Perjury is considered both a crime and a sin. Fables of all cultures abound in illustrations of evil consequences of telling lies. If one has to go by the commandments, there is no ground whatsoever to question the desir¬ability of speaking the truth.
Yet, the repositories of practical wisdom have been critical of plain speaking or speaking the truth. An old Sanskrit saying enjoins upon man to speak the truth, to speak the sweet words and not to speak the bitter truth. The wise men of the west have also said that 'truth is always bitter'.
It is commonly believed that only the saints can afford the pursuit of truth. A man of the world cannot survive if he sticks to the truth in all circumstances. Contradictory views on whether one should always speak the truth or not, have baffled the sensitive minds the world over the problem is compounded by the fact that telling a lie is no easier than speaking the truth.
For many, it is the other way round. Since the face is the index of mind, how many people will succeed in telling a lie without causing suspicion in the minds of the listener? How many people are clever enough to concoct a whole set of lies to cover one initial lie how many people can bear the embarrassment of being found lying?
I, for one, strongly hold that one should always speak the truth. It is much easier to remain consistent when you are telling the truth than when you are telling a lie. It also leaves your conscience clear and unburdened. Your credibility is enhanced in the eyes of all those with whom you come into contact. A man who tells a lie not only deceives others, he deceives himself too. Frequent lying is habit forming. One starts lying to escape unpleasantness at first, but soon he becomes habitual liar.
He would try to extricate...