The Laws of Dharma: 4. Honesty (asteya)

I used to have a guru in India who once said: “Self-realisation is very simple. You just have to say what you think, and do what you say. The trouble is, most people think one thing, say another and then do a third thing entirely, and it twists them out of shape.”

I thought that sounded very easy. But once I began to concentrate on lining up my thoughts, words and deeds, I discovered, quite quickly, then I fell into his “most people” category. Luckily, I was on a six month visa so I had plenty of time to practise.

But his teaching on honesty was based on today’s Law of Dharma, and so it’s a spiritual teaching – not just one about how to behave well in society. It’s about keeping what’s known as the hara line straight and true, so that the energy (prana or chi) can flow smoothly and cleanly.

Once the hara line gets bent out shape, as shown in the illustration below from my book The Sacred Sex Rites of Ishtar, our connection to the spirits is contorted, or at least reduced in quality.

We can perhaps think of the hara line like a flute that won’t produce any sound because it’s become so warped and twisted.

The hara line needs to remain straight, taut and true, so that otherworldly communications and sustenance can flow through it. This Vedic principle reminded me of the “telephones” we would play with as children. We’d get two tin cans and then tie a piece a string between them, and then we could hear each other speaking from quite a distance, although the quality of the sound depended upon the tautness of the string. My guru’s three-point plan on honesty in thought, word and deed is a way of keeping the string – or hara line – tight and true.

I think that I must have made some headway in this teaching because when I returned to the West, I instantly lost most of my friends, and even some members of my family soon turned against me. He hadn’t taught me the fourth thing, which I had to learn the hard way. In other words, sometimes it’s best just to say nothing!

[The illustration at the top is from Barbara Brennan’s Light Emerging.]