Author Topic: How to speak truth  (Read 4138 times)

Nagaraj

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How to speak truth
« on: October 30, 2011, 05:30:47 PM »
सत्यम् ब्रूयात् प्रियम् ब्रूयात् न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् |
प्रियम् नानृतं ब्रूयात् एष धर्मः सनातनः ||


Speak truth in such a way that it should be pleasing to others. Never speak truth, which is unpleasant to others. Never speak untruth, which might be pleasant. This is the path of eternal morality, sanatana dharma.

To speak truth is an eternal value irrespective of time and place. But the expression of truth should be accompanied by two conditions.

Firstly, it should be presented in a loving manner and
secondly it should be spoken for the betterment of others.


How you speak is as important as what is said. Priyam means speech that does not hurt others. Hitam is something that is said for the good or betterment of others. One should be careful of speaking truth but not hurting others.

We should be careful in speaking the truth. The purpose should be good and the words used and the manners in which they are spoken are important. So the value of truthfulness is relative to a situation. According to the Indian scriptures while living in the world of relativity truth can be interpreted in many ways.

Salutations to Bhagavan
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Sreeswaroop

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2011, 11:22:53 AM »


 So the value of truthfulness is relative to a situation. According to the Indian scriptures while living in the world of relativity truth can be interpreted in many ways.


Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya!

Dear Nagraj ji,

Nice post which gives us a refreshing of thought.

To me, truth is beyond relativity and one which has relativity cannot be the ultimate truth.
But it has to be accepted that truth can have different faces. Majority of the conflicts arise out of the non-acceptance of the different faces of one and the same truth.

Thank you.

Subramanian.R

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2011, 11:32:54 AM »


Dear Sreeswaroop,

Once there was a Rishi, who was doing penance under a tree.  A wounded deer rushed past him.  Soon the hunter
came and asked, whether he had seen the deer going that way.  Though, the Rishi had seen the wounded deer
speeding past his sight, he said: I did not see any deer going this way.  The hunter went towards other direction.
The deer also survived.

Now, what the Rishi said, is it absolute truth, or relative truth, or total falsehood?

Saint Tiruvalluvar says: Even a falsehood is a truth when it produces blemishless good results.

So the truth varies according to the situations.  The end result is important. Absolute Truth is only Brahman.
In Mahabharata War, many false statements were made by people like Yudishtra and even Krishna. One should
see the situation and weigh the statement.

Once Sri Bhagavan had received some lehyam [ a medicinal thick fluid] from Varkala Narayana Guru. The instruction with
the lehyam was that it should be taken with milk.  But Sri Bhagavan did not want to use milk and used water. Kunju
Swami asked: Bhagavan! What reply can I give to  Narayana Guru?  Sri Bhagavan said: You write to him that Bhagavan is
taking the lehyam with "payas". Payas in Sanskrit means both water and milk!  The word Payasam came from Payas.
Now whether Sri Bhagavan uttered a lie or truth? 

Similarly when He left Madurai home, did He utter a lie or truth in His parting note?



Arunachala Siva.

Sreeswaroop

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2011, 12:32:10 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya!

Dear Subramanian ji,

Thank you but I still have a different version. Please correct me if I am wrong.

1.   What the Rishi said is total falsehood to us. (Need not be so for him)

2.   “Even a falsehood is a truth when it produces blemishless good results”.
- Is an ordinary sadhaka is able to foresee/ assess the goodness or result?

3.   If the  end result alone is important, is it also true if the path hurts others?

4.   To me, the actions of Krishna and Sri Bhagavan cannot be commented by us for there was no “others” for them. Falsehood to others does not arise there. As such we may act according to their advices with full devotion.

5.   Assuming that there was no specific advice from Krishna, what would have happened if Yudhishtara had not lied? Krishna said that the Kauravas are already destroyed by fate. But ordinary sadhakas stick to the truth and leave the result, don’t they?

6.   Bhagavan and Sri Narayana Guru were in the same plane and hence there was no need for an explanation for any action in between them. I think that Bhagavan said it for the mental satisfaction of Kunju Swamy since HE used to express such kindness to them just like we parents tell some ‘lies’ to our small children.


« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 12:33:44 PM by Sreeswaroop »

Nagaraj

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2011, 12:32:33 PM »
Beautifully explained Subamanian Sir,

Now that this topic has come, how can anybody forget the famous incident from Mahabharata of Yudhishtra's lie, a master plan of Sri Krshna Himself :) :

In the war, Yudhisthira was targeted by Drona to get captured. For this plan to be successful, Duryodhana invited King Bhagadatta, who was a son of the asura Narakasur, in order to fight against the Pandavas.

Bhagadatta was the King of Prajokiyatsa (in present-day Assam or Burma). As Krishna had killed his father Narakasur, Bhagadatta agreed to join the Kauravas opposing Krishna. But in spite of Bhagadatta's support, Drona failed to capture Yudhistra alive. The Kuru commander and preceptor did, however, kill hundreds and thousands of Pandava warriors, thus advancing Duryodhana's cause.

On the 15th day of the Mahābhārata war, Drona got instigated by King Dhritarastra's remarks of being a traitor. He used the Brahmadanda against the Pandavas. Brahmadanda was a spiritual divine weapon that contained the powers of seven greatest sages of Hinduism (Saptarshis). But Drona did not impart this knowledge either to Arjuna or to Ashwathamma. Thus, he proved to be unconquerable on the 15th day of war.

Observing this, Krishna devised a plan to bring down the invincible Drona. Krishna knew that it was not possible to defeat Drona when he had bow and arrow in his hands. Krishna also knew that Drona loved his son Ashwathama very dearly. So, Krishna suggested to Yudistra and other Pandava brothers that, if he were convinced that his son was killed on the battlefield, then Drona would get dejected to such an extent that he would lay down all his arms on the ground and it would be easier to kill him.

In order to find a way out, Krishna suggested Bhima to kill an elephant by name Ashwathama and claim to Drona that he has killed Drona's son Ashwathama. Following this plan, Bhima located and killed an elephant named Ashwathama, i.e. the same name as Drona's son. He then loudly proclaimed that he had slain Ashwathama, so as to make Drona think that his son was dead.

Drona however, did not believe Bhima's words and approached Yudhisthira. Drona knew of Yudhisthira's firm adherence to Dharma and that he would never ever utter a lie. When Drona approached Yudhisthira and questions him as to whether his son was truly slain in the battle by Bhima, Yudhisthira responded with the cryptic Sanskrit phrase "Ashwathama hathaha iti, narova kunjarova" (Sanskrit: "अश्वत्थामा हतः इति, नरोवा कुंजरोवा..." meaning 'Ashwathama is dead. But, I am not certain whether it was a human or an elephant'). Note: Ashwatama was also the name of an elephant.

Krishna also knew that it was not possible for Yudhisthira to lie outright. On his instructions, the other warriors blew trumpets and conches, raising a tumultuous noise in such a way that Drona only heard that "Ashwathama is dead", but could not hear the latter part of Yudhishthira's reply.

Drona knew that if Ashwattamma was dead, then his soul must have gone to heaven. So, out of grief, and believing his son to be dead, Drona descended from his chariot, laid down his arms and sat in meditation. Closing his eyes, his soul went to Heaven in search of Ashwathamma's soul.

In the meantime, Drupada's son Dhristadyumna took this opportunity and beheaded the unarmed Drona who was not aware of
the whole proceedings on Earth. This was considered an act of cowardice on Dhristadyumna's part.

Drona's soul, which went to Heaven could not find Ashwathama's soul there and so returned to Earth in order to find the truth about Ashwathama's death. But it could not get back into its body as Drona's head was separated from his body.

In this way, Drona got killed in the Mahabharata War. His death greatly aggrieved and enraged Arjuna, who had immense affection towards his teacher, and had hoped to capture him alive rather than killing him.

 (wikipedia)

Salutations to Bhagavan
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Nagaraj

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2011, 12:36:45 PM »
Sreeswaroop ji,

its relataive and very common in vyavahaara, suppose a person has just had heart attack and is resting in hospital, and then we hear a news about a huge fire in his office, and cores of money has been destroyed. would we tell the truth bluntly to the person? Situation calls the decision! would it not be fatal if we told the recoveing person that his factory had been destroyed and nothing remains!

