The Inconvenient Truth
It has been quite some time now that I have been writing articles based on the inspiration in my heart. I have received a lot of accolades and acclaim. People thank me for providing many solutions and I write back to them telling that it is the Lord they must thank and not me for He is the inspiration. They are happy with my response and I am happy with their response. Why am I bringing this up now?
Just imagine, if today, I were to proclaim, “I am God. What I speak is the Truth and what I do is Dharma. And that is why you find solace and solutions in what I write, for what I write is Absolute.” I would be considered as pompous and as someone at the zenith of ego and blasphemy. People would get ticked off and maybe even stop reading what I write. What I write is the same but whether I put it in ‘humility’ or ‘pride’ makes a lot of difference apparently! I too, therefore, choose to write in ‘humility’ for I seek my readers support and agreement. And this is where I face the Inconvenient Truth.
Please allow me to elaborate.
It was on the 20th of October 1940 that a young boy in a village that had been described as ‘a stone’s throw from Stone Age’ sat on a rock and proclaimed himself to be God. He said,
“Oh mind (people)! Incessantly meditate on the feet of your Master. That alone will aid you across the ocean of worldly existence.”
Manasa Bhajare Guru Charanam
Dusthara Bhavasaagara Tharanam
That was how Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba began what He called His mission. And the followers and devotees started flowing. Along with these followers and devotees also came the critics. The critics could not simply stand the ‘fact’ that a human is God! They felt that it was a pompous boast.
Looking back at the life of Baba, I feel that if only He had called Himself a saint or a man in touch with God, the critics would not be so many in number or so vehement in their venom. Even if He had said that He is one with God for He realized the Divine, people would have been less critical. But no! Swami said it very simply,
“I am God. And if you seek within you will realize that you too are Divine.”
Not much attention is paid to the second sentence though it is the longer one. And that’s because that is the Inconvenient Truth which demands too much if we accept it. The first sentence however is scrutinized and criticized, often quoted in isolation and, again, is not accepted for that too is the Inconvenient Truth! It has been so from times immemorial.
The experience Jesus had when he stated the Inconvenient Truth
Jesus was in the Temple walking up and down the Portico of Solomon. It was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem. Someone among the crowd asked him, “Are you the Christ (The Lord)?”
Jesus replied, “The Father and I are one.” (John 10:30)
Hearing this, some of the people picked up stones to throw at him. Jesus asked them,
“I have shown many good works from my Father; for which of these are you stoning me?”
“We are stoning you not for doing a good work”, they replied,“but for blasphemy; though you are only a man, you claim to be God.” ( John 10:33)
Jesus answered them,
"Is it not written in your Law, 'I have said you are gods'? (John 10:34) If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside (John 10:35)
Why then do you say, ‘You are blaspheming’ because I said, ‘I am God’? Truly, I am God and you too are God.”
(The actual words according to the King James version of the Bible which was printed in 1839 are -
"Thou blasphemest because I said I am the Son of God? If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know and believe that The Father is in me, and I in Him" -
and I thank Doug for researching and sending this over to me.)
The experience of Mansoor, the Sufi saint, when he stated the Inconvenient Truth
In more recent times, the 11th century AD to be exact was the great Sufi saint, Hosain Mansoor al Halaj, whose life is of great interest and worth studying. He was a heroic soul that foughtalone and single handed against the entire orthodox and fixed religious beliefs of his time, when religion was at its zenith and had a very strong hold on the mind of the people.
Mansoor began to experience and realise in himself. His greatest words were "Anal Haq", meaning, "I am God." Although they expounded only the doctrine of the oneness of God and the Unity of the soul of man with the One, they became the cause of his sufferings, persecution and, ultimately, his death too. The entire Muslim belief opposed Mansoor. None could understand the meaning of his words. He was called a Kafir by all who heard him. The learned scholars tooopposed Mansoor and scorned his ideas. They all gathered and sent an appeal to the Khalif(king) urging strongly that Mansoor should be hanged. His friends sincerely implored him not to speak blasphemy and to fear God. Mansoor was driven to despair but He did not stop declaring the Inconvenient Truth.
Yet a last chance was given to Mansoor of escaping a cruel death. He was ordered to mount upon a platform and in the place of the words "Anal Haq"–"I am God", to say "Hooal Haq "- " He is God". Mansoor bravely mounted the platform and said, "The ocean of oneness is rolling on all sides, and in that my individuality has totally merged. I cannot separate myself from it. Mansoor has forgotten that he is Mansoor and has attained Divine Nature. Why should he leave this exalted position and again become a low earthly creature?" This was his reply to the prosecution.
