Truth and Non-Violence

Absolute and Relative Truth — Truth Misplaced


Gandhi contended that evil is good or truth misplaced.  This does not mean that (as Bentham might say) any motive which is evil, when under certain circumstances it leads to harmful actions, may be good in other circumstances when it inspires harmless actions.  It is rather implied that every evil action is based on a mistaken belief (itself a perversion of a partial truth) or a failure to see things as they really are.  The mind when swayed by desires becomes a deceiver, a distorting mirror, a tool for rationalizing selfish intentions.  Satan speaks at times as the voice of God, untruth masquerades as truth.  Satan is illusory in the last analysis, but we are deluded through our ignorance.  This is the real difficulty, not the fact that in practice the truth we possess is only relative . . .

From Raghavan N. Iyer,

The Moral and Political Thought of Mahatma Gandhi

Published by permission of

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