Read Summary of Honesty
- 1 What is Honesty?
- 1.1 It means Non-Deception
- 1.2 Honesty and Other Qualities
- 1.3 Honesty in Parts of the Being
- 1.4 The Need for Complete Honesty
- 1.5 Truth and Divine Truthfulness
- 1.6 Role of Honesty in Religion
- 1.7 Role of Honesty in Sadhana
- 1.8 Honesty Indispensable Basis of Yoga
- 2 Common Misunderstandings about Honesty
- 3 Reasons for Decrease in Honesty
- 4 Negative effects of Decrease/ Lack of Honesty
- 5 Why is Honesty Necessary?
- 6 How to Develop Honesty?
What is Honesty?
It means Non-Deception
It [truthfulness] means first truth-speaking, but beyond that to keep the speech in harmony with the deepest truth of which one is conscious. 
It is not the fact that if a man is truthful (in the sense of not lying), all he says happens. For that he must know the Truth—be in touch with the truth of things, not merely speak the truth as his mind knows it. 
An honest man does not need the marvels of Solomon's throne to learn to speak the truth. The throne of truth dwells within his own heart; the rectitude of his soul cannot but inspire him with words of rectitude. He speaks the truth not because he is afraid of a teacher, a master or a judge, but because truth is the characteristic of an upright man, the stamp of his nature. 
And in the work as in the man we find that faculty of spontaneous definite labour and vigorous formation which proceeds from an inner principle of perfect clearness, truth and sincerity. To be clear in one's own mind, entirely true and plain with one's self and with others, wholly honest with the conditions and materials of one's labour, is a rare gift in our crooked, complex and faltering humanity. It is the spirit of the Aryan worker and a sure secret of vigorous success. 
It has been said that in a rightly constituted mind the knowledge of the man and his milieu will help to a just appreciation of his poetry; but this knowledge in its nature rather distorts our judgment than helps it, for instead of giving an honest account to ourselves of the impression naturally made by the poem on us, we are irresistibly led to cut & carve that impression so as to make it square with our knowledge and the theories, more or less erroneous & ephemeral, we deduce from that knowledge. We proceed from the milieu to the poem, instead of arguing from the poem to the milieu. Yet the latter is the only fair method, for it is not the whole of the milieu that@171@ affects the man nor every part of it that affects him equally; the extent to which it affects him and the distribution of its various influences can only be judged from the poem itself. 
Q. Oh, your question was only this! You wanted to say, "Is it honest to ask questions and then not do anything of what you are told?" Is that it?
For the Governments honesty lies not only in saying what they are doing but also in doing what they say. 
Be honest towards yourself―(no self-deception). Be sincere towards the Divine―(no bargaining in the surrender) 
It is the want of knowledge of the senses which betrays you to this feeling. You see, you can begin the training when quite small, quite small, and you can continue for more than a hundred years. And then, truly, within yourself to begin with, you never grow old because it is always interesting and always you make progress; and finally, after some time, not very long, something like about twenty years—that's not much—you succeed in using your senses in a logical, rational, useful way and this helps you to enter into contact with the world consciously. Otherwise you go like half-blind people groping in the darkness there, like this (gesture), trying to find your way and at every step bumping into something. Or maybe, you mistake the road and then you must begin again. You make a mistake you must correct it. And I tell you, it is like a small exercise you can do, which can be done during any... "Why is it like that? Why have you done that?"—"I don't know."—"Why have you arranged this in this way?"—"I don't know." If you are honest to yourself, you will be obliged to say to yourself a hundred times a day, "I don't know." 
...by personal preference, the thought that gives it an agreeable, comfortable feeling; it says, "Yes, that must be it." But if you are quite honest and scrupulous and do not allow your preferences to come into play... 
...the honest and sincere conclusion must be: "I cannot judge, I do not have the elements needed for a true judgment; therefore I will not judge, I will keep quiet." 
Honesty and Other Qualities
There is always a difference between two different things. Of course, it is very difficult, I suppose, to be loyal without being sincere, and vice versa. But I have known people who were loyal and yet lacked a certain kind of sincerity. The opposite is not unusual. The one doesn't automatically follow from the other, but it is obvious that honesty, straightforwardness, loyalty and sincerity are closely related. I think that it is extremely difficult for someone to be perfectly sincere without being loyal and honest, but of course this demands the utmost. 
Be sincere and honest and your mind will be at rest. 
If you are sincere and scrupulously honest, my help is certainly with you and one day you will become aware of it. 
I am not aware of anything special that is being done against my will. But you must not let yourself be disturbed. You must will to become more and more honest and sincere, and, for the rest, rely on the divine Grace. 
Because sincerity is so rare a virtue in the world, one ought to bow down before it with respect when one meets it. Sincerity—what we call sincerity, that is to say, a perfect honesty and transparency: that there may be nowhere in the being anything which pretends, hides or wants to s itself off for what it is not.
It is only in honesty, sincerity and trust that human society can progress.
So the king resolved to kill this truthful man as well. One night he went to Vasishtha's house to carry out the evil deed. 
