Satya then Rta then Dharma

Varuna, guardian of Rta

One must be very careful when reading directly, without the guidance of an Acharya, the commentaries of Sayana, Vidyaranya, and even the Holy Vedas. This is because Brahmin priests themselves undergo many years of training merely to become competent in one Veda. Mastering all four in one lifetime is another matter altogether.

This caution and humility when reading primary sources is also required because, as we have seen with our historical sources, colonialists and neo-colonialists have been and are still tampering with our texts. Because Acharyas in the Agraharas and Mathas, by and large, are less susceptible to material inducement,  their whole lives are dedicated to the traditional (and correct) meaning of words and schema of Dharma. Just as false parentage has been alleged about the best of Brahmins, Maharishi Vasishta, who per the orthodox tradition is a manasaputra of Brahma, so too have many wrong interpretations been attributed to our great Acharyas of the past, by this gang. The words of Adi Sankara are often taken out of context giving incorrect meaning and interpretation. This is highly detrimental as egotists will then assume they have perfect knowledge and misguide the innocent and illiterate.

We have seen such wrong definitions extend from Dharma, into Rta, and Satya. The time has come to correct, not based on our own readings, but actual Adhyatmika Gurus.

Swami Sanmatrananda wrote on that here [emphasis ours]:

“The word rta has been used in various contexts throughout the corpus of Vedic literature. Two famous examples are: ‘rtam pibantau sukrtasya loke; the two drinkers of rta who have entered into this body’ and ‘rtam vadisyāmi satyam vadisyāmi; I shall call you rta, I shall call you truth’.  In his commentary, Acharya Sankara has interpreted this word thus: ‘rtam satyam-avasyambhāvitvāt karmaphalam; rta is the fruit of actions, it is true because of its inevitability’, and ‘rtam yathāśāstram yathākartavyam buddhau supariniścitam-artham; rta is an idea fully ascertained by the intellect in accordance with the scriptures and in conformity with practice.’

Often we incorrectly use the two words rta and satya synonymously. But satya or Truth is eternal, whereas rta, being the fruit of action, deals with matters that are transient in the ultimate analysis.” [1]

This analysis is correct because it is in consonance with the words of Sri Krishna. The  Gita does not contradict the Veda, but in actuality, gives us the correct interpretation of the Veda.

Men of small knowledge are very much attached to the flowery words of the Vedas, which recommend various fruitive activities for elevation to heavenly planets, resultant good birth, power, and so forth. Being desirous of sense gratification and opulent life, they say that there is nothing more than this.

But alas, for some frogs in the well, the words of science, scientists, and scientism (peppered with some slokas of course) apparently is more “credible” than the words above of  the 8th Avatar of Lord Vishnu. Therefore, let us explain.

These remarks do not deprecate the Holy Veda, and those who practice the karmakanda, but merely ensure humility of those engaged in ritual. Vedic practice and yagna is done to ensure Rta, in which man is permitted to participate in the Cosmic Order. It is for this reason Rta is emphasised in the Chaturveda. Common Brahmins may perform yagna for fruitive action, for themselves and yajamanas, but the great Rishis of old performed yagna for the benefit of all mankind, and indeed, all creation. That is the difference and why the latter are so venerated, and rightly so.

This is evident in the confusion of priority between Rta and Satya. It has become commonplace for some to write that Rta is truth in Thought and Satya is Truth in Speech and Dharma is Truth in Deed. This pithy bromide may seem cute and comfortable, but it is incorrect.

Circles of SatThe core of our tradition was, is, and always will be about Satya.

Krishna instructing Yudhisthira to say “Ashwattama attaha” was not Truth in either action, speech, or thought, but it was meant to defend the Truth, since victory for the Kauravas would mean their cheating and untruth as a lifestyle would be commonplace.Duryodhana and Shakuni were habitual liars who thrived on deception. Therefore, in order to preserve the Absolute Truth, that compulsive Truth-Teller Yudhisthira represented, Krishna had him tell the transactional lie.

“To lay man, both Rta and Satya mean Truth and Law. But according to the Nirukta, they also mean water. Let us look at their distinction.

What happens or befalls us, even if bitter, is Rta (right), because that is the Rta, Cosmic Order (i.e. Truth in Action), as part of karma and belief consequence. It is the truth or cosmic principle/order of karma justice and rain cylce.”

“On the other hand, Satya is principle-based, or what should happen. The Vedas are Satya. They are Rta too, because in accordance with their word alone, the world eventuates and evolves”

“Devas (gods) collectively carry out Rta. Accept whatever bitter and untoward has befallen, as right and actual (Rta), but follow the Vedas (Satya) to set it right. You cannot change the past, but future you can.

Satya (the Vedas) is law or canon; Rta, order or execution of law. Together they form Cosmic Law and Order. “ [3]

That is why Rta is emphasised in the Vedas. Vedas are themselves Satya, the very Breath of Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth. Karma-kanda is focused on the fruit of the action.

If Satya is the law and Rta is the execution of the law, what then is Dharma?—upholding of the Law. Rta preserves Satya, but  Satya is superior to it. Dharma upholds Rta, but Rta is superior to it. To switch the order and place Rta above Satya is wrong, in theory, action and intention. Where Dharma is the letter, Rta is the spirit. Where Rta is the letter, Satya is the Spirit. It is the spirit of the law (Justice) that gives law its legitimacy. Law without Justice is Tyranny…as is Rta without Satya.

