Should We Always Speak the Truth? | Bhagavad Gita | Krishna

SHOULD WE ALWAYS SPEAK THE TRUTH?

India’s motto (center) : Only the Truth triumphs Courtesy: http://comps.gograph.com/3d-people-empty-speech-bubble_gg67074271.jpg http://i524.photobucket.com/albums/cc328/Zombetties_from_mars/Retro/Clipart/Wom enGossiping.jpg; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyameva_Jayate http://comps.gograph.com/gossip-word-on-bullhorn_gg56143988.jpg Dear All: As you probably know, this is a favorite topic of mine and I have often discussed this in my earlier emails (to our Gita groups), within the context of the teachings of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita, specifically verse 15 from chapter 17 (given below) which deals with this topic. I recently came across two fantastic real life examples where the well-known advice columnist Emily Yoffe (who goes by Prudie and whose columns appear weekly in Slate magazine) was asked for advice about difficult problems and her answers were amazingly consistent with Sri Krishna’s teachings in the Gita. I had posted them on my Facebook page (see Ourgitapage within my Facebook account https://www.facebook.com/vj.laxmanan). I also came across an interesting article which another well-known sloka from the shaastras (Satyam brooyaat priyam brooyaat) that also deals with the topic of speaking the truth, when we should speak the truth, or if it should be speak the truth without any qualifications. One of these articles discusses Narendra Modi politics. Because of the topical

nature, I compiled all of these discussions into a Word document which is now being shared with all. Happy reading. Satyam eva jayate, you say? Think about it. Na brooyaat satyam apriyam. Very sincerely V. Laxmanan

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7 hours ago (as of 6:15 am on Dec 20, 2013) GITA APPLIED TO A TRICKY REAL LIFE PROBLEM Just last week (actually on Dec 9, 2013), I had posted about the sloka from chapter 17, verse 15, which goes as follows:

Anudvegakaram vaakyam satyam priya hitam ca yat l Swaadhyaayaabhyasam caiva vaangmayam tapa ucyate ll अनुद्वग े करं वाक्यं सत्यं प्रियप्रितं च यत् l स्वाध्यायाभ्यसनं चैव वाङ्ग्मयं तप उच्यते ll (स्वाध्याय अभ्यसनं)
Here (in chapter 17) Krishna is describing different three types of tapas (asuterities) and one of them is vaangmaya tapas - the austerity of speech. Performing tapas does not mean retreating to the Himalayas and sitting alone on some mountain top and giving up everything. Tapas can be performed daily, where we are, with our body (shaariram), mind (manas), and speech (vaak). The first line of the above sloka says that our speech must have the following characteristics: 1. 2. 3. 4. should not be agitating anyone (anudvegakaram), truthful (satyam), pleasant (priyam), must be beneficial and motivated by the welfare or good of the person to whom it is addressed (hitam).

Here's a nice example that I have often used in discussions of the above sloka. A lady seeks advice from the columnist Prudie (appeared this past week and I posted about it yesterday, Dec 19, 2013). She is the assistant to a very successful business man. She finds that the boss is having an affair with a colleague and returns from business trips (with this woman) a very happy man. The assistant lady is also friends with the boss’ family and gets invited to their Christmas parties and get-togethers. Should she tell the wife of the boss about the affair? Applying the above standard given by Krishna, such a “spilling of the secret” would violate the rule of satyam and priyam and anudvegakaram. This is the example of an unpleasant truth which will only agitate the wife. The repercussions for both the wife and the assistant cannot be predicted. It is best to keep the mouth tightly zipped and just attend the Christmas party. (It is also likely that the wife knows about her husband’s infidelity and may be mortified by and resent the fact that his assistant is now talking about it.  ) Now, not surprisingly, Prudie, although she probably never studied the Gita (good chance, she is also of Jewish faith, I understand) gives the same advice in a very charming way. Do read the whole story (click here). http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2013/12/dear_prudence_my_boss_che ats_on_his_wife_i_want_to_tell_her_this_christmas.html There is another well known sloka, which is a Vedic injunction which says the same. Satyam brooyat priyam brooyat na brooyaat satyam apriyam l Priyam ca naanrutam brooyaat esha dharmah sanaatanah ll