When King Vishwamitra, longing for a greater self esteem practised austerity, to become a Bramhan, everyone, except for Bramhan Vashistha agreed that he deserves to be a Bramhin. Vashisth had his reasons for saying so and did not change his stance out of fear of the King and said what was the truth without rancour.
There is no greater courage than to be always truthful. 
Honesty in Parts of the Being
...Falsehood in the body—that sort of juxtaposition of contraries, the inversion of the Vibration (only it doesn't really invert—it's a curious phenomenon: the vibration remains what it is but it's received inverted)—this falsehood in the body is a falsehood in the CONSCIOUSNESS. The falsity of the consciousness naturally has material consequences... and that's what illness is! I immediately made an experiment on my body to see if this held, if it actually works that way. And I realized that it's true! When you are open and in contact with the Divine, the Vibration gives you strength, energy; and if you are quiet enough, it fills you with great joy—and all of this in the cells of the body. You fall back into the ordinary consciousness and straightaway, without anything changing, the SAME thing, the SAME vibration coming from the SAME source turns into a pain, a malaise, a feeling of uncertainty, instability and decrepitude. To be sure of this, I repeated the experiment three or four times, and it was absolutely automatic, like the operation of a chemical formula: same conditions, same results.
Honesty in the physical mind: preliminary indispensable condition for transformation.
Vital honesty: not to allow our sensations and desires to falsify our judgement and determine our action.
Mental honesty: one does not try to deceive others or to deceive oneself.
Q. Sweet Mother, what does “mental honesty” mean exactly?
A: It is a mind that does not attempt to deceive itself. And in fact it is not an “attempt”, for it succeeds very well in doing it!
It would seem that in the ordinary psychological constitution of man, the almost constant function of the mind is to give an acceptable explanation of what goes on in the “desire-being”, the vital, the most material parts of the mind and the subtlest parts of the body. There is a kind of general complicity in all the parts of the being to give an explanation and even a comfortable justification for everything we do, in order to avoid as far as possible the painful impressions left by the mistakes we commit and undesirable movements. For instance, unless one has undergone or taken up a special training, whatever one does, the mind gives itself a favourable enough explanation of it, so that one is not troubled. Only under the pressure of outer reactions or circumstances or movements coming from other people, does one gradually consent to look less favourably at what one is and does, and begins to ask oneself whether things could not be better than they are.
Spontaneously, the first movement is what is known as self-defense. One puts oneself on one’s guard and quite spontaneously one wants a justification… for the smallest things, absolutely insignificant things—it is a normal attitude in life.
And explanations—one gives them to oneself; it is only under the pressure of circumstances that one begins to give them to others or to another, but first one makes oneself very comfortable; first thing: “It was like that, for it had to be like that, and it happened because of this, and…”, and it is always the fault of circumstances or other people. And it truly requires an effort—unless, as I say, one has undergone a discipline, has acquired the habit of doing it automatically—it requires an effort to begin to understand that perhaps things are not like this, that perhaps one has not done exactly what one ought to have done or reacted as one should. And even when one begins to see it, a much greater effort is needed to recognise it… officially.
When one begins to see that one has made a mistake, the first movement of the mind is to push it into the background and to put a cloak in front of it, the cloak of a very fine little explanation, and as long as one is not obliged to show it, one hides it. And this is what I call “lack of mental honesty”.
First, one deceives oneself by habit, but even when one begins not to deceive oneself, instinctively there is a movement of trying, trying to deceive oneself in order to feel comfortable. And so a still greater step is necessary once one has understood that one was deceiving oneself, to confess frankly, “Yes, I was deceiving myself.”
All these things are so habitual, so automatic, as it were, that you are not even aware of them; but when you begin to want to establish some discipline over your being, you make discoveries which are really tremendously interesting. When you have discovered this, you become aware that you are living constantly in a… the best word is “self-deception”, a state of wilful deceit; that is, you deceive yourself spontaneously. It is not that you need to reflect: spontaneously you put a pretty cloak over what you have done so that it doesn’t show its true colours… and all this for things which are so insignificant, which have so little importance! It would be understandable, wouldn’t it, if recognising your mistake had serious consequences for your very existence—the instinct of self-preservation would make you do it as a protection—but that is not the question, it concerns things which are absolutely unimportant, of no consequence at all except that of having to tell yourself, “I have made a mistake.”
This means that an effort is needed in order to be mentally sincere. There must be an effort, there must be a discipline. Of course, I am not speaking of those who tell lies in order not to be caught, for everybody knows that this should not be done. Besides, the most stupid lies are the most useless, for they are so flagrant that they can’t deceive anyone. Such examples occur constantly; you catch someone doing something wrong and tell him, “That’s how it is”; he gives a silly explanation which nobody can understand, nobody can accept; it is silly but he gives it in the hope of shielding himself. It is spontaneous, you see, but he knows this is not done. But the other kind of deception is much more spontaneous and it is so habitual that one is not aware of it. So, when we speak of mental honesty, we speak of something which is acquired by a very constant and sustained effort.
