Explore the meaning of Satya and living in truthfulness according to Yoga Philosophy.
In the Ashtanga eightfold path/8 limbs of yoga by Patanjali, the second of the Yamas (social behavioural conduct) is Satya, truthfulness.
Satya is a Sankrit word which can be linked with the meaning of truthfulness. Following the first of the yamas which is ahimsa meaning non-violence/non-harm, Satya is also given priority so that we can live life in this physical existence with truth and honesty.
Practicing Satya starts from our cognitive patterns and mental processing of all information (internal or external). Are we thinking truthful thoughts that lead us to a higher of knowledge, or is the mind foggy and in desire? Are we seeing a situation with clarity and truthfulness or are we perceiving its meaning based on our desires? Are we acknowledging how we feel and accept it or are we trying to escape and lie to ourselves about our current state, whatever it may be?
Satya comes to create purity in thought. Honesty and good will are the source of any good intention, as well as always practicing kindness and compassion. For this to happen, we need to learn to bring harmony of functioning between the three faculties of Chitta (manas/the mind/the senses; buddhi/the intellect and ahamkara/the ego) and to not allow the ego take the lead. This can only come from humbling ourselves to see the truth inside of ourselves. To practice Satya in our thoughts, we must learn to know ourselves. This means practicing reflection and self-observation, going within to know our truth instead of always searching for external validation of what we are or how we should be.
When our thoughts are not truthful and overcome with desire, greed, jealousy, hurtful etc we must learn to be truthful enough to ourselves and change that. When our thoughts are not in alignment with our higher Self, we need to be aware of this and purify the mind with practices of meditation, mantra, prayer, asana, karma/selfless actions etc. Self-awareness will take our attention inwards and learning the truth from within, the guidance each one of us has that is based on truth, love and goodness.
The words we express (verbal or non-verbal) should always be truthful and honest. Sometimes however, the truth is not welcomed or appreciated by others. And other times, speaking the truth can lead another person to perhaps perceive it the wrong way. In some cases, speaking the truth can cause unintentional harm to others or maybe disturbance, so in this case, the yoga Sutras advise us to remain silent and not engage further. Because we must always practice ahimsa in all our thoughts, words and actions. Therefore part of it is speaking less. If we focus on only speaking fact, truthful words, the speech will become less and inner knowing will strengthen.
Speaking truthfully also helps to keep balance of Vishudi, the throat chakra which is related to communication but also with purity of mind because it is one of the higher soiritual energy centres. If too much lying or gossiping is done, this not only brings a negative, low quality of life and conversation, but also an imbalance in this chakra.
Any deed we do or any action we take in life, we are advised to do it in a compassionate and honest way. When we make a mistake, we must learn to recognise it, acknowledge it, forgive ourselves, correct it if we can and do the right thing next time.
All actions are recorded in the cycle of Karma, and although we might not be able to understand or know our karma, we do have the power to create good action which will lead to good karma. Perhaps not for this lifetime, but as the soul journeys on to its lessons of growth and highest knowledge, the good karma accumulated can help set the soul free and on the path to Moksha in another physical lifetime.
To act in Satya is to do everything with integrity. It means that what we say we will do, we keep to our word. And what we do should never cause any harm, because at the root of Satya and everything else in life, is ahimsa, not causing any harm to anything and anyone, including ourselves. And this is a very important part of the yoga path and Sadhana (spiritual practice).
Satya in the highest state is being able to make clear discernment of what is real and what is unreal, from which we can understand the Supreme/Infinite consciousness, the union of all is the truth, the true Self as That.
This is what yoga philosophy teaches us through Sat Chit Ananda -Infinite Consciousness Bliss.