The Truth about Lying
Have you ever lied or said something that was not entirely true? Most of us would be lying if our answer is ‘no’. Many forms of falsehoods such as ‘white lies’ have become part and parcel of our everyday life. From our youth, our parents and teachers stress the importance of always being truthful. We all know the value of truth and even preach it and expect it from others, and yet sometimes we indulge ourselves. It is astonishing how easy it is for us to lie.
On the face of it, we tell ourselves that our lies do not hurt anyone. We may just be covering our own mistakes, protecting ourselves or having a little bit of fun. But if we go to the root of the issue, telling a lie is mostly prompted by a sense of selfishness and a desire to obtain something that we would otherwise lose. We want everything instantly. Our attitude of trying to get the maximum benefit with the least amount of effort leads us to cut corners and compromise our morals and beliefs. The most basic form of this compromise is telling a lie.
One who tells lies blackens his heart; he is never fit for yoga. He acquires the habits of cowardice and shame, shirks his duty and lacks clear thinking.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, The Call of the Great Master
Every word that comes out of our mouth sets in motion atmospheric vibrations. Every lie that we utter goes towards creating a negative atmosphere around us. Moreover, it also adds to our load of karma. Like a boomerang, a lie always comes back to us, and more often than not, we will need to tell more lies to cover up the previous ones. Can we really be happy with this kind of circumstance?
The saints tell us that we must be absolutely truthful if we want to progress on the path towards the Lord, who is the ultimate Truth. We should try to be true in thought, speech and action. Being truthful means living by one’s principles and never compromising our values. Being truthful is stating something as it is. It is being sincere and straightforward. If the truth is unpleasant or likely to hurt another, then it is best to change the topic or even to lovingly keep silent.
One who sticks to truth at all costs – that is, one who has become so saturated with the spirit of truth that never, even in sleep or dream, a false word slips from his lips – that person acquires ‘vaak siddhi’, that is, whatever he says comes out to be true. Truth must become your life, soul and self. It must enter every limb of yours before this siddhi is acquired.
Maharaj Sawan Singh, The Call of the Great Master
Truth is the law of the entire universe. When we break this law, the world lapses into chaos. Imagine if fire were to give up its heat, or water were to discard its fluidity and coolness, or the wind stopped blowing – think of what would happen to the world. Each element has to stay true to its nature. With man at the top of the creation, we also must be true to our nature, which is to discriminate between right and wrong, truth and untruth. We derive inner strength from resorting to truth. It forms a protective sheath around us.
There was once a thief who wanted to reform his life and get on the path of righteousness. He went to meet a saint and asked him: “Master, I have many bad habits. Which one of them should I give up first?” The Master replied: “First, you should give up telling lies.” The man thought to himself that surely there were far worse things in life than lying, but did not argue with the Master and promised him that he would stop lying from that day forward. That night, the man, out of habit, wanted to go out for a burglary. But before he could set his foot out of the door, he thought for a moment of the promise he had made to his Master. “If tomorrow my Master were to ask me where I had been last night, I would not be able to lie to him. What would I say? I could not tell him that I was out stealing.” So he decided to stop all burglaries from that day on. Bored and with nothing to do, he thought he would go out with his friends for a night of gambling and drinking. Again the same thought came to him: “If tomorrow, my Master were to ask me what I did last night, what would I tell him? I could not lie to him, and the truth would disappoint my Master.” In this way, the man realized that just by simply speaking the truth at all times, all other bad habits were gradually being eliminated by themselves.
Our deceit is not only targeted towards others: most of the time we are also lying to ourselves. We make daily promises to ourselves regarding our meditation, but do our actions support our words? If not, is that not another form of lying? Being truthful has a deeper and broader meaning than mere accuracy or honesty in speech. It means being a living embodiment of the truth. The Great Master has said that such a man is connected with the Lord all twenty-four hours of the day. Eliminating the habit of lying is the first step towards that goal.
By speaking the truth at all times, we would never have to lie to our Master. We would have taken the first step in obtaining his happiness. It is his grace and happiness which is the ultimate truth and as the saying goes, the truth shall set us free.