You catch yourself, don’t you, you suddenly catch yourself in the act of giving yourself somewhere in your head or here (Mother indicates the heart), here it is more serious… giving a very favourable little explanation. And only when you can get a grip on yourself, there, hold fast and look at yourself clearly in the face and say, “Do you think it is like that?”, then, if you are very courageous and put a very strong pressure, in the end you tell yourself, “Yes, I know very well that it is not like that!”
It sometimes takes years. Time must pass, one must have changed much within oneself, one’s vision of things must have become different, one must be in a different condition, in a different relation with circumstances, in order to see clearly, completely, how far one was deceiving oneself—and at that moment one was convinced that one was sincere.
It is probable that perfect sincerity can only come when one rises above this sphere of falsehood that is life as we know it on earth, mental life, even the higher mental life.
When one springs up into the higher sphere, into the world of Truth, one will be able to see things as they truly are, and seeing them as they are, one will be able to live them in their truth. Then all falsehoods will naturally crumble. And since the favourable explanations will no longer have any purpose, they will disappear, for there will be nothing left to explain.
Things will be self-evident, Truth will shine through all forms, the possibility of error will disappear.’’
When one begins to see that one has made a mistake, the first movement of the mind is to push it into the background and to put a cloak in front of it, the cloak of a very fine little explanation, and as long as one is not obliged to show it, one hides it. And this is what I call "lack of mental honesty".
The mind has a power of deception in its own regard which is incalculable. It clothes its desires and preferences with all kinds of wonderful intentions and it hides its trickeries, resentments and disappointments under the most favourable appearances. To overcome all that, you must have the fearlessness of a true warrior, and an honesty and a straightforwardness, a sincerity that never fail. 
Correct behaviour—peaceful, honest. From all points of view, not only materially, but morally, mentally. Mental honesty is one of the most difficult things to achieve. 
Mental sincerity: the essential condition for integral honesty. 
The Need for Complete Honesty
There is no reason for despondency; when one has progressed as far as you did, that is, so far as to feel and maintain the calm and have so much of the psychic discrimination and the psychic feeling, one has no right to despair of one's spiritual future. You could not yet carry out the discrimination into an entire psychic change, because a large part of the outer physical consciousness still took some pleasure in old movements and therefore their roots remained alive in the subconscient. When you were off your guard the whole thing rose up and there was a temporary and violent lapse. But this does not mean that the nature is not changeable. Only the calm inner conscious poise, the psychic discrimination and above all a will to change, stronger and steadier than before, must be so established that no uprising or invasion will be able to cloud even partly the discrimination or suspend the will. You saw the truth but this part of the old nature which rose up did not want to acknowledge—it wanted its play and imposed that on you. This time you must insist on a complete truthfulness in the whole being which will refuse to accept any denial of what the psychic discrimination sees or any affirmation or consent anywhere to what it disapproves, spiritual humility and the removal of self-righteousness, self-justification and the wish to impose yourself, the tendency to judge others etc. All these defects you know are in you; to cast them out may take time, but if the will to be true to the inner self in all ways is strong and persistent and vigilant and always calls in the Mother's force, it can be done sooner than now seems possible.
Truth and Divine Truthfulness
It is good if you have freed yourself from this bondage [a rigid insistence that one must always do what one has said one will do]. Love of Truth is divine, but this kind of truth is a very mixed product accompanied as it is by hardness or a fierce anger. Truth does not insist on a blind adherence to the spoken word—as for instance, if a man says that he will kill another under the impression that that other has done him a grievous wrong and afterwards carries out his word even when he has found out that the other was innocent and no wrong done. That is what literal adhesion to the spoken word would come to, if scrupulously held as a principle. Truth on the contrary demands that a man shall cleave to the principle of Truth in things only, and in the case above the principle of Truth would demand that he should break his vow and not keep it. If a man pledges himself to something that is against the principle of Truth, e.g. against the principle of Love and Compassion or against that of obedience and surrender to the Divine, it is not Truth to keep that pledge—for it would be a pledge to follow falsehood and how can truth be rooted in allegiance to falsehood? That would be an Asuric, not a divine Truthfulness.
Role of Honesty in Religion
All which seems to show that here is an element in existence, perhaps the initial element, which we do not know how to conquer either because it cannot be conquered or because we have not looked at it with a strong and impartial gaze so as to recognise it calmly and fairly and know what it is. We must look existence in the face if our aim is to arrive at a right solution, whatever that solution may be. And to look existence in the face is to look God in the face; for the two cannot be separated, nor the responsibility for the laws of world-existence be shifted away from Him who created them or from That which constituted it. Yet here too we love to palliate and equivocate. We erect a God of Love and Mercy, a God of good, a God just, righteous and virtuous according to our own moral conceptions of justice, virtue and righteousness, and all the rest, we say, is not He or is not His, but was made by some diabolical Power which He suffered for some reason to work out its wicked will or by some dark Ahriman counterbalancing our gracious Ormuzd, or was even the fault of selfish and sinful man who has spoiled what was made originally perfect by God. As if man had created the law of death and devouring in the animal world or that tremendous process by which Nature creates indeed and preserves but in the same step and by the same inextricable action slays and destroys. It is only a few religions which have had the courage to say without any reserve, like the Indian, that this enigmatic World-Power is one Deity, one Trinity, to lift up the image of the Force that acts in the world in the figure not only of the beneficent Durga, but of the terrible Kali in her blood-stained dance of destruction and to say, "This too is the Mother; this also know to be God; this too, if thou hast the strength, adore." And it is significant that the religion which has had this unflinching honesty and tremendous courage, has succeeded in creating a profound and wide-spread spirituality such as no other can parallel. For truth is the foundation of real spirituality and courage is its soul. Tasyai satyam āyatanam. 
