The Second Yama: Satyam (Truthfulness)

To refresh from last month, the five yamas (codes of conduct) of Patanjali’s Eight Fold Path are:

  1. Ahimsa (non-aggression or non-violence)
  2. Satyam (truthfulness)
  3. Asteya (non-stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (continence)
  5. Aparigraha (non-coveting).

Last month, we looked at the first yama – Ahimsa (non-violence).  This month, let’s explore the second yama – satyam in more detail.

 This month’s focus: SATYAM

Satyam is truthfulness.  It refers to truthfulness in action, word and thought.  By making the heart and the lips the same in conformity with the facts, one creates an atmosphere of truthfulness.  There should be no split in personality – the yogi should be the same on the ‘outside’ as well as the ‘inside’ through living a life of honesty and truthfulness in the present moment.  Yogis are called to live their lives in simplicity of truth and strictly avoid hypocrisy; making a firm commitment to veracity in all aspects of their lives.  We should avoid temptation of presenting false facts or gossip.

Does being truthful mean that you blurt out whatever you feel or think?  If you consider the first yama, ahimsa (non-violence)…yogis are also called to have an attitude of kindness in all they think, say and do.

In Sanskrit, Sat means ‘true or real’ and ya means ‘ness’.  A way to look at the term ‘satyam’ is to ‘be real’.  Being truthful or honest, is to be real.

 “When you blame, you open up a world of excuses, because as long as you’re looking outside, you miss the opportunity to look inside, and you continue to suffer.”
 Donna Quesada

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