The relationship between truth and beauty.

By Srila Bhakti Raksak Sridhar Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Whatever is connected with Krishna is all right. Externally or apparently, it may seem to be defective, but if it has real connection with Krishna, then it is good. What does not have connection with Krishna may apparently be very beautiful or very good, but it is all impure. There is only one criterion we are to follow. We are to understand and realise how it is that only, exclusively, connection with Krishna is beneficial. Something may be good in all other respects, but if Krishna is absent within it, it is a dead thing.

When I was a student in school, class six or seven, one of our teachers said:

satyam bruyat priyam bruyat ma bruyat satyam apriyam
(Manu-samhita: 4.138)

[“Speak the truth and speak what is pleasing. Do not speak unpleasant truth.”]

When I first heard this verse, I was perplexed. Satyam bruyat: always speak the truth. This is all right. Priyam bruyat: speak what is pleasing. This is okay. Ma bruyat satyam apriyam: do not speak truth that is not pleasing. Here, I felt some pressure. What is this? If it is unpleasant, should truth not be spoken? The truth then is limited? It has to be pleasing? I felt a check.

satyam bruyat priyam bruyat ma bruyat satyam apriyam
priyan cha nanrtam bruyad esa dharmah sanatanah

The real conception of sanatan-dharma is: “Speak the truth, and speak what is pleasing. Neither speak truth that is not pleasing nor what is pleasing but not true.”

I came to understand that the underlying point is that we should not give any pain to anyone. But there is a higher underlying principle also: there is something above truth, so-called truth. Absolute truth is there, and the truth of your conception is not always to be followed. It is all relative. So, try to understand that the real truth is always pleasing at the same time. Sat-chit-anandam, real truth is inseparably connected with anandam. Try to find that. The formal truth of this world is not truth proper. What we come across generally in the name of truth is not the real conception of truth.

Ramachandra followed the line of that model truth, but Krishna did not care for that. He encouraged Yudhisthir to lie to Dronacharya. Dasarath banished Ramachandra, but Vasudev did not keep his own word to Kamsa. He took Krishna to Nandalay even though he was avowed to give to Kamsa whatever children Devaki produced. He was committed already to Kamsa, but he broke the moral law and took Krishna to Nandalay. On the other hand, Ramachandra had to go to the forest because Dasarath could not refuse his wife whom he had already promised to give whatever she would ask from him. He could not withdraw his promise, and he fainted. So, in Krishna conception, we are taught that ordinary truth which is in vogue in this criminal world does not have much value. It may be crossed.

sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 18.66)

“When worldly truth and Myself are in opposite parties, leave the truth and come to Me. Truth is My creation. I am anandam, and that holds the supreme position.”

Sat and chit are absorbed in anandam. Ananda—harmony, beauty—is the real integer. Sat, eternal existence, and chit, consciousness of existence, are subsidiary to anandam: ecstasy, fulfilment. Sat-chit-ananda; satyam sivam sundaram. Sundaram is most important; it has two phases: existence and self-consciousness. Consciousness is hankering for something, but sundaram, anandam, is full in itself. Consciousness and existence are presupposed; they are within it. Mere existence is not appreciable, and conscious existence is also not appreciable because consciousness means searching for something. But in anandam, there is existence, consciousness, and fulfilment. So, reality is for itself.


Spoken on 29 April 1982.