The case for Truth

As a kid I took Truth for granted. I believed Truth was a thing; a static, stable thing. Like how the statement “Sun rises in the East” sounds. Very fact like. And stayed the same day after day.

Took me years to realise that after all, East, as a concept, is relative. It may mean one thing for everyone on this Earth. But it loses its meaning outside of it, in the vast Universe.

For that matter, most Truths are relative. Or they live only until the next Truth comes along.

And then as I probed further, I learnt that Truth is also a reflection; an image conjured up by a person based on his or her own circumstances, beliefs and ability to perceive.

When a mother scolds the child, the truth for a child is that the mother is angry. The truth for the mother is, that she did her best to stop the child from running across the road and possibly hurting himself.

This is where it got confusing.

There are many mirrors and each reflect a different image depending the angle the I look at it and depending on how the mirror is placed. Ever been in the hall of mirrors? I am fat in one mirror, thin in the next, with dull skin in the other, perfect beauty in a different one.

So, if I see myself broken, is it because I am broken or is it the broken mirror?

What is the truth? Nothing seems real. At least at the outset.

Hiranmayena patrena satyasya Apihitam mukam

Tatvam pusan apavrnu Satya darmaya drstaye

…says Isavasya Upanishad (incidentally some of my favorite lines).

The Truth, it says, it hidden by the brightness of the Sun. Not hidden and lost in the dark, as we popularly believe, but concealed by a bright golden vessel. The verse goes on to request the Sun to open the lid and reveal the truth.

Nothing could explain it better. Truth is a journey. A fruitless one even. Many times, when you learn a truth you are most likely discovering the nature of the mirror that is reflecting it, not the truth itself.

So, today I say Hurrah to two types of Truths.

First ones are simple Truths, the lore of our inner child that delights at things that delight us, like chocolate cake with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Second, the ones that are not so apparent, not exactly logical or based on rules, but touch our hearts in a strange way and push us to act weird, like poetry.

Everything else in between is just that. In between. A journey. Through mirrors.

My truth sometimes feels more real that yours, until the tables turn. Does that really matter? We just keep turning the tables. Keep moving.

Photograph by David Marcu on


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