सत्यं ब्रूयात् प्रियं ब्रूयात् न ब्रूयात् सत्यम् अप्रियम् l प्रियं च नानृतं ब्रूयात एष धममः सन्तानः ll
One should speak (brooyaat) the truth, one should speak the pleasant (priyam) truth, one should not speak the unpleasant truths. This is the first line. The second line says: And, one should also NOT (na) speak pleasant lies (anrutam); na + anrutam = naanrutam. This is the sanaatana (eternal) dharma. The second line means the dharma spoken here is always valid. Pleasantness trumps truthfulness. Both ingredients must be present in our speech. Knowing to control the urge

to blurt out unpleasant truths - like this assistant wants to do - is a form of tapas - the vaangmayam tapas - the austerity of speech. Why is Prudie's advice consistent with above? Because this is the sanaatana dharma, applies everywhere, at all times, to everyone. One does NOT have to be Hindu for this purpose or even study the Gita or the Vedas. Sanaatana dharma in this form is understood by all. Help! I Want to Tell My Boss’s Wife He’s Cheating on Her. www.slate.com

Dear Prudence
Advice on manners and morals.
Dec. 19 2013 6:00 AM

A philandering boss, a possessive husband, and a woman who excludes her daughter from Christmas.
By Emily Yoffe

Dear Prudence, For nearly a decade, I've been an assistant to a very successful man. He is an extraordinary manager and I feel very loyal to him. Last year, I accidentally found out he had a fling with a colleague at a conference overseas. Subsequently, for the first time, his wife invited me to spend Christmas with them, a sign of high esteem. It was a wonderful holiday with a large extended family and I enjoyed myself immensely. Over the course of the following year, however, my boss has continued this affair and seems obsessed with his mistress. They attend conferences all over the world and take glamorous side trips. They are constantly in touch. He is incredibly cheerful when he comes back from these events. I’ve been invited for Christmas again this year, and it breaks my heart to think of looking into the eyes of his wife and his mother-in-law, who are both warm, affectionate people. I doubt he's in an open marriage—years ago he made a joke about his wife killing him if he ever cheated on her. I feel I have been complicit by keeping silent. I am estranged from my family and don’t spend the holidays with friends, and my boss knows this. If I go, I would feel tempted to pull the wife aside and tell her, or else just burst into tears, which would be the end of my job. But if I don't go, it won't be very good for my job, either. What should I do? —Ms. Jeeves

Dear Jeeves, Your job requires that you look the other way when you implicitly facilitate your boss’s cheating. Surely you make the arrangements for his conferences, so you’ve come to understand that his travel for professional enrichment also includes some personal fulfillment. If you find the latter morally repugnant, then you should look for other work. But if your boss returns with the satisfied glow of a man whose affairs have come to a successful climax, I suggest you bask in his good mood. That your boss once made a familiar joking remark about cheating isn’t proof of anything; men in less conventional arrangements don’t generally go around sharing how happy their wives would be if they got a girlfriend. So you actually have no understanding of the understanding he and his wife may have, and you should let that uncertainty be a comfort. Sure, it’s likely she doesn’t know the real reason his business trips have become so frequent and urgent. But thanking her for the delicious Christmas ham and then saying, “Speaking of bone-in meat, I need to tell you what your husband has been up to this past year,” is not the way to spread holiday cheer. You’re being generously welcomed into their family fold for Christmas. But you are his employee, and good manners and good sense dictate that you keep your illicit knowledge under wraps. —Prudie
Emily Yoffe

Photo by Teresa Castracane. Get Dear Prudence delivered to your inbox each week; click here to sign up. Please send your questions for publication to prudence@slate.com. (Questions may be edited.) Got a burning question for Prudie? She'll be online at Washingtonpost.com to chat with readers each Monday at noon. Submit your questions and comments here before or during the live discussion.

Ourgitapage Here's a story discussing the same sloka. (Posted on Dec 20, 2013). http://www.spiritualforums.com/vb/showthread.php?t=13672 Satyam Bruyat Priyam Bruyat Na Bruyat Satyam Apriyam - Spiritual Forums www.spiritualforums.com Satyam Bruyat Priyam Bruyat Na Bruyat Satyam Apriyam Hinduism

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59 minutes ago (as of 6:51 am on Dec 20, 2013) SATYAM BROOYAAT PRIYAM BROOYAAT AND (MODI) POLITICS THE ARTICLE QUOTES TWO INTERESTING SLOKAS AND DISCUSSES MODERN INDIAN POLITICS http://www.vijayvaani.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?aid=2690 Bruyat satyam apriyam: PCI Chairman Katju cannot be impeached www.vijayvaani.com Markandey Katju was a judge of the Supreme Court of India who, after retirement, was appointed chairman of the statutory Press Council of India. As PCI Chairman, Katju is predisposed to making pronouncements The Sanskrit text of the other slokas cited in the article on Judge Katju who wants to speak the UNPLEASANT TRUTHS are given below.

murkhasya panca cinhaani garvo durvacanam tathaa krodhashca druDha vaadashca paravaakyeshvaanadarah [7]

