As we explore the yogic precepts for living, the second Yama (constraints that we observe in relationship to the world) is Satya: truthfulness.
“To one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.” – The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sutra II.36
Satya is based on the understanding that honest communication forms the basis for any relationship or community. According to The Yoga Sutras, the truth is so powerful, that if we establish truthfulness we will attain the fruits of work without even doing the work. The more we lead a life of honesty, the more we will see the results which will encourage us to be more honest. If we continue to follow truth, then what we say will become true.
If we are untruthful, if we lie to others, then others will lie to us. Eventually, it becomes quite normal to communicate through lying, never really saying what we mean or doing what we say. Part of the process of living more truthfully is to hold yourself accountable for the things that you do. If we don’t want to be taken in by the lies that people tell us, we can begin to examine our own speech and ask ourselves if we are really saying what we mean.
At times it is not always desirable to speak the truth for it could harm someone unnecessarily. We need to think of what we say, how we say it, and if it could affect another. If it could negatively affect someone then it is better not to say anything. This is where we find the balance between ahimsa (non-harming) and satya (truthfulness).
As yogis, through steady practice, we will experience what is true. All the lies we have been told, even those that we have told, will fade away in the light of the greater truth of our true potential. As we embrace the practice of satya, our speech becomes purified, and we are able to fearlessly say what we mean and mean what we say.
The more you practice satya, things will begin to come to you when they are needed. Each day this month, set an intention to practice satya in your thoughts, words, and deeds and observe the results.
As Mark Twain said: “If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.”
sources: Heart of Yoga by TKV Desikachar, Yoga & Vegetarianism by Sharon Gannon, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Swami Satchidananda