Disputa between the Church Fathers (c. 1510)

The Truth

Translated by: Christophorus, Published online: 19 Aug 2008
From: Sunday Lectures (SL), Series "Strength and Life" Vol. 2 - "The Spirit and the Flesh", Lecture 9, 24 Apr 1916
First published: Deunov, P. K., "Douhat i Platta", Sila i Jhivot, Vtora Seria, Sofia, 1915-1917
Reference: Deunov, P. K., "Douhat i Platta", Sila i Jhivot, Vtora Seria, Pearvo phototipno izdanie (facsimile edition), Sofia, 1999, Janua-98, ISBN 954-9589-48-X
Available online in Bulgarian from ``Library "Beinsa Douno"''.

"And the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32)

Pilate asked Christ a question: "What is truth?" Here is a deep philosophical question. It is easy to ask, but difficult to answer. The truth in itself is something concrete, real, unalterable - everlasting light, everlasting wisdom, everlasting love, everlasting righteousness, everlasting life. But this very definition requires us to more concretely establish what sort of a thing the truth is. I will dwell on the thought: it is the truth which gives freedom. Freedom is an aspiration of the human mind, heart, soul and spirit; freedom - this is life; and the purpose of life is for us to search for the truth, and to search for it but not in the way Tolstoy describes in his book: "My conversion". He speaks there about a dream of his which clearly characterizes the state of his soul before his conversion. "I find myself", Tolstoy says - I am relating his story concisely - “lying in a bed in my dream, it is neither very comfortable, nor do I take pleasure in it; I move about to see what [the nature of] this bed is, what it is made of - of iron or of wood; I notice at some point that the bed-slats near my head and my feet begin to fall one by one; finally only one slat is left below my waist. At this time a voice calls out: "Do not move any more, neither with the head, nor with the feet - keep balance!" And I see down beneath me a large column and a bottomless pit". Often, there are philosophers who lie upon their backs and investigate the Divine world [in this way], but only one slat is left under their waist and so the Lord says to them: "Keep balance!" And you, as soon as you utter "Balance [Equilibrium]!", the catastrophe is avoided. When you investigate the truth, you should stand on your feet and not lie upon your back; only the dead lie like this. I take the word dead metaphorically - a narrow-minded [limited] man, who does not think. You should be turned towards the East, so that when Christ comes into view, you may receive Him. Many act as Tolstoy did, but Christ tells them: "Balance [Equilibrium]!"

"The truth shall make you free". The truth is real, it is actual, immediate life itself. Do not think that it is something imaginary. The truth is a world which has its beauty, its hues, tones, music - a world which has existed and which will always exist. Christ says: "Whoever understands this world, these laws and forces, shall be free". And also: "For this was I born - to bear witness unto the Truth" (Jn 17:37). And then Pilate asked him: "What is truth?" Contemporary people have rather strange conceptions of the Lord. The Lord - this is the Truth. When some day you feel joyful and glad and start to sing, behold, the truth - the living Lord - is within you. You think something in goodness, you accomplish a good deed - the Lord is within you. The truth - it is motion, instigation. And when Christ says: "I am the Way", He implies that man must have motion, and should not stay in a single place like some tied-up animal. In this world [all] things are strictly mathematically defined, there is nothing unforeseen, nothing accidental; your life, your sufferings, your sorrows and torments - all this has been foreseen. They are plus (+) and minus (-). The four arithmetic operations are included in the truth: addition and subtraction, multiplication and division. Whoever has much, adds; whoever has little, also adds; only the addition here is different. You have two thousand levs, but with a minus or a plus – to be able to give or to take away. This will determine the relation. If you say: "I have two thousand years" and put a minus, I infer that in the past you have lived two thousand years of a dissolute [immoral] life. If you say: "Two thousand years plus", I infer that you have lived an excellent life, and, therefore, you are indeed rich.

