Patanjali Yoga Sutra — सत्यप्रतिष्ठायां क्रियाफलाश्रयत्वम्॥2.36॥
When a sādhaka is resolutely committed to truthfulness, fruits of superior/divine actions would take shelter in him.
It is a universal fact that phala accrues only on actions being done. But, Patañjali says, just on being steadfast in truthfulness, a sādhaka can generate marvelous karmaphala. That means, karmas could be physical, mental or verbal. This is the siddhi (Power) a sādhaka gets owing to his unwavering resolute commitment to truth.
Taittirīya Upaniṣad says, ‘स्त्यं वद, धर्मं चर’ meaning — always say the truth and ensue righteousness’. ‘Satya’ could be a very powerful astra (weapon) in the hands of great yogis. Mahātma Gāndhi used ‘Satyāgraha’ itself as a magnificent invincible weapon in his freedom fight against Britishers. It is a normal dialect we hear, ‘Honesty is the best policy’. But Mahātma Gāndhi said, ‘I don’t agree with this. Honesty is the only policy’. A satyavrata (One who is committed to truthfulness) need not remember anything as the actual facts are effortlessly registered in his mind and such a person is always very calm and composed. Mahātma Gāndhi, Rājā Hariścandra are the best examples. Whereas, a lier has to remember a lot many things and is the most disturbed one. Rājā Hariścandra, being steadfast as a ‘Satyavrata’ comes victorious against intimidating Maharṣi viśvāmitra and such a commitment to truthfulness was itself a tool for ‘Self’ realization to him.
The opposite of satya is asatya or mithya (untrue). What is asatya? One humorous incident is worth sharing. There was a quack. Without qualification and knowledge, the quack was giving the so-called medicines to the patients. He was arrested one day and brought before the judge. After a prolonged hearing, he was sentenced for several years of imprisonment. The charges against the quack were, ‘you are giving imaginary medicines to the real diseases and real medicines to imaginary diseases’.
vāsudeva Śrīkr̥ṣṇa says, devotional qualities of a yogi are reinforced by developing discriminatory wisdom, unadulterated knowledge, forbearance, truthfulness, bahirindriyanigraha (control of pañcendriyas), antarindriyanigraha (control of mind), equanimity over pairs of opposites like happiness and pain, creation and destruction, apprehension and courage (and these are said to be emanated from Me):
बुद्धिर्ज्ञानमसम्मोहः क्षमा सत्यं दमः शमः।
सुखं दुःखं भवोऽभावो भयं चाभयमेव च॥गीता १०.४॥
Buddhirjñānamasammohaḥ kṣamā satyaṃ damaḥ śamaḥ|
Sukhaṃ duḥkhaṃ bhavo’bhāvo bhayaṃ cābhayameva ca॥Gītā 10.4॥
Discriminatory wisdom, pure knowledge, lack of ‘mine-ness’ (mohashūnyata), forbearance, truthfulness, antarindriyanigraha (control of mind), bahirindriyanigraha (control of pañcendriyas), happiness, pain, creation and destruction, apprehension and fearlessness, are all different ways of expressions of beings and these emanate from Me.
A thief was chased by two of the king’s men. In his attempts to escape from being caught, the thief enters a hermitage and sits among the disciples. King’s men could not trace out the thief and they return empty-handed. But the teacher at the hermitage had noticed this thief. At the end of the discourse, all the disciples leave the place except the thief. He humbly bows down to the teacher and expresses heartfelt thanks for saving him from the hands of the king’s men and asks for guidance.
Teacher — ‘My only guidance to you is to discontinue this sinful occupation of stealing.’
Thief — ‘No teacher, I cannot stop this. Apart from this stealing, I do not know anything about my livelihood. Please tell me something else.’
Teacher — ‘In that case, stop lying; always be truthful.’
The thief promises to be truthful always and leaves the hermitage.
Another day, this thief steals two diamond rings from the palace, one for him and the other for his wife, he thought, but the thief was caught and was brought before the king. On being interrogated by the king, the thief admits the theft and surrenders two stolen diamond rings.
King says — ‘No, you have stolen three rings but returning only two. Where is the third one?’
Thief — ‘My Lord, I am not lying. I had stolen only two and these are the two rings.’
King — ‘Are you so truthful? How do I believe you?’
Thief — ‘Despite being a thief, I had promised a teacher that I would speak the truth only always. Accordingly, I am resolute to that promise.’
The king summons the teacher to find out about the thief.
The teacher says — ‘Yes, I know this thief. In fact, he had promised me that he would be truthful always. And, I think, the thief is believable.’
Suspecting some foul play, the king interrogates night watchmen. It had so happened that one of the night watchmen had stolen the third ring which was left by the thief. On being interrogated, the watchman admits having stolen the third ring and surrenders to the king.
The king was very happy with the honesty of the thief and releases him without awarding any punishment. The thief feels, ‘If only one virtue could save me from being punished, what would happen to me if I totally lead a virtuous life?’ He reaches the hermitage and becomes the disciple of the teacher.