Speaking of the truth may not always be easy and may not be the right course of action either. The ambiguous nature of the Universe first became apparent to me when I heard of this famous story:
Drona being a formidable warrior, it would be difficult to stop him and the only weakness that seemed to stop him was his affection for his son Ashwathama. Krishna hence works out a strategy and asks Yudhishtir to lie, to tell Drona that Ashwathama is dead and disturb his morale. Renowned to always speak the truth, Yudhishtir’s resistance to lie was overcome by Krishna in the name of rules of warfare. Meanwhile, Bhishma kills an elephant named Ashwathama and roars loudly, “Ashwathama is dead!” Hearing this, Drona asks Yudhishtir if what he heard was true. Yudhishtir says what Krishna asked him to and replied, “Yes Ashwathama is dead.” He pauses for a while and adds another sentence under his breath, “I don’t know if it’s the man or the elephant.” (Ashwathama hathaha iti, narova kunjarova)
Since Drona knows Yudhishtir never utters a lie, he believes him. Bowing his head, he chopped it off!!
I was dumbfounded by this excerpt from Mahabharata and it set me thinking. What is the scenario today? While we complain that we are outrageously being sacked by the competition in every field in the outside world, we simultaneously are trying to find out quick and easy solutions for the same. And, the best solution which lies within our capacity – The Half Truth.
Of course, technically speaking they are not lies. So basically you’re saved from the “guilt” of doing something wrong. If the correctly manipulated half is blurted, Bingo! Congratulations, you have managed to fool someone with your truth. And if you have had a bad day, Oh my my! Beware, you could easily get caught! You do not really need a Sherlock to figure out a half truth.
Evidently the Indian politics is a perfect citation of where such deceitful means work. Before the elections, the voices shout “Free laptops to college going children”. Once elected, only very few children get that privilege. Sadly, it still works. Another popular example could be of the Ad agencies. They highlight the prime features of the product in the fanciest manner and what the consumer forgets, the tiny little asterisk on the top inscribed in the smallest font, Conditions Apply! Let’s say for instance a washing soap bar saying Lemon Power. And the asterisk says, contains no lemons. Haha, cheated!! Social networking and internet also have given rise to such cases because often the truth is hard to predict online.
What I mean to say is, the half truth can be such a powerful weapon to get things done according to our whims. And men who are not ashamed to use this path improvise on their skills day by day. Falling a prey to this are innocent one’s who believe that the world works on trust. What a pity!
Now obviously you cannot have control over what others say but you can definitely have a stringent check on yourself. Accepting failures or mistakes simply doesn’t make you small. It in fact gives the opportunity to rise and learn. People do make mistakes and it is not the end of the world. Lying is nowhere close to a solution. People play such games under a false notion that their work will get done. However little do they realize it is only a short term saver.
And the half – truth saga has been a pain to people since ages, it has been a major reason for miscommunication. We as ethical people should try our level to stay away from using this destructive weapon. Otherwise, we may repeat history and lose combative warriors like Drona having the potential to amend changes which in turn, affects the growth of our future potential to grow as a community.
Hence as they say:
½ truth + ½ truth = 1 whole lie...