One evening a young boy went for a stroll with his father. When dusk had almost set in, he beheld a tree-trunk from which the branches and leaves had been cut off. He was terrified and screamed, “Oh Father! There, see, a ghost!” Though his father knew the truth that it was just the stem of a tree, he assured the boy,” Oh, that ghost! It cannot do you any harm. I am here and will see to it, Come on”; so saying, he led the boy away. On hearing the encouraging words of his father, the boy took them to mean, ‘My father is stronger than the ghost and that is why he says that it can do me no harm’. This conclusion of the boy is similar to the understanding of the pandits about the meaning of the Yoga and Vedanta sastras !.
Next evening, while going, for a stroll with his teacher along the same path, the boy exclaimed, “Sir, look ! There’s the ghost; we saw it yesterday also ,” The teacher pitied him for his ignorance and said, “That is not a ghost”, But the boy persisted, “No sir, my father also saw it yesterday; he even assured me that he would see to it that it could do me no harm; but sir, you say it is not a ghost at all’” Would the teacher yield so easily? He said, “Go near it and see for yourself; I will shine the flashlight on it. If it turns out to be a ghost, I too will see to it !”
The sastras are like the words of the father in the story. The father also knew well that it was not a ghost. Similarly, the great Sages who gave these sastras also knew well the absolute truth (paramarthika satya) that nothing such as the ego, body, or world has ever come into existence at all. The father, knowing that his son was quite unfit to make a closer examination on account of his much frightened state at that time, talked to him as if he were also accepting the existence of the false ghost imagined by his son. Even while talking like that, he was not telling a lie. To allay quickly the fear of his son, he said, ‘The ghost cannot do you any harm: That was indeed the truth! However, what the teacher told him the next day was the absolute truth (paramarthika satya). Although the, teacher’s statement that it was not a ghost seems to contradict the father’s statement, does it not in fact lend more support to the objective of the father’s statement that the ghost could do the boy no harm, by making him see for himself that it was after all only the stem of a tree? By thus fulfilling the father’s objective does not the statement of the teacher breathe new life into that of the father”? Instead of understanding thus, if the boy were to conclude,’ Either my teacher has condemned my father, Of my father has told me an outright lie’, it would be utterly wrong on his part. Similarly, Sri Bhagavan has neither condemned the sastras, nor shown them to be false; nor have the sastras stated untruths. If any reader were to come to this mistaken conclusion about Sri Bhagavan, ‘he would be just as much wrong as would have been the boy in our story.
“Reason does not contradict, but fulfils. No Sage has ever come to contradict”. Jesus Christ meant the very same thing when He said, “I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (Sermon on the Mount) !
Source: The Path of Sri Ramana Part 1 book By Sri Sadhu Om