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Eastern Mind
22 June 2010, 07:58 PM
Vannakkam all:


From http://veda.wikidot.com/yama-niyama

YAMA 8 — Arjava, Honesty

"Maintain honesty, renouncing deception and wrongdoing. Act honorably even in hard times. Obey the laws of your nation and locale. Pay your taxes. Be straightforward in business. Do an honest day's work. Do not bribe or accept bribes. Do not cheat, deceive or circumvent to achieve an end. Be frank with yourself. Face and accept your faults without blaming them on others."

There is a concept called intellectual honesty corresponding to being honest with oneself that is a definite sadhana. Pride induces a slight exaggeration oh so commonly on simple things.

"How long did you meditate today?"

You say 30 minutes instead of the real 20. On here it is particularly hard because we do not have the facility of sight or ears to sense tone, sarcasm, or body language.

In real life I am as guilty as anyone for these pride induced small white lies. The big ones I have a better grip on. I was talking with a dear cousin recently and realised via the conversation that our rural subconscious had the pair of us beginning relationships from trust, and learning distrust, whereas many people begin with distrust, and then learn trust. It came from our naive pure childhoods where families worked cooperatively, there were no locks on doors, and men got together in -40 weather to dig graves. Times have changed, but I liked those ideals.

Aum Namasivaya

Ramakrishna
23 June 2010, 11:28 AM
Namaste,

I am also guilty of small white lies every now and then. But I am trying hard to cut back on that. However it has been a long time since I told a really big lie. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did. I guess as I get older I start to more fully realize the consequences of lying, and why it is wrong.

I still do find myself sometimes struggling with the last thing though: "Face and accept your faults without blaming them on others." It is often very easy to think that I am right and I can't have any faults so everybody else must be wrong. However, the reality is that I am often wrong and full of faults just as everybody else is.

Pride is a very adharmic trait and so often it leads to dishonesty. At least with small white lies, pride is often the cause of them.

I am reminded of a quote by Ramakrishna: "One cannot attain divine knowledge till one gets rid of pride."

Jai Sri Krishna

yajvan
23 June 2010, 11:48 AM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~

namasté



In real life I am as guilty as anyone for these pride induced small white lies. Aum Namasivaya

satya सत्य is true , real , actual , genuine , sincere , honest , truthful , faithful , pure , virtuous , Reality


My small white lies are = to my big white lies. That is, they mis-direct and hurt me.


Let's say I stand firm on non-strealing¹ . I then steal $1.00 . Did I not stand firm -or- did I only stand a little firm a 'small white' steal?


Small or big - the infraction occurs. Why do I mention this? Because it is also being truthful (satyaṁ) to one's Self.

One's mind is prone to mischief ' Oh it is only a small untruth, it will not offend any one' yet you have been offended by your own self. ' Oh it is only $1.00 who will miss this single one dollar as there are $billions in the world, who will miss this small amount? ' - Who have you robbed? Your Self.

Giving in to these things begins the erosion.


praṇām

1. asteya - non-stealing + pratisthayam - to stand firm , be based or rest on, be established.

Eastern Mind
23 June 2010, 02:15 PM
Vannakam Yajvan:

I understand how the two are equal regarding stealing, but in lying it is different, because the mental flows of different types of lies are different. A common example is when your wife asks, "Do you like my new dress?" or "How does the binjal curry taste tonight?" or "I really want to go for a walk, would you like to come with me?" It is hurtful to lie in these circumstances.

Many children in the west are taught to lie for safety. They are taught to say, "My parents are busy right now. Could you call back later?" rather than saying, "My parents are not home." Each situation is different. Right now I am dealing with a friend who has dementia from a stroke, as well as dealing with some frustration/anger management issues, from the dementia. So when he asks me if he did a good job on something that really is a petty matter anyway, I lie to him. Not lying would be cruel. So as we mature, we a re better able to use gut or intuition or conscience to determine the dharmic course of action. Lying equals bad, truth equals good on all matters is very much an Abrahamic concept, in my opinion.

Aum Namasivaya

yajvan
23 June 2010, 03:05 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~

namasté EM,


Vannakam Yajvan:

I understand how the two are equal regarding stealing, but in lying it is different, because the mental flows of different types of lies are different. A common example is when your wife asks, "Do you like my new dress?" or "How does the binjal curry taste tonight?" or "I really want to go for a walk, would you like to come with me?" It is hurtful to lie in these circumstances.

Many children in the west are taught to lie for safety. They are taught to say, "My parents are busy right now. Could you call back later?" rather than saying, "My parents are not home." Each situation is different.

