God Sees The Truth, But Waits by Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was a novelist, short storey writer, and philosopher who is widely regarded as one of the finest authors of all time. His works attest to the simplicity of his manner as well as the profundity of his mind. His characters represent a wide range of human behaviour and lives. The storey “God Sees the Truth but Waits” emphasises the value of patience, faith, and non-resistance to evil.

The story is part of a collection of short stories written by Leo Tolstoy to elucidate his personal view of Christianity and his philosophy of nonviolence and truth-seeking. As the title suggests, it is a story of man’s endurance and faith in the face of adversity, as well as the assurance that God would make things right in due time, and that man must be faithful and patient. The story, told in the style of a fable, emphasises the necessity of always stating the truth, remaining faithful, and not reacting angrily to any situation. Ivan Dmitritch Aksionov tells the truth about his innocence, but when he realises that even his wife does not believe in him, he decides to put his trust in God. The many years of torture in Siberia were a test of his faith, and the coming of Makar Semyonich was the culmination of this test. When Ivan discovers the true perpetrator’s name, he becomes enraged and seeks vengeance. When he notices Makar Semyonich constructing a tunnel to escape the prison, he seizes the opportunity. Ivan passes his test by refusing to pursue vengeance and refusing to expose Makar Semyonich’s identity to the authorities. Ivan is rewarded with his freedom from prison and entry into God’s kingdom.

Ivan Dmitritch Aksionov is a young, energetic, and successful businessman. He is put in a difficult situation when he gets accused of a crime he did not commit. However, he perseveres bravely, appealing his innocence to the authorities. He even attempts to petition the Czar in order to be acquitted. He comes to a halt when he discovers that his wife does not trust him, and the murder weapon is discovered in his possession. He accepts his fate with dignity and chooses to serve his sentence without complaint.

This acceptance bestows on him a dignity and composure that everyone in the prison admires. He is referred to as “Grandfather” and “Saint.” He has spent the last 26 years of his life in prison in prayer, believing that this is how it is supposed to be. When he meets Semyonich, his stoicism, patience, faith, and knowledge are all put to the test. He discovers that he is easily led to rage, and even murder, in order to avenge his wrongful arrest. Instead, Ivan decides to listen to the voice of his faith, his God, and avoids retaliation. Semyonich realises the wrong of his conduct as a result of Aksionov’s quiet and apologises to Ivan. Ivan forgives Semyonich after realising that he, too, may have sinned and been punished for it. When Aksionov forgives, he feels as though a tremendous burden has been lifted from his soul. He realises that despite all of his prayers and devout behaviour, he has continued to believe that he has been treated unfairly. This bitterness makes him vulnerable and prone to rage. Aksionov truly surrenders to his faith in God when he finds it in his heart to forgive. Aksionov emerges through the test a better and happier guy. In his heart, there was no longer any craving or desire for worldly independence. That is the moment when Ivan Dmitritch Aksionov becomes one with God.

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Questions and Answers of God Sees The Truth, But Waits by Leo Tolstoy

1. Answer the following questions in a sentence or two each, based on your understanding of the story.

a) Why did Aksionov’s wife stop him from going to the fair?
Answer: Aksionov’s wife had a nasty dream about him. As a result, she was afraid and tried to prevent him from attending the fair.

b) What is the importance of Aksionov’s wife’s dream?
Answer: Aksionov’s wife informed him that she had a disturbing dream. She had a dream that Aksionov had returned from town with grey hair. But Aksionov had fair hair. Grey hair is a bad omen. This was the significance of Aksionov’s wife’s dream.

c) What made Aksionov leave the inn before dawn?
Answer: It was not Aksionov’s habit to sleep late night. He always wished to travel in the cool morning. So he left from the inn before dawn.

d) What were the circumstances that led to Aksionov’s imprisonment?
Answer: The merchant with whom Aksionov had spent the night before had been discovered with his throat cut. Aksionov is suspected since he left the inn where he and the merchant stayed before daybreak. While searching, the police also discovered a blood-splattered knife in Aksionov’s bag. These were the factors that resulted in Aksionov’s incarceration.

e) Why did Aksionov give up sending petitions?
Answer: Aksionov gave up all his hope. He prayed only to God thereafter. So Aksionov gave up sending petitions.

f) Why didn’t Makar disclose that he had killed the merchant?
Answer: Makar had an attitude of not admitting his guilt. So he did not disclose that he had killed the merchant.

g) Did Makar feel guilty when he heard Aksionov’s story?
Answer: Yes, Makar felt guilty when he heard Askionov’s story.

h) What made Aksionov think that Makar was the real murderer?
Answer: Makkar acted indifferently after hearing Aksionov’s storey. When Aksionov questioned if he knew the murderer, he said that it had to be the person whose bag the knife was discovered in. He claimed that even if someone else hid the knife there, he is not a thief until he is caught. This led Aksionov to believe that Makar was the true murderer.

i) What was Aksionov’s realization by the end of the story?
Answer: Every decisions of God needs enough time. Aksionov believes that ‘God sees the truth, but waits.’ This was Aksionov’s realization by the end of the story. 

j) Why did Aksionov’s wife suspect him of involvement in the murder?
Answer: Aksionov’s wife thought why he had started that day even though she had explained her bad dream. So she suspected him of involvement in the murder.

2. Answer the following questions in three or four sentences each. 

a) Did the police officer have sufficient evidence to convict Aksionov?
Answer: Yes, the police officer had enough evidence to convict Aksionov. Aksionov is suspected because he left the inn where he and the merchant were staying before morning. During the search, the officer also discovered a blood-splattered knife in Aksionov’s bag.

b) What impact did the book “The Lives of Saints” have on Aksionov?
Answer: The book “The Lives of Saints” made him meek. His fellow-prisoners respected him, they called him “Grandfather,” and “The Saint.” When there were quarrels among the prisoners, they came to him to get right solution.

c) Pick out the clues that convey that Makar Semeyonich recognized Aksionov.
Answer: At first, Semeyonich claimed that he had done something improper in the past but had not been caught. Later Semyonich whacked his own knee after learning about Aksionov’s storey from his buddies. That was very great, he exclaimed. When Aksionov asked if he knew the killer, he said that it had to be the person whose bag the knife was discovered in, and that if someone else hid the knife there, he was not a thief until he was caught. These are the hints that Makar Semeyonich recognised Aksionov.


3. Answer the following questions in a paragraph of about 150 words each.

Q. Compare and contrast the main characters, Aksionov and Makar Semeyonich, in the story.

The protagonist, Ivan Dmitrich Aksionov, placed his trust in God to guide him through his hardships in this storey. He was the most talented singer. He possessed virtues such as faith, forgiveness, liberty, and acceptance. Aksionov was completely oblivious to the world around him. Despite the fact that he had committed no crime, he was sentenced to prison. He was condemned to 26 years in prison. He had no desire to avenge anyone, not even the true murderer. He pardoned him for admitting guilt. He trusted in God alone and prayed to God constantly. Aksionov’s hope had dwindled. His liberty and family had been snatched from him. He was not an envious man. He never attempted an illegal prison break.

Makar Semeyonich, the story’s antagonist, first acted arrogantly. He made threats against Aksionov and other detainees. He sought to escape by digging a hole. However, he eventually felt bad for what he had done to Aksionov. His guilt had been sparked by the fact that Aksionov had withheld information regarding Semeyonich’s escape preparations from the authorities. Semeyonich was overcome with emotion and pleaded with Aksionov for forgiveness. He was aware that Aksionov was a decent person who did not deserve to be imprisoned. That is why he confessed to his crime.