Christ says: "The truth shall make you free". The truth is a necessity for the man and for the woman: the whole social system rests upon it. Everyone strives for freedom and is entitled to live freely; but this freedom will be given to one insofar as he one is able to make use of the gifts of the Truth. The sufferings of a nation are [just as] needed for the latter as they are for the separate individual. The torments and torturings are our inventions. Your husband receives a salary, say, 5 levs, which are barely enough to carry you through the month: "But Easter, you say, is coming; there is not enough for an Easter cake [1] - the sugar and the eggs are expensive, there is not enough for shoes, for a hat 50-70 levs are necessary, why shouldn't we have 150-200 levs?" For there to be peace, leave the Easter cakes for next year -there is not only one Easter in this world. "No, now!" But the Lord has granted only 50 levs, be content with what is there already, do not spoil the Easter. The wife [2] in this respect should give freedom to her husband [2], and the husband - to the wife. Down with the Easter cakes! This is what freedom is, and also the truth. And this is why the Scriptures say: "Be grateful for everything". Do not think that the Lord has not given you wealth; He has given it, you are all rich, but you have to search for it.

In comprehending the Divine precepts [3] we should have internal freedom, we should not be mannered [4]. The truth is independent of both your conceptions and mine; whether you will think in one way or another, whether you will draw near or drift away from it, you will not change its relations, it will always exist, as it is, in this world which has been created very wisely. The light {videlinata}, which we have, originates from the light {svetlinata} of the Truth. Love comes from above, from the Truth, and, when it conquers the world, it will make you free. Love always has an aspiration for the Truth. Beauty is also an expression of Truth: what beauty is in relation to man, Truth is in relation to the Divine world; it is one face of this world which is a world of harmony, of beauty. And when you say: "Why are we miserable", the Truth replies to you: "Because you are ignorant, because you transgress the Law". I know, once upon a time in Varna the Gagauz [5] women would fall in love with the Bulgarian men and wanted to marry them; the Greeks were allegedly drunkards, while the Bulgarians supposedly resembled good and gentle little donkeys. But this is not an understanding of the Truth. Truth is a science to learn what the mutual intelligent relationships between people should be. Until man brings his mind, his heart, to equilibrium, to an accord with the Truth, he cannot be free. Only in this way will he be able to unite with the Divine world.

Many ask: "Is it not possible without sufferings?" It is possible. "And without sorrows and torments?" It is possible, of course! But the sufferings are necessary for the evolution of man. Man wants to study the world, which is why he inevitably suffers. And the Earth is a place of sufferings. "But", he says, "how could I know?" Why, before descending, did you not ask the intelligent beings above? Once a little Angel, who listened to much being spoken of men, said to a big Angel: "I would very much like to see these people; do take me to the Earth to see them". He took the little Angel to the Earth. The little Angel then said: "I asked you to take me to the humans, but you took me to Hell". - "But Hell - this is the people", answered the big Angel. And in truth, hell - this is us. Under the word hell is understood here boiling, bubbling from below, flying at each other's throat, brothers fighting one another - why one took more from their father's inheritance, while the other took less. "Equality is required". He is bigger [6] - let him take more.

We on the Earth have exactly those relations which God has established and to which His laws bear witness, and, when we apply them according to the Truth, their result will be freedom. And whoever wishes to study the Truth, has to study the quality of freedom. If you ask me what music is in its essence, I cannot give you a definition; but what music gives birth to by itself - this I can define. It is harmony, a relationship between tones. Sit in front of a piano or any other musical instrument, play and you will see what music is. But for the manifestation of music three things are necessary: firstly, an idea in your mind of some song; secondly, an instrument, and thirdly, an artist. Consequently, what is needed is a certain musical ability inside your mind, a sensitive ear, and then an artist to perform. And if you ask me what a teacher is, I can tell you what a teacher produces. He gives knowledge. If you learn what knowledge is, you will be close to the teacher. You ask what virtue is; it is better to ask what virtue gives birth to. Before you embark on studying the essence of things, study their results.

