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Satya, the truth



Second and also very important principle of Yama is Satya.


Let’s look into its meaning. Satya means “real” or “reality”, and “true”, “truth”, “truthful”. Nowadays some people explain this principle as “to be honest and speak only the truth”. But the meaning of Satya is much deeper and more complex for ordinary people. Because one cannot know the Truth if he hasn’t experienced himself as eternal Atman. One usually knows only relative truth when he perceives that part of Reality which is connected with him. And don’t forget about the role of mind that always affects feelings and perceived information.


Even though we obtain a true fact we want to share, it is important to remember the first principle of Yama, Ahiṃsā. Our Satya should always consider Ahiṃsā, because words can harm or even kill. We need to foresee that our truth can do with the person to whom it will be told. If it will help to evolve, maybe even through pain, it’s wonderful. But often we can have another scenario when our true words lead the person to depression or uncontrolled activities, increase the pride or other vices. That’s why Satya is always about harmony with the current situation.


Word Satya originates from sanskrit root “sat” that means, according to Monier-Williams dictionary, “that which really is, entity or existence, essence, the true being or really existent”. So Satya requires a really deep understanding: it is about our true nature, about our existence in this Universe. How we express ourselves — that is the point. And we have three levels of this expression — thoughts, speech and actions — that can be true, sincere and harmonious, or they can be distorted. In this respect, internal honesty is important. It requires a certain courage because we will have to admit in ourselves some not very pleasant things. When you gradually increase the level of your truthfulness, you become capable of thinking and acting in a more harmonic way, and as a result right energy exchange with the world sets in. Lie requires more energy to sustain itself, it also requires some false (non-harmonic) structures and energy doesn’t flow freely.


So how we can see the practice of Satya is a way of self-knowledge, cognition of our true nature that is the aim of Yoga. When we are truthful in the thoughts, speech and actions it brings the real purity into our being and our practice.

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