As truthfulness is achieved, the fruits of actions naturally result according to the will of the Yogi (Patanjali Yoga Sutra, 2.36)
Satya is the second Yama in the practice of Yoga. It translates into Truth- Being truthful to ourselves and being truthful to others by having a concurrence between our thoughts, words and actions. Since non violence or ahimsa is the very first Yama in t he practice of Yoga, we must see to it that our thoughts, words and actions are, first of all, not painfully true. It is very important to be silent than to hurt others with the truth.
If one wastes his power of speech indulging in useless discussions, talking non sense, lying intentionally,
hurting others through his speech, condemning others or speaking against another’s religion, the power
of words does not find effective expression through his speech” (Swami Rama, Perennial Psychology of
the Bhagavad Gita)
Since the topic is truthfulness, let’s be honest to ourselves after all. We all have gone through situations where we find that our desires for worldly power, success, name and fame would have made us lie to ourselves, and lie to those around us. If we carefully analyze our day to day actions we may find that a lot of our thoughts are dictated by these desires and these thoughts drive us to talk or act in a certain way. We get so caught up with these desires that we often neglect our inner voices- that faculty of our being that leads us in the right path. Once again, let’s face it- most of us reach a point where we find it difficult to discriminate between the voice of our desires and the voice of our conscience. We may even
find that we are actually scared to listen to the voice of our conscience as it may create guilt in us for all the times we went against it! So where is the answer to this seemingly complex situation we have created within us and how do we begin to start practicing truth? Thankfully, the great sages of Yoga have given us ways to come out of this complexity. If there is to be concurrence between our thoughts, words and actions conducive to truthfulness, these three aspects must be disciplined and controlled.
This can be done through Prayer, Meditation and Contemplation.
Prayer: Contrary to many people’s belief, cultivating Prayer is not an act, but a quality that we develop. Being prayerful does not mean begging a Higher Power to fulfill our desires, or thanking Him/ Her, but is a quality of surrender, a quality to accept a Higher Power as a guide, teacher and judge of actions and speech. This Higher Power could be a Teacher, a Guru or any God/ Goddess or anything that we have complete faith on and who we consider to be higher than us.
Meditation: This is an inward method in which a systematic study is conducted to gain knowledge of the Absolute Truth, something that does not change. There are two ways to do this – Meditation in action (Being mindful, skillful and selfless in our actions and not doing actions with an attachment to the rewards it offers) and Meditation in silence (Bringing stillness in the body, even breathing, calming the conscious mind and going beyond it). By regular practice of these, we are gradually led towards self reliance, self examination, self verification, self analysis and self attainment . Our mind will then come under our control and not under the control of our desires or senses.
Contemplation: this is the path of self study and study of scriptures to gain knowledge, assimilate them and practicing them to test their validity. It is also analysing our relationship with ourselves and with the world around us so we can know how we react in various situations and consciously improve our way of being.
A regular practice of these three is of utmost importance in the journey of Yoga, as these will one day introduce us to our inner teacher. Discipline in our actions, speech and thoughts guided by the principle of non violence by not doing what is not to be done, by not speaking what is not to be spoken and by not thinking what is not to be thought, we will find that we will be guided by our conscience.
It is indeed a great inward achievement if we are guided by our conscience and we remain truthful to it, and not to our desires. When we practice Satya in this way, we will know what is right and wrong and we will not do anything wrong and hence we will be at peace with ourselves and in peace with the world around us.
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