April 21, 2015

The Pursuit of Truth

Snippets from "The Pursuit of Truth" by Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan .....

In the lectures on Hindu View of Life, I present Hinduism as a progressive historical movement still in the making. Its adherents are not custodians of a deposit, but runners carrying a lighted torch. The weaknesses of the Hindu faith which have drawn the institution into disgrace and are today blocking the way for social advance are due to a confusion between Tradition and Truth. We must preserve the spirit of Truth which will guide us all into truth. God does not say, "I am Tradition", but He says, "I am Truth". Truth is greater than its greatest teachers. We must realize that the history of the race is strewn with customs and institutions which were invaluable at first and deadly afterwards. Gross abuses which still survive require to be cut off with an unspairing hand.

To surrender our vanity and love of ourselves and expose the naked ribs of reality may mean anguish and sacrifice but it is worth it. Truth, according to Mahabhatrata, is penance and sacrifice of high order. It says "Truth is always natural with the good. Truth is eternal duty. One should reverentially bow unto truth. Truth is the highest refuge. Truth is duty, truth is penance, truth is yoga. Truth is the eternal Brahman. Truth is said to be -- sacrifice of a high order. Everything rests on Truth". Truth and reality, not falsehood and semblance, are the foundations of lasting friendship, of spiritual life. These friendly revelations have little in common with the exhibitions of spiritual nudism where the sinner speaks exultingly of the depths of sin from which he has emerged to emphasize the heights to which he has attained.

It is by suffering that we understand. The condition of true human life is to suffer pain and endure loneliness. Only those who live outwards lives without being touched inward depths can escape suffering.  Often suffering is not punishment but discipline. When the great blow falls, when we stand in the our darkest hour, shocked, baffled, defeated for the moment, when life has completely lost its savior, when we are tempted to cry "O God, art thou dead?" or with one mightier , "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?"; when we hear no response even to such a cry of despair, when utter silence faces us, when the foundations slip away and the world seems to be cracking all about us, we have to bear it all , face the storm, cling to hope and believe in love. All this means suffering and it is through suffering that we learn and grow.

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