Right now I am dealing with a friend who has dementia from a stroke, as well as dealing with some frustration/anger management issues, from the dementia. So when he asks me if he did a good job on something that really is a petty matter anyway, I lie to him. Not lying would be cruel. So as we mature, we a re better able to use gut or intuition or conscience to determine the dharmic course of action. Lying equals bad, truth equals good on all matters is very much an Abrahamic concept, in my opinion.
Aum Namasivaya

I respect what you say, yet view the matter differently.
Here's one view on this matter...

"Do you like my new dress? " - I really like the red color, it reminds me of a rose.

"My parents are busy right now. Could you call back later?" - My parents are not available at this time - do you care to leave a number?

"Do you care to go for a walk" - Sure ( that was not so hard and its the truth :) ). If 'No' , is there anything wrong with saying, maybe another time.

"Did I do a good job" - Looks like my friend you have performed to the best of your abilities and I am quite proud of your efforts.

... its how you say it as I see it.

If a person does something wrong that requires censure or correction, do we lie to appease that person?
I would find his/her actions censurable, not the person. So the question is how do we talk without throwing daggers. The wise say we keep an honest tongue, but it must be done in a matter that does not cause more harm ( no daggers from the lips). Hence the position is not to spank the other person ( verbally) but assist in corrective action when it is advisable, requested, or in fact may save that person from more harm.

I have been corrected many times (10¹º) , the word- approach that changed me the most & that kept my attention where of this manner:

Yes, but have you looked at it this way?
I was thinking another thought on this matter?
Why so? Help me understand why you think that doing _______________ ( fill in the blank) that way will be the best.
Have you considered this approach?
I disagree, but let me tell you why ...
Another view may have been ....
etc.Many ( but not all) people think that telling the truth is a code word for a level of point-blank honesty , some say unvarnished, that bludgeons the other person into submission. I do not subscribe to this and find it most barbaric ( as I have tried this in the past with little success.)

We live in a time when people as a group/society are unsure of right-and-wrong , as I see it in America. Due to this ( IMHO ) then it becomes an anything goes society. If I do not know or am on the border of right-and-wrong, how can I say what is uplifting and right to do , as I am unsure myself.
This is the foundation for political correctness. Let's not say anything because we're really not sure of right-and-wrong.

This is why I firmly believe sanātana dharma is so profound. It defines in an elegant but focused way of behaving that are not only acceptable and correct, but also uphold life/society in general.


praṇām

Eastern Mind
23 June 2010, 03:10 PM
... its how you say it as I see it.


Vannakkam Yajvan:

Absolutely!

Aum Namasivaya

NayaSurya
23 June 2010, 04:20 PM
What you both say is so true. A crucial part of speaking the plain truth is the ability of a person to handle what you say and not be offended.

The better one is at handling what you say, the more wholey truthful the conversation can be.

In my home if I ask how I look...say a new pair of sunglasses or something mundane such as this...I want the whole truth...I want them to say "Oh EW!" if they look bad.

Since we are not only bound by honesty but our code to do no harm, this makes everyone in my home have it very easy. I don't get offended as I am truly asking for an honest answer every single moment.

Where others putside of our family are concerned, I do see the need to do it gently. But, in our home, nothing sets a better example than when I say something absolutely truthful, even when it's embarassing to me. Because it just cuts that ego back further.


Funny story happened on Father's day. My six year old son, Birdy...is being terribly cranky I call him in and several of my older son's who were making quite a noise in our twins bedroom. I say.."I am very disappointed in all of you for that noise" and my little son Birdy turns to me and says..."No mommy, it was only me...I was making all that noise."

He was so honest! So proud that he could own his mistake. This is so important for children to learn. Own your mistake, learn from it and move on!:p

Eastern Mind
23 June 2010, 05:30 PM
Vannakkam Naya: Good for your son! The amazing thing about that is that it usuallu garners repect more so than disdain, or may reduce the needed 'punishment', or discussion.

I remember from teaching that this theme was an ongoing ordeal at times, yet joy at others. I'd come back into my classroom after a recess break and that phantom 'somebody' had spilled orange juice on the floor. When I'd make a call to have the offender step forward and clean it up, no one would come. Sometimes, depending on mood, they'd get a Mr. Grumpy lecture. Other times I'd go into my 'crippled old man' act and start cleaning it up myself. Usually this at least garnered me some help. Other times somebody would just say they did it, and I'd request they clean it up. Once the class understood it was far less trouble to fess up than to lie, we got much more fessing up.

But I still find the topic of lying as it relates to overall harm fascinating. The situations are endless. Now I am not familiar with the death process, but I have heard it can be somewhat traumatic to observe when the patient is resisting. I am not sure as I have never observed it. But I was wondering. If indeed that is the case, what you would say to a relative who who earnestly asks for you to give the details of the last few moments. That is obviously a time when tactfulness would be a boon. You seem to have a fair bit of it.

