Satyam (Truth)


Sri Swami Sivananda

This article is a chapter from the book “Bliss Divine”.
The All-inclusive Virtue
The Supreme Commandment
Truth is Fearless and Strong
Certain Fallacies
Varying Conceptions of Truth
Brahman: The Only Truth
The Practice of Truth
Truth: The First and the Last Thing


Truth is the seat of God. Truth is God. Truth alone triumphs.

Truth is the basic law of life. Truth is the means and the goal ultimate.

Truth is the law of freedom, falsehood the law of slavery and death.

Truth is justice, fair play, adherence to the fundamental laws of ethics. Purity and truth are the twin factors that unfold and awaken the divinity that lies dormant within you and lead you to perfection.

Truthfulness is the first pillar in the Temple of God-realization. Truth is the gateway to the Kingdom of God.

Truth is like a ladder. It leads you to the Kingdom of Immortal Bliss.


Speaking truth is the most important qualification of a Yogin. Truth is the queen of virtues. Truth is the supreme virtue.

Truth constitutes the essence of the Vedas. Control over passions constitutes the essence of truth. Self-denial or refraining from worldly enjoyments forms the essence of self-control. These attributes are always present in a virtuous man.

Truth is righteousness. Righteousness is light, and light is bliss. Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, purity, justice, harmony, forgiveness, peace are forms of truth.

Impartiality, self-control, modesty, endurance, goodness, renunciation, meditation, dignity, fortitude, compassion, and abstention from injury are the various forms of truth.

All the above virtues, though seemingly different, have but one and the same form, namely, truth. All these hold up truth and strengthen it.

When the path of truth is trodden, everything else also is done. When the root is watered, all the branches are automatically watered.


Be truthful. All righteousness is contained in this one commandment.

Whatever you do, be true to yourself and to the world. Hide not your thoughts. Be frank. Be sincere. Be candid. Be straightforward. Be courageous to express your views.

Be faithful to your trust. Deceive not the man who relies upon you. Keep up your promise even at the cost of your life. Your life may go, but not the given word.

Do not hastily give your assent to anybody, to anything. Think deeply. Cogitate. Reflect. Say, “I shall think over the matter and talk to you later on”. Thus you will not be entangled.

Do not make promises, but say, “I shall try. I shall think over the matter”. You are saved. You will not be caught in the whirlpool of troubles, repentance, and sorrow.

To tell a lie is a great sin. He who utters falsehood loses the faith of other persons. People will not believe him even if he speaks the truth. The habit of telling lies becomes deep-rooted by repetition of lies. Man tells several lies to cover up one lie.

A lie concealed by another lie leads to more lies. A sin concealed by another sin leads to more sins.

A liar is a coward. Uttering falsehood is a certain mark of cowardice. Speak the truth. You will become courageous.


Truth is complete in itself. Truth has a strong foundation in itself. It is bold, it has no fears. It has no limit of space or time. It is a fearless, free bird in the sky. It does not care for status. It is wealth in itself. Truth stands even when there is no public support.

Truth can be compared to a road of pasture, while falsehood can be compared to a bush of thorns. In a man who indulges in false thoughts, there is a lurking fear at every moment, an uneasiness, a fear of the self, a want of confidence and a feeling that something wrong may happen.

Truth, on the other hand, is the path of righteousness which certainly leads to success in the long run. It is a straight road with no doubtful cross-roads.

In the day-to-day world, it seems as though it is impracticable to strictly follow the path of truth, but if it is practiced as your ideal and goal in life, you have your way. All the stumbling blocks on your road to Truth will melt away as you proceed along the direct road.


There are certain fallacies that arise in following the straight path of truth. It is absolutely no harm for a mother who fondly nurses the child in just diverting the attention of the child by saying that the small piece of sweetmeat has been carried away by the crow a short while back, and when she shows to be extremely sorry for it and brings round the ideas of the child by saying, “Papa, do not mind it, I shall bring a bigger cake for you in the evening”. It is absolutely no untruth if you do not interfere with others, wound their feelings, harm others or spoil others. If you refuse a small loan, certainly with something for you to fall back upon, if you refuse to lend your pen or any object that you would like not to lend, these cannot be counted as untruths.


A worldly man, a moralist, and a spiritual man have different conceptions of truth. A moralist cares for the result of truth. If a man can save the lives of many innocent persons by telling a lie, it is truth for a moralist, because an untruth has brought greatest good. If the uttering of a truth brings greater harm to many persons, it is an untruth according to a moralist. According to a spiritual man, Brahman is truth; this world is unreal.


The world is untruth and the Absolute is Truth. The world is represented by sex and ego; the Absolute is represented by the noumenal, gnostic Being.

