Stories for the Soul

The Man who Sought out the Truth

There once was a man who wanted to decipher the absolute. And since the absolute is the truth, the man began his quest to gain the knowledge of this absolute truth. But, as is the primary rule with every quest, every adventure and every life, there lay a challenge in the man’s journey.

The challenge, as the man soon found out, was so humongous in its intensity, that he realized it was not he who was after the truth. Rather, it was the truth that was after him. For wherever the man turned, he was confronted with the truth.

Of course the truth was there everywhere, because the absolute being the absolute, on account of its nature, was right there everywhere.

If the man stepped into a department store, he saw the truth there. It was right there gorging its way through his eyes and into his mind. And the truth was, that the first in line was also the first to go.

“Ah, ha!” thought the man. “And that is how it is with life, isn’t it?! The first ones to arrive should also be the first ones to leave.”

But then, the man’s mind also caught sight of the deviations in this absolute. There were the old people and the young ones with the infants who were allowed to cut the line. Everyone here, right from the customer who sacrificed his position, to the counter attendant who allowed the sacrifice to happen, were breaking the truth.

The deviation of compassion was breaking the truth of the absolute.

But then, there were deviations out there everywhere, weren’t they? The deviation of nature was the greatest of them all – the sudden storms, the terrifying tsunamis, and the repetitive ice-ages – they all proved that nature herself, the infinite form of the absolute truth, regularly made it a point to deviate from the path she had set for herself.

So, how could things be any different for humans?! Humans, who have always been learning from nature, were meant to deviate from the truth.

“Ahem.” The man turned towards the sound. There was no one around. And yet, the voice was loud and clear. The man understood that it was the absolute talking to him. “While you did good in noticing all the deviations, did you also happen to notice that once the deviations were done with, things also settled back into its place? Did you pay attention to the fact that after the sudden storms, the terrifying tsunamis, and the repetitive ice-ages, life also happened to pick itself back up?”

It was then that the man hit his “ah, ha” moment. The truth was not in the lines, it was in the circles that enclosed the lines. The absolute nested itself in the cycle of life – that everything that has arrived is also something that has to leave. And everything that has left also becomes something that will arrive.

The absolute told the man to look around him. He saw the leaves that arrived with the spring and left with the wind. He shrugged, and the absolute poked him to look right into the ground. It was then that the man saw that some of the leaves that had gone with the wind became a part of the soil, which then became a part of the new leaves. Some of the leaves were eaten up by the animals, which upon dying, became a part of the soil themselves. Other leaves broke down to pieces and dispersed into the air, which too mixed with the soil.

“Everything has to become a part of the absolute. That is the truth. Arrivals and departures are also the truth. How the departures happen and where you choose to go,” declared the absolute, “is the choice.”

The man turned to look back into the department store. The young man who had sacrificed his position for the old man missed his bus to work. The old man, left to fend for himself, went home to the company of loneliness. The young woman with the infant would spend years obsessed with the idea of growing her child and would never be able to grow herself along or after. Deviations – good or bad, thought the man, had to be set straight. The first to come also should be the first to grow and go.

“And how do you propose we do that?” wondered the absolute. “It is easier to set straight the deviations of nature than those of the mind.”

The man turned to look into the department store once again. The only person who remained unaffected in this quest for truth, was the counter attendant. It did not matter who gave up his place for whom, the counters just kept ringing.

“Let’s build separate counters,” said the man. “Let’s make a place for everyone, and help keep everyone in their place.”

Dear Reader,

The truth is out there.

And that very fact makes it all the more difficult to understand the truth. Because, your truth is so very different from my truth. The story above will not set well with the ones who see the absolute in acts of compassion.

But this story will have takers among the people who feel that compassion has been thrust upon them, and that they are performing an act of compassion out of compulsion. I am referring to the ones who cringe when they hear crying babies on flights and in theaters. Sometimes, many times, I am one of them. Especially so, because of the sheer amount of torment that the infant undergoes at such a tender age. Compassion, like charity beings at home, and in the heart of the family. It is only in the absence of family that compassion should become the onus of the community. 

You see, our version of truth is based on our perspectives. Where some see a God, others see a messenger, and some others see a human built of flesh and blood. Each person believes his sight, and the voice in his head, to be the truth.

Likewise, while some of us believe in the “truth” of compassion, responsibility, and values; the absolute truth lies in looking at the big picture – what goes around has to come around, irrespective of whether the consequence is good for the bad, or bad for the good. Like how everything ends up becoming a part of the soil, both in the end, and from the very beginning, we have been a part of this big picture. Genetics is proof to the fact that we will always come around. 

Both our individual truths and the big picture are declarative of the singular multiplicity that is the absolute. The Big Bang too is a singular multiplicity in action. 

That is why, it helps to set deviations back into place. What have we deviated from – our passion, our health, our happiness, our adventure? Why have we deviated? What is the consequence of our deviation? Are we in a better place than where we had begun? Are we going towards our intended destinations? Will we be able to get back to where we started? And how do we set our deviations back into position in the best possible way?

Remember, sacrifices don’t have to go in vain, if sacrifices don’t have to be made in the first place. The answer is as simple as building a separate counter. And it is very, very possible to have the cake and eat it too.

Here’s to seeking the truth, for only when we do it, we will understand that the truth too has always been seeking us!

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