Saturday, November 12, 2011

Truthfulness = what is it & what is it not? = Why Be truthful? = Yama, the1st step in Patanjali Yoga Sutras




In the last Post, we have talked about non-violence or Ahimsa. When you are non-violent in thought, word and deed, you are the very epitome of LOVE.

When yoga sadhakas start on their Yogic Journey, they are still thinking and feeling about every thing that crosses their life. Thinking and feeling are natural processes. If you are non-violent, it is not that you don’t have any feeling towards all around you. You are truly non-violent, only when your mind is full of love and compassion - which are not two independent things really. It is then that you are truly following non-violence as “ahimsaa paramo dharmaha” – meaning, non-violence is the most sacred of duties.

The second stage in Yama is “Sathyam”. Mundaka Upanishad says “sathyameva Jayathe” – meaning, only truth triumphs. What is truth and what is it not?

Ancient sages have given a simple prescription – “satyam brooyaath; priyam brooyaath; na brooyaath sathyam apriyam.”

This means – “Tell truth. Tell that (truth) which is pleasant. Never tell that truth which is unpleasant.”

Truthfulness means – being authentic. Whatever you actually see; actually hear, actually think (Not what you feel) – that, in that way only, must you speak without distorting, exaggerating or underplaying.

We have already said – that we must be totally non-violent in whatever we do. That is the first and foremost sadhana in Yoga. In truthfulness which is the second part of Yama, how can we be violent, hurting, damaging and creating sorrow? Truthfulness can never be violent.

There are some beautiful sayings and stories in many Indian languages – about truthfulness. I will summarize them here:

Ø  Tell the absolute truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
Ø  Tell that truth (the one qualified as above) which does good to all (or at least to all good people).
Ø  Tell that truth (the one qualified as above) which is pleasant to listen, in a pleasant way.
Ø  Tell that truth (the one qualified further as above) when it is the right time to tell – when it can do the maximum good.
Ø  Tell that truth (the one qualified further as above) before the right persons – and not before the wrong persons.
Ø  Tell the truth – only if you are the right person to tell it.
Ø  Learn also to remain SILENT – when you cannot tell the truth as above.

These are all inviolable rules for truthful behavior. There is no truth, which cannot be told in a pleasant way by the right person to the right person at the right time.

Some one has committed robbery. To whom will you tell the truth? To the King, of course. To that person, who can and should punish the robber. But, not to the Robber himself.

The Police is searching for a murderer. Would you tell that to the murderer? No.

You are the Doctor diagnosing a Patient who has serious cancer. If you tell the truth to the Patient, he may die in 3 months in hopelessness and desperation. If you tell his near and dear people the same fact in such  a way that makes them take much better care of him and give him much more love too - the Patient may live for a few years also happily. So, what is truthfulness here? The latter of course.

Again – in the name of truthfulness, you are not required to go on unmasking all others in the world. Some body may be short or long or ugly or unintelligent or  may have some disease or disabilities and so on. Your judgment and your words are not required to tell them that. They already know it.

If you are in the habit of telling such Bitter truths to others – sooner or later, others will tell you many bitter truths about your self.

A flower is golden yellow in colour. Another is black. Are they both beautiful to your eyes? If so, you can mention their colours. You will be authentic and truthful. But, if you do not like yellow or black – your truth is coloured by your prejudices. Now, what you say is not the truth at all.

What you see; what you hear; what you smell; what you touch; what you taste – are the only inputs to you to know and speak truth. Individually, no sense organ can give you a fair truth. Eyes see but a small fraction of the truth. You have seen some one holding a knife at the stomach of another injured person. You have seen only this. You do not know whether he knifed him – or is merely removing the knife. You do not know the previous happenings – and the subsequent ones. You also do not know whether it is a knife at all. But, you jump to conclusions and judgments. Your Judgments are not truths. When you judge – your authenticity goes into thin air.

Can you say – what you have actually seen? Even this is very difficult. That is why SILENCE is Golden most of the time. But, not always. An authentic man must tell the truth – subject to the above conditions.

A truthful person is also the most fearless person and  the most loving and non-violent person. He is therefore the most authentic person.

In the ancient ages – it was said that, if an authentic man tells a lie (obviously - unknowingly), it tends to become the TRUTH. Therefore, an authentic person must not curse others. If he says – X will die, X may as well die. Nature ensures that the authentic man remains authentic, by carrying out his words as orders to it.

In India, it is therefore customary to go to sages and seers – and seek their blessings. It is done – so that the blessings of such seers and sages may come true for the blessed ones.

When Lord Krishna blessed Draupadi and Subhadra saying “deergha sumangalee bhava” – he had to ensure it later - by bringing back a dead Arjuna – to life again. Many ancient sages went to great lengths to keep their words authentic.

It is for this reason that India had adopted the words “sathyameva jayathe” in its national Emblem also. The Nation must therefore make all out efforts to live up to these words.

What are the benefits of being truthful and authentic?

1.           Let us understand that in nature, man only is capable of truthfulness and untruthfulness. Untruthfulness makes him impure, untrustworthy and worse than animals. Truthfulness, on the other hand makes him almost divine. Other beings can be neither truthful nor untruthful.
2.           Truthfulness makes us very happy and light hearted. There is no burden in our head when we are truthful.
3.           Truthfulness makes us strong and courageous.
4.          Truthfulness in the background of non-violence –is the greatest punyam. It takes us from one birth to another higher and higher – and closer to Kaivalya.
5.           The whole nature loves the authentic, non-violent person and becomes his obedient servant.

No effort is needed to the authentic. Authenticity is effortless. To be untruthful – huge effort is required lifelong. 

Readers – must start being authentic – in the true sense of the term. We are well on our way to being Great Yoga Sadhakas.

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