It was a brutal torture that he had to undergo before he was killed by being cut into pieces. Swami tells the story with great poignancy. He says,
“Even though his limbs were chopped off, he kept saying 'Anal Haq'. And once he died by hanging, every drop of blood from his body was proclaiming , ‘Anal Haq’. The same was heard from the trees, the bird, the very skies themselves. That is when the Khalif repented his act and felt ashamed of his scholars.”
(You can read the elaborate version of Swami's narrative from the discourse He delivered on the 31st of March,1996.
Experience of Sri Sathya Sai Baba when he stated the Inconvenient Truth.
When, at the age of 14,he stated the Inconvenient Truth, his own parents were worried. They took him to a powerful practitioner who could ‘ward away evil possessing spirits’! The little boy, Sathya, appeared like a lamb being readied for torture. The practitioner first shaved Sathya's head, and then with a sharp instrument scratched "x" marks on his scalp. Sathya sat through the intense pain without flinching a bit. The witchdoctor poured on the open wounds of the bleeding scalp, the juice of lime, garlic and other acidic fruits. The parents, who were watching the proceedings in utter despair, were surprised, because there was not even a tear or a gasp of pain from the young boy!
The "torture-specialist" was now furious! He arranged that every day for some days, early in the morning, one hundred and eight pots of cold water were to be poured on the scalp. That, too, was done. His armory was now almost empty, and the "evil spirit" that possessed the boy had not admitted defeat; it had not shouted that it would leave him and go elsewhere! He then beat Sathya on the joints with a heavy stick to drive out what he called "stag fever" when the boy moved about, and "rock fever" when the boy was quiet!
Finally he decided to use his strongest weapon which the toughest spirit cannot withstand, the "Kalikam." This is a magic collyrium, a mixture of all the fiery abracadabra in the repertory of torture. He applied it to Sathya's eyes. The parents were aghast at the consequences. Sathya's head and face swelled beyond recognition; they became red, and the burning sensation could be felt even by those who went near, according to the sister Venkamma.
The little lad of 14 asked later,
"Even after seeing all that fortitude and that miracle of a young boy passing unscathed through all that terror, you are not now convinced that I am Sai Baba. How then would you have reacted if I just made the Announcement one fine day? I wanted to make known that I am Divine, impervious to suffering, pain, or joy."
And His only teaching has been to love all and serve all because all are ONE. Thus, one must be able to see God in all.
How does one bear the tortures that the Inconvenient Truth brings?
“Truth fears nothing. Untruth shivers at every shadow”
Imagine someone came and told us,
“Our tests have shown that sugar is not sweet. Sugar is in fact bitter to taste.”
Our reaction would be one of shock and total disbelief. We will state back,
“Sugar is sweet. And it is sweet for you too if only you place it on your tongue and experience it.”
The critics refuse to do that. They produce many ‘theories’ and ‘facts’ to support the claim that sugar is not sweet. After trying their best, they are on the verge of giving up. As a last ditch attempt they say,
“If you do not accept that sugar is not sweet, we shall torture you and harm you.”
When we perceive a threat to ourselves, we think,
“Why should I simply get hurt in the process. I’ll save myself the pain by simply nodding to what they say.”
For one moment, imagine if the threat was like this,
“If you do not accept that sugar is not sweet, we shall break a chair... then break a table... and then break some houses.... and then break etc. “
Our response will be,
“Break all that you want. Do what you want. As far as I am concerned, sugar is sweet. As long as you don’t threaten me, I shall stick to my guns.”
And therein lies the answer. Be it Jesus, Mansoor or Sathya Sai, their response to those that opposed the Inconvenient Truth was,
“Break all that you want. Do what you want. As far as I am concerned, I am God. As long as you don’t threaten me, I shall stick to my guns.”
But the only difference was this - They knew that they could never be threatened because their body for them, was like what a chair or table is for us. And that is why they could say,
“Break this body if you wish, but I shall stick to my guns because you will never be able to threaten ‘ME’! For I am not the body, not the mind but the eternal Atma (Soul/God/Spirit).”
The scriptures say, “Na Brooyath Satyam Apriyam” (Never speak the unpleasant/inconvenient Truth). But in a time when Asatyam has become Priyam (Untruth has become convenient/pleasant), I guess we need to face this Inconvenient Truth for after all it is THE TRUTH! That Truth is our True Identity!
How ready are you to live by the Inconvenient Truth?
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© 2012 Aravind Balasubramanya