One need not be a Maharshi or a Narayana Guru for this. Moreover, when the other person is still not ready enough to face the truth, we need to be extra careful with such a person and say the truth only when the person is ready. Till the child grows up, the mother tells the kid that if it utters lie, then God will take its eyes... and other such lovable lies!

Salutations to Bhagavan
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 01:02:53 PM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Subramanian.R

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 01:16:16 PM »


Dear Sreeswaroop,

Yes, There could be many versions. Some say that Rishi was in deep penance and he did not see the wounded deer rushing
past him and hence what he said to the hunter was not a falsehood.

One should view the entire thing either the Rishi's utterances or what Sri Bhagavan said to Kunju Swami. All the views are
from 'onlooker's' point of view in this relative world.  Suppose assume that the hunter had seen the wounded deer resting
near a bush near Rishi's place of penance. Will he not feel that the Rishi had uttered falsehood?  Similarly, Kunju Swami might
have been satisfied with what Sri Bhagavan said. But supposing a disciple of Narayana Guru had come to Sri Bhagavan, [many
devotees of Narayana Guru used to visit Sri Bhagavan also from the near by Kanchipuram Mathu of Narayana Guru], had seen
Sri Bhagavan taking the lehyam, with water and not milk.  Then what would he have thought about Sri Bhagavan's message to
Narayana Guru?

In Mahabharata, Yudishtra said a relative truth only and not total falsehood. But it does not hold water, from Drona's point of
view, since Drona was a Jnani and he knew only Absolute Truth. He has no relative truth concept in his life. So everything depends
upon on looker's point.

Sri Bhagavan left Madurai for good because of His father's call to Arunachala. So here also, the end justified the means. When
Absolute Truth calls you, relative truth or falsity has no meaning at all.

I still keep company with Saint Tiruvalluvar who did his work of Tirukural, as ethics for the world, and not for the Jnanis and
Sahaja Muktas.



Arunachala Siva.   

Sreeswaroop

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 01:50:22 PM »
Om Namo Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya!

Dear Nagaraj ji & Subramanian ji,

Thanks for the posts. Yes, there are various versions.

Nowadays people extend these versions for their comfort & convenience and accordingly lie in every sphere of life. 

I felt that such exceptions in the scripts may not be accepted as guidelines and twisted enough to justify our weakness. Yes, it is because of our weakness that we lie generally. This weakness may be due to fear for loss of wealth/ fame/positions or greed for the same.

It is my experience that when we stick on to truth (ignoring such exceptions) more peace and calmness evolves in us and we talk less. But people generally laugh at us when we ask them to stick on to truth.

As said by Nagaraj ji, it may be  not told till the other one is ripe enough to hear it.

Nagaraj

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 02:03:54 PM »
Dear Sreeswaroop,

now we see why Hinduism is not referred to as a religion. because, it respects each and every person in their own way. We may be seeing an elephant, but no two people see the same way. The vision of elephant will be different for both.

There is an IMPOSSIBILITY in the confirmation of the truth. Truth alone is, absolutely attribute less! in Shivamahimna Stotram:

असित-गिरि-समं स्यात्‌ कज्जलं सिन्धु-पात्रे सुर-तरुवर-शाखा लेखनी पत्रमुर्वी।
लिखति यदि गृहीत्वा शारदा सर्वकालं तदपि तव गुणानामीश पारं न याति॥ ३२॥

O, great master! Even, if one were to assume that the blue mountain , the ocean, the heavenly tree and the earth are the ink,the ink-pot, the pen and the paper respectively and the goddess of learning (Saraswati) herself is the writer,she will not be able to reach the frontiers of your greatness,however long she were to write! 

Such is the predicament in telling the ultimate truth! Hence the Sages remained Silent, the eternal Dakshinamurthy.

