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Friday, June 17, 2011

To tell the truth or keep quiet?

अव्याहतं व्याहृतात्छ्रेय आहु सत्यं वदेत् व्याहृतं तद्द्वितीयं।
प्रियम् वदेत् व्याहृतं तत्तृतीयम् धर्म्यम् वदेत् व्याहृतं तत्चतुर्थं॥१२॥
श्रीमहाभारते उद्योगपर्वणि प्रजागरण पर्वणि विदुरनीतिवाक्ये अध्यायः ३६
avyāhataṁ vyāhṛtātchreya āhu satyaṁ vadet vyāhṛtaṁ taddvitīyaṁ|
priyam vadet vyāhṛtaṁ tattṛtīyam dharmyam vadet vyāhṛtaṁ tatcaturthaṁ||12||
srīmahābhārate udyogaparvaṇi prajāgaraṇa parvaṇi viduranītivākye adhyāyaḥ 36

To tell the truth or keep quiet? 
This dilemma haunted all sensible persons through the ages.  
This is dealt with by Vidura in this treasure of an advice.

Silence is the best things, says Vidura, and  if you have no chance other than speaking our always tell the truth. 
And even while telling the truth, it is better to take care that the words spoken are agreeable to others.  
And we should desist from speaking even agreeable words if they do not conform to approved social and moral norms.

Bharavi explained it in another way.. 
हितं मनोहारि च दुर्लभं वचः 
hitham manohari cha durlabham vachaH....
words which are sweet to the ears and at the same time contributing to our own welfare are really rare.. In Ramayanam  Mareecha tells Ravana his nephew....

O king the world abounds in people who speak sweet words to you always.  But it is rare to find a speaker or listener of words which are inconvenient but meant for the ultimate benefit of the listener. 
(Sulabhaah purushaa raajan santhatam priyavaadinaH  apriyasya cha pathyasya vakthaa shrotaa cha durlabhaaH  
सुलभाः पुरुषाः राजन् संततं प्रियवादिनः अप्रियस्य च पथ्यस्य  वक्ता श्रोता च दुर्लभाः )..

But the basic rules should be in place.. 
Just to please the listener, one should not speak untrue words.  
Of course even unpalatable facts can be presented with some sugarcoat.
 It is good  management.  
And sometimes if  truth is spoken all of a sudden, it can either kill the speaker or the listener. 
There are so many possibilities.  
The words may be received with violence, 
the words can cause physical shock or mental insanity. 

In these days of right to information  and exalted freedom of media all concerned have to  understand that many things, even when they are stark truths should not be made known in public.. 
if a truth can only do harm to the interests of all, 
if it will ruin the reasonably cordial relationship among people, nations, and other groups
 and if there is nothing to happen as value addition for  the benefit of anyone other than scandalmongers,
 why should such truths be dished out? 
The age old wisdom  speaks...

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