THE CONMEN -TWISTING THE TRUTH
(Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’)
Once there lived a conman. By sheer coincidence he met another member of his fraternity and a friendship ensued between the two. They both sat down and discussed how they can combine their talents and con rich people. The first conman said:
“If I tell a lie you back me up and I will do the same for you”.
They went to a rich trader’s house. The first cheat boasted as follows:
“I am an accomplished archer and a marksman. Once, when hunting, I took aim and pierced the foot, ear and horn of an antelope with a single arrow”.
“Now that is a blatant lie” retorted the rich trader.
The second conman answered instead:
“Well sire it was like this – when my friend took aim at the deer, the antelope was scratching its ear and hence the arrow drove straight though its foot, ear and the horn”.
The tycoon nodded and the second conman went on:
“Now listen to my feat. Once I saw a pigeon perched up on a branch. I took a shot at him with my catapult. The stone from the catapult landed on the pigeon’s stomach. The bird dropped dead on the grass, roasted like a kebab”.
“Now that is even a bigger lie” exclaimed their host in utter disbelief.
Now it was the first conman’s turn to back his friend. He said:
“Well sire it was like this. The pigeon my friend shot had just swallowed a few pebbles. The impact of the catapult blow caused friction amongst the pebbles, in the bird’s stomach, as they rubbed against each other, producing heat. As the bird hit the dry grass below it caught fire and smouldered the pigeon.”
The above story is from folk lore, passed on from one generation to the other. Many such anecdotes have an inherent moral lesson and offer a means to an end. How often do we see people misrepresenting the truth either singly or in collusion with another person and sometimes through a group (club, association)! Such dishonesty is not only common in worldly affairs but also in matters of faith and spirituality, and particularly amongst Sikhs these days.
In Salok Sehaskiritee Guru Nanak states:
ਮੁਖਿ ਝੂਠੁ ਬਿਭੂਖਨ ਸਾਰੰ ॥ ਤ੍ਰੈਪਾਲ ਤਿਹਾਲ ਬਿਚਾਰੰ ॥
mukh jhooth bibhookhan saaraN; taraipaal tihaal bichaaraN.
People dress up lies to impress and pass them off as truth. Lies are presented just like gold-plated iron - gold on the surface but black within. Even though some people recite prayers three times a day it does not stop them from conning others.
The author most humbly regrets any inaccuracy or errors in interpreting Gurbani or quoting facts.
Rajinder Singh ‘Arshi’ (10/2009)