मूर्स् म य पञ्च प्रचन्िाप्रन गवो दुवच म नम् तथा l क्रोधश्च दृढ वादश्च पर वाक्येश्वनाधारः ll (वाक्येषु अनाधारः)
Here are the five characteristics of a fool – haughtiness (garvo), bad mouthing (durvacanam), uncontrollable anger (krodha), strongly held views (druDha vaada), and intolerance (anaadhaarah, literally means disrespect) of opinions (vaakyeshu) held by others (para).

namanti phalino vrikshaah namanti guNino janaah

नमप्रन्त फप्रिनो वृक्ाः नमप्रन्त गुप्रिनो जनाः l
The branches of a tree laden with fruit bend downward just as the highly cultivated persons bow down out of respect to others. aathmachidram na jananti para chidraanusariNah

आत्मा प्रिद्रं न जानप्रन्त परप्रिद्रानुसाररिः ll (पर प्रिद्र अनुसाररिः)
They do not know their own defects (chidram, literally holes) who search for the defects of others. sampurnakumbho na karoti shabdam ardhoghato ghoshamupaiti nunam vidvaan kulIno na karoti garva gunairvihinaa bahu jalpayanti

संपि ू म कु म्भो न करोप्रत शब्दम् अधमघटो घोषम् उपैप्रत नूनम् l प्रवद्वान् कु िीनो न करोप्रत गवं गुिः ै प्रविीनाः बहु जल्पयप्रन्त ll
(In Hindi, we say adhjal ghagharee chalkat jay अधजल घघरी छलकत जाय) A fully-filled water pitcher does not make noise unlike a half-filled one. A virtuous and sage person born in a good family is free of pride while those devoid of good qualities keep babbling like the half-filled water pitcher.
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December 9, 2013

GREAT ANSWER TO A DIFFICULT QUESTION
There are often difficult times in life when we seek advice from friends, family, or even an advise columnist like Prudie. Many times I try to assess the answers given within the context of the teachings of the Gita, especially chapter 17, verse 15, which deals the three important characteristics of good speech (advice giving falls in the same category). The Gita is also an attempt to seek an answer to a difficult question. What to do in the time of crisis such as that faced by Arjuna. At other times in our lives we face such a crisis situation. Here's one from a young man who is planning to get married. Q. Wedding Invites: I'm getting married next August in a small, private ceremony and having an intimate reception with about 50 people. My problem is what to do about my

father. He and my mother split up three years ago because he was having an emotional and physical affair with a married co-worker. I have not met this woman and have no desire to, especially whereas my mother is still so hurt by the affair and can't even bring herself to refer to my father by anything other than “him” or “he.” I don't see my father frequently. Maybe once every couple of months or so. Would it be acceptable to invite him to the small ceremony at city hall being attended by JUST family? Or do I have to invite him to the reception as well, where he'd likely have no one to talk to, and would upset my mother? Now, you can read the answer given by Prudie, see link below, which reflects all the qualities of good speech (a form of tapas, or austerity) emphasized by Krishna. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/dear_prudence/2013/12/dear_prudence_i_want_to_w ait_on_sex_with_the_woman_i_m_dating_even_though.html You have to scroll down to the third question in this series. I have reproduced the answer for convenience. A: Usually the question I get on this theme is from the child who wants to include both parents, but the mother is demanding the father be struck from the guest list and saying if he's there, she won't be. Your situation is different in that you're going along with your mother's belief that your father's behavior puts him outside the circle of people who are included in normal social intercourse. Your father cheated on your mother. I am not offering a defense of him, nor do I know anything about your parents' marriage. You probably wouldn't want to know, but would it make a difference to you if your father explained that about 10 years ago your mother decided she was no longer interested in sex? I'm not saying that's what happened here, but it happens. Your father's behavior caused the painful break up of your parents' marriage. But he is not a pedophile or a murderer. He's a guy who had an affair and his marriage ended. Your mother may forever refer to your father as "he," but I don't see any reason for you to go along with this. Your mother lost a husband, but you didn't lose a father. However, you are on your way to virtually severing a relationship with him. You don't explain the reasons for your semi-estrangement. It could be that following the affair he decided to cut you off. If so, shame on him. I'm guessing you sided with your mother and have decided to have minimum contact with him. It could be you would find yourself punished by your mother if she know you were having a normal relationship with him. August is a long way away, and instead of worrying about the invitation list to your wedding, I think you should decide to have a more normal relationship with your father—unless of course, he's the problem. You don't have to ask your mother's permission about this; you are engaged to be married, that means you're an adult. As far as the wedding is concerned, I don't see any reason you don't invite your father to the ceremony and reception. You need to start working now on letting your mother know that there are going to be events over the years that will require them to cordially be in the same room together. And your wedding is a good place to start.

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