Swami ji said …
“ Truth will set you free…” “Honesty is the best policy…” All of us have heard these sayings ever since our childhood. Our school textbooks are filled with stories teaching us about choosing the path of honesty as it will always serve us well. We are told that God is observing us and that we must not lie. To be dishonest is equated to being ‘evil’. We are told that under no circumstances are we to ever lie or cheat others , for , there will be ‘hell’ to pay later.
Yet, when we observe people around us – family, friends, society at large – what comes out vividly is that none of these teachings are being truly practised in letter or spirit. At least not by the majority of the masses. We see untruth and hypocrisy being practised all around. In fact, lies and untruths are many times used to earn a living. Even the law of the land is manipulated and twisted to let the ‘guilty’ escape with their ‘lies’. We might be working for a company that could be deceitful to its customers; or , even to its own employees. We might notice our superiors or subordinates double dealing and cheating. We might see family members engaging in ignoble behaviour at work. We too might be coerced to lie – to save a loved one ; to protect our livelihood, or , to avoid an unpleasant situation. In such a case, what is the meaning of ‘satya’ in our lives and how do we go about incorporating it in our lives ?
For a start, it is important to acknowledge that the world we live in – unlike the world in our books – is infinitely more complex. We live within the boundaries of society – समाज – and we have to adjust accordingly for our own survival and well being. But , that being said , we must fight the urge of giving into the thought – that since everyone lies – why can’t I ? And, while we might see people blatantly profiteering from dishonesty, we must resist the temptation to indulge in such behaviour ourselves. At such times, it will seem that being truthful is ‘hurting’ us in a material sense, but , we must realise that any such materialistic sacrifice that we make , to stay on the path of honesty , will only benefit us spiritually.
We see groups of people around us today referring to each other as ‘friends’, but , many a times, they could be bickering and gossiping – behind each other’s backs. Social media is used to show the world our ‘good side’ and our ‘great lives’. These so called friends only compare each other’s lives and possessions. Is there any ‘reliability’ and ‘truth’ in such relationships ? Can there be any trust and comfort between such people? It is only when people are honest – when they are willing to speak their actual minds and open their hearts, show their vulnerability, can they invite empathy and understanding ; markings of true friendship, into their lives.
Many times, it is difficult to keep one’s word. We see people giving false excuses.This is often because it is inconvenient for them to stay true to their word and maybe they do not want to go through the struggle of doing so. It is easier for them to break their promise and deceive others. But, it is precisely this effort and struggle to honour our commitments, act in alignment with our values, and remain true to ourselves, that cultivates steadfastness in us.This integrity that we develop becomes the compass that navigates our choices, leading us to a state of fulfilment and an assured confidence in ourselves while speaking the truth.
There is a general perception and fear that the path of honesty is difficult and demands great sacrifice. But, in reality, it is one that unmasks all the illusions and facades – that life surrounds us with. Honesty is not just about speaking the truth , but , is also about having truthful internal conversations – accepting our faults and limitations and looking into the deep recesses of our mind. Yes, seeing our drawbacks hurts ; accepting our failures also hurts ; but, just like the body’s muscles must first be broken to grow stronger and bigger again, the breaking of our – भ्रम – of what we are in reality – gives us an opportunity to make our character stronger and better.
We must remember that a truly honest person becomes highly self-aware, and, develops the self-mastery needed to progress in life on the simple and noble path of ‘satya’. The spiritual seeker must embrace honesty, at all times, as it is only continuous and determined attempts to stay honest ; to speak the truth – that will reveal to him the true nature of this world. He will develop clarity, and strive to be honest ; gradually peel away all the layers of ignorance to discover his true original self – unspoilt by untruth and dishonesty – the way God had meant him to be. Honesty is the one virtue that can grant us liberation from this world. ‘ सत्य के पथ पर सदैव चलने से ही हम सम्पूर्ण सत्य को प्राप्त कर सकते हैं … ‘