Role of Honesty in Sadhana
Q. Friends from outside have often asked me this question: “When one is compelled to earn his living, should one just conform to the common code of honesty or should one be still more strict?
A: This depends upon the attitude your friend has taken in life. If he wants to be a sadhak, it is indispensable that rules of ordinary morality do not have any value for him. Now, if he is an ordinary man living the ordinary life, it is a purely practical question, isn’t it? He must conform to the laws of the country in which he lives to avoid all trouble! But all these things which in ordinary life have a very relative value and can be looked upon with a certain indulgence, change totally the minute one decides to do yoga and enter the divine life. Then, all values change completely; what is honest in ordinary life, is no longer at all honest for you. Besides, there is such a reversal of values that one can no longer use the same ordinary language. If one wants to consecrate oneself to the divine life, one must do it truly, that is, give oneself entirely, no longer do anything for one’s own interest, depend exclusively upon the divine Power to which one abandons oneself. Everything changes completely, doesn’t it?—everything, everything, it is a reversal. What I have just read from this book applies solely to those who want to do yoga; for others it has no meaning, it is a language which makes no sense, but for those who want to do yoga it is imperative. It is always the same thing in all that we have recently read: one must be careful not to have one foot on one side and the other foot on the other, not to bestride two different boats each following its own course. This is what Sri Aurobindo said: one must not lead a “double life”. One must give up one thing or the other—one can’t follow both.
This does not mean, however, that one is obliged to get out of the conditions of one’s life: it is the inner attitude which must be totally changed. One may do what one is in the habit of doing, but do it with quite a different attitude. I don’t say it is necessary to give up everything in life and go away into solitude, to an ashram necessarily, to do yoga. Now, it is true that if one does yoga in the world and in worldly circumstances, it is more difficult, but it is also more complete. Because, every minute one must face problems which do not present themselves to someone who has left everything and gone into solitude; for such a one these problems are reduced to a minimum while in life one meets all sorts of difficulties, beginning with the incomprehension of those around you with whom you have to deal; one must be ready for that, be armed with patience, and a great indifference. But in yoga one should no longer care for what people think or say; it is an absolutely indispensable starting-point. You must be absolutely immune to what the world may say or think of you and to the way it treats you. People’s understanding must be something quite immaterial to you and should not even slightly touch you. That is why it is generally much more difficult to remain in one’s usual surroundings and do yoga than to leave everything and go into solitude; it is much more difficult, but we are not here to do easy things—easy things we leave to those who do not think of transformation. 
Only the heart that is free from fear, the spirit that is full of faith, the soul that is passionate for realization will remain for the final test and the last purification. To men of doubtful views and undecided opinions the crisis precipitated by the decision of the Convention Committee will prove a cruel embarrassment. To all who have an emotional preference for the new ideas without a clear understanding of their supreme and urgent necessity, to all who understand the new ideas with their intellects only but have them not in their hearts, to all who, while loving and understanding the new ideas, have not faith to put aside the cloaks of prudence and dissimulation or courage to avow their faith openly before the world, the position is one of great perplexity. God is a hard master and will not be served by halves. All evasions, all subterfuges He cuts away and puts the question plain and loud; and before all mankind, before the friend ready to cut the ties of friendship asunder, before the enemy standing ready with lifted sword to slay the servants of God as soon as they confess their faith, it has to be answered: "Who is on the Lord's side?" Not once, not twice, but always that question is being put and the answer exacted. If you are unwilling to answer, either you do not believe that it is God's work you are doing and are therefore unfit for it, or you have insufficient faith in His power to get His work done without the help of your diplomacy and cunning, or you are unwilling@1058@ to meet any plain risks in His service. To serve God under a cover is easy, to stipulate for safety in doing the work is natural to frail human nature, to sympathise and applaud is cheap; but the work demands sterner stuff in the men who will do it and insists on complete service, fearless service and honest service. The waverer must make up his mind either to answer God's question or to give up the work. There is plenty for him to do in a cheap, safe and easy way if he cannot face the risks of self-devotion.
Aspiration and will to change are not so very far from each other, and if one has either, it is usually enough for going through,—provided of course it maintains itself. The opposition in certain parts of the being exists in every sadhak and can be very obstinate. Sincerity comes by having first the constant central aspiration or will, next, the honesty to see and avow the refusal in parts of the being, finally, the intention of seeing it through even there, however difficult it may be. You have admitted certain things changed in you, so you can no longer pretend that you have made no progress at all.
