सत्यस्य वचनं श्रेयः सत्यादपि हितं भवेत्।
यद्भूतहितमत्यन्तम् एतत्सत्यं मतं मम॥१२-३१६-१३॥
—महाभारते शान्तिपर्वणि ३१६-१३
satyasya vacanaṁ śreyaḥ satyādapi hitaṁ bhavet|
yadbhūtahitamatyantam etatsatyaṁ mataṁ mama||12-316-13||
—mahābhārate śāntiparvaṇi 316-13
It is always proper to speak the truth. It is better again to speak what is beneficial than to speak what is true. I hold that that is truth which is fraught with the greatest benefit in all creatures (This is said by Devarṣi Nārada).
The saying “satyādapi hitaṁ bhavet” is frequently misunderstood. The scriptures do not say that truth should be sacrificed in view of what is beneficial, for such view will militate with the saying that there is nothing higher than truth. The saying has reference to those exceptional instances where truth becomes a source of positive harm. The story of the Rishi who spoke the truth respecting the place where certain travellers lay concealed, when questioned by certain robbers who were for killing the travellers, is an instance to the point. The goldsmith’s son who died with a falsehood on his lips for allowing his lawful prince to escape from the hands of his pursuers did a meritorious act of loyalty. Then, again, the germ of the utilitarian theory may be detected in the second line of this verse (from Reference 2).
शान्तितुल्यं तपो नास्ति तोषान्न परमं सुखम्।
नास्ति तृष्णापरो व्याधिर्न च धर्मो दयापरः।
śāntitulyaṁ tapo nāsti toṣānna paramaṁ sukham|
nāsti tṛṣṇāparo vyādhirna ca dharmo dayāparaḥ|
There is no penance like peace; there is no greater happiness than satisfaction.
There is no greater disease than desire; there is no greater dharma than mercy/compassion
सर्वोपनिषदो गावः दोग्धा गोपालनन्दनः।
पार्थो वत्सः सुधीर्भोक्ता दुग्धं गीतामृतं महत्॥
sarvopaniṣado gāvaḥ dogdhā gopālanandanaḥ|
pārtho vatsaḥ sudhīrbhoktā dugdhaṁ gītāmṛtaṁ mahat||
All the ‘Upanishads’ are the cows and the milker is Gopalanandana (Lord Krishna).
Arjuna, who has a good intellect is the calf, [drinking] the milk, which the nectar of the great Gita.
ज्येष्ठत्वं जन्मना नैव गुणैर्ज्येष्ठत्वमुचते।
गुणात् गुरुत्वमायाति दुग्धं दधि घृतं क्रमात्॥
jyeṣṭhatvaṁ janmanā naiva guṇairjyeṣṭhatvamucate|
guṇāt gurutvamāyāti dugdhaṁ dadhi ghṛtaṁ kramāt||
Excellence is not by birth; excellence is decided by qualities [of a person].
Only by qualities, greatness comes, [just] as it increases from milk to curd to ghee.
एकं विषरसं हन्ति शस्त्रेणैकश्च वध्यते।
सराष्ट्रं सप्रजं हन्ति राजनं मन्त्रविप्लवः॥
ekaṁ viṣarasaṁ hanti śastreṇaikaśca vadhyate|
sarāṣṭraṁ saprajaṁ hanti rājanaṁ mantraviplavaḥ||
One [person] is killed by poison, by a weapon [too, only] one is killed.
The whole country, with its citizens and kings can be killed by the wrong decisions of a king!
उदारस्य तृणं वित्तं शूरस्य मरणं तृणम्।
विरक्तस्य तृणं भार्या निःस्पृहस्य तृणं जगत्।
udārasya tṛṇaṁ vittaṁ śūrasya maraṇaṁ tṛṇam|
viraktasya tṛṇaṁ bhāryā niḥspṛhasya tṛṇaṁ jagat|
For a generous person, wealth is equivalent to grass (insignificant), for a brave man, death is insignifcant.
For an dispassionate person, wife (family) is insignificant. For a person without desires, the entire world is insignificant.
क्षणशः कणशश्चैव विद्यामर्थञ्च साधयेत्।
क्षणे नष्टे कुतो विद्या कणे नष्टे कुतो धनम्॥
kṣaṇaśaḥ kaṇaśaścaiva vidyāmarthañca sādhayet|
kṣaṇe naṣṭe kuto vidyā kaṇe naṣṭe kuto dhanam||
Every moment one should learn and from every bit one should earn.
If a moment is wasted, where is knowledge [acquired] and if even a bit is wasted, where is wealth.