Which is why in Sanatana Dharma, instead of the terms "Right" "Wrong" or "False" or "Truth" we have the term "DHARMA"

And again, in Sanskrit too, when we use the term "Satyam" it does not really mean "the truth" "the right" but it meant the ULTIMATE REALITY ITSELF - the "Ulladu" that is "Satyam" in Sanskrit Ganapathy muni used the word "Satyam" for the word Ulladu in Tamil.

only falsehood is death. being Greedy is a lying, miserly is lying, hurting others is lying, vice is lying. All these bad qualities are in reality termed as a "lie"

When the Vedas said "Satyam Vada, Dharma Chara" it meant the opposite of the above. Living a true and full life.

Salutations to Bhagavan
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 03:57:01 PM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

ramana_maharshi

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 03:30:39 PM »
Nice topic.

As brilliantly said by nagraj garu.. better we call "DHARMA" instead of right or wrong.

Even bhagavan ramana was hesitant to say blunt 'NO' in few situations and he would answer with sentences starting something like "yes yes" or
"yes but".

One example is when once few vaishavites came to initiate him to vaishavism he would say to them "yes yes" but finally somehow escape from the situation.

In telugu there is a proverb "vanda abaddalu adinaa oka pelli cheyyamannaru" means for the purpose of sacred marraige it is fine sometimes even if you speak 100 lies though this proverb if not understood correctly can be easily mis-interpreted.




Nagaraj

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 09:29:53 AM »
सत्यस्य वचनं श्रेय: सत्यादपि हितंवदेत् ।
यद्भूतहितमत्यन्तं ऐतत् सत्यं मतं मम ॥


Telling truth is recommended, but more than that, is telling those things, which are in interest of all. According to me (Naarada), thing which is beneficial to large community, is truth.

Subramanian Sir, here is the Thirukkural which you referred to:

பொய்மையும் வாய்மை யிடத்த புரைதீர்ந்த
நன்மை பயக்கும் எனின்.

If it will result in blemish-free good / benefit, even a lie can be considered to be true.

Salutations to Bhagavan
« Last Edit: November 01, 2011, 09:33:58 AM by Nagaraj »
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta

Subramanian.R

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 10:35:02 AM »



Dear Nagaraj,


Yes. That which benefits the larger community is the Truth.  Sri Bhagavan came to Arunachala only for that noble purpose and
lived in body there for 54 years and a large community was graciously benefited by His Presence. I remember one more
Tirukural here. "A person was fit for the world or was not, is known by what he has left behind."  Saint Tiruvalluvar uses
here the word Eccham, what "he has left behind". One Jesuit Priest in Tamizh Nadu wanted to change the word Eccham into
MakkaL i.e sons. This word MakkaL was nicely alliterating with the first line which starts as Thakkar - a fit person. So he changed
verse and showed it to U.V Swaminatha Iyer, a great Tamizh scholar.  (He had also come and had darshan of Sri Bhagavan).
U.V. Swaminatha Iyer on finding the change by the Jesuit Priest, hit his head on the pillar. And then said: Ayyo, how can you
change like this? Was Tiruvalluvar a fool, to put Eccham instead of MakkaL? MakkaL or sons may not fit in all cases, since some
fathers leave behind bad sons and they do not represent the father's greatness. e.g Kamsa and Ugrasena in Srimad Bhagavatam.
So eccham or what he leaves behind includes all the good work done by him, good books written by him, temples built,  choultries,
food supplying boarding homes etc., So Eccham is more appropriate than MakkaL.

Sri Bhagavan was an ati varnasrami, totally celebate. He did not leave behind any son. But He left behind an all important atma
vichara marga, which was gathering dust from the days of Upanishads and Sankara. So He should be considered a fit person of
mother earth.             



Arunachala Siva.

Nagaraj

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Re: How to speak truth
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 10:59:08 AM »
interesting information Subramanian Sir, I did not know U.V Swaminatha Iyer had Bhagavan's darshan :)

We owe much to U.V Swaminatha Iyer for all the repositories of tamizh knowledge... He was also known as Tamizh Thaatha, Tamil Grandfather

Salutations to Bhagavan
॥ शांतमात्मनि तिष्ट ॥
Remain quietly in the Self.
~ Vasishta