Half-Truth and the Whole Truth – M.S. Srinivasan

Intellectually, the Truth is the point where all the opposites meet and join to make a unity.                                                                         -The MotherCWM14, p. 213

We have to keep these words of the Mother in mind when we quote, read or contemplate on the short, aphoristic saying of sages, seers and thinkers.  Some of them which spring from a profound spiritual inspiration come close to expressing the Inexpressible in a few words.  But many of them are half-truths which express forcefully only an aspect of truth and not the totality of truth—either because of the incompetence of human language to express the total truth or due to partial experience, intuition or conception of truth.  The true Master knows it.  He or she knows that this total Truth is a spiritual synthesis of opposites like One and the Many, Personal and the Impersonal, Formless and the Form, Silence And The Word; where whatever human beings have thought or experienced of the divine Reality exists at once in a timeless fusion.  But the disciple takes a half-truth uttered by the Master as a part of his teaching or in a particular situation as the whole truth and converts it into a dogma.

Even at the lower level the opposite of what is said may be true for those who are in a different stage of evolution or path or of a different temperament.  For example Indian gnanis followed the path of silence.  But he great India bhakthas like Chaitanya and Mira followed the more turbulent path of devotion, chanting, singing and dancing and reached the divine.  Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is a gnani who taught an austere and advanced path of knowledge and extolled the virtue of silence.  But in a dialogue, he explains profoundly how, “words are valuable” and even a mechanical repetition of a mantra, if it is pursue with the right inner attitude, can lead to truth.  He is a true Master who knows the spiritual significance and validity of each path and method and not a half-baked disciple tossing half-truths.

However, there is a practical truth behind the half-truths.  Most of us are inwardly ready only for a half-truth and not the total truth.  We have to find the half-truth which is in harmony with out temperament, stage of evolution or capacities and focus on it, until we realise it fully, which makes us ready for the next step in our evolution towards a deeper, higher and more integral truth.  For example, we may have big spiritual ideas which transcend morality and religion in our head, acquired by reading spiritual literature.  But in our actual inner condition we may be needing basic ethical discipline and outward religious aids for taking the next step in our spiritual evolution.  But if we think we are very spiritually advanced because of the ideas in our head and go straight for advanced ideas and practices for which we are not ready, we are heading for much trouble.  This applies not only to ideas but also to so called, “spiritual experiences.”  How many of us have the discrimination to distinguish between the true spiritual experiences and the fake imitations of it in the vital and mental world, which only inflate our spiritual ego?

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