Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Honesty Vs Truth

"Satya Meva Jayate" Truth always Triumphs.

These are the words of eternal truth printed on India's most commonly found medium of eternal dishonesty - the currency note. How's that for a lesson?

Honesty and Truth. What's the relation between the two? Are the two words so close that we can overlook the difference? Is it all so subjective?

The fact is Truth is an object. Honesty is a behaviour. If truth is a sword. Honesty is the skill of weilding it. Truth by itself can be explained in various ways by diverse views of philosophy. Some would say that there is there is no objective truth. There are only perceptions. Linguists would agree saying that truth is in the way it is put across. The same would go for honesty. You can be a honest person if you accept the truth and deal with it. You can be a honest person if you reveal to others a hurtful truth. You can also be a honest person if you confess to a truth.
But that's where the subjectivity ends.

There's no way you can lie and be a honest person. There's no way you can hide a hurtful truth and be a honest person. There's no way you can lie to the face of a person just to keep them happy and still claim to be honest. EVEN IF YOUR TRUTH IS COMMUNICATED PURPOSELY IN A MANNER THAT IS PERCIEVED DIFFERENTLY BY ANOTHER - YOU ARE NOT HONEST. Yudhistra from the Mahabharat is the best example: He stated the truth when he said that Ashwatthama is dead. and then muttered to himeslf, that it is Ashwatthama the elephant. What he said was the truth. but what he COMMUNICATED, was a lie. which is why he was dishonest - and for the first time in his life, his chariot which floated above ground, suggestive of his aura of honesty, tuched the ground. His honesty was stained, even by a truth - because it was communicated with malice.

The truth is lifeless, it has no concern for anyone's emotions. which is ironically why it will prevail. It is a blade of adamantine. Never bending. All conquering. It is a power. And with every great power, comes great responsibility.

Many a times when we discover truths, we can fumble with what we do with them. We are not born ready to deal with truths. We are not born with that skill. We learn to use them. And how we learn to use them is up to us. Take the example of a Ninjas and a Samurais. Both use the same weapons but a Samurais used their weapons for honor. Ninjas used them for executions and mercenary causes.

Truth is the same. A honest person will use it with honor, without malice. A dishonest person, will use it to misguide people by covering it in pieces, or witholding it entirely. Yes diplomats fall here.

The one thing that matters most in the relationship between truth and honesty is the effect it has. A honest person is one who lives his life with every truth, good and bad, out in the open. No 'truth' from the outside can ever break the life, work, relationships of a honest person, because they are already known, accepted and penanced for if necessary. They are unbreakable. So ironically, honesty is the greatest sheild against malicious truths. And if broken down to bits, just like a martial art, it simply is the skill of accepting the truths of your life the way they are, gracefully. And that' what it is.

'Satya Meva jayate'


  1. i haven't read all your posts. but this is by far the best out of the ones i've read. Well written and a good analogy of martial arts used well.

  2. ...and the truth shall set you free. nice post(like rum n coke) :)

  3. Interesting comprehension.


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