There is experience. For a simple heart, a sincere and honest nature, a nature which knows that its experience is sincere, that it is not a falsification of desire or of mental ambition, but a spontaneous movement which comes from the soul—the experience is absolutely convincing. It loses its power of conviction when the desire to have an experience, or the ambition to think oneself very superior, becomes mixed with it. If you have that in you, then beware, because desires and ambitions falsify experience. The mind is a formative power, and if you have a very strong desire for something very important and very interesting to happen to you, you can make it happen, at least in the eyes of those who see things superficially. But apart from these cases, if you are honest, sincere, spontaneous, and especially when experiences come to you without any effort on your part to have them, and as a spontaneous expression of your deeper aspiration, then these experiences carry with them the seal of an absolute authenticity; and even if the whole world tells you that they are nonsense and illusion, it does not change your personal convictions. But naturally, for this, you must not deceive yourself. You must be sincere and honest with a complete inner rectitude. [Based on Aphorism <12>- They proved to me by convincing reasons that God did not exist, and I believed them. Afterwards I saw God, for He came and embraced me. And now which am I to believe, the reasonings of others or my own experience?] 
Sincerity means more than mere honesty. It means that you mean what you say, feel what you profess, are earnest in your will. As the sadhak aspires to be an instrument of the Divine and one with the Divine, sincerity in him means that he is really in earnest in his aspiration and refuses all other will or impulse except the Divine's 
Your service to the Divine must be scrupulously honest, disinterested and unselfish, otherwise it has no value.
Therefore the qualities that make you worthy of leading the spiritual life are to have an inner balance, a balance in your action, and to be moderate in everything, to be sincere, honest, loyal. 
It is noteworthy that the two defects insisted upon here are lack of self-control and lack of loyalty. Loyalty means here sincerity, honesty; what the Dhammapada censures most severely is hypocrisy: to pretend that you want to live the spiritual life and not to do it, to pretend that you want to seek the truth and not to do it, to display the external signs of consecration to the divine life—here symbolised by the yellow robe—but within to be concerned only with oneself, one's selfishness and one's own needs.
Yes, my dear little child, I am always with you to help you, to support you, to guide you. By doing your work with conscientiousness, honesty and perseverance, you will feel my presence closer and closer to you. 
Straightforwardness means simply to be honest with oneself and with the Divine and not to be crooked in one's ways. 
Honesty Indispensable Basis of Yoga
The indispensable basis of our Yoga is sincerity, honesty, unselfishness, disinterested consecration to the work to be done, nobility of character and straightforwardness. They who do not practise these elementary virtues are not Sri Aurobindo's disciples and have no place in the Ashram. That is why I refuse to answer imbecile and groundless accusations against the Ashram emanating from perverse and evil-intentioned minds. 
It can or it may not. Why did not everything open up in me like the painting vision and some other things? All did not. As I told you I had to plod in many things. Otherwise the affair would not have taken so many years (30). In this Yoga one can't always take a short cut in everything. I had to work on each problem and on each conscious plane to solve or to transform and in each I had to take the blessed conditions as they were and do honest work without resorting to miracles. Of course if the consciousness grows all of itself, it is all right, things will come with the growth, but not even then pell-mell in an easy gallop.
Common Misunderstandings about Honesty
Something you believe to be true—which probably was true for a time—on which you partly base your action, but which, in actuality, was only one opinion. You thought it was a truthful finding with all its logical consequences, and your action (part of your action) was based on it, so that everything proceeded from it automatically. 
the greatest thief can be the most honest man (this is not to encourage you to steal, of course!) and the greatest liar can be the most truthful person. 
Honesty as a Superstition
About sex and Yoga—my teaching has been clearly written in the Bases of Yoga and everyone knows how strongly the Mother has discountenanced these things and considers purity from them a first requisite for success in the path of sadhana. But there are very queer things that have for long been inculcated in the Asram to newcomers and to visitors—e.g. that truthfulness is a superstition and the more you lie the better sadhak you are. That was the first thing taught to a sadhak who first came here many years ago and it is only recently that he has discovered it was not my view or the Mother's. It is not surprising that our work and the Yoga should make such slow progress when such perversities fill the atmosphere. Whatever can be done to clear them out will be so much help to the work of the Mother. 
Not a Mental Construction
This phenomenon is very real, concrete, it is felt with all the reality and intensity of even a physical phenomenon. But each person describes it with a form particular to himself, except as I say, when he has read and studied, and his brain is full of all that is written in books; then automatically what he has read gives a form to his experience, and this takes away from it something of the spontaneity which gives such an impression of being sincere and truthful; it becomes a mental construction. If you have read and read much that it is like a serpent which is coiled up, well, quite naturally when you concentrate and try to awaken it, you see a serpent which is coiled, because you think about it like that. If you are told about a thousand-petalled lotus, you see a thousand-petalled lotus. But it is a mental superimposition upon the fact of the experience itself. But the feeling of something that's innumerable, that's one and innumerable at the same time, and that kind of impression of something opening, awakening, beginning to vibrate, responding to the forces and giving you an intensity of light, of understanding, of opening to higher regions, this is... the substance of the experience. Yet when you begin to describe it with images which you have found in books, it is as though suddenly you were making it either superficial—fossilised, so to say—or artificial or even insincere. 
