My friend and thought provoker K responded to my post Reaction To Death through an email thus:
“Your post on Reaction To Death esp the second one though very true can get you into trouble !
I suggest a test for blogging – will the reader of the post be better off by reading it ?”
I responded immediately thus:
“K, a blog by definition is a web log. It is my personal diary that I am willing to share with those who care to share my joys and other emotions as well as observe me showing off my intellectual gymnastics. Nothing more nothing less. How can I possibly get into trouble writing about miserable sods? I hope he reads that and discusses it with me.”
K is not one to let matters drift. He went on to send the following Sanskrit Shloka and a parable to illustrate what he wanted to convey.
satyam bruyat priyam bruyat na bruyat satyam apriyam
priyam ca nanrutam bruyat esha dharmah sanatanah
~ Manu Smriti 4.138
Speak truth in such a way that it should be pleasing to others. Never speak truth, which is unpleasant to others. Never speak untruth, which might be pleasant. This is the path of eternal morality, sanatana dharma.
To speak truth is an eternal value irrespective of time and place. But the expression of truth should be accompanied by two conditions. Firstly, it should be presented in a loving manner and secondly it should be spoken for the betterment of others. How you speak is as important as what is said. Priyam means speech that does not hurt others. Hitam is something that is said for the good or betterment of others. One should be careful of speaking truth but not hurting others.
We should be careful in speaking the truth. The purpose should be good and the words used and the manners in which they are spoken are important. So the value of truthfulness is relative to a situation. According to the Indian scriptures while living in the world of relativity truth can be interpreted in many ways.
The King And The Astrologer
A king produced his horoscope before an astrologer and asked him about his future. The astrologer pondered the positions of the planets and consulted the Shastras and finally gave his verdict: .Maharaja, all your relatives will die before you, you will perform their obsequies with
your own hands.. The king became furious. He was very much attached to his relatives and could not tolerate such a verdict. The king at once ordered that the poor astrologer should be given imprisonment for life.
Then the king sent for another astrologer. This man was more tactful than the first. He found that the previous astrologer’s readings were absolutely correct. So, he tactfully put the same truth the other way round. He said: .Maharaja, you have a very long life. You will live longer than all your relatives.. This also meant that all his relatives would die while the king was alive. The same fact had been very tactfully told to please the king. The king was highly pleased with the astrologer and gave him rich and costly presents.
Therefore it is said that even while telling the truth, one should tell it in a pleasant manner. Even a truth should not be told in a way that will hurt the feelings of others. If it is told so, it is tantamount to untruth only. Your speech should be truthful, pleasant and beneficial.
What do you think? Should I have been more circumspect?