2 July 2012 - QA 8

Dear Guruji, Sage Ashtavakra says in his Ashtavakra Gita that we are not the doer. Yoga Vasistha says that self-control is necessary for self-realization. This seems contradictory. Can you please shed some more light on this?

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Truth is contradictory. Truth is multi-dimensional. It appears to be conflicting and contradicting, but is really not.

To come to this place, there could be one direction, which says, ‘Go straight and then turn left’. But if you come from another direction, it would say, ‘Go straight and then turn right’. Both are correct.

I want to tell you an incident. Do you know about Ayatollah Khomeini? He was from Iran. Ayatollah Khomeini’s close assistant once came to Bangalore. He was around 78 years old, a very elderly gentleman. This was long back, about ten to fifteen years ago. He asked me, ‘Gurudev, I have a serious question, a serious doubt. I have been asking this all my life and I couldn’t find the answer. Hope you can answer me.’

I said, ‘Yes, please tell me.’

He said, ‘How can there be many correct answers to a question? If the truth is one, then the answer can also be only one. There can be only one right answer. There cannot be two right answers. And if the right answer is only one, then so many religions have got no meaning. There can be only one right religion. In the world, there are so many religions. How can all paths be correct? If the Truth is one, and one thing is right, then there can be only one right answer to a question. Then all other scriptures, everything cannot be the correct answer to the question. There can be only one right answer.’ This was a very convincing argument.

I told him, ‘Look, to come to this place, there are many ways, and all the ways are correct. One instruction is that you just go straight. Don’t turn left or right. You will reach the place. There will be another direction which says go straight and turn right. Another direction will say go straight and turn left. All the different instructions to come to this place are correct. So, we need to think spherically.’

Suddenly, he realized that it depends on where you are.

I said, ‘In India, there is an ancient thought, which says - Let knowledge come to me from all sides. They never encouraged fanaticism. Truth is one but is perceived in many ways.’

Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti - the Truth is one, but the intelligent one expresses it in many ways.

He was very pleased. When he bent down there were tears in his eyes.

He said, ‘Thank you so much.’