July 18, 2007


Following the path of truth is one of the toughest things in life. All of us, invariably, want others to be truthful in their dealing with us, and if they lie we simply cannot understand why they did it.

But the reasons are not hard to find, if we look carefully. One of the most famous examples of telling the truth and admitting one’s mistake is provided in the George Washington and the axe story. I am sure most of you know of this story already, but just in case you don’t, let me recapitulate the story here in as few words as possible.

“For his birthday, George Washington’s father gifts him an axe. In his enthusiasm, George goes out and chops down his father favorite tree. Later, when the father sees his favorite tree cut down, he gets really angry and wants to know who was responsible. George readily admits to what he had done, and his dad forgives him, and commends him instead for being brave enough to admit his mistake.”
Beautiful story. Is it not?

Now, let us put our self in George’s place and think of what we would have done under similar circumstances. I think I would have tried to stay silent about the whole thing as long as I could. In fact, something similar to the story above happened to me when I was a child, and I had squarely blamed my brother for it. He, poor guy, had no idea that I was going to do that. I am sure he was there to witness the sight of me being punished, but he did not know how I had plans to turn the tables on him. What happened after that is a subject matter for another post. All I will say for now is that he was not punished for my deeds - nor was I.

And now let us put ourselves in the Father’s position. Once again, sadly, I don’t think that I would have acted the way the father did. Or for that matter I don’t know a lot of people who would have. Most people would have gone down really hard on George, and told him how they would never get him another gift like that, and how he should be more responsible, and some other things in the same vein.

So, I feel, there are two reasons why lying comes easy to us. First, we do not like being blamed or put down. If we can get away with a mistake without getting the blame for it, we would love to take that path and lying provides us that path. Second, we also know that if we do follow the path of truth, we are going to have to pay for our mistakes. People like George Washington’s Father are even harder to find than people who actually try and speak the truth each and every time.

But, despite all that, if one follows the path of truth and virtue one will end up doing great things. There might be short-term obstacles on this path, but if one does not let these obstacles stop him, then, in the long run, this path leads him to the destination where we all long to reach at the end of our lives.

Have a happy day today!


Sandy Carlson said...

Hmmm...I remember when I fibbed as a kid it was out of fear of disappointing my mother with the truth. The fear overcame common sense. It's like not looking at a wound that you know will have to be stitched. Maybe the fear of being cast out, rejected, is too great for the truth sometimes.

jitender said...

Truth may be sometimes become food for our ego; that is the time .methinks truth is a state mind not what we speak out .in a story of big man truth become big.
in small man story it become small. it is not valuable that he commit his sin or not..valuable is only truth is...discover it and you will find out...sorry to comment..

Blue Panther said...

Sandy:Sadly, it is and it is this fear that we have to overcome.

Jitender: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am hoping that you can do that again.:)

Sue said...

Truth is a funny kind of word. Often what is truth is in the eyes or ears of the beholder.

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