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Thou shalt speak the truth

  • Published at 05:55 pm September 29th, 2018
It’s out there somewhere BIGSTOCK

There is more space for vice, untruth, and coercion in the world today

The Hippocratic Oath and the witness’s oath are two of the least adhered to oaths. In fact, both oaths are largely violated by those who are sworn to uphold them. But who enables them? It’s usually silence on the part of the victims.

According to Hindu and Buddhism cosmology, a day of Brahma consists of a thousand cycles of four yugas, or ages: Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dvapara Yuga, and Kali Yuga. The cycle of Satya is characterized by virtue, wisdom, and religion, there being practically no ignorance and vice. In the Tretā-yuga, vice is introduced, which lasts longer.

In the Dvāpara-yuga, there is an even greater decline in virtue and religion for longer than the previous age. And, finally, in Kali-yuga, which the world is believed to be currently experiencing over the past 5,000 years -- there is an abundance of strife, ignorance, blasphemy, and vice, where true virtue is practically non-existent.

Did Martin Luther King baptize himself in the Hindu or Buddhism doctrine to believe in all those four yuga to conclude that there was no space for truth, and thus people of virtue and wisdom must maintain silence?

Let’s analyze if the features of the Kali-yuga, as painted by the doctrine, do prevail, that justify the role of good people. Is there abundance of strife in the world? Let’s crucify the geography of the world: Conflicts in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Palestine, Israel, etc, have rarely taken a break from decimating the human race in the Middle East for decades.

Rampant corruption, misgovernance, drug trafficking, etc, are the way to live (of no choice of their own) for the people of Latin America. The fight for ethnic vanity, grabbing another’s food without any care to their hunger, love for alcohol, murders, extortion, etc, demonstrate to Africans that this is the way of life.

The stubbornness of the Afghans, Kashmiris, and Burmese to refuse humanistic space to other communities for difference in religious or racial ideologies in Asia is nothing but denial of ultimate truth only. Despite good governance in the West, the accumulation of wealth is in the hand of 1% of the population.

There is no apparent conflict in the West, but the residual effect of larger wealth in the hands of the 1% setting fire to the hearts of too many have-nots across the world may bring them back the fire eventually. It is indeed difficult to make any conclusions that the world is ignorant, or has slid back into the Dark Ages. There are not only super-intelligent human beings, but there is even a strong presence of artificial intelligence racing against human intelligence. 

Where the ignorance lies is in the need to care for humanity, care for the planet, and to preserve its resources for future generation, or care for the sufferings of the 99%.

Is there “irreligion” in the world where fight for religious ideologies are abundant? The irreligion is extremity in religion in one side while radicalism in secularity on the other. Irreligion has gulped humanity to shroud the truth in the ominous shadow of untruth. As religious extremism is pushing humanity against temporal life, so is radical secularism driving the human race to grow insensitivity towards religion and towards accepting the existence of a supernatural being.

A larger section of the human race withdraws from the temporal life and chases a life which is ostensibly not of this world, while the other section ignores the life hereafter and opts for complete liberty in this life. The extreme believe that hermetic life could be a solution to unify with the supernatural being and step into heaven, while the liberty denies the need for unification at all with the supernatural being, and opts for divine pleasure on Earth for an immortal life.

Religious extremism motivates a quarter to choose self-immolation to confirm eternal divinity. The radical liberty in the temporal world emboldens a large quarter to deny the convention of marriage, side-steps morality, and contracts the world of oneself only.

A complete withdrawal from temporal life or belief in complete liberty from life hereafter is nothing but irreligion to place vice over virtue, helping the human race to hide behind the curtain of truth and accept untruth either gladly or helplessly. 

The absence of virtue and wisdom gives space to vice and ignorance to reinstate untruth over truth. There is more space for vice, untruth, coercion, intolerance, anarchy, in the world today. Truth finds its path constricted with a congestion of untruth at the end of the tunnel. The sound of anarchy is louder, attraction to vice stronger, and attention to virtue weaker. 

Though larger in numbers, the skilled are left out, as there are more and easier spaces for the unskilled to rule over the skilled. The vicious quarters have been victorious in treacherously muting those who unveil the unpalatable truth. The prolonged silence of the weak is leading to accepting repression and the truth being buried.

The danger of the silence that Martin Luther King spoke of compels us to reframe the age-old adage: “Thou shalt not speak truth, but untruth and only untruth.”

Brig Gen AF Jaglul Ahmed (retd) ndc, psc is Commandant, the East Bengal Regimental Centre. 

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