Showing posts with label Act of Honesty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Act of Honesty. Show all posts

Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is A Ritual Act of Truth?

A ceremonial activity portrayed in Hindu mythology as having the ability to remove poison, produce rain, make a river flow backward, or even force the gods to fulfill one's desires. 

The force of truth underpins the act of truth, which is typically done as a last resort after all other options have been exhausted. 

The act of truth is a two-part statement: 

  1. the first is a truthful statement about one's previous conduct, 
  2. and the second is a request for a particular outcome ("If I have always given to those who requested from me, may this fire not burn me"). 

The rite's success is due to the veracity of the first condition, which leads the second portion to come true due to the force of truth in the condition. 

The tale of the lovers Nala and Damayanti is one example of the act of truth being used to force the gods to fulfill a desire. 

  • Damayanti wants to marry Nala, but discovers that four gods have assumed Nala's appearance in an attempt to thwart her plans. 
  • Damayanti's act of truth declares that she has always chosen Nala as her spouse and that she has never changed her mind, and it then commands the gods to return to their real forms. 
  • The gods revert to their original forms, and Nala and Damayanti marry. 

As Sanskritist and Indologist W. Norman Brown points out, in effective acts of truth, the individuals doing them have completely fulfilled their social duties, which enables them to make the conditional affirmation so essential to the act of truth. 

  • Successful males have traditionally been great monarchs, ascetics, or homeowners, whereas successful women have typically been devoted to their spouses (filling one idealized woman's role). 
  • According to one tale, a prostitute claimed that she had served all of her customers without discrimination, thereby fully performing her societal duty. 

In any of these situations, it is thought that perfecting one's position would provide spiritual merit as well as the capacity to release it via the act of truth. W. Norman Brown, “The Metaphysics of the Truth Act,” in Mélanges D'Indianisme pour la Mémoire de Louis Renou, 1968, has further details.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.