Friday, February 19, 2010


Have you ever seen the truth metamorphosize before your very eyes? Keeps happening to me all the time!

Imagine walking across a dark path. All of a sudden, a snake bites you on the leg. You see it lying on the ground just a few feet away. What do you do? Does the pain make you weep? Do you feel the poison traveling through your bloodstream, quickly bringing your life to an untimely end?

A nearby farmer rushes over with a flashlight. He points it to the snake. Lo and behold, the snake turns out to be nothing more than a rope.

Now here is the question: During the incident, was the snake real or unreal? Subjectively it was, objectively it wasn’t.

This analogy by Hindu thinker Samkara (in his Advaita Vedanta) is as poignant today as when it was first written circa 700 AD. Subjective reality and all concepts and “truths” in the universe are based on our own knowledge at the time.

And indeed, we think the “truth” keeps changing…but it isn’t the truth that changes but our own perception of it.

All we can know for certain is our own "existence". And even though I know I exist, how can I be certain that you do?

1 comment:

Robin said...

The fact that it isn't the truth that changes but our perception of it... that gives me hope. No, I can't change a truth, but I can change how I see it. It can go from something that tears me up to something that I can live with to something that gives me peace. It probably won't happen in a day. Let's be real. It definitely won't happen in a day, but it can happen.