Join Date: Oct 2011
I would not like to use it because it is a repetition, a tautology. “The ultimate” and “the truth” mean the same. You can use either, but to use both is an unnecessary repetition. |
My father was very insistent that every Monday he had to receive a letter from me while I was in the university. I told him, “If there is something wrong, if there is some problem, if I am sick, I will inform you. But unnecessarily writing the same thing again and again has no justification.”
He said, “Justification or not, it is not a question of your arguments. I wait for seven days and I become worried about you. It is not your sickness that I am worried about; I am worried about what you are doing, what is happening to you. You may get into trouble any moment. So every Saturday you have to post a letter so that on Monday I receive it. If I don’t receive it on Monday, then I will unnecessarily have to come two hundred miles to the university.”
So what I had done…I had written one letter, “Everything is all right here. I am not in any trouble. You need not be worried.” And on other letters I had just made the sign “ditto.” He was very angry. When he saw me he said, “I feel like beating you! You write ‘ditto’ on the letters!”
I said, “That’s exactly the situation, because I have to write the same thing again. And do you think I write every Saturday? I have just asked one typist to type the first letter, and a hundred letters with the ditto. I have given them to one very particular man – because I may forget and unnecessarily you may have to come – and I have told him, ‘You have to post one of these ditto letters every Saturday.’ He is so particular in everything that once you ask him, he will do it.” He was a student, living in the same hostel.
My father was very angry, “Have you ever heard of anybody writing in the letter just ‘ditto’? I wait for eight days and then I get a card on which the only message is ‘ditto’! Not even your signature, because in ‘ditto’ everything is implied from the first letter: Refer to the first letter. You can read the first letter again when you get the ditto letter.”
Life is not mathematics, it is not logic, it is not science. It is something more, and that something more is the most valuable.
The mystics have called that something more the “ultimate truth.” They can be forgiven for calling it ultimate. But you have to understand that the reason they are calling it ultimate is because there are people who are calling every truth relative – not only scientists, not only people who are working with matter.
Mahavira says that truth itself is relative: he has no ultimate truth. Buddha has no ultimate truth. Again the difficulty is that Mahavira and Buddha can be misunderstood when they say that there is no ultimate truth but that every truth is relative: it can be one thing in one situation, it can be another thing in another situation, and because it is related to situations it cannot have any ultimacy. This goes against all the great mystics.
Only Mahavira and Buddha, two persons…. But I know both, and I understand both better than their own followers, because none of their followers have been able to make any sense out of it: either all the mystics are wrong, or Buddha and Mahavira are wrong!
I say nobody is wrong. What Mahavira says is that truth has seven aspects, and Buddha says that truth has four aspects. They are really referring to the expression of truth. Truth can be said in seven ways according to Mahavira. He is really a logician. But what he is saying is not about truth – there is a misunderstanding. What he is saying is about truth expressed, not experienced. When you experience it, it is always ultimate, but the moment you say it, it becomes relative. The moment you bring it into language it becomes relative, because in language nothing can be ultimate. The whole construction of language is relative. Buddha is not a great logician, so he stops at four, but the situation is the same.
They are not speaking of the truth which you experience in silence, beyond mind. Nothing can be said about it. The moment you say something about it, you drag it into the world of relativity, and then all the laws of relativity will be applicable to it.
Perhaps Ludwig Wittgenstein, one of the best logicians of this age, was right when he said, “That which cannot be said should not be said.” This is a strange statement. It stands out in the whole history of thought, unique and original: “That which cannot be said, should not be said” – because if you say it, you are contradicting yourself. First you say it cannot be said, and then you say it. You may make all kinds of conditions: “When I say it, it is no longer the same; when I say it, it even becomes untrue.” But then, why say it?
Wittgenstein’s statement will make it clear that Mahavira and Buddha both were talking about the truth said: then it is relative. The mystics who are talking about the “ultimate truth’ are talking about the truth experienced yet not brought into the world of language and objects. So I think it is better, although it is a repetition, to allow them to use the word ultimate, because it keeps it separate.
From "Beyond Psychology"