The Yam Of Satya


I have been practicing Sanatan Kriya for 2 years now. Sanatan Kriya, is the essence of eight limbs of Ashtang Yog, efficacy of the practice hence lies in the sincerity with which one follows the 8 limbs, including the 5 Yamas and 5 Niyams.  Satya (Truthfulness) is the first Yama.  Yogi Ashwini says, “The one who speaks the truth under all circumstances has nothing to fear. It is fear that breeds negative emotions like anger, jealousy, insecurity, etc. In the absence of fear, there is no negative emotion.”

The path of satya, or truth is not easy…If you ask anyone if they speak the truth, by their own assessment they would feel that they are honest, but even that has to be scrutinised, often people let themselves down by saying or committing to something and then not doing it.  How far do we take this meaning of acting and speaking the truth?


Let us take the example of Chanakya, an esteemed thinker, administrator, strategist and teacher from ancient times to highlight how our seers took this idea of Satya:

Megasthenes was a Greek traveller and historian who travelled across India in the 4th Century BC, and had arranged to meet the revered Chanakya in the hut that he was living in. Upon sitting down to meet with Chanakya, he was asked to wait a moment as Chanakya was in the middle of writing something under the dim light of an earthen lamp. Chanakya then took another lamp and after lighting it, he put off the first lamp. 

Surprised, Megasthenes asked him, “I feel there must be a reason that you have put off the first lamp and lighted another one, but I don’t find any difference between them, neither in the shape and size nor the light that it is emitting. Please tell me why did you change the lamp?”

Chanakya replied, “Before changing the lamp I asked about your purpose. I came to know that this is a personal meeting.  So, I put off the official lamp whose oil comes from the government treasury and I lighted the lamp for which I purchase the oil from my salary. While doing a personal work I can’t misuse the government’s money.”

Megasthenes bowed before him and said, “This is the reason for your immense power.”

This story is just an example of how the ancient seers took to the path of Satya and went on to achieve phenomenal feats and a guidance on how we should look at our daily lives in a different light.

Source: “Chanakya – Rules of Governance by the Guru of Governance” – Professor Shrikant Prasoon

Guest Author: Suresh Kumar

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