Truth is not expressed even by Existence-Consciousness-Joy! It is only the nearest relative of Truth. Truth is even greater, grander, mightier, truer!

Truth is; untruth is not. Hence, it is not absolutely correct even to say that Truth is one, for Truth is Existence itself, and is neither one, nor not-one. Truth is undivided.

Truth is utterly public. It cannot be hidden even if one would try to do so. Truth persists and is expressed even in the extreme of untruth. The extreme of truth is the Absolute. Untruth is a shadow of Truth.

Everything that changed itself is untruth. Hence, Truth is infinite. Truth alone endures, while everything else perishes.

Everyone, right from Brahma down to a blade of grass, moves towards Truth, some consciously, some unconsciously. They differ only in the degree of consciousness or to the extent of mental purification or subtlety of condition. Every leaf that flies in the air, every breath that flows from us, in other words; every act of universal life, is a step taken nearer the Truth; for Truth is the eternal home of all beings. Into it they all enter and find permanent satisfaction and peace. It is Truth that triumphs over falsehood, not falsehood over Truth, whatever the apparent and immediate experience may be.


Scriptures emphatically declare: “Speak the truth. Truth alone triumphs, falsehood never”. God is Truth and Truth must be realized by speaking truth. A truthful man is absolutely free from worries and anxieties. He has a calm mind. If one observes speaking truth for twelve years, one will get ‘Perfection of Speech’. Then, whatever one speaks will come to pass. There will be power in the speech of such a person.

Your thoughts should agree with your words, and the words should agree with your actions. In the world, people think of one thing, say another thing, and do another thing. This is horrible. This is nothing but crookedness. You must carefully watch your thoughts, words, and actions. The little gain that you get by telling lies is no gain at all. You pollute your conscience and infect your subconscious mind. The habit of telling lies is carried to your next birth also and you undergo suffering from birth to birth.

Meditate on truth. Derive inspiration from the lives of those who have sacrificed their all for the sake of truth. Write in bold types the words “SPEAK TRUTH” on cardboards and hang them in different places in your house. This will caution you when you are about to speak a lie. You will then check yourself at once. A time will come when you will be established in the habit of speaking truth. Punish yourself by fasting if you tell a lie and record the lies in a diary. Gradually the number of lies will decrease and you will become a truthful man.

Stick to the path of truth at all costs. Truth has a lustre of its own. It shines for itself and sheds its light on others. When you stick to truth as your only religion, when you strictly adhere to truth alone at all times, at all places, and on all occasions, you cannot afford to harm any one. Perfect peace and real happiness will be yours.

Have ceaseless devotion to truth. Be ready to sacrifice your all for it. You will develop a strong will. You will become fearless. You will draw immense strength and courage from the Atman or the Supreme Self within. You will attain Self-realization.


Should you ask me “What is the first thing in Realization?”, I should reply “The first, second, and third thing therein, nay, all-is truthfulness”.

Let truth and purity light up your career, guide your conduct, and mould your character.

If the mind is impure, Self-realization cannot be attained even if you meditate for twenty hours daily. Even Yudhishthira had to see the hell as he once told a lie-a modified, twisted truth, in a dexterous manner.

In truth, there is no deceit. That which is simulated is untruth.

Truth can never contradict non-injury. When it does, it is no more a truth, but the selfishness of the man which is on the fore.

When truth-speaking leads another to dishonour, injury and pain, it is no longer a virtue. Then it becomes a deadly sin.

Speak what is true. Speak what is pleasant. Speak no disagreeable truth, speak no agreeable falsehood.

Truth always exists in a pure unmixed state. Truth includes self-restraint, absence of jealousy, forgiveness, patience, endurance, kindness, love.

Peace is truth. Truth is peace. If you want to attain peace, be truthful at all times.

Mind is exalted by truthfulness. Intellect is refined by sublime divine ideas.

By the practice of speaking the truth, the Antahkarana (intellect, mind, ego) is purified of its dirt. It shines like a clean mirror and reflects the divine form of the Lord with great effulgence.

All is well with him whose heart is turned towards the True. No disease, physical or mental, can assault him.

The mover towards the Truth is mighty, lives long, knows everything, and is ever delighted; for he is nearing the Almighty.

The path of Truth is a precipitous one. It is slippery and as sharp as the razor’s edge. Hard it is to tread, difficult a path it is. Giants among spiritual men walk over it to the City of Perfection.

Keep company with evolved souls who tread the path of Truth. Always mark carefully what is going on in the inner mental factory. Give up all sorts of mean actions. Become a noble magnanimous soul. Nobility is good. Magnanimity is truth. If people mock at you, keep quiet. Never retort. Excuse them. Give a Vedantic smile. Stand adamantine as that yonder rock. Will you, my dear Niranjan?

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