The Shastras (teachings of the Wise) tell us “speak the truth, but speak it lovingly.” There is no harm in speaking the Truth with love and kindness, but there can be a great harm in speaking it sarcastically or harshly. Harming others with our words is an act of violence, and with this act we are destroying the very foundation of Truth. In truth, the foundation of Truth can never be shaken or destroyed; but those who speak the Truth without establishing themselves on the foundation of non-violence, are not speaking the Truth at all, but are only expressing their ego.
This doesn’t mean we should tell a lie to please others. It only means we should tell ourselves off first before correcting another. ‘Telling ourselves off’ means confronting our own ego and ignorance. Self-confrontation is far superior to condemnation of others. Self-confrontation leads to self-improvement. Our own example of self-improvement will inspire and uplift others; whereas our show of superiority will only turn others away.
A good teacher is certainly far superior to his (or her) students in their chosen field of expertise, but a good teacher will reveal his superior knowledge gradually over time, as the students learn. Otherwise, the students may become disheartened and leave their studies, resigning themselves to the path of ignorance. For example, a father and mother shower lots of tender loving care on their infant children. As the infants grow into young children, the parents gently discipline them and continue to guide them through their entire childhood, introducing them to more and more of their knowledge and understanding. It is just not possible, practical, or even healthy for an infant child to understand everything that the parents know.
In this world, everyone cannot know and experience the same thing all at once. In this story of Life, if we were all on the same page, we would all be looking over each other’s shoulders and would never be able to really see or appreciate this story of Life. In this symphony of Life, if we all played the same note, there would be no symphony. Yes, there would be the Cosmic Sound of OM, but that vibration is always present in both unity and diversity.
Diversity does NOT mean perversity, and open-mindedness does not mean acceptance of bigotry, hate, rape, murder and mayhem. Nowadays in some parts of the world, it is popular to embrace the notion of secularism in the name of universality, just as it is popular to embrace nationalism or fundamentalism in the name of honor and truth. Secularism that rejects Truth and embraces falsehood is not true secularism; nationalism based on a false sense of superiority is a dishonor and a disgrace; and fundamentalism which rejects or ignores the fundamentals of Truth (such as non-violence) is simply a farce.
The Truth spoken from the core of one’s being can move the whole world, but the one who is established in Truth can never be moved by untruth. The Truth is far away from those who fail to see the Truth within themselves, but it is very near to those who see the Truth shining in every heart. The Truth is within us and all around us, to the East and West, to the North and the South. The Truth is here NOW in this moment, in the last moment, and in the next, but the Truth is also beyond all of this. Writers write, speakers speak, preachers preach and teachers teach, but the Truth remains beyond the reach of mind and intellect, and far, far beyond the realm of ego and personality.
All conflict in this world is born out of ego and ignorance. Ego is rooted in ignorance. To completely remove our ego, we must remove our ignorance; but to remove our ignorance we must stop feeding our ego.
Those who think they can save the world with their religion, their money, their politics, or their popularity (personality) are deluded. The world would be better served if everyone did their own ‘homework’ and got busy with the practice of self-discipline, simplicity, integrity, compassion, and, most important, NON-VIOLENCE.
The practice of NON-VIOLENCE requires self-discipline, and the practice of NON-VIOLENCE is the only true religion there is, was, or ever will be. Let us practice non-violence by ‘using kind words in abundance’. OM