A neighbour meaning well, spoke the words, "I bet you're glad that's over' to my father after the years of Mom's Alzheimer's, yet in that moment of loss, my father was offended because he took it to mean something like, "I bet you're glad your wife is dead." Very dicey situations.

Aum Namasivaya

NayaSurya
23 June 2010, 05:54 PM
This exact thing happened to one of my last clients. The man was pristine...a true gentleman.

He had terminal lung cancer...for months I got to know him...love him. I learned much from his life story. Each person I cared for has given me such a gift of wisdom.

But, as he neared death, his vessel..the animal, took over as the soul drifted away. He did something sexual in front of me for several days...something that would have horrified his elderly daughters...because this man was an absolutely wonderful man. Never in his life been this way.

So I took a very large hospital sheet and wrapped him gently as a child. His body was unable to do this act once I did this. When his daughters came in they would ask how he was...I said he was fine. He was fine.

Though his vessel may have been reacting to this traumatic event in such a way...Floyd, my beloved friend had departed.

It was rare to have one come up to me after a loved one passed and ask how they went.

Because upon entering the room, things were so well set, it immediately closed out that question.

If they had truly asked...I would have told them. As their caregiver I had to tell the truth.

But, most, at least in my experience, are very ready to accept that as long as I was present, then their loved one was okay, even in that moment. They were, to this day every name is still engraved upon this heart...and every single memory safely kept.

yajvan
23 June 2010, 06:26 PM
hariḥ oṁ
~~~~~~

namasté

I would not be forthright if I did not offer what bhīṣma-ji offers yudhiṣṭhira regarding this matter ( mahābhārata, śanti parvan) .

I will need a little run-way to set the foundation for the answer to Yudhiṣṭhira's question: on what occasions should a person tell the truth and on what occasions should he tell an untruth?
Also a side note - Recall righteousness is one word used for dharma, hence we can apply it here in this conversation.

Bhīṣma-ji offers the the following wisdom

To tell the truth is consistent with righteousness, says bhīṣma-ji.
There where falsehood (untruth) would assume (appear as) the aspect of truth , then truth should not be spoken.

The person is said to be conversant with duties who can distinguish truth from falsehood. The author of this translation Kisari Mohma Ganguli, says it another way - one who knows when truth becomes harmful as unrtuth and untruth becomes as righteous as truth.

Now bhīṣma-ji says, the question you have posed is a difficult one ( that is when an untruth spoken is appropriate) as it is difficult to say what righteousness is i.e. it's not easy to indicate it. No one can
indicate it accurately. ( Recall righteousness is one word used for dharma). So, bhīṣma-ji says that which leads to advancement and growth is righteousness. Why so?
Righteuosness was declared by brahma for the advancement and growth of all creatures. (This is consistent with the definition of dharma , that which upholds.).
And bhīṣma-ji finishes this idea with , therefore righteousness is that which prevents injury to creatures. This sets the stage for the next instruction on telling untruths.

Bhīṣma-ji says the following: robbers desirous of obtaining the wealth of others asking questions to facilitate their plunder, one should never answer such inquiries. If by maintaining silence one succeeds in escaping one should remain silent. Yet if this silence rouses suspicion it would be better to tell what is untrue.
If one can escape from sinful men by even a false oath, one can do this without incurring sin. When life is at risk one may say an untruth.
One that seeks virtue does not commit a sin by speaking an untruth if that which is spoken saves the wealth and prosperity of others or for a religious purpose.

praṇām

atanu
23 June 2010, 09:05 PM
hariḥ oṁ
----
If one can escape from sinful men by even a false oath, one can do this without incurring sin. When life is at risk one may say an untruth.
One that seeks virtue does not commit a sin by speaking an untruth if that which is spoken saves the wealth and prosperity of others or for a religious purpose.
praṇām

Namaste yajvan ji

I agree. That is why this apparent easy thing is not so easy. First, the 10 points of yama are not 10 separate points -- they are together indicative of wisdom. Second, to a large extent, it is a personal thing. if I lie on a matter, it may not be easy for another to judge whether wisdom was involved or not.

In India, some honour killings are taking place. Daughters or sons are not spared if they break caste-gotra rules in matters of marriage/love/alliance. If such so-called imprper alliances are not given up, then village seniors/parents may go to the extent of killing the couple. These are rare cases or some of them are sensationalised by media. But right now, in morning paper, I see such a killer parent boasting "The killing was necessary for the sake of society".

Earlier I had talked about how Stalin allowed German captors to kill Stalin's son but did not budge to a demand of Germans for release of a General in exchange for Stalin's son. It seems Stalin had said "My son is an ordinary soldier and cannot be exchanged for a General". Germans killed Stalin's son. I have wondered whether Stalin was great or was he very low.

I think answers are not easy.


Om Namah Shivaya