M O V I N G F O R W A R D
What is The Definition of Truthfulness, According to Srila Prabhupada?
Srila Prabhupada wrote in his Purport to Bhagavad-gita 10.4-5:
“Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief, and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.”
In this Treatise, it is possible that some may find some words “unpalatable”. Nevertheless, because they are the “Truth”, this Treatise will do what Srila Prabhupada instructed, which is,
“Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others.”
This strip of print, comes from a translation, by a god brother, of Srila Prabhupada’s guru’s book entitled “Sri Bhaktisiddhanta Vaibhava”. I actually have no recollection on how or where I came into possession of it. Hence, I had to research the meaning of the term “Vaibhava” and was able to translate the title as,
“Sri Bhaktisiddhanta’s, grandeur, glory, majestic, magnificence, and splendor of state.”
From Part Two, His Message-Mission and Personality, Chapter: The Revolutionary Preacher of Truth.
“Unless we fearlessly speak the truth, Sri Sri Gauranga will not be pleased. The more determined one is in devotional service, the bolder and more courageous he will be as a preacher.”
Yes! This Treatise will present the truth, although unpalatable to some, in a Bold, Fearless, Determined, Courageous, and Truthful manner,
“For the benefit of others.”, and “For the welfare of all.”
Srila Prabhupada wrote in the above Purport:
“Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others.”
So, who are the “others” who will “benefit” by such “truthfulness?”
These “others” means YOU, the readers of this Treatise, and the rest of the communities of Gaudiya Vaisnavas, who have not yet read it, for it is vital that they do.
Many devotees may cry,
“Prabhu! Why can you not just be a humble; Vaisnava? Are we not supposed to be humble?”
Srila Prabhupada gives the answer to this question in the following true story that was told to me by a junior godbrother, who I accepted as a siksa-guru. He personally witnessed the following:
Once in Vrindavan India, a disciple of Srila Prabhupada asked him.
“Srila Prabhupada! What does it mean to be humble?”
Srila Prabhupada thought for a moment. And then in one very rapid motion, he clenched his fist, raised his arm up in the air, and slammed his fist on his desk. This startled everyone. At the exact same moment that Srila Prabhupada fist slammed on the desk, with a loud thump, Srila Prabhupada said,
“Be Bold for Krishna!”
The word “bold” at first glance, does not seem to be the same as “humble”. The dictionary defines “humble” as,
“Having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.”
Vaisnavas have 26 qualities. Number 2 on that list is that “they are humble”. In this story just told, Srila Prabhupada said that “humble” means to “be bold for Krishna”.
Let us see what the word “bold” means:
“Showing an ability to take risks; confident and courageous”.
So, when Srila Prabhupada said, “be bold for Krishna”. He is saying that, as preachers of Krishna consciousness, we must take risks for Krishna with confidence and courage; and that is being humble.
If I show modesty, because I have a low estimate of my importance; and I lay-low, and ignore the “Truth”, for the purpose of showing “humility”. That is not being “truthful” according to the definition Srila Prabhupada gave in the purport just sited.
Therefore, this Treatise is “being bold for Krishna”.