Truth may mean being truthful in one’s speech. That is a tall order, since there are times when we may have to tell lies. Scripture describes how on certain occasions untruth becomes truth and how on certain other occasions truth becomes untruth. If we get hung up on speaking the truth as a discipline itself in a restricted sense, then we not only lose sight of the totality of truth, but we fail even in that restricted speaking-truth. Why? Because the vision is narrowed and there is no insight.
What is truth? If someone tells me: “So-and-so is a holy man. Please go and have his darshan,” the truth is that in his opinion that person is holy and I should have his darshan. I do not come to any conclusion about it. To come to a conclusion is a dangerous thing – the mind is closed and the quest, truth, is lost. Therefore, is it possible for us not to jump to any conclusion about anything? Which means to be able to distinguish between what is an opinion and what is the truth.
If we are constantly looking for truth and if we are able at the same time to know “This is only an opinion. It is not truth”, that itself is the truth. It is then that we are able to graduate from mere verbal discipline to higher mental and spiritual disciplines. The very fact that we realise ‘This is my opinion’, stops us from expressing it where it need not be expressed, where it will hurt. When what you are about to say is not factual, pleasant and beneficial, say something else.
If that is lived, not applied or merely practised as an exercise in our daily life, it leads us to the next stage: if this is just an opinion, where is it formed and what is the truth concerning it? One who pursues this quest comes face to face with some shocking truths concerning the mind. Peeling layer after layer of the mind and its prejudices, we realise how opinion is formed because of samskaras. Some scar which was formed on the mind by previous experiences, is being disturbed by the present experience and the prejudice comes up.
An opinion springs from our own prejudice. Coming face to face with this, we realise that all these opinions are prejudices and we are still looking for the truth. To be constantly aware of the search, there is a confession, a realisation that all that the mind conceives of and expresses is untrue, false opinion. That is the truth.