What is Greater, Love or Truth ?
A visitor to this blog – Sam- commenting on a title line of this blog wished to know which of the true virtues is greater – love or truth. I promised that I would write an entire post on that question but instead I composed the following story to illustrate the point
King of Blue Mountain
Once upon a time at the foot of the blue mountain lay the Kingdom of Blue Mountain. The kingdom had a pretty castle in which lived a fat King. The castle was surrounded by farms and homes of the five hundred or so citizens of this state.
The citizens of this country did not have to farm much because it was surrounded by forests of trees that produced a lot of nuts and fruits round the year and they could get lots to eat by just gathering the fruit and catching some fish from the many small lakes and streams around the kingdom. Instead the farmers kept cows and allowed them to graze freely on their fields.
In the days of the fat king, on top of the mountain, there used to be the abode of the wise man of the kingdom called Buddha Man. The wise Buddha Baba also admitted a few students to his abode every year to teach them many wonderful mysteries of our world. The fat king was kind in many ways but punished those who criticized him. Once, the king even put two of his subjects in prison just for saying that the king had fat bottoms. Truly the king had a fat bottom and he did not even fit on his throne but had to sit on a bench instead. He even had to be pushed through the castle door so as to be able to get around.
|"Come push," said the King|
There were two brothers in this kingdom, Harry and Larry, who wished to become students of Buddha Man. They climbed up the mountain and met Buddha Man and declared their intentions. The Buddha Man said that they must first prepare for a year and pass a test before they could be admitted. They must live in two separate huts on the road that runs past the kingdom, on either side of town, all by themselves, isolated from others. Here they must spend their mornings in gathering their food and the afternoons in meditation. In this period they must speak only truth but if they had something unpleasant to say like criticizing the king they could remain silent instead. And, said Buddha man they must love everyone too, not just humans but all the creatures of the forest and bring no harm to them, but they could hunt for fish and catch just the minimum necessary as required for their food, because it is the duty of every human to protect and sustain his own life too besides that of others. After a year he will let them know if they can be admitted to his school on top of the Blue Mountain.
Harry and Larry did as they were told. When the year was nearly over, it so happened that the two persons who had been imprisoned for life for calling the royal bottoms fat managed to escape from prison. However, the king’s soldiers found out and began to chase them. The two escaping prisoners then found two horses in town, and mounted them in order to escape. They split up and rode in opposite directions in order to confuse the soldiers chasing them. But, the captain of the guards was a clever man and he too divided the soldiers in two teams to chase the prisoners.
Soon after, the first prisoner reached the hut of meditating Harry and requested him to help hide him. Harry suggested that the prisoner hide in the haystack inside the hut while letting the horse go down the road so that the soldiers continue to follow the horse. The same thing happened to Larry. When the second prisoner reached his hut he too asked for help. Then he too similarly hid inside in the hay stack in a corner of the hut.
When the soldiers arrived at Harry’s hut they stopped. They asked Harry if they had seen the escaping prisoner on a horse. Harry had of course seen the prisoner but he kept silent instead so that the prisoner is not harmed. A soldier than put a sword to his neck and asked him to speak up or lose his head. Harry then admitted that the prisoner was hiding in the hut. The guards then tied the prisoner up and took him back to the prison perhaps even for execution if the King would permit. He had dared to escape. Escaping from prison was a more serious crime than calling the King’s bottom fat
The same thing happened at Larry’s hut. When the soldiers asked Larry about the prisoner he pretended he was meditating. However, when the sword was held against his neck he lied that the prisoner had gone down the road. The soldiers too took that road never to return for a week. In the meantime the prisoner escaped to a nearby Kingdom of the slim and fit King of Green Mountain.
Soon the year was over and the bothers marched up the mountain again to Buddha Man to find out if they could be admitted as students. Buddha man declared that Larry had passed the test but Harry had failed and would not be admitted. He could try again similarly after a year if he wished to.
“Why is that, respected Buddha man, I in fact did not speak a single lie all through the year but Larry did once?” asked Harry.
Yes it is true that you have got full points on the truth card but you have a zero on Love. You let a man die. On the other hand Larry gets a hundred for love. He saved an innocent life and as regards lying he only looses just a wee bit on that count because the lie was for a good and loving cause. He added,
“Truth is good but when in doubt remember that Love is greater.”