The word Satya (Truth) is derived from Sat, which means 'being'. Nothing is or exists in reality except Truth. That is why Sat or Truth is perhaps the most important name of God. In fact it is more correct to say that Truth is God, than to say that God is Truth. But as we cannot do without a ruler or a general, such names of God as 'King of kings' or 'The Almighty' are and will remain generally current. On deeper thinking, however, it will be realized, that Sat or Satya is the only correct and fully significant name for God.
And where there is Truth, there also is knowledge which is true. Where there is no Truth,
there can be no true Knowledge. That is why the word Chit or Knowledge is
associated with the name of God. And where there is true Knowedge, there is
always Bliss (Ananda). Their sorrow has no place. And even as Truth is
eternal, so is the Bliss derived from it. Hence we know God as Sat-Chit-Ananda,
One who combines in Himself Truth, Knowledge and Bliss.
Devotion to this Truth is the sole justification for our existence. All our activities
should be centred in Truth. Truth should be the very breath of our life. When
once this stage in the pilgrim's progress is reached, all other rules of correct
living will come without effort, and obedience to them will be instinctive. But
without Truth it is impossible to observe any principles or rules in life.
Generally speaking, observation of the law of Truth is understood merely to mean that we
must speak the truth. But we in the Ashram should understand the word Satya or
Truth in a much wider sense. There should be Truth in thought, Truth in speech,
and Truth in action. To the man who has realized this Truth in its fullness,
nothing else remains to be known, because all knowledge is necessarily included
in it. What is not included in it is not Truth, and so not true knowledge; and
there can be no inward peace without true knowledge. If we once learn how to
apply this never-failing test of Truth, we will at once be able to find out what
is worth doing, what is worth seeing, what is worth reading.
But how is one to realize this Truth, which may be likened to the philosopher's stone or
the cow of plenty? By single-minded devotion (abhyasa) and indifference
to all other interests in life (vairagya)—replies the Bhagavad-gita. In
spite, however, of such devotion, what may appear as truth to one person will
often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker.
Where there is honest effort, it will be realized that what appear to be
different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the
same tree. Does not God Himself appear to different individuals in different
aspects? Still we know that He is one. But Truth is the right designation of
God. Hence there is nothing wrong in every man following Truth according to his
lights. Indeed it is his duty to do so. Then if there is a mistake on the part
of anyone so following Truth, it will be automatically set right. For the quest
of Truth involves tapas—self-suffering, sometimes even unto death. There
can be no place in it for even a trace of self- interest. In such selfless
search for Truth nobody can lose his bearings for long. Directly he takes to the
wrong path he stumbles, and is thus redirected to the right path. Therefore the
pursuit of Truth is true bhakti (devotion). It is the path that leads to
God. There is no place in ii for cowardice, no place for defeat. It is the
talisman by which death itself becomes the portal to life eternal.
In this connection it would be well to ponder over the lives and examples of
Harishchandra, Prahlad, Ramachandra, Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain, the Christian
saints, etc. How beautiful it would be, if all of us, men and women, devoted
ourselves wholly to Truth in all that we might do in our waking hours, whether
working, eating, drinking, or playing, till dissolution of the body makes us one
with Truth? God as Truth has been for me a treasure beyond price: may He be so
to every one of us.