Foundations Of Yoga Part 3 Satya Truthfulness Honesty

Foundations Of Yoga Part 3 Satya Truthfulness Honesty

Satya: truthfulness,​ honesty

(A continuation of​ an​ explanation of​ the​ aspects of​ Patanjali's Yama and Niyama)

"Satya is​ said to​ be speech and thought in​ conformity with what has been seen or​ inferred or​ heard on​ authority. the​ speech spoken to​ convey one's own experience to​ others should be not deceitful,​ nor inaccurate,​ nor uninformative. it​ is​ that uttered for helping all beings. But that uttered to​ the​ harm of​ beings,​ even if​ it​ is​ what is​ called truth,​ when the​ ultimate aim is​ merely to​ injure beings,​ would not be truth [satya]. it​ would be a​ wrong." So says Vyasa.

Shankara says that truthfulness means saying what we​ have truly come to​ know is​ the​ truth-mostly through our own experience or​ through contact with sources whose reliability we​ have experienced for ourselves. Who but the​ most intuitive could be sure that they do not speak any inaccurate thing? Yet such is​ demanded of​ the​ yogi,​ and for that he must strive.

"Untruthfulness in​ any form puts us out of​ harmony with the​ fundamental law of​ Truth and creates a​ kind of​ mental and emotional strain which prevents us from harmonizing and tranquillizing our mind. Truthfulness has to​ be practiced by the​ sadhaka because it​ is​ absolutely necessary for the​ unfoldment of​ intuition. There is​ nothing which clouds the​ intuition and practically stops its functioning as​ much as​ untruthfulness in​ all its forms,​" says Taimni regarding the​ most personal and practical aspect of​ satya.

Bending the​ truth,​ either in​ leaving out part of​ the​ truth or​ in​ "stacking the​ deck" to​ create a​ false impression,​ cannot be engaged in​ by the​ yogi. the​ Bible speaks of​ turning truth into a​ lie. (Romans 1:25) This is​ done by either not telling all the​ truth or​ by presenting it​ in​ such a​ way that the​ hearer will come to​ a​ wrong conclusion-or adopt a​ wrong conclusion-about what we​ are presenting. Regarding numbers it​ is​ said that "figures do not lie-but liars figure." the​ same is​ true here. Equally heinous is​ the​ intentional mixing of​ lies and truth. Some liars tell a​ lot of​ truth-but not all the​ truth. This is​ particularly true in​ the​ manipulative endeavors of​ advertising,​ politics,​ and religion.

There are many non-verbal forms of​ lying as​ well,​ and some people's entire life is​ a​ lie. Therefore we​ must make sure that our actions reflect the​ truth. How many people claim to​ believe in​ God and spiritual principles,​ but do not live accordingly? How many people continually swear and express loyalty and yet are betrayers? ["This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth,​ and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is​ far from me." (Matthew 15:8) "And why call ye me,​ Lord,​ Lord,​ and do not the​ things which I say?" (Luke 6:46)] Therefore Saint John wrote: "My little children,​ let us not love in​ word,​ neither in​ tongue; but in​ deed and in​ truth."(I John 3:18) we​ must not only speak the​ truth,​ we​ must live it.

Honesty in​ all our speaking and dealings with others is​ an​ essential part of​ truthfulness. This includes paying our debts,​ including taxes. it​ is​ inexpressibly crucial that the​ yogi make his livelihood only by honest and truthful means. Selling useless or​ silly things,​ convincing people that they need them (or even selling them without convincing them),​ is​ a​ serious breach of​ truthfulness.

Trying to​ compromise the​ truth,​ even a​ little,​ making the​ excuse that "everybody does it" is​ not legitimate. For "everybody" is​ bound to​ the​ wheel of​ birth and death because they do it-and that is​ not what we​ wish for ourselves. we​ can lie to​ ourselves,​ to​ others,​ and even to​ God; but we​ cannot lie to​ the​ cosmos. the​ law of​ cause and effect,​ or​ karma,​ will react upon us to​ our own pain.

It is​ interesting that Vyasa considers that truthful speech is​ informative. By that he means that truthful speech is​ worthwhile,​ relevant,​ and practical. to​ babble mindlessly and grind out verbal trivia is​ also a​ form of​ untruth,​ even if​ true in​ the​ sense of​ not being objectively false. Nor is​ foolish speech to​ anyone's gain. Sometimes also people lie by "snowing" us with a​ barrage of​ words intended to​ deflect us from our inquiries. And nearly all of​ us who went to​ college remember the​ old game of​ padding out whatever we​ wrote,​ giving lots of​ form but little content in​ hope of​ fooling our teachers into thinking that we​ knew the​ subject and were saying something worthwhile. This is​ one of​ today's most lucrative businesses,​ especially in​ the​ advertising world.

Speaking truth to​ the​ hurt of​ others is​ not really truth,​ since satya is​ an​ extension of​ ahimsa. For example,​ a​ person may be ugly,​ but to​ say: "You are ugly" is​ not a​ virtue. "What is​ based on​ injuring others,​ even though free from the​ three defects of​ speech (i.e.,​ not deceitful,​ nor inaccurate,​ nor uninformative),​ does not amount to​ truth" (Shankara). Our intention must never be to​ hurt in​ any way,​ but we​ must be aware that there are some people who hate the​ truth in​ any form and will accuse us of​ hurting them by our honesty. Such persons especially like to​ label any truth (or person) they dislike as​ "harsh,​" "rigid,​" "divisive,​" "negative" "hateful,​" and so on​ and on​ and on. we​ would have to​ become dishonest or​ liars to​ placate them. So "hurting" or​ offending them is​ a​ consequence of​ truthfulness that we​ will have to​ live with. the​ bottom line is​ that truth "is that uttered for helping all beings." For non-injury is​ not a​ passive quality,​ but the​ positive character of​ restoration and healing.

Silence can also be a​ form of​ untruth,​ particularly in​ dealing with the​ aforementioned truth-haters. For truth is​ only harmful when "the ultimate aim is​ merely to​ injure beings." But if​ some people put themselves in​ the​ way of​ truth,​ then they must take responsibility for their reactions to​ it.

Will Cuppy defined diplomacy as​ "the fine art of​ lying." Sadly,​ it​ often is. So we​ must be sure that we​ do not deceive under the​ guise of​ diplomacy or​ tactfulness.

Self-deception,​ a​ favorite with nearly all of​ us to​ some degree,​ must be ruthlessly eliminated if​ we​ would be genuinely truthful.

"Therefore let one take care that his speech is​ for the​ welfare of​ all." (Shankara)

Next: Brahmacharya (continence) and Aparigraha (non-posessiveness)

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