What Is Truth?
By Sri Harold Klemp
A talent scout for a major fashion modeling agency held interviews for young women hoping to crack the ranks of highly paid fashion models. Most failed the interview. The talent scout's dismissal was a curt "Your look is not what we're looking for."
"Well, what are you looking for?" demanded a pretty, young brunette with a petulant toss of her curls.
"I'll know it when I see it," replied the talent scout.
Some consider truth like beautya matter of opinion. "Truth is what I make it." These people shop about for it, discover some fad or ideal that meets their comfort level or taste, and embrace it as the absolute truth. Such "truth" includes one's faith in the ideals of their religion or spiritual path as they know them.
An example is two factions of the same religion. One order devotes itself to serving the needs of others, while another tries to gain power and adherents through the abuse of power.
One religion, two quite different approaches to it. Yet both feel that their daily life is to some degree an expression of divine truth.
Jesus and the high priests had different ideas about the nature of truth. The high priests, misusing power, had him arrested and later brought into the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate, the governor. So Pilate asked them, "What's the charge?"
They shuffled their feet, hemmed and hawed, buying time to come up with a little white lie. The best they could do on short notice was a pallid, "Well, if he weren't a criminal, would we have brought him to you?" That put the ball back into Pilate's court.
So Pilate questioned Jesus. In reply to one of Jesus' answers, he said, "What is truth?"
Apparently, he received the only response he was capable of understanding in his state of consciousnesssilence. Jesus knew that truth was outside of the governor's pale.
In trying to express truth, many people live a lie.
A while ago a national newspaper ran an article on how wealthy people, and others not so wealthy but well-to-do, wear dirty, faded clothing as a fashion statement. A short time later two readers wrote a response to the editor.
The first letter reflected the stunted self-image of some early Christians. Instead of recognizing how they were made in the image of God and then trying to live up to that, these penitents went about in public like beggars. They wore sackcloth and smeared their bodies with ashes. It was to show how little they thought of their spiritual state.
The author of this letter asked whether today's rich in beggar's clothes were likewise making a public statement about what sorry folks they were inside.
The second writer made observations just as telling about well-off people in bleached jeans. The fashion cues for the coming season called for clothing embedded with abrasions and grease stains.
Now why wear such rags?
This writer observed it was kids and adults who'd never had to soil their hands as laborers or farmers. But shoddy clothing gave them a false sense of identity.
Talk about self-delusion.
What is truth?
Certainly not a fashion statement that reflects a deceitful image to oneself and others.
What's the main reason that seekers come to the path of ECK?
A recent survey showed most came because their inner senses, intuition, told them the ECK teachings were true. Many found in its teachings the very real fact of personal and spiritual growth. Others, in search of truth, found it through the guidance and love these age-old teachings express.
Now a question.
How do they know these are the true teachings about life, love, and God? Maybe it's just another state of delusion? Maybe, once again, they're being fooled or are fooling themselves?
Well, maybe. But maybe not. Truth is truth and will stand on its own merit.
The search for truth leads finally to the riddle of God.
ECK Master Rebazar Tarzs, a spiritual traveler of renown, was about to send his student Peddar Zaskq back into the world to practice the Life Force of God within him. This spiritual awareness was newly awakened in the young man.
Yet Zaskq was of a heavy heart. He did not want to leave his friend and teacher to battle the trials of daily living among the masses of Souls out there, blindly stumbling in their search for truth.
Gently, Rebazar told him, "There is no burden that is too great for God. Take whatever It gives with the fullest grace of thy heart, and never feel that ye are without It. God's grace and mercy will pour upon thee, every moment of the day and night. It will watch over thee like the shepherd watches over his flock at all hours."
Still unconvinced, young Zaskq hesitates to take his leave.
Rebazar, however, has one last thing to impart to him, the riddle of God.
"God is what ye believe It is. No man is wrong about the existence of God, and yet no man is right about his knowledge of God. There is no mystery in God except that It is what each Soul believes that It is. So the riddle is that; but all men will quarrel and argue about the greatness of God and their own knowledge of Him."
Peddar Zaskq looks uncertain.
"Yet every man is right in his knowledge of God. But does this mean that the drunkard is as right as the great minister who preaches from the pulpit? Yea, I say that he, the drunkard, is as much upon the path as the preacher is in his pulpit. . . . Each is in his own place according to his understanding. Ah, but there is the answer."
Yes, there is the answer.
If one's focus in life is on fads and fashions, his understanding is at the social level instead of the spiritual.
And that's OK. However, there is a greater fullness of truth.
A true seeker has moved beyond the social level and so reaches out to the teachings of ECK. He learns the greater lessons of love and life through his own inner and outer experiences in the Light and Sound of God.
And that is truth.
Excerpted from the 2001 ECK Spirituality Today, copyright © 2000 ECKANKAR. All rights reserved.