Virtual Truth

Satya is the second in the list of yamas, the five ethical practices that form the first branch of Patanjali’s eight limbs of yoga. In researching satya, I find my usual sutra guide, Sri Swami Satchidananda’s The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, impractical. Satchidananda translates Patanjali’s words on satya as “to one established in truthfulness, actions and their results become subservient.” The very datedness of Satchidananda’s commentary on this sutra (he uses examples like how to become comfortable smoking a cigarette and growing to like eating candy) makes me reflect on the impermanence and plurality of what we call truth. It may be an unpopular opinion in some yoga circles, but even in reading ancient texts – perhaps especially in reading ancient texts – I come to the conclusion that change is the only truth that we can rely on. So, I turned to something a bit less ancient for a definition of satya – Wikipedia.

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