4. Satya Vachan – Truthfulness

Satya means truth — a thing which is eternal and is not perishable. The same meanings have been assigned to it in the Vedas 'that which is not destroyed in the three divisions of time'. By the Gurus, 'Sat' or 'Satya' has been used for a Being which existed before the beginning of the universe, at its beginning, and will exist forever. It has been used for Sat Punish (eternal being). Truth is His quality. God is Truth.

Oh Nanak, know the true One to be true.

Sri Rag M1, 25-18

The truth is the Lord of all. One realises it by His Grace.

Ram Kali M3, 913-14

He existed before and at the beginning of ages, oh Nanak! He exists and shall ever exist.

Jap Ji, 1

All our efforts are incomplete without truth. Truth is the crown of all. This is the secret of all practices. All other worship is mere hypocrisy.

Mind, Hath-Yoga, intellect and study of Vedas Lead to bondage of man. Gurmukh finds release in truth and right conduct.

Sri Rag M1, 62-11

Keep the truth in mind as the basis. All other worship is hypocrisy and degrades.

Parbhati M1

To have a truthful life is the goal of human life. Truth is everywhere. It should be separated from untruth and experienced inside. The heart wherein it dwells also takes its form. God is truth. One should be truthful in His eyes as He loves truth. It does not matter what religion you follow.

The truth is known to the Lord, He loves it. You may keep long hair or be clean shaven.

Kabir Sahib

In which heart it springs and who can get it? For details, see following series of Philosophy of the Masters.

We have to consider here as to what is truthful speech, i.e. speech which is made by a truthful person. To describe a thing exactly as seen or heard is truthful speech. Besides speaking the truth, our dealings should also be truthful. We should have truth as our ideal while thinking and base our conduct on it. In this way, our hearts, thoughts and conduct become truthful.

Kabir Sahib says that he whose attention is true has right conduct. He is in communion with the Lord all the time. He who has true attention has right conduct. He is in communion with the Lord at all times.

Such a person in a way becomes related to truth. Whatever he says comes out to be true. He is happy in the enjoyment of bliss of truth, both outside and inside. Owing to leading a truthful life he becomes fearless and peaceful as he is connected with truth which is eternal and never changing. All the world is happy in having him. By speaking and seeing the truth his mind and body become true. He preaches truth and is embellished by it. Those who do not observe the truth are worried.

Goswami Tulsi Das in Ayodhya Kand 64 in Ramacharitamanasa says:

There is no other duty like the truth; this has been so said by the revealed-scriptures and the Puranas.

The opposite of truth is untruth. Not to relate what one has seen or heard or done is called falsehood. A false person is a hypocrite. He looks with his eyes down and has no light on his face. He is always planning and scheming. He is always afraid that his falsehood may be detected. In order to hide one lie he has recourse to hundreds of them. He loses his peace of mind in scheming all the while. Doubts and suspicions become his second nature. He accordingly trusts no one. His relationship with others is based on selfishness. He is not confided in by anyone owing to his conduct, nor does he confide in anyone. Deceit, fraud, hypocrisy and cunning become staple food of his life. His life becomes a burden to the world. If a liar meets a liar they like each other, but if a liar meets a truthful person, their relationship snaps.

When a liar meets another liar their mutual attraction increases. But if a liar meets a truthful man, their relationship snaps.

Kabir Sahib

Truth is eternal while untruth is perishable. Mind should always be fixed on an eternal object so that it may never be destroyed and there may be no pangs of separation.

He never dies and there is no pang of separation.

Asa War M1, 349-10

Truth can stand on its own legs but not so the untruth. A truthful man is steady, patient and firm in his determination. An untruthful man falters at every step and is not steadfast. While the truthful man is fearless and has no qualms or hesitation, an untruthful man is always afraid and never looks anybody in the face. He always hesitates to speak the truth. He tries to hide the truth. The truthful man is brave and courageous. But the untruthful man is a coward and an idler. A truthful man is free from cares because of his fearlessness, which produces detachment in attachment. The truthful man gives up flattering, cajoling, theft and secrecy while these characterise an untruthful person.

