Speaking the truth is a cardinal tenet of all great religions and creeds. Holy books of all people enjoin upon man to speak the truth. Liars are threatened with dam nation and the tortures of hell.
Perjury is considered both a crime and a sin. Fables of all cultures abound in illustrations of evil consequences of telling lies. If one has to go by the commandments, there is no ground whatsoever to question the desir¬ability of speaking the truth.
Yet, the repositories of practical wisdom have been critical of plain speaking or speaking the truth. An old Sanskrit saying enjoins upon man to speak the truth, to speak the sweet words and not to speak the bitter truth. The wise men of the west have also said that 'truth is always bitter'.
It is commonly believed that only the saints can afford the pursuit of truth. A man of the world cannot survive if he sticks to the truth in all circumstances. Contradictory views on whether one should always speak the truth or not, have baffled the sensitive minds the world over the problem is compounded by the fact that telling a lie is no easier than speaking the truth.
For many, it is the other way round. Since the face is the index of mind, how many people will succeed in telling a lie without causing suspicion in the minds of the listener? How many people are clever enough to concoct a whole set of lies to cover one initial lie how many people can bear the embarrassment of being found lying?
I, for one, strongly hold that one should always speak the truth. It is much easier to remain consistent when you are telling the truth than when you are telling a lie. It also leaves your conscience clear and unburdened. Your credibility is enhanced in the eyes of all those with whom you come into contact. A man who tells a lie not only deceives others, he deceives himself too. Frequent lying is habit forming. One starts lying to escape unpleasantness at first, but soon he becomes habitual liar.
He would try to extricate himself from difficult situation by lying to others and then indulge in an elaborate justification of his act. He starts be¬lieving in his own lies Lying may save us from some embarrassing situations initially but it is bound to land us in hot soup sometime or the other. People are so complex and mysterious that our understanding of them has to very limited, if we approach them with an open heart and in a truthful manner they may reveal some of their inner self. This can build mutual bridges of understanding but if we are not truthful and try to falsify the facts, which we know to be true, in rod to gain some temporary advantage, one's communication with others will complete breakdown.
Many politicians are fond of making tall claims and telling lies. The party power will always exaggerate its accomplishments and spread canards about the party out of power. Since public memory is short, people are taken in by the prop ganda of the ruling party.
It does not take long, however, for the people to realise tf falseness of the claims of leaders when they find them amassing wealth and favourir their kith and kin. Their lies are exposed and at the subsequent elections they ai voted out of power. Inability of governments to complete their terms demonstrat (how much loss of credibility the politicians have suffered in public eyes.
I can never forget the story of the boy who used to cry 'wolf' to attract villagei and to have fun at their cost and who could get nobody to come to him and save hir when a wolf actually came and attacked him.
He had ruined his credibility by tellin lies. If you are a straight person and do not want to make a fortune by deceiving the unsuspecting, you need not tell lies.
People will trust you and hold you in respec May be a few would consider you a simpleton and would take you for granted. Sud a reputation would not cause you as much harm as the reputation of a liar.
Avoiding the bitter truth' is a proposition which is not entirely without merits You should not annoy people or antagonise them when you know it for certain tha speaking the truth will lead to such undesi-rable consequences. People love thei illusions more dearly than their kith and kin.