“Truth isn’t truth.” Recently Rudy Giuliani uttered this statement on a television interview. It bewildered some and angered others. What was Giuliani trying to say? Was he undermining the truth by turning it into a personal opinion? Was he juggling words to protect his client. Was he presenting a Zen koan?
The next day Mr. Giuliani tried to explain it by referring to the classic ‘he said, she said’ argument. So who can you believe? Him or her? One of them? Both or them? Neither of them? Nobody can know the truth! And thus, we fall into a deep chasm if we succumb to this type of logic.
The statement “truth isn’t truth” is only really comprehensible to those who are trained in the truth.
For instance, most people think they are the body they inhabit: whether male or female, black or white, thinking themselves as part of an ethnic group or of some nation. But their “truth” isn’t the truth.
Most people think that the goal of life is to squeeze some happiness from the senses. This is what they live for. But their “truth” isn’t the truth.
Many people who are frustrated think the solution is to find a new partner or a different situation or to make more money. Then, they’ll surely be happy. But not so fast. Even then, their “truth” isn’t the truth.
Those who are trained in the truth, as Srila Prabhupada explains, understand that real truth “never diminishes or becomes relative or conditioned.”
Of course, people are deeply conditioned, entrenched and invested in their false “truths.” They think that’s what makes them them. Their curly blond hair, their shapely legs, their muscles and tattoos, their feelings, the wanderings of their minds, and their power of authority – especially when it pertains to exercising their sexual prowess. It’s not so easy to tell them that their “truth” isn’t the truth. When you explain the truth, people might get angry, or, worse, violent. Sometimes, they’ll try to slander you or stone you or crucify you.
I would invite Mr. Giuliani to consider the statement of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavada Gita(BG). There He declares that He is the source of truthfulness (Bg 10:4-5). We cannot avoid Krishna (God) who is residing within the hearts of all as the paramatma, the ultimate witness. And so, neither can we avoid or escape the truth. In the purport of the text Srila Prabhupada elaborates, “Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others.”
Yet, the conditioned souls don’t want their little, so-called “truths” to be disturbed. They’ll try to explain them and defend them in so many convoluted ways. By the strength of their convictions, they try to turn their untruths into “truths” and they foolishly try to turn actual truths into untruths (BG 18:32). Krishna goes on to warn us that the happiness derived from our false “truths” will only turn into poison (BG 18:38).
The Srimad Bhagavatam explains that dharma (morality) is based on four principles which all intelligent persons must adhere to: cleanliness, compassion, austerity and truthfulness. These principles are the lifeblood of a healthy society, and to abandon them leads to cheating and economic decay. The four principles are likened to the four legs of the cow. Unfortunately, in this present age, the cow is so battered and abused that the poor creature is barely standing on one leg – the leg of truthfulness. And even that leg is wobbling because people in general are so confused they are losing the ability to distinguish the truth from untruth.
The truth is no longer the truth. It becomes subjective: the property of the rich and powerful. They create the terms of their very own truth to serve themselves. “Truth isn’t truth. There is no conclusive truth,” you’ll hear them say. “It’s whatever you make it to be.”
Welcome to the Kali-yuga, the present age of quarrel, lies and greed.
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Sankirtana Das (ACBSP) is a recipient of 2005 WV Artist Fellowship Award, an Indie Book Award, a Storytelling World Award and an Ohio River Border Initiative Grant. He is on the Artist Roster of WV Division of Culture & History. He is a longtime resident of New Vrindaban and a sacred storyteller. His award-winning book, Mahabharata: The Eternal Quest, is a “fast-paced, cinematic” rendition of India’s ancient epic. For more information visit https://mahabharata-project.com
Jan 23, 2022
Anandini Tikunov (8th-grade student)
Jan 22, 2022
Sunanda Das, tovp.org