Truth and Dharma are twins of each other and, thus, define righteousness and maryada. In Ramayana, Ram was righteous when he took vanavasa and left the throne in favour of his younger sibling Bharat. Bharat, like a loving brother, showed his dharma by taking Ram’s slippers and placing it on the throne as if to show that even in his physical absence, he would rule and that Bharat will only be a caretaker while he is away in the jungle. Lakshman walks on his truth which is that he devotes himself to Ram and follows him to his vanavasa into the jungle.
So doesn’t truth get affected or distorted by situations, circumstances and irrationalities of human behaviour? Yes, I believe it does. That is why it’s always your truth against mine. Mahabharata is a great epic and a yardstick through which we can define or try to define the truth. Who is the one responsible for the war? Is it the blind king Dhritarashtra who put his love for his son Duryodhana in front of the wellbeing of his people and his kingdom? In this way, he failed to carry out his duties towards the throne. But was it not the Draupadi vastra harass in the open sabha the cause for the final great war? On the other hand, was not Krishna responsible for it when he gave Arjun the Geeta Gyaan, encouraged and coaxed him to move forward and understand that his only charm at that point was to wage war and fight his enemies who had crossed all limits in their brutality towards others? Why not Gandhar Raj Shakuni who slowly poisoned the Kauravas especially Duryodhana against the Pandavas?
Here again, like a puzzle, each character is performing or taking decisions according to what they believe is their personal individual charm or truth. After all, either sides used debt to try and overpower the other at the dice game, Laksha Graha , Draupadi Vatraharan, all being incidents where the Kauravas debt was clear. But Pandavas killed many in the karat army through debt and unfair play. The killing of Bhishma when the transexual Shikandi covers Arjun every time Bhishma took aim. The killing of Dronacharya and the mighty archer Karan are cases that show debt from the other side too. Truth again seesaws between the two contesting forces.
Yet truth fascinates us. It is the cornerstone of every religion and was part of Moses’ Ten Commandments too. The truth is ancient as existence and man have tried to pursue the truth to varying degrees of success. Saints, as well as sinners, have pursued it and many have come empty handed amazed at its ambiguity and perplexing nature. At times, truth can just be a bundle of contradictions and nothing else.
It is because of the very nature of truth. You have to see it through the eyes of different perspectives. Therefore, truth can always be challenged and debated. This is what has gone on for centuries. We keep debating the truth and turning it upside down. Our effort should be focused towards finding our own truth and to be at peace with it.