What man is today, has passed into several evolutionary processes. In course of time, civilization, society and culture were developed by man. Later on, we witness six civilizations and a particular sacrament prospering in each and every society of the world.
Society is one of the important inventions of man and it has its own undeclared authority which continues to work for the betterment of mankind. Each society has its own culture and pastime which are practised in each and every step of life.
There is a classical concept of ‘sin’ and ‘virtue’ in life. Virtues play important roles for peaceful and blissful life. Several pathfinders, saints, great men, thinkers and philosophers advocate for this. Indeed ‘life without virtues’ is just like ‘body without soul’. Thus, one can easily understand the importance of virtues in life.
‘Truth’ is one of the greatest virtues of man and has awarded bliss to all mankind from ages to ages. For someone ‘Truth’ is God and for it one sacrifices everything.
James Esdras Faust was an American religious leader, lawyer, and politician. He values the importance of truth in life and said that honesty is more than not lying. It is truth telling, truth speaking, truth living, and truth loving.
Mahatma Gandhi who is regarded as the greatest man of the world ever born has also practised ‘Truth’ in each and every walk of his life. He has said that ‘Truth’ is God. Mahatma Gandhi believed in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world. God, as ‘Truth’ has been for him a heavy treasure beyond price. He said that there is no God higher than ‘Truth’.
Sophocles who was one of great tragedians in ancient Greece had also revealed the importance of truth in life. He says, ‘I am free for I have in me the strength of truth!’
Socrates who was a great ancient Greek philosopher and thinker had also viewed the importance of truth in a questioning manner. He says, ‘is it true; is it kind, or is it necessary?’
Aristotle was a great Greek philosopher in ancient age. He has also presented his ideas regarding truth. He says, ‘Truth is a remarkable thing. We cannot miss knowing some of it. But we cannot know it entirely.’ He says that truth is known by us only partially, not entirely.
John Ruskin who was a leading Victorian art critic had also presented his ideas on truth. He says that whose heart is pure needs never to fear. It means to live boldly in the world one should follow the path of ‘Truth’. He says, ‘He who has truth at his heart need never fear the want of persuasion on his tongue.’
The Bhagwad-Gita which is regarded as the song of the Lord also presents its concept about ‘Truth’ in chapter 4, verse 34. The Lord says to learn the ‘Truth’ by approaching a spiritual guru because only he can teach the lesson on truth – because only he has its experience. Only an enlightened Saint can impart knowledge unto the disciple because he has seen the Truth. It reveals that everyone can easily witness the truth.
तद्विद्धि प्रणिपातेन परिप्रश्नेन सेवया |
उपदेक्ष्यन्ति ते ज्ञानं ज्ञानिनस्तत्त्वदर्शिन: ||
The holy Bible also presents the importance of truth in life (John 8:32). It reveals the truth: ‘Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’ It reveals that the only way to be free from the state of evils and ignorance is to know the truth.
The holy Quoran also reveals the importance of truth in life. It reveals that man must be careful to his duty to the Lord truly. It reveals: ‘O you who believe! Be careful of (your duty to) Allah and be with the true ones.’ (Surah Tawbah 9:119)
Persians sacred text of Zoroastrianism also values Truth and its importance in life. It inspires us to tell the truth for the work to be done. ‘I will be mindful of the truth, so long as I shall be able. Mayest thou grant me the truth, tell me the best to be done.’
Sikhism also reveals the importance of Truth in life. It emphasizes for truthful living. It means to say that life without truthful living is meaningless. ‘Truth is high but higher still is truthful living.’
Lord Buddha also values Truth and said that none can hide Truth for a long time. Once it shines and all others disappear. ‘Three things cannot hide for long: the Moon, the Sun and the Truth.’
Lord Mahavira also reveals the importance of Truth. He says to practice only Truth…only Truth…no more than this in life. ‘O Self! Practise Truth, and nothing but Truth.’
Talmud which is the holy text of Jews also presents the importance of Truth in life for every generation. ‘Every generation has its own needs and truths.’(Achad Ha’am)
Harishchandra is a remarkable legendary hero who practised ‘Truth’ in a wonderful manner and established himself as the truest follower of ‘Truth’. He is an inspiration to all mankind. He is regarded as a synonym to ‘Truth’.
Harishchandra is a legendary Indian king of the Ikshvaku dynasty and the son of Sathyavrata. He is a synonym to ‘Truth’ in the world as revealed in several legends. According to the legends, Harishchandra gave away his kingdom, sold his family and agreed to be a slave – all to fulfil a promise he had made to the sage Vishwamitra.
For him ‘Truth’ is supreme and he sacrifices his everything for it – his kingdom and his family too. Once his condition is worst and he is surrounded with woes and sorrows but he never moves towards illusion and for the fulfilment of his promises he bears all the agonies caused by the unseen power.
The worst condition of his life is when his wife Tara also known as Saivya comes for the cremation of his son Rohit. The name of Harishchandra is a synonym to satya as the name of Job is a synonym to ‘Truth’.