It is not the fact that if a man is truthful (in the sense of not lying), all he says happens. For that he must know the Truth—be in touch with the truth of things, not merely speak the truth as his mind knows it. 
Honesty and Fear
Why did the fox speak in this way? Was it to say what he really thought? Oh, certainly not! Was it then a sincere wish to please the lion? Certainly not that either. He spoke like that because he was afraid, and we can surely make allowances for him. But nevertheless we must admit that his words were not truthful—merely artful. And if the lion approved of them, it was because he loved meat, not truth. 
Even when by chance, as in the story of Abu Abbas, it forces a man to speak the truth, that does not make him truthful; for, at the very next moment, fear may drive him to speak without frankness, as did the fox in our previous tale. And that is what most often happens.
When a person is forced to speak something, that does not make him truthful as at the very next moment fear may drive him to speak without frankness. 
Reasons for Decrease in Honesty
The extreme acuteness of your difficulties is due to the Yoga having come down against the bedrock of Inconscience which is the fundamental basis of all resistance in the individual and in the world to the victory of the Spirit and the Divine Work that is leading toward that victory. The difficulties themselves are general in the Asram as well as in the outside world. Doubt, discouragement, diminution or loss of faith, waning of the vital enthusiasm for the ideal, perplexity and a baffling of the hope for the future are the common features of the difficulty. In the world outside there are much worse symptoms such as the general increase of cynicism, a refusal to believe in anything at all, a decrease of honesty, an immense corruption, a preoccupation with food, money, comfort, pleasure to the exclusion of higher things and a general expectation of worse and worse things awaiting the world. All that, however acute, is a temporary phenomenon for which those who know anything about the workings of the world-energy and the workings of the Spirit were prepared. I myself foresaw that this worst would come, the darkness of night before the dawn; therefore I am not discouraged. I know what is preparing behind the darkness and can see and feel the first signs of its coming. Those who seek for the Divine have to stand firm and persist in their seeking; after a time, the darkness will fade and begin to disappear and the Light will come. 
Negative effects of Decrease/ Lack of Honesty
...unless we have the honesty and courage to look existence straight in the face, we shall never arrive at any effective solution of its discords and oppositions. We must see first what life and the world are; afterwards, we can all the better set about finding the right way to transform them into what they should be. If this repellent aspect of existence holds in itself some secret of the final harmony, we shall by ignoring or belittling it miss that secret and all our efforts at a solution will fail by fault of our self-indulgent ignoring of the true elements of the problem. If, on the other hand, it is an enemy to be beaten down, trampled on, excised, eliminated, still we gain nothing by underrating its power and hold upon life or refusing to see how firmly it is rooted in the effective past and the actually operative principles of existence.
Why is Honesty Necessary?
Victory over Falsehood
Indeed the very act of bringing it out and showing it to the Light would be in itself a momentous conversion and pave the way to the final victory. For the laying bare of each falsehood is in itself a victory—each acknowledgment of error is the demolition of one of the lords of Darkness. It may be an acknowledgment to oneself, provided it is absolutely honest and is no subtle regret apt to be forgotten the next moment and without the strength to make an unbreakable resolution not to repeat the mistake. 
It is only when one is consciously identified with his divine Origin that he can speak with complete truthfulness of a memory of past lives. Sri Aurobindo speaks of a progressive manifestation of the Spirit in the forms it inhabits. When one reaches the summit of this manifestation, one has a plunging view of the path already traversed, and one remembers. 
The only salvation is in an absolute sincerity and truthfulness. 
Absolute truthfulness must govern life if one wants to be close to the Divine.
There is only one thing needed to make anyone fit for the Mother's grace—it is a perfect sincerity and a truthful openness to the Mother in all the being.
Become truthful, pure, sincere, straightforward. 
Only those who are perfectly truthful can be my true children. 
All that is good, truthful and progressive is never destroyed by her. On the contrary, she protects and sustains it. 
When a child wants to impress you by telling you stories of the wealth of his family, you must not keep quiet. You must explain to him that worldly wealth does not count here, only the wealth that has been offered to the Divine has some value; that you do not become big by living in big houses, travelling by first-class and spending money lavishly. You can increase in stature only by being truthful, sincere, obedient and grateful.
The earth will enjoy a lasting and living peace only when men understand that they must be truthful even in their international dealings.
Good temper, fair-play, truthfulness. 
In reality, even for a purely egoistic reason, to do good, to be just, straight, honest is the best means to be quiet and peaceful, to reduce one's anxiety to a minimum. And if, besides, one could be disinterested, free from personal motives and egoism, then it would be possible to become truly happy. 
Honesty is the best protection. 
We always come back to the same thing: the absolute necessity for perfect sincerity, perfect honesty and a sense of the dignity of all we do so that we may do it as it should be done. Cite error: Closing
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Be courageous, enduring, vigilant; above all, be sincere, with perfect honesty.
Nature recognises a clear, honest and recognisable knock at her doors and gives the result with an answering scrupulosity and diligence. And it is good that the spirit of the Master should leave its trace in his followers, that somewhere in India there should be a body of whom it can be said that when a work is seen to be necessary and right, the men will be forthcoming, the means forthcoming and that work will surely be done. 
