows in his heart it is not right but he covers it up. In spiritual work we are tested. There comes a point the man has to put himself on the line. If he turns from what he knows in his heart is True or correct, he begins to become deaf to the Truth and the Truth gradually becomes covered up in him. In accordance with the Law of Seven he has become deflected and the octave cannot be fulfilled in him. Who knows how many lifetimes it may be before he may get the chance again to come into contact with a man who really follows Truth. Far better that he appear foolish now and not deny his true nature. Suffice to say the creation acts to keep people ensnared rather than help them become free.
To cross these difficulties one needs a true guide. That is a man who has gone before and has become free himself. But this has to be earned. The starting point is to be utterly truthful at the physical level and be prepared to adopt a true rigorous academic approach to the facts rather than dismissing them as being inconvenient or irrelevant. It is only through this approach that a person may begin the next step of starting to penetrate through real knowledge and begin to understand the law at the subtle or finer level. The man who does this is quite some man. The work of Truth is not for armchair philosophers, it requires the man put himself on the line and be prepared to stand for the Truth no matter what it costs him. This is a remarkable work and the man who truly embarks on it is a remarkable man. The one thing consistently admired about Leon MacLaren, was that he was uncompromising in his love for Truth.