Half Truths.

I hope that you enjoy reading another post of the Friday Loose Bloggers’ Consortium when eleven of us post on the same topic chosen by one of us. Today’s topic has been chosen by Conrad.

Please do visit Ashok, Conrad, Grannymar, Magpie11, Maria, Gaelikaa, Helen, Judy, Anu and Ginger to see ten other views on the same topic. Some of these bloggers may be preoccupied with vacations, examinations, family problems and/or romance, so be a little indulgent in case they do not post or post late.

What is a lie, what is truth and what is a half truth? Humanity has struggled with these questions since time immemorial and even the blog world is full of posts on the subject.

Indians however are very clever people. They have role models and even Gods to come to their help in getting rid of guilt. Let me give you a classic case of deception that is part of India’s greatest epic, The Mahabharatha, which with about one hundred thousand verses, long prose passages, or about 1.8 million words in total, is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined.

Yudhishtira is the eldest of the Pandavas, the good guys. Yudhishtira is famous for his honesty and uprightness. Drona is the opposition’s greatest hit man. In fact, Drona was the teacher for both sides of the divide. Krishna, the God in human form is the charioteer for Arjuna the hero of the good guys.

In the war, the Kuru commander Drona was killing thousands of Pandava warriors. Krishna hatched a plan to tell Drona that his son Ashwathama had died, so that the invincible and destructive Kuru commander would give up his arms and thus could be killed.

The plan was set in motion when Bhima killed an elephant named Ashwathama, and loudly proclaimed that Ashwathama was dead. Drona, knowing that only Yudhisthira, with his firm adherence to the truth, could tell him for sure if his son had died, approached Yudhisthira for confirmation. Yudhisthira told him: “Ashwathama has died”. Yudhisthira, who could not make himself tell a lie, despite the fact that if Drona continued to fight, the Pandavas and the cause of dharma itself would have been lost, then added: “Praha kunjara ha”, which means he is not sure whether elephant named Ashwathama or the man Ashwathama had died.

Krishna, knowing that Yudhisthira would be unable to lie, had all the warriors beat war-drums and cymbals to make as much noise as possible at the critical moment. The words “Praha kunjara ha” were lost in the tumult and the ruse worked. Drona was disheartened, and laid down his weapons. He was then killed by Dhristadyumna, another hit man from the good guys.

If God could arrange for such deceptions, who are we, mere mortals to shun half truths or whatever else you want to call them? I refuse to be guilty whenever I have to speak half truths. Why, I often tell full lies, like Nick gives examples of. When the food is awful in my host’s home, I shall not feel guilty if I praise the food and manage to eat enough to back up that lie. And I am not God, I am just human.

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