By what is freedom distinguished? By this, that it gives broad scope for action. In necessity there is only one way - you are harnessed. Your bridle may be made of gold, it may be quite nice, but you must only walk in one direction - forward; if you stop, the whip will land on your back. In freedom, conversely, you have a choice. You have the choice to climb a mountain peak, to climb from any side, but when you roll downwards, you are already going in only one direction. "But why does man think like this?" He is free to think. "But he is ungodly". This is a temporary delusion. "He is mean". The consciousness for goodness had not developed in him. "He errs". His will is not regularized. "Such-and-such gave birth illegitimately". Set the relations between the sexes in order. I consider people free. Those who are not free are the fainthearted, and it is precisely they who commit crimes; they do not have the heroism to take responsibility. Which people are strong in the world? Those who are free and are able to endure predicaments and sufferings, bespatterings, dishonorings - these things are trials and, whoever endures them, performs [an act of] heroism. The sufferings are given as a test to find out who is a hero and who a coward. Whoever does not wish to suffer, whoever wishes others to do the work [7] for him, is considered to be in the catalogue of the cowards. If you suffer - you are a hero. Tell me now, who do the Bulgarian people revere - those cowards, who during the time of the Ottoman Empire would betray the people, or those [men], who suffered for this people? And how much more exalted will those be who suffer for the Truth! The principle is the same. This is why the science of Truth is a science of the public, of the social life. The truth always makes people free. Those who die for others make people free. If [St.] Stephen had not died, [St.] Paul would not have been born. When Stephen died, his spirit entered into Paul and then both began to work together for the Lord. Stephen taught Paul how to suffer, how to endure three times 39 rods. Paul is renowned for this endurance. And do you know why there were 39 rods? 3 + 9 = 12: the number 12 is the law of rounding the evolution of all the days of a man's life. And whoever is beaten thus on Earth, will not be beaten any more in the other life. If you ask why they scourged Christ, He will answer you: "I suffered, so that you may be free". When here on Earth someone strikes you, one thread, which keeps you attached to your ill fate, breaks. This is why Christ says: "If anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also". Only one who is strong is able to beat, and when he beats, it is a blessing. What do the peasants do? When they wish the field to bear more fruit, they send sheep to trample on it; they know this law with respect to the fields, but with respect to themselves, they do not know it. So, finally, let the sheep of the world trample on you a bit. Christ says: "For this was I born". [Jn 18:37] Birth is understood here not externally, but internally - in every mind and in every heart, so that this Truth may bear witness. When the Truth starts to be born in you, you will begin to feel freedom. A woman, when she marries, wishes to have children because she is permeated by the Truth that only in this way can she observe the law - to inherit a property. And in the spiritual world it is the same - if you do not have the Truth, you cannot inherit the Divine riches. Therefore, the Truth must be born in you. Then you will have wealth and you will pass through your life more easily. There is a legend about Moses: when he was going to Mount Sinai, he saw a joyful shepherd and asked him: "Why are you so cheerful?" The shepherd replied to him: "Because the Lord will be my guest today, I have slaughtered a lamb to give a treat to the Lord". - "The Lord does not eat lambs; this is a confusion of your mind" objected Moses and left. However, the shepherd began to feel sad; he was deadened in spirit. When Moses reached Mount Sinai, he noticed that the Lord was displeased with him because he had made a big mistake, and so, he went back to the shepherd to tell him that the Lord will visit him and will eat from his lamb. When he had told the shepherd what the Lord had instructed him, he secretly began to keep a close watch on what would happen. At one moment he saw that the shepherd quietly went to sleep, while fire descended from the sky and burnt the lamb. The shepherd got up and said: "How glad I am that the Lord descended and ate the lamb!" And when the Truth descends in you, its fire, Love, will make a sacrifice pleasing to God. This is the real world of the Truth. For some it is unreal. But there are many, not one or two, nor ten, but thousands all over the whole world, who know this Truth. It must be planted for a long time yet. You see how beautiful these flowers are in front of you - yellow, red, blue - and you pick them, but have you understood their meaning? You say: "This flower has a very pleasant scent." What does this scent mean? It shows the profound sorrow of the flower. From its affliction is formed the nectar intended for your life.

There are people who in the midst of their wealth say: "There is no Lord", but once they lose their wealth or their health or their social status, the Lord fastens them - they begin to give off a scent: "There is a Lord". The wealth would destroy their mind and, when the Lord takes it away from them, they begin to look at things correctly. What you observe on the Earth is something transient, it is not real. Young, beautiful girls, when some time passes, their faces become lined with wrinkles, and in a short time they become old grandmothers; I ask, where did those young girls go, which we had admired so much earlier? Likewise the lads: where is their handsomeness? You do not know yourselves yet; when you learn the law of Truth, it will give you power over matter, to understand its internal combinations and to perfect your life. This is the law of movement - man must constantly alter and must pass from the transient to the eternal, in order to understand the unalterable nature of the Truth.

