Current Events · Inner View · Reminders to self · Satyam Shivam Sundaram · Words of The Mother and Sri Aurobindo

Remember the Truth

We are living in the days of post-truth and alt-facts. Whatever these terms mean, or may not mean.

We are living in the times when everything and anything is available for ‘re-telling’ and ‘re-interpretation.’ When all [his/her]stories from the collective memory of a people are being twisted and re-twisted in the name of ‘artistic license’ and ‘creative freedom.’ In such times we need to dig deep, very deep and remember the truth. 

“Sometimes one is led to think that only those things really matter which have never happened; for beside them most historic achievements seem almost pale and ineffective.” (Sri Aurobindo, Aphorism #39)

I would like to have an explanation of this Aphorism.

“Sri Aurobindo, who had made a thorough study of history, knew how uncertain are the data which have been used to write it. Most often the accuracy of the documents is doubtful, and the information they supply is poor, incomplete, trivial and frequently distorted. As a whole, the official version of human history is nothing but a long, almost unbroken record of violent aggressions: wars, revolutions, murders or colonisations. True, some of these aggressions and massacres have been adorned with flattering terms and epithets; they have been called religious wars, holy wars, civilising campaigns; but they nonetheless remain acts of greed or vengeance.

“Rarely in history do we find the description of a cultural, artistic or philosophical outflowering.

“That is why, as Sri Aurobindo says, all this makes a rather dismal picture without any deep significance. On the other hand, in the legendary accounts of things which may never have existed on earth, of events which have not been declared authentic by “official” knowledge, of wonderful individuals whose existence is doubted by the scholars in their dried-up wisdom, we find the crystallisation of all the hopes and aspirations of man, his love of the marvellous, the heroic and the sublime, the description of everything he would like to be and strives to become.

“That, more or less, is what Sri Aurobindo means in his Aphorism.”

~ The Mother, CWM, Vol. 10, p. 62 

We live in the times when nothing is seen as sacred, all is simply merchandise for quick enjoyment. When nothing is considered eternal, and all is fit for only momentary consumption, frivolous and ready to be thrown out when bored. When no word is considered true, and all seeking for power is reduced to wordsmithery and loudness of noise.

In such times we need to dig deep, very deep and remember the truth.

“Truth is the rock on which the world is built. Satyena tishthate jagat. Falsehood can never be the true source of strength. When falsehood is at the root of a movement, that movement is doomed to failure.”

~ Sri Aurobindo, Bande Mataram, CWSA, Vol. 8, p. 882

15 thoughts on “Remember the Truth

  1. There are very few left who actually look for truth… who are not consumed by the greed of materialistic momentary pleasures … all those protests that happened recently, I wonder how many actually realized what they are fighting for!

    1. That’s the thing! Most of the protesters (for whatever cause) are moved by a collective passion, which isn’t very nuanced or thoughtful. Where is the truth, one wonders! Perhaps this too is part of the age we are passing through at this point of time. And maybe that is why it becomes even more critical to pause and ask ourselves – where is the truth? Thanks Raj for reading and sharing your perspective.

  2. Such a lovely revelation Beloo. Indeed, history is written by victors who want to be seen as immortals. But rarely, if ever, does it touch upon philosophy or the concept of truth. Testament to that is how much we discover when we grow up that history we studied as children was biased.

    There are 3 forms of truth – your truth, my truth, and the truth. We must learn to differentiate between them. We must accept that we will never know the complete truth, but must keep digging to find something of true value.

    1. Thanks Vishal for sharing this important perspective! Yes, there are too many versions of truth floating around 🙂 Which is why like you say it becomes absolutely critical to be able to distinguish between them. Which will naturally lead one to ask – if all these partial truths are partially true, then what is the real, full truth? 🙂 But of course, very few people are inclined to ask that question and most of us are satisfied with our version of the truth alone!

      And as far as history and truth-value is concerned, we all know and read almost on a daily basis all the bitter fights that happen in the name of what really happened and what didn’t! Maybe we need to ask the question – can there be a different way to understand our past, our history? Hey, now that could become a whole new blog post!

      Thanks again!

  3. We also live in times when it is easier/cool/fashionable/liberal to give credence to retellings and lumpenisation of everything including history, art, literature and other aspects of civilisation. Is there any wonder then that a novelist’s, a filmmaker’s or a biased historian’s version of the retelling is taken as the truth and the rest junked as falsehood? My favourite quote in this post is the first one by Sri Aurobindo.

    1. Oh yes, that’s a fabulous aphorism of Sri Aurobindo. And the one following this one is even better 🙂 I think you will like that one too. Here it is –

      “There are four very great events in history, the siege of Troy, the life and crucifixion of Christ, the exile of Krishna in Brindavun and the colloquy with Arjuna on the field of Kurukshetra. The siege of Troy created Hellas, the exile in Brindavun created devotional religion, (for before there was only meditation and worship), Christ from his cross humanised Europe, the colloquy at Kurukshetra will yet liberate humanity. Yet it is said that none of these four events ever happened.” (Aphorism #40)

      As for the filmmaker’s and novelist’s so-called artistic freedom etc, well, the less said the better especially in the days of Modi and everything else related to that 😀 😉

      (PS – I just hope other readers will not miss the sarcasm in my last sentence!)

      1. Love this one too, just as you presumed I would 🙂 And yes, when everything is surcharged with negative emotions in these days and times, sarcasm is often missed or mistaken. Good that you put in that disclaimer 🙂

    1. Indeed, it is becoming worse with every passing day. So much falsehood is being peddled under the name of alternative facts and what not! The profession of journalism which was supposed to be the watchdog in so many ways has become ’embedded’ with so many forces of falsehood. But we must stay hopeful and wait for the new dawn of truth to come up! Thanks Damyanti for reading and sharing your thoughts.

    1. Yes, we are most of the time caught up in that only – quick pleasures etc. But perhaps that’s why it becomes so critical to remember to take a pause from time to time and ask the question – is this all there is to life?!

      Thanks Ramya for stopping by!

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