The Truth Will Set You Free
People pray to God in so many different ways, and through so many different faiths, but still the suffering never seems to end. The Christian goes to church every Sunday, the Jew goes to the Synagogue, the Buddhist and Hindu go to the temple, and the Muslim to the Mosque. Some pray once a week, others once a day, and some 5 times a day, but the suffering, cruelty, intolerance, and selfishness go on increasing minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. Why?
Human beings may have good intentions, but without knowledge of the soul (Atam-Gyan), without knowledge of our True Nature, we will continue to victimize ourselves and others. ‘Knowing our religion’ is not enough. We need to know ourselves. To know ourselves we need to have an open mind and a pure heart. With our mind and heart we need to know our Essence, we need to realize our True Self. Until we know our True Self, we will remain selfish and self-involved. As long as we are selfish and self-involved we will continue to suffer and remain confused and unhappy, regardless how much we know about the ways of the world, the tenets of our religion, the arts and sciences, or whatever.
What ‘we have become’ is NOT what we really are. What we are, what we really are, is the pure, indestructible, divine spirit—ATMAN, soul, Real Self. What do we mean by ‘divine?’ We mean that which is not a product of nature or the mind—it is that which is beyond both mind and matter; it is pure Consciousness devoid of all superimpositions. As long as our mind is filled with images, and we are busy imposing our images on others, we remain separated from God—or you can say Allah, or Jesus, or Buddha, or whatever you like to call it. We like to call it the Essence, or the Absolute, or simply ‘the Truth.’ The Truth is within the heart of every man, woman, and child living on this planet Earth. But unfortunately, few people grasp the Truth because few people really take hold of their own mind. Our mind has been raised as a Christian, Hindu, Jew, or Muslim; or maybe as a Buddhist, a Pagan, or an atheist. Our mind has been molded according to our limited experiences. Most of us are copycats of our parents, our culture, and our friends. We have learned how to imitate others, but very few of us have broken out of the shackles of our own bias and limited perception.
We need to take hold of our own mind and become artists of life. We should shape our mind into something that is beautiful. A beautiful mind, a beautiful heart, is one that is free of any animosity, hatred, fear, cruelty, bias, and superficiality. When we shape our mind to become like our True Self, our mind becomes pure and unselfish. But as long as our mind is dominated by ego, we remain a slave to our desires, moods, bad memories, and false feelings.
It is self deception to think that we can change the world when we can’t even change our own mind. One might conquer the hearts of others through eloquent speech and crafty debate, but if one hasn’t conquered himself he is simply a propaganda tool of his own little ego.
We might convince ourselves that we are right, and we might even convince others too, but if we are ignoring the Truth then we are only self-righteous fools. The fact is we have been ignoring the Truth our whole life and that is why we remain ignorant of our Real Nature. If we were NOT ignorant, we would NOT be looking outside of ourselves for happiness—we would realize that the Truth, which is all-pervading, is certainly within ourselves. Only divine wisdom can make us certain of the Truth—and religion is NO substitute for divine wisdom. Religion is manmade and parochial, whereas divine wisdom is eternal and universal. When we become wise, we know for certain what is right and wrong. But we also know that we cannot ‘make others know’, we cannot ‘know for others’; just as we cannot eat or drink for someone else, or we cannot breath for someone else, or love for someone else. As the tree is laden with delicious fruits, or the reservoir is filled with pure water, or just as the air is all around us, in the same way love is universal and the Truth is all-pervading and accessible to all, but it is up to each of us to accept it of our own accord.
Some persons deliberately reject the truth and embrace falsehood, knowing full well that what they do is wrong and will surely lead to no good. But most people are just ignorant like little children and simply need some guidance. If possible, we should guide others to the truth, but we cannot force anyone to accept the truth. You can guide the horse to the river, but you cannot make the horse to drink from the river. Similarly, by walking the path of truth ourselves, we may be able to lead others to the truth, but we can never ‘make’ anyone accept the truth.
“The Truth will set you free.” This is a familiar saying, but what does it really mean? Free from what? What is the Truth and where is it found? Is the Truth found in religion? Entire volumes have been written to answer these simple questions, and there is little, if anything, that we can add in this short article. So, let us conclude with the following: