This part is taken from Yoga Vasishtam in “Spiritual Stories” as Told by Ramana Maharshi
In the course of a conversation about Sri Bhagavan’s life in Madurai, Sri Bhagavan recalled, “If my aunt began preparing appalams, or the like, she would call me and ask me to put my hand on it first. She had great faith in me, because I used to do everything according to her wishes and never told lies. I had to tell only one lie and that was when I came here.”
A devotee then said, “It means that for doing a great thing, sometimes a lie has to be told!”
Sri Bhagavan replied, “Yes. When it is for the welfare of the world and when the situation demands it, it has to be done. It cannot be helped. Where is the question of telling a lie? Some force makes one say so. So long as there is purpose there is need of action. When there is no purpose, we can avoid action in the same way as was done by the sage in the story of the sage and the hunter in Yoga Vasishtam.”
Full of curiosity the devotee asked, “What is that story?”
In a forest, a sage sat motionless and in silence. His eyes however were open. A hunter hit a deer and as it was running away, he began pursuing it. When he saw the sage he stopped. The deer had run in front of the sage and hidden itself in a bush nearby. The hunter could not see it and so asked the sage “Swami, my deer has come running this way. Please tell me where exactly it has gone.” The sage said he did not know. The hunter said, “It ran in front of you. Your eyes were open.
How could you say you do not know?”, to which the sage replied, “Oh my friend! We are in the forest with universal equality. We do not have ahankara. Unless you have ahankara, you cannot do things in this world. That ahankara is the mind. That mind does all things. It also makes all the sense organs work. We certainly have no mind; it disappeared long ago. We do not have the three states – the states of waking, dream and deep sleep. We are always in the fourth or turiya state. In that state nothing is seen by us. That being so, what can we say about your deer?” Unable to understand what the sage was saying, the hunter went his way thinking they were all the words of a mad man.