Satya practised by Harishchandra is a great inspiration to all mankind from ages to ages like the ‘Truth’ practised by Job as revealed in the Old Testament of the holy Bible. His satya is an example of matchless practice of ‘Truth’ in life. He never bends before illusion rather he prospers only on the path of satya.
The situation of Tara is very pathetic when her son Rohit dies. She lies on the ground in the state of deep distress seeing the dead body of her son. She weeps bitterly taking her son in her lap. Her agony for his loss is revealed as follows:
All wealth, pomp and show, and beauty become stupid in course of time and man departs from this mortal world leaving everything usually – and lastly, ‘Eternal Darkness’ envelopes man. He says:
The legend also shows that life is mortal – life is momentary – and man is like ignorant armies – man lives in the ‘Darkness of Ignorance’. Whatever is the status of man but he has to go to the crematorium – he has to go to the grave. All the attempts to gain something go in vain in course of time. Lastly, only ‘Truth’ exists and all other disappears before the tide of ‘Time’. The legend suggests all mankind to prosper only towards virtues and values, and not towards evils:
One can feel the agonies of Harishchandra when Rohit dies. He says that his son was dearer than life. He says that his life has been turned into death with his son’s death – he has been embraced by woes and sorrows. How pathetically his agony is revealed in the following lines!
When Rohit dies, his mother Tara weeps bitterly falling to the feet of her husband. Pronouncing God … God, she faints. It shows the reality of life. How much tragic event is for her!
Now the condition of Harishchandra is very critical. Illusion overwhelms him. He falls into confusion that his duty, austerity, donation and truth will go in vain. He says to his wife that his truth will collapse before illusion. He loses patience and wishes to die in lack of his son. He says in the state of despair:
He wishes to die in this melancholic condition. But in the meantime, suddenly an ‘Internal Light’ comes to him and stops him doing so. Hence, he thinks to follow the path of ‘Truth’:
He comes into the state of Divine Light and says that none should repent of the past and demands the shroud for the cremation of his son. He says:
Even in the state of grief he does not forget the path of ‘Truth’. He is a true follower of Truth – he believes in justice. He says ‘Truth’ does not bend in troubles. He says:
Here the sufferings of Harishchandra are worse than those of Job. He lost all he had. He lost his kingdom, wife and son and he had to keep watch over the crematorium. Even a stone-hearted man cannot but feel moved when he sees a father preventing the performance of funeral rites of his son without the payment of proper fees. Tara tells him to show mercy as she had no shroud and requests him to allow her for cremation of his son. How pathetic the situation is!
But Harishchandra does not fall into illusion. He clearly says that man who bears agonies – who struggles against troubles – who follows the path of ‘Truth’ even in troubles – who never moves towards evils – who fulfils his duty in the state of troubles – who continues to go ahead on the path of virtues even in troubles – who has unending self-confidence for righteousness – who fulfils promises with the highest approach – he is a true man. He says:
Suddenly, Harishchandra comes into the Light of Truth and feels that he has forgotten the glory of ‘Truth’ because of illusion. He thanks God for abolishing his ‘Ignorance’. He says:
Tara begins to tear the border of her sari by hands. In the meantime, Rohit gets up and greets his parents and bliss overtakes the crematorium. He says:
The legend of Harishchandra shows that the motive and means both should be fair. Mahatma Gandhi also advocates for it. Only ‘Truth’ is the vital force in this cosmos for human beings. How much powerful is the brutal force, but that is mean and collapses before the tide of ‘Truth’. Troubles purify man. So, he should not fall into the momentary illusion, and be immortal.
Harishchandra is also shocked seeing the dead body of his own son. But he is compelled to follow the path of ‘Truth’. For him ‘Truth’ is everything – the proper time to qualify the test of ‘Truth’. He remembers the wishes of God to allow for cremation taking half of the shroud. He remembers he had sold his kingdom and his wife and has become a slave – for which he is troubled enough. He declines allowing free cremation. Though his wife requests him to allow but he flatly declines her request on the basis of dignity. He says flatly:
Harishchandra wishes nothing – follows only the path of ‘Truth’ – considering it as the costliest gems. He says:
Several pathfinders, saints and thinkers have presented the greatness and importance of human life – humanity as the best property. For Harishchandra human life is the best life in the whole cosmos and humanity is the best property. He says:
The legend of Harishchandra shows that the man who gains victory over troubles and follows the path of ‘Truth’, that man is regarded as God. The following lines reveal this fact:
The legend of Harishchandra gives a great message to all mankind that man should follow only the path of ‘Truth’ – if not as a whole but as possible as he can. The legend inspires the whole mankind to further the practice and philosophy propounded by King Harishchandra. Aha the victory of Truth! Aha the victory of Harishchandra!
Vividly, the satya practised by King Harishchandra is an inspiration to all mankind for happy and peaceful life in this dim and dry world. His path of ‘Truth’ has also been advocated by several saints, philosophers, thinkers and pathfinders all over the world. The path trodden and practised by him is quite able to award bliss to this wide and large world. Without ‘Truth’ the world seems meaningless and full of evils. The same has been preached by Mahatma Gandhi, Lord Buddha, Jesus Christ and all other great men of the world.