“The Absolute Truth is true for everyone, and the relative truth is relative to a particular position. The relative truth depends on the Absolute Truth, which is the summum bonum. God is the Absolute Truth, and the material world is relative truth.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Quest for Enlightenment, Ch 6b)
How does one expect to be happy if the person they invest full faith in has no interest in the truth? Under the system of vox populi, winning is all. It is the most important thing. It is what determines greatness. The person who can win election to office time and again is known as a great politician, while the loser is embarrassed over failing to gain the approval of the protected citizens. In the Vedas the truth is the immediate focus of interest. That truth is not defined through an institution or a central authority figure who reached their post through a vote. Therefore the integrity is not tainted, and the truth has principles that cannot be violated. As such, one who abides by the truth gets the real benefit that life has to offer.
The tendencies of politicians operating in a democracy are not a secret. Take a look at any popular film or book and you will surely find instances of politicians lying to get what they want. When there is trouble, they look to cover up what happened. Depending on which side the journalists fall, there might even be praise for the politician because of their expert ability to survive the scandal. Never mind their willful assault on the truth. Never mind the damage they did to one or many other people through their nefarious behavior. As long as they continue to remain in office, they are considered adept.
Perhaps it is difficult to grasp this analysis when considering existing political structures due to partisan lines that are already drawn. We can take a much simpler example to see the same principles in effect. Let’s say we have a household with five people. They are five friends of around the same age. They decide to elect one president of the household. This person will manage all the affairs. They will determine how much each person pays to stay in the house. The gathered money will be used for all the expenses, which include rent, television, utilities, etc.
Only two of the five people want to be president. We’ll call them candidates A and B. Candidate A is all about principle. They want each person to pay equally. Since they all live in the house, the rent should be divided amongst the five. Every person has equal access to the amenities in the house, and they each have the same size bedroom. Candidate A wants only limited interference from the president, just basic management. Make sure the bills are paid on time, make sure everyone pays the rent, take care of repairs when something should go wrong, and keep everyone generally informed. Most importantly, the household should run smoothly.
Candidate B says all the right things, but they have a different plan. They are very good friends with two of the three people not running for president. Therefore, Candidate B wants the rent for those two people to be significantly less. This is inherently unfair. Any rational person can realize this. What should the candidate’s friendship have to do with how things are governed? If the same tactics were used by Candidate A, then the other person in the house not running for president would gain benefit over everyone else. And then that wouldn’t be fair. Therefore Candidate B’s position does not make everyone happy, only a few.
In this election, which side will win? The side of truth, principle and fairness, or the side of favoritism? And by the way, Candidate B is going to use every tactic in the book to try to win. They will accuse Candidate A of being cruel-hearted. They will say that Candidate A has an alliance with the other member of the house, who will have to pay more in rent under Candidate B’s plan. They will say that Candidate A only wants to help their friend, and that this friendship is the only reason they support the system of equal rent. They will say that equal rent will put a huge burden on the three members of the house supporting them. They will say that the other member of the house can afford to pay more rent since they earn more.
Take this same practice and extend it to the national scale, and you get the system of politics in a land of democracy. In order to survive, the side of Candidate A will eventually have to play ball, so to speak. They will have to abandon principles and go to the side of favoritism. The opponents in every election thus only differ on whom they favor; there is no truth. Truth will lose out in an era of sound-bite news. Truth has no place in a time when the ad hominem attack determines the voter’s mood. Truth has no place in an arena where the players have no interest in it.
In the Vedas the truth is described as absolute. It is not created through trial and error. The principles associated with finding and remaining with that truth were not crafted on paper first and then edited. There is no rough draft of the Vedas. They come directly from God, the original person. Since He is the Absolute Truth, the principles coming from Him for man to follow are without flaw and far reaching. Indeed, from following those principles one can see with the eyes of shastra, or scripture. These eyes are both microscopic and telescopic, making sense of both the physically manifest world and all that has passed and will pass in the future.
The need for inquiring into the real truth begins at the time of birth, athato brahma-jijnasa. This phrase means that one should inquire into the real truth and not settle for the degradation of principles, as is wont to happen from players in a popular vote system. With the Absolute Truth, winning is not all, because it is understood that winning and losing are only temporary. There is the ultimate loss of death which applies to everyone. Therefore what is anyone really winning by abandoning the truth?
The Absolute Truth is blissful, knowledgeable and eternal. It is a male who has a spiritual form that is incomprehensible in its greatness. The Absolute Truth is the complete everything. This means that one who is trying to understand that truth is also part of it. The inquisitor truth is vastly inferior to the all-knowing truth. Nevertheless, the qualities are similar, which means that the two belong together.
When seeking no truth and taking winning as all there is a split in the relationship. The smaller copies of the Absolute Truth think they can figure out everything on their own. They believe that they can live without staying conscious of the origin of matter and spirit. The knowers of the Truth think differently. They choose to always remain with the Truth, basking in His glories. They follow this path without considering outside opinion, without worrying over popularity. Whether in peril or pleasure, in tyranny or liberty, the soul connected with the Absolute Truth is protected by that Truth.
The connection gives rise to the term “yoga.” The mood in love gives the term “bhakti-yoga.” This is the ideal occupation for every individual, including those in the other species. Only the human being has the opportunity to intentionally practice bhakti-yoga and remain faithful to it. Therefore the human birth is the most auspicious. Through the favor of the Supreme Lord and His representatives, the seekers of the real truth can find it. They then liberally distribute it through the chanting of the holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
Seeking no truth, winning is all,
What feels good principle to call.
On their personal whims set,
Concern only on how victory to get.
Real truth up for vote cannot be,
Origin of all past and present can see.
Avoid the lying and cheating politicians injurious,
Find real truth and make this human birth glorious.