Q. How did Aksionov react when his wife suspected him?
Answer: Ivan Dimitrich Aksionov once chose to visit the Nizhny fair. However, his wife attempted to stop him due to a disturbing dream she had. She had a dream in which Aksionov returned from town with grey hair. However, he dismissed her dream, claiming that it was a stroke of good fortune. On his way, Aksionov was arrested on suspicion of murdering a merchant. Aksionov’s wife inquired as to why he had begun that day despite the fact that she had revealed her horrible dream. As a result, she suspected him of being involved in the murder as well. He became even more despondent at the prospect. He convinced himself that God was the only one who knew the truth. He abandoned all hope and prayed exclusively to God. His hair got white as snow and his beard grew throughout his twenty-six years as a captive in Siberia. He frequently prayed, and his fellow inmates referred to him as “Grandfather” and “The Saint.”

Q. Describe the life of Aksionov in prison.
Answer: Aksionov was imprisoned on suspicion of murdering a merchant. However, Semeyonich was the merchant’s true murderer. His wife, too, suspected him of murder. This notion added to his sadness. He lost all hope and convinced himself that only God knew the truth. He got elderly during his twenty-six years as a convict in Siberia. While imprisoned, Aksionov learned how to make boots and earned enough money to purchase the book ‘The Lives of the Saints’. He was a regular reader of this book. On Sundays, he read the teachings and sang in the prison-church chorus. Prison officials admired him for his meekness. His fellow inmates admired him and addressed him as “Grandfather” and “The Saint.” He served as the convicts’ spokesperson. Semeyonich was imprisoned for his sin 26 years later. Even if Aksionov suspected Semeyonich of being the real murderer, he rescued Semeyonich from the Governer in an incident. Semeyonich recognised his error and admitted his responsibility. However, by the time the order for his release arrived, Aksionov had already died.

Q. Why did Aksionov decide not to reveal the truth about Makar Semeyonich?
Answer: Aksionov was imprisoned on suspicion of murdering a merchant. He got elderly during his twenty-six years as a convict in Siberia. He felt as if he had been imprisoned for twenty-six years without committing any murder. He spent the majority of his life in prison. He would lost all hope, as well as his family. His wife was no longer alive, and his children had abandoned him. He considered his options and realised he had none. He had lost interest in leaving the prison. However, he simply wished for his final hours to arrive. He was a devout follower of God alone. His wife misinterpreted and accused him. Makar Semeyonich, a new prisoner, introduced himself at the prison. Additionally, Makar Semeyonich admitted his culpability. He pardoned him for disclosing the truth. He had no desire to exact revenge on the murderer. He believed that forgiveness was the most effective form of vengeance.

Q. Discuss the meaning and importance of the saying “God sees the truth but waits”.
Answer: This story was about Aksionov, who had lost hope and relied alone on God. Despite the fact that he committed no crime, he was imprisoned for 26 years. Makar admitted that he was the true murderer. Aksionov pardoned him for accepting the truth and achieving self-awareness. However, by the time the order for his release arrived, Aksionov had already died. Our frailty can only exacerbate the problem. Positivity can make anything possible. The term implies that God’s decisions require sufficient time. This storey is for anyone who has lost hope and no longer believes in God. We should wait for the truth to triumph with trust that God will provide us with the solution to all our difficulties, as the title implies. At the conclusion of the storey, a transition occurs from materialism to spiritualism.

Q. Forgiveness is the best form of revenge. Substantiate the statement with reference to the story.
Answer: In Vladimir, Aksionov lived with his wife and children. He decided to go to the fair. His wife tried to stop him since she had a nasty dream. On his journey, Aksionov met a merchant. But the merchant was assassinated. As a result, the local cop detained and charged Aksionov. He was assigned to labour in Siberia’s mines. He grew old there. Aksionov frequently prayed to God. Because of his mild demeanour, Aksionov was respected by all of the detainees. He ran across Makar Semeyonich one day. Aksionov discovered the truth, that Makar was the true murderer. When Makar attempted to flee, he was saved by him from the officials. Makar eventually admitted to his wrongdoing. Makar had been forgiven by Aksionov. By forgiving Makar, Aksionov acknowledged the truth, reached self-realization, and died in peace. In fact, forgiveness is the best kind of revenge.

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