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Understanding truth in absolute sense is imperative: Justice B N Srikrishna on TRUTHtalks

Understanding truth in absolute sense is imperative: Justice B N Srikrishna on TRUTHtalks 1

Satya Vigyan Foundation recently hosted the second talk of the TRUTHtalks series with India’s legendary jurist par excellence Justice B.N. Srikrishna. The talk was anchored by Somasekhar Sundaresan a counsel practising in litigation in the field of economics and administrative law.

TRUTHtalks, an initiative of Satya Vigyan Foundation and Vallabh Bhanshali, co-founder Desh Apnayen and ENAM Group, seeks to bring to the fore those who have ‘experimented’ a lot with Truth, to understand it as the most powerful phenomenon in Nature, more than just a moral value or a legal obligation. So, even if the society cannot become fully truthful, increasing our truth quotient can lead to more peace, more trust, greater respect and premium.

Justice Srikrishna answered probing questions at the second TRUTHTalks, held by Satya Vigyan Foundation with the objective to raise our truth quotient and benefit from both greater peace within and prosperity outside. Leading advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan posed a range of questions- Mumbai riots to a judge’s limitations, from diplomatic truths to inculcating values in offspring, from corporate greed to balanced economic growth, from absolute truth to relative truth.

The learned judge quoted extensively, principles and shlokas from Indian scriptures and western philosophers as well as the Constitution and case laws to support his answers. Justice Srikrishna said that while Truth alone is the permanent thing in the world, in our dealings truth has to be seen as relative to time and space. All the same, the relative truth has to be always spoken and understood with reference to the absolute Truth.

He illustrated this by saying, “if I say my phone is black, it must mean that at the time when I am viewing it, I indeed consciously and truthfully see it as black. However, what is unsaid and should be read into it is that, in other light or heat conditions it may not be black.”

The eminent judge added, “The fundamental requisite is that in order to be guided by this principle of greatest good for the largest number, the assumption is that everyone has similar thinking, everyone has this kind of idea rooted in his or her mind, and everyone is honest and truthful. So this is some kind of a psyche… circular arguments that you cannot discover truth unless you are truthful and unless you are truthful, you will not be able to discover truth. That is the dilemma that the society poses to us, that is a dilemma that needs to be somewhere reckoned.”

Justice Srikrishna made all his answers crystal clear with such examples. To a question about his role as a Judge he said “A judge is bound by the duties laid down in the Constitution. He has to act without fear or favour and cannot be swayed by popular perception. He cannot conjure up facts or opinions outside the material placed before him”

The eminent Justice said, “Satya is an aspect of dharma. So ultimately what is it that you would need to do, you have to establish dharma.” He said the practice of Truth is the cornerstone of Dharma in as much as “if one does not like to be spoken lies to, then one should not speak lies to others”. All answers can be derived from this one principle.

When asked about ‘True’ and ‘Fair’ in the corporate world, Justice Srikrishna said that the philosophy of the persons in charge of the corporation with regard to the objective of the corporation will make the difference. Requirement of modern world and progress are debatable issues. During the session he also observed that “Diplomacy is to speak effectively and is saying no to lying or to speaking offensively.”

TRUTHtalks intends to periodically invite the accomplished personalities to reach out to the ‘doubting masses’ and illuminate their paths with their shining truthful life and words.

Vallabh Bhanshali, Founder and Chief Mentor, Desh Apnayen and co-founder of the Enam Group, said, “Justice B N Srikrishna covered the area of truth from a common man’s point of view in so many different ways. It was a privilege to learn from his unmatched knowledge and experience.”

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