Role of Honesty for Transformation in Different Parts of the being
The condition [for the change of the lower vital] is that you must bring the sadhana into your physical consciousness and live for the sadhana and the Divine only. You must give up positively the bad habits that still persist and never resume those that have ceased or been interrupted. Inner experiences are helpful to the mind and higher vital for change, but for the lower vital and the outer being a sadhana of self-discipline is indispensable. The external actions and the spirit in them must change—your external thoughts and actions must be for the Divine only. There must be self-restraint, entire truthfulness, a constant thought of the Divine in all you do. This is the way for the change of the lower vital. By your constant self-dedication and self-discipline the Force will be brought down into the external being and the change made.
Honesty in the Soul
The Gita applies this generalised analysis of the universal Energy to the psychological nature of man in relation to his bondage to Prakriti and the realisation of spiritual freedom. !14.6! Sattwa, it tells us, is by the purity of its quality a cause of light and illumination and by virtue of that purity it produces no !14.11! disease or morbidity or suffering in the nature. When into all the doors in the body there comes a flooding of light, as if the doors and windows of a closed house were opened to sunshine, a light of understanding, perception and knowledge,—when the intelligence is alert and illumined, the senses quickened, the whole mentality satisfied and full of brightness and the nervous being calmed and filled with an illumined ease and clarity, prasāda, one should understand that there has been a great increase and uprising of the sattwic guna in the nature. For knowledge and a harmonious ease and pleasure and happiness are the characteristic results of sattwa. The pleasure that is sattwic is not only that contentment which an inner clarity of satisfied will and intelligence brings with it, but all delight and content produced by the soul’s possession of itself in light or by an accord or an adequate and truthful adjustment between the regarding soul and the surrounding Nature and her offered objects of desire and perception. 
Truthfulness in the Whole being
There is no reason for despondency; when one has progressed as far as you did, that is, so far as to feel and maintain the calm and have so much of the psychic discrimination and the psychic feeling, one has no right to despair of one's spiritual future. You could not yet carry out the discrimination into an entire psychic change, because a large part of the outer physical consciousness still took some pleasure in old movements and therefore their roots remained alive in the subconscient. When you were off your guard the whole thing rose up and there was a temporary and violent lapse. But this does not mean that the nature is not changeable. Only the calm inner conscious poise, the psychic discrimination and above all a will to change, stronger and steadier than before, must be so established that no uprising or invasion will be able to cloud even partly the discrimination or suspend the will. You saw the truth but this part of the old nature which rose up did not want to acknowledge—it wanted its play and imposed that on you. This time you must insist on a complete truthfulness in the whole being which will refuse to accept any denial of what the psychic discrimination sees or any affirmation or consent anywhere to what it disapproves, spiritual humility and the removal of self-righteousness, self-justification and the wish to impose yourself, the tendency to judge others etc. All these defects you know are in you; to cast them out may take time, but if the will to be true to the inner self in all ways is strong and persistent and vigilant and always calls in the Mother's force, it can be done sooner than now seems possible. 
How to Develop Honesty?
Well, doesn't it ever occur to you to say: "How is it that this child whose father and mother are so good, so honest, so generous, so truthful, how is it that he is such a rascal?" You may wonder at it, but it does not seem anything impossible. So, this is the same thing. Fundamentally, all depends on the inner constitution of the being. There are no two beings who are exactly alike; there are no two constitutions which are the same. And all depends on the inner organisation, the integral organisation of the being, on the order in which the elements are organised and what their inner relation—is even as the external form differs because the cells are not organised in the same way. But as this is a phenomenon you constantly see, in the midst of which you are born, which you see every day, it seems quite natural to you. But it is the same thing. It seems quite natural to you that a child is different from its mother and father—and yet this is the same thing. And in an emanation of the Supreme, to begin with, one part is necessarily different from the whole, though it may potentially contain the whole, but the whole is not expressed. And as the whole is not expressed, it is perforce different from the whole, for the inner organisation is different. There then, I think that is enough.
This is a fact very little spoken about, but one of capital importance. And if you observe carefully you will see that it is always thus with everyone. This leads us to statements which are paradoxical but absolutely true; for instance, that the greatest thief can be the most honest man (this is not to encourage you to steal, of course!) and the greatest liar can be the most truthful person. So, do not despair if you find in yourself the greatest weakness, for perhaps it is the sign of the greatest divine strength. Do not say, "I am like that, I can't be otherwise." It is not true. You are "like that" because, precisely, you ought to be the opposite. And all your difficulties are there just so that you may learn to transform them into the truth they are hiding.
That is a bit too much. Control over one's speech is more important than complete silence. The best thing is to learn to say only what is useful in the most accurate and truthful way possible.
Valiant to be and noble and truthful and just to the humble. 
It is this artificiality, this insincerity, this complete lack of truth that appeared so shocking to me that ... one wonders how, in a world as false as this one, we can arrive at any truthful evaluation of things. 
