Among the Yama (restraints) prescribed in Patanjali Yoga Sutras, Satya or truthfulness comes second after Ahimsa (non-violence). Satya here does not refer to code of morality or policy. It refers to ‘living’ the Truth.
The practice of Satya or living the truth has 3 dimensions:
* Truthfulness in speech
* Truthfulness in thought
* Truthfulness in action
Integrity- Truthfulness in Speech
Honesty in speech is a comparatively easy order. Upholding the words and promises that one gives to oneself and others and only uttering the truth is truthfulness in speech. When one practices this, he establishes himself in the space of integrity. When you are completely established in integrity you can harness the power of words. The words of a truly integrated man are so powerful that the cosmos aligns itself to support them; so that his space of integrity is maintained. This is the power of Vak-Siddhi meaning whatever one utters from the space of integrity starts manifesting.
Authenticity- Truthfulness in Thought
Truthfulness in thought is a subtler dimension of Satya. A man can be in integrity by fulfilling all his words and promises and by only speaking the truth. This does not guarantee that he is expressing his true feelings or thoughts. Only when our words are aligned to our thoughts or rather out true intention can we be considered to be authentic. Without authenticity Satya is reduced to a superficial morality.
For example, a doctor has his working hours set by the hospital to be from 8 AM to 6 PM. If the doctor provides his services during the set time punctually he is integrated. But if he refuses to attend to an emergency case just because it came in on his way out shortly after the visiting hours, he is not authentic. Healing and helping people is not his real intention. So one can be integrated by upholding the promises and laws agreed upon but not be authentic.
When our speech and thoughts are aligned to the truth our actions follow naturally and we start living the truth, living in Satya.
Satya and identity
When there is no gap between thought, speech and action one will feel a great liberation. Everyone has an inner image, how we see ourselves or Mamakara. There will be perceived shortcomings or powerlessness in this inner image that is kept hidden at all costs. This is done by projecting an outer image, how we want others to see us or Ahamkara. This outer image is the direct or indirect function of the shortcomings of the inner image that it tries to mask. This identity gap prevents us from being authentic and follow truthfulness. This gap can be closed by a powerful practice called completion (see reference 2). When that happens we realize our true quality is Sat-Chit-Ananda (truth, awareness and Bliss) and effortlessly live the path of Satya.
Satya and Ahimsa
It is often understood that if one always speaks the truth, he ends up hurting others. We use the term ‘brutally honest’ to emphasize the violence in being honest. This is a misconception that Satya will violate the first Yama, Ahimsa (non-violence). It is only when honesty is practiced as a mere social morality it becomes brutal in some circumstances.When we authentically live the ultimate advaitic truth, that Oneness is God, the context that there is no ‘other’ brings tremendous compassion. A man practicing Satya in all its dimensions: speech, thought and action, realizes the ultimate truth and is filled with compassion. Such a person can never be violent. Satya supports and ensures Ahimsa.
1) Teachings of Paramahamsa Nithyananda (www.Nithyananda.org).
2) Science of Completion Discourses by Paramahamsa Nithyananda