Is lying sinful? How can we give it up?
From: Krishna Das
Edited By: HG Murlidhar Prabhu
Question: Prabhuji just two months ago, I got Krishna Consciousness, before that, I used to say so many lies to my friends to make them happy. Still sometimes I am doing with other devotee friends. Is it a sin to say lie to others? If so, how can I control it?
Answer: Yes, lying is definitely undesirable and we should avoid it. With respect to sinfulness, it will depend on the specific lie; in what context, and for what purpose you are saying the lie. And in general, Satyam (truthfulness) is a Godly quality.
Krishna refers to truthfulness several times in the Bhagavad Gita, in a positive way. So we should try to cultivate that. Now, how do we do that? In general when we speak lies to please others, we may temporarily please them, but in the long run we lose credibility, because, it is very difficult to conceal lies for a long time. A few lies may be concealed, but over a period of time, when lying becomes a habit, then we get caught. And even if we don’t get into trouble specifically because of our lies it is definitely trouble when we lose our credibility. So it is not only the future sinful reactions but even the immediate reaction in terms of loss of credibility is not something we want.
How do we avoid telling lies? I have written in an article that determination develops by deliberation and devotion.
Deliberation means we contemplate specifically think seriously, either before or after the event. Sometimes we may blurt out some untruth, but later on realize that, I shouldn’t have spoken that. We can think about those circumstances in which we spoke a lie. Then plan, how in the future, if such a situation comes, I can avoid it.
Devotion means, we pray to Krishna, we seek His assistance for helping us to go deeper into the higher truths and the higher tastes that we get in Bhakti and by that also we will be able to avoid this habit of speaking lies.
So by determination and by devotion, we can give up the habit of speaking lies.