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Y A M A
SATYA, or truthfulness, is the most important rule in TANTRA. Mahatma Gandhi said: "Truth is God and God is Truth." The Truth was and still is highly respected and worshipped in YOGA Tradition.
All human activities are based upon the spoken word and the person who dishonors the spoken word by being dishonest can be considered a thief: he steals the Reality.
SATYA means that you should not say something that you know is false. It means also that you should not lead others into error by making them believe that you know something when you only presume. SATYA implies also not to make hurried judgements about something you know superficially only.
SATYA is a very large concept. It requires to be fair play, to behave rightly with everybody and to respect the truth in thinking, in action and in speech. The true TANTRIC consecrates his entire life to the Truth in its broadest sense.
This implies to think in the highest patterns and to relate to everything that is superior, universally valid and in accordance with the Cosmic Harmony.
Gurdjieff, the great Caucasian Initiate, said that lying is thinking or speaking about things one does not know. It does not mean intentional lying only.
If you collect all the theories that people put forward on any given subject, without knowing anything about it or knowing it superficially only, you will see where lying begins.
Man does not know himself, he does not know anything, yet he has theories about everything. Most of these theories are lying. The most serious lying is when we know perfectly well that we do not and cannot know the truth about things and yet never act accordingly.
We always act and think as if we knew the truth. This is lying. For instance, we know nothing about ourselves, and we really know that we know nothing, yet we never recognize or admit the fact; we never confess it even to ourselves, we act and think and speak as though we knew who we are. This is the origin, the beginning of lying.
Therefore it is necessary to learn to tell the truth. This may seem strange. Most people think that it is enough to want to tell the truth for being able to tell the truth. But it is relatively rare that people say a deliberate lie.
In most of the cases, they think they say the truth. In spite of that, they lie all the time, both themselves and the people around them. Saying the truth is the most difficult thing in the world; it is necessary to study and practice a lot, for a long time, for becoming able, one day, to say the truth.
The desire to tell the truth, alone, is not enough. For telling the truth, you must be able to know what is true and what is false - most of all, inside yourselves.
Saying the truth is extremely difficult: before telling the truth, you must know it through personal experimentation, you must discover the truth about yourself.
We can lie not through speech only but through actions and attitudes also. To behave as if we did something we did not or to pretend we have achieved something that is still far away from us, is lying.
Being dishonest with ourselves and/or emulating (superficially imitating what we admire in others) is not in accordance with SATYA.
Another aspect of SATYA was perfectly expressed by Jesus: "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." (Matthew 7:6)
In other words, the Truth (mainly as the Sacred Spiritual Teaching) must not be given without discrimination to someone who does not appreciate it and recognize its value.
Sometimes the fantasy distorts the truth, with or without conscious intention. As a result, we live in a world of dreams where we see the world as we would like it to be and not as it is. From the YOGA point of view, this is a violation of SATYA due to a great superficiality in thinking.
The sacred texts of the YOGA tradition say that the truth will be used to everybody's benefit and not to destroy or harm the living beings. Even if you tell the truth but by doing so you harm a living being, you commit a big mistake and you do not follow correctly SATYA, violating in the same time AHIMSA.
The Great Sage VYASA said: "The wise man must first decide what is good for the living beings and only after that he can speak, refraining from lying." As we saw above, in order to tell and especially to impart the truth, it is imperiously necessary to realize that truth in ourselves in the first place.
This is done through practical experimentation of that truth. This is why the deepest and the highest meaning of SATYA is the complete inner transformation leading to the discovery of the Eternal Inner Essence, the Immortal Spirit (ATMA).
In accordance with our level of consciousness, the truth becomes more complex. That which you believed was true during childhood, reveals to be false or unimportant when you reach the mature age.
Nevertheless, that "truth" of childhood was necessary and useful because through it you have discovered the real truth of the mature age. This apply to the spiritual practice also. At the beginning, only small truths can be given and received.
After the inner transformation, these small truths become unimportant aspects of a general truth that you grasp now in its fullness. Lao Tze, the famous chinese Sage, said that everything that can be said about the Supreme Truth becomes a lie when you reach it.