People say: "Christ was born and he preaches the Truth". Let us see what this Truth is. Christ wishes to introduce vigor into your mind, [He wishes] to give you instigation for a particular thought, for you to enter into communion with the Divine world. You are all eternally connected with God. You have friends in the world, and, if these friends occasionally show themselves to be insensitive, it is because of your relations, due to ignorance. [St.] Paul says: "God despised man's ignorance and left people to follow their ways, but now he calls them for the Law to be fulfilled". What should the mother do, who is also called to fulfill the Law? First of all she should give birth to good and clever children - this is her task. Some women complain and say: "Why am I a woman?" Who, then, should have been in their place, I ask. The man [male] must prepare this material of thought, will, character, to impart [it], while the woman should give birth. People seek comforts in the world, but they have to understand that essential law, which exists in music as well - about the major and minor scales. The Lord has set some [people] in a minor key, He has put them in flats - in grief, in sorrow, in the depths of feeling; others he has set in a major key, he has put them in sharps, in the shallowness of life, because they do not have depth of feeling. What can one see in a dance or a march? Dancing, marching and ... exhaustion. In the sad song you will not move, you will keep quiet and will reason. In the minor tone the Lord has created you to think about the other world, while in the major tone - about this world. Occasionally you wish to take someone else's role; but can religious people dance? They can dance, but what kind of dance? David, while he was carrying the ark, leaped and danced, while his wife said: "Look, why are you wiggling before the whole people of Israel!" (1 Chron 15; 2 Sam 6:15) - "Why should I not leap before the Lord?" he objected to her. The Lord has not restricted us, He has given us great freedom to do good and evil; but good in certain respects may be evil. But, you will say, how can this be? Here [is how]. A husband and wife live very well. Christ for His part says: "Give away your possessions" (Mat 19:21), the husband, in his desire to fulfill the teaching of the Savior, wants to give away his possessions, but his wife tells him: "You have gone mad, do you want your wife and children to be miserable?" - "But I want to fulfill the law of God", - "And I, however, do not want this law. You have no right to give away the possessions of your wife and your children, they belong to them. You have 100 thousand levs, divide them duly, equally between you, your wife and your children, and only the share which is apportioned to you, only that you have the right to give away. You do not have the right to commemorate the Lord with their money [8]. This is the law of Christ". - "But I have the right". "You do not have the right. Who gave you this right? Where did you take your wife from? Not from your legs, but from your ribs the Lord made her your companion, and you have no right to torment her". This, of course, is now convenient for the women, and they say to themselves: "Just so, just so!" Never observe the issues from your viewpoint, but from a mutual point of view. In the universal life there are many possibilities; in the present life you are a man, but in another they may make you a woman or vice versa. If in this life you write "I do not allow any freedom to the woman", in the second life, when they make you a woman, you will experience the sweetness of this provision of the law. "This law, you will say then, is not good". - But it is you who wrote it earlier. Men [males], set good laws, because the second time, as women, you will be under their supremacy. Of course, the man [male] is not the only one who writes laws, but the woman writes them as well, and they themselves create restrictions for each other. Many women have written bad laws for their daughters and sons, to hate their fathers - "your father is a good-for-nothing, a vagabond". Do not write such laws, because your Father is only one; this man or this woman have become an instrument for the Divine Spirit to clothe a certain idea in a certain form, and, when you complain, you repine against the Lord. You should not alter the main outlines of the form-embodied idea. In the shadows you may change something, making them lighter or darker, but the main-substance, which gives countenance to the Divine idea, must remain.

24 April 1916


[1] kozunak is a traditional Bulgarian bun, which is also made for Easter. The equivalent in the US and other English speaking countries is the hot cross bun.
[2] In Bulgarian, there is a single word for "husband", "male" and "man", and similarly for "wife", "female" and "woman"
[3] or: orders, regulations
[4] or artificial, even snobbish
[5] The Gagauz are Christians (Orthodox or Catholic) who speak a language belonging to the group of Turkish languages. There are different opinions about their origin. The Gagauz lived until the 19th century in the European territories of the Ottoman Empire.
[6] or "older"; In Bulgarian the adjective describing a brother/sister as 'older' also means 'bigger'
[7] This is a colloquialism, which literally means: others to do the housework or chores for someone, without that someone putting any effort themselves
[8] This sentence is built around a Bulgarian proverb, which can be literally translated as: 'To commemorate the departed using someone else's damper/loaf', which means: to do something at someone else's expense.
The text on this web site is Copyright (c) Christophorus 2006-2015 and the translations are Copyright (c) their respective authors (all rights reserved) - all for the sake of them not being edited; No translation on this web site of the Word of the Master Peter Deunov (Beinsa Douno) is based upon copyrighted material.