MahatmaGandhi explained truth and associated it with God. He claimed that“God is truth.” Later, he changed his mind and outlined that“truth is God”. Borrowing from the two statements, it is clearthat there is a concrete relationship between them. Of all the moralprinciples that are recommended for a model human life, Gandhi placedtruth as the sovereign principle (Bergunder, 2014). According to him,truthfulness not only implies integrity in speech, but also coherenceof thought. He equated truth with divinity and described it as God. He reasoned that there are numerous names, expression, andcharacteristics associated with God. For example, love, mercifulness,gentleness, kindness among others. However, according to Gandhi, allthese characteristics do not have a standard description, and theycan change depending on the setting. This is unlike truth thatremains the same and it is, therefore, the best description of God. Equating truth with the all-permeating cosmic spirit elevates it asthe standard moral conduct and the triggers the presence of knowledgethat can redefine a society since it is presumed to be the source ofother positive attributes.
First,Gandhi’s principle that truth is synonymous with God puts it on adivine level. It effects can be felt but sometimes it is not easy toprove. Truth is, therefore, a power that surpasses everything(Bergunder, 2014). Just like truth, God is upheld above all the otherbeings. I believe that it is impossible to define God in the same wayone would describe an object. Although he might not be physicallypresent, his impact can be felt. According to Bergunder (2014),Gandhi recognized this power as present but practically impossible toprove. He also affirms the consistency of this force. Nothing couldbest describe this power than truth. In addition, the divine natureof God provides that He does not have an equal (Bergunder, 2014). Thededication that believers give to him cannot be divided. It is eitherthey believe in him or serve other interests.
Inmy opinion, the same can be said of truth. Throughout the world,there are no substitutions for truth. While making statements, peopleeither lie or give facts and this differentiates truth from otherattributes like love which can have different meaning depending onthe settings (Gandhi, 2016). Divinity is consistent and does notchange its nature and so is truth. For example, Hindu teaches thatSanskrit(truth) has a literal meaning of “that which exists.” The Hinduphilosophy (viz) also asserts that God alone and nothing else exists(Gandhi, 2016).
Equatingtruth with divinity also implies that there it is a necessary for theacquisition of knowledge. Although the standards of knowledge aredebatable, it is evident that God is the source of knowledge. Thedivine powers that He possesses make Him all-knowing (Bergunder,2014). Also, the different revelations that God makes to peoplecontribute to their knowledge. I hold the opinion that if truth isGod, there can never be knowledge without it. According to Gandhi(2016), the wavy path of seeking knowledge that individuals followcan only have desirable outcomes if it is based on truth. He furtherstates that, it is possible for people to mislead others if there areunder the influence of negative and egocentric attributes. This,according to him is the disrespect of honesty and the genesis of acollection of problems. Divinity demands righteousness andfearlessness (Gandhi, 2016). Those on the quest for knowledge cancorrect mistakes in their environment without fear of reproach, andthis makes the path smooth for them and others.
Ibelieve that holding onto the belief that truth is synonymous withdivinity can have various implications on believers. First, mostpeople acknowledge the presence of God, and they pay attentionteachings that describe Him. God is believed to be merciful, loving,forgiving, kind, and generous. However, it is uncommon for people toassociate God with truth. Holding onto Gandhi’s teachings can makereligion more meaningful and fruitful (Gandhi, 2016). Truthfulness isnot among the values that believers practice on daily basis. Ifhaving regard for truth is similar to believing in God, I believethat the spiritual and social lives would drastically change.
Secondly,most of the challenges facing the contemporary community are a resultof shying away from the truth. The competition in the economic andsocial spheres turns believers into a community that does not shyfrom using exploitative means to achieve their goals. They may feelsatisfied if they practice love, mercy, and forgiveness withoutpaying attention to truth. The rationale for this is that, asoutlined by Gandhi, most of the values practiced in a community donot have a standard measure and they may be interpreted depending onthe context in which they are practiced. Appreciating truth can giverise to all the other characteristics that are presumed to define amodel spiritual and social life (Gandhi, 2016). For example, withtruth, people would stick to the legal business procedures, offer theright advice, desist from cut-throat competition and becomepredictable. Such a fair community would breed peace, a concept thatGandhi terms as bliss.
Inconclusion, equating truth with God makes it the standard for moralconduct and the source of knowledge. It can add value to thebelievers’ lives since it is presumed to be the source of otherpositive attributes. Embracing Gandhi’s teachings can also changethe attitude towards God. The current position of truth in thesociety paves the way for the exploitative values that are not fullyaddressed by the relative attributes of love, mercy, kindness amongothers. I believe that if upholding truth is synonymous with having astrong belief in God, then it can be used as a standard guide formoral conduct.
Bergunder,M. (2014). Experiments with theosophical truth: Gandhi, esotericism,and global religious history. Journalof the American Academy of Religion,lft095.
Gandhi,M. (2016). Remarkable for his coherence and truthfulness, Mohandaskaramchand Gandhi has shaped the world’s history through hisextraordinary acts and personal achievements. As I am convinced ofthe importance of complementing the analysis of Gandhi’s lifeconducted in published works elsewhere with a historical back.BetweenEthics and Politics: New Essays on Gandhi,8.