Process of Cultivating Mental Honesty
This means that an effort is needed in order to be mentally sincere. There must be an effort, there must be a discipline. Of course, I am not speaking of those who tell lies in order not to be caught, for everybody knows that this should not be done. Besides, the most stupid lies are the most useless, for they are so flagrant that they can't deceive anyone. Such examples occur constantly; you catch someone doing something wrong and tell him, "That's how it is"; he gives a silly explanation which nobody can understand, nobody can accept; it is silly but he gives it in the hope of shielding himself. It is spontaneous, you see, but he knows this is not done. But the other kind of deception is much more spontaneous and it is so habitual that one is not aware of it. So, when we speak of mental honesty, we speak of something which is acquired by a very constant and sustained effort.
You catch yourself, don’t you, you suddenly catch yourself in the act of giving yourself somewhere in your head or here (Mother indicates in the heart), here it is more serious...giving a very favourable little explanation. And only when you can get a grip on yourself there, hold yourself there, hold fast and look at yourself clearly in the face and say, “Do you think it is like that?”, then, if you are very courageous and put a very strong pressure, in the end you tell yourself, “Yes. I know very well that it is not like that!”
It sometimes takes years. Time must pass, one must have changed much within oneself, ones vision of things must have become different, one must be in a different condition, in a different relation with circumstances, in order to see clearly completely how far one was deceiving oneself- and that moment one was convinced that one was sincere. 
Q. (Another child) I had a dream in which I went for blessings and you gave me three flowers: “mental honesty”, next “surrender”, and last, I think, “quiet mind”.
A: It is a fact. You have only to take it like that and make an effort to have a quiet mind, see that this mind surrenders and becomes perfectly honest. It is very good, it is a programme—and later to be concentrated on. 
How to Inculcate Honesty In Children?
Little children, do not wait to be grown up before you learn to be truthful: that cannot be done too early; and to remain truthful, it is never too soon to acquire the habit.
And above all, set them the right example.... Be yourself what you would like them to be. Give them the example of disinterestedness, patience, self-control, constant good humour, the overcoming of one's little personal dislikes, a sort of constant goodwill, an understanding of others' difficulties; and that equality of temper which makes children free from fear, for what makes children deceitful and untruthful, and even cunning, is the fear of being punished. If they feel secure, they will hide nothing and you will then be able to help them to be loyal and honest. Of all things the most important is good example. Sri Aurobindo speaks of that, of the invariable good humour one must have in all circumstances, this self-forgetfulness: not to throw one's own little troubles on others; when one is tired or uncomfortable, not to become unpleasant, impatient. This asks for quite some perfection, a self-control which is a great step on the path of realisation. If one fulfilled the conditions needed to be a true leader, even if only a leader of a small group of children, well, one would already be far advanced in the discipline needed for the accomplishment of the yoga. 
You see, for those who are sincere, sincere and very—how to put it?—very straight in their aspiration, there is a marvellous help, there is an absolutely living, active consciousness which is ready to... to respond to any attentive silence. You could do six years' work in six months, but there should... there should not be any pretension, there should not be anything which tries to imitate, there should be no wanting to put on airs. There should... you should be truly, absolutely honest, pure, sincere, conscious that... you exist only by what comes from above. Then... then... then you could advance with giant strides.
He observes the discipline and is always honest. 
And for a beginning take care to be honest, sincere, straightforward, noble and pure in a rigorous discipline that you will impose on yourselves. 
There are other parents who know that their children must be educated and who try to do what they can. But very few, even among those who are most serious and sincere, know that the first thing to do, in order to be able to educate a child, is to educate oneself, to become conscious and master of oneself so that one never sets a bad example to one's child. For it is above all through example that education becomes effective. To speak good words and to give wise advice to a child has very little effect if one does not oneself give him an example of what one teaches. Sincerity, honesty, straightforwardness, courage, disinterestedness, unselfishness, patience, endurance, perseverance, peace, calm, self-control are all things that are taught infinitely better by example than by beautiful speeches. Parents, have a high ideal and always act in accordance with it and you will see that little by little your child will reflect this ideal in himself and spontaneously manifest the qualities you would like to see expressed in his nature. Quite naturally a child has respect and admiration for his parents; unless they are quite unworthy, they will always appear to their child as demigods whom he will try to imitate as best he can.
More on Honesty
And for the cycle to be complete, one cannot stop on the way at any plane, not even the highest spiritual plane nor the plane closest to matter (like the occult plane in the vital, for example). One must descend right into matter, and this perfection in manifestation must be a material perfection, or otherwise the cycle is not complete—which explains why those who want to flee in order to realize the divine Will are in error. What must be done is exactly the opposite! The two must be combined in a perfect way. This is why all the honest sciences, the sciences that are practiced sincerely, honestly, exclusively with a will to know, are difficult paths—yet such sure paths for the total realization.
Overgrow your small egoistic personality and become a worthy child of our Mother India, fulfil your duties with honesty and rectitude, and always keep cheerful and confident, with a steady trust in the Divine's Grace.
It is by being sincere, courageous, enduring and honest that you can best serve your country, make it one and great in the world.
Content Curated by Arpita Joshi
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