From the above it is clear that a truthful man can succeed in the spiritual field. As truth dwells in him, he speaks the truth. He himself treads the path leading to the Lord and guides others to it also.

He in whom the truth dwells, practises Naam truly and speaks the truth. He himself treads the path of the Lord and guides others on this path.

Majh War M4, 140-2

One who is truthful and contented and speaks the truth is dear to the Lord. He never suffers separation from Him. Truth has nothing to fear. It is not affected by curses nor can Kal harm it. When a true devotee meets the Truth (Lord), he merges in It.

The true devotee is not affected by curses or touched by Kal, when he meets the Truth (Lord); he merges in It.

Kabir Sahib

The mind of an untruthful man is never calm and is always planning and scheming lest the reality may become known. Therefore, all his worship and recitation, remembrance, austerity, charity and devotion, knowledge and contemplation pilgrimage and fasts, etc., are wasted just as seeds do not germinate in barren soil.

Without truth there can be no remembrance of the Lord and there can be no devotion without awe. If there is a veil between the iron and the touchstone, how can the iron turn into gold. By not describing the fact as it is, the veil between us and the truth becomes thick and it becomes impossible to realise the truth. The heart of an untruthful person experiences it in a particular manner. The mind wants to represent it in another way. He hides the truth and describes it differently. He indulges in sin secretly and deliberately turns his back on the Lord.

He incurs sin secretly. However, it becomes known to the public and never remains hidden.

We sin in secret enormously, but the Lord is nearer than the nearest.

Jaitsri M5, 704-10

He does his deeds in the dark but the same are known in all the four directions.

Majh War M3, 138-14

There is no austerity like the truth, and no sin like the untruth. He who has truth in his mind, the Lord Himself dwells in him.

There is no austerity like the truth and no sin like the untruth. He who has truth in his heart, in him dwells the Lord.

Kabir Sahib

In the beginning truth is bitter and untruth is sweet like sugar. Truth may be bitter like quinine, but it washes the sins.

Truth is the panacea for all. It removes the sins by washing them.

Asa War M1, 468-16

Kabir Sahib says if you are a truthful trader, then deal in truth only. Sweep and throw out untruth.

If you are a truthful trader, trade in truth sweep the inside and throw out the untruth.

An untruthful man does not retain consciousness of what he has uttered; hence his falsehood is discovered from his own inconsistent statements. An untruthful man does not remember. All the Saints and holy men lay emphasis on speaking the truth, performing truthful actions and conduct.

Upanishadas say, "Speak the truth and live righteously." In other words, speak the truth and do meritorious deeds. Goswami Tulsi Das says:

Speak the truth, be humble and regard the wife of another as mother. If you do not even then realise the Lord, hold me responsible.

Guru Ram Das told Bhai Tirath that the first requisite for redeeming the soul was to speak the truth, and that it was by speaking the truth that one could realise the eternal Lord.

Sheikh Farid says, "We should speak the truth as our duty and never tell lies."

Speak the truth as a duty and never tell lies.

Farid, Ji Asa, 488-15

The merciful Prophet has said, "Never refrain from speaking the truth even though you may suffer thereby."

To speak the truth is good. But that is good which leads to the good of others.

Narad Ji told Sukh Dev firmly in Mahabharat that that is truth which is for the good of all beings. That which leads to happiness of others is truth. Truth is a constituent of Dharma. That is Dharma which is born of mercy. In speaking the truth, compassionate considerations should be kept in mind. In fact truth is that which does not injure the feelings of others.

Whatever is uttered should come from the heart and should not injure anybody's feelings.

Many persons think it right to speak the untruth in politics or to save the life of other or to protect the chastity of woman. It should, however, be remembered that truth is truth and falsehood is falsehood. Falsehood, however small or spoken for any purpose, is a sin even though it results in far greater good.

Guru Arjan therefore says that one should trust in truth to gain acceptance in the court of the Lord.

Engage in trade of truth so that your merchandise may be accepted in His court.