The Devas carry out Rta, that is why we as manavas (humans) perform yagnas in honour of the devas, so that that Agni, Indra, Surya, Varuna, etc, may carry out the natural order for the benefit of mortal life. In fact, Varuna is considered the guardian of Rta. The Devas in turn worship Mahadeva or Harihara. Indra and the Suras (Devas) represent positions that carry out aspects of the cosmic order. That is why Bali Chakravarti was defeated by Vishnu as Vamana, because despite being a just and honourable king, Bali was attempting to overturn Rta to take over the universe. In reward for his justness and generosity, Bali was blessed to be the next Indra (the current one is Purandara).

Satya is the Law, Rta is the Order which implements the law, Dharma is the Upholding of the law..

It is Satya that is the origin of Rta. And it is Rta which provides an order or a common blueprint for understanding what Dharma requires at a given moment of time.

Lokayatas were materialists, of which there was a prominent atheist strain called Charvakas.  Charvakas, 1.0 or “2.0“, are not qualified to give upanyasas, as spiritual discourses can only be delivered by real Pandits and Adhyatmika Acharyas, not atheists.

They may assert that they are adhikarins by “birth” or “scholarship”, but they are not as they are disqualified by lack of saadhana and sraddha, and are susceptible to incentive and emolument (foreign or domestic). After all, a materialist has no time for tapas. These modern Charvakas emphasise Rta for precisely the same reason—they have no time for Satya, which is the embodiment of Para-Brahman. A “non-traditional” scholar has noticed this and spoken out against the dangers of such navel-gazers.

Shraddhaavaan labhate jnanam

Anyayam is also commonly used for injustice. But the core meaning of nyaya is logic and of tarka, reasoning. Hence, anrttam does not replace asatya  in the schema. That which violates the Cosmic order is naturally untrue. The wise see this connection and do not inject their own meaning. Journalists-Philosopher and Public Poetry Performers are not  Adhyatmika Acharyas for precisely this reason.

“Guessing” about why Rta appears in the Veda is disqualification from teaching such material at all. Only a materialist thinks Rta is more ancient than Satya, for he naturally thinks the Chaturveda are separate from the Upanishads. The Upanishads (jnana-kanda) state the philosophy of the Chaturveda. The Bhagavata Purana emphasises upasana kanda. The absolute Truth is only truly understood in the absolute End. These spiritual children clearly still have a long way to progress.

The transactional truth is naturally beneath Rta. But the Absolute truth is naturally above it, and that is Satyam-param.

Rta itself is divided into the Cosmic order, the Natural order, and the Societal Order.

It is because a clique of casteists desires to impose their convoluted and bigoted conception of Societal order (which ignores gunas), that they attempt to impose Rta as supreme over Satya. After all, if Order is supreme over Truth, if hierarchy is supreme over love, then no matter how sinful they are, they may accrue power. Those who prescribe Rta above Satya do so because they conceive of a rigid and wrong order.  The ancient brahmanas and true acharyas knew better, and also discussed the importance of guna along with birth. Pride can undo the very great, and it was the pride of Parashurama which resulted in his being punished by Rama. It was the pride of Ravana which resulted in his being destroyed by Rama. The same lays in store for this clique.

Image result for rishi rna

That is the importance of Satya (and guna) over Rta. It is not that hierarchy does not matter. In fact, that is the natural order, which extends to societal order. Younger respects older, student respects teacher, praja respects raja, son reveres mother. When a topsy turvy order such as “genetic attraction” is created and advocated, it is anrta.

Cosmic Order, Natural Order, Societal Order


[5, 15]

Rta is  the Cosmic Order, the Natural Order, and the Societal Order. But it is also Spiritual and Moral as it is concerned with notions of justice and harmony.

Rta contributes to the maintenance of balance between the micro and macro levels of existence.” [5]

If the essence of Dharma is righteousness, the essence of Rta is harmony. If the essence of Rta is harmony, the essence of Satya, the essence of Truth is love (prema). But Prema is not Moha.

This universal love in the hands of hippies is the object of (justifiable) derision. After all, love is not naïve, but rather true love is  knowing (in all its forms, whether familial or otherwise). Without knowledge of a person’s true nature, one is mere showing love at someone, rather than actually loving someone. This is no earthy bromide or cloying cliché, but a reality. After all, just as a mother who loves her child scolds it for eating too much candy, so too does love between two individuals require seeking the other person’s good rather than what is merely pleasant. Shreyas over Preyas.

This is the Absolute Truth as understood by all the enlightened Saints. It is why upasana/bhaktikanda is the last portion of the Veda. It is because after discipline through ritual, and after understanding through knowledge, we feel a universal love engendered by a sense of connectivity and communion with the world. The hippy, or the dogmatic, will force a superficial “Christian love”. But real love is not top-down, but bottom up. It’s not something you recite like a parrot or use as a weapon, but something you actually feel.

The intellectually inclined preferring abstraction, naturally scoff at such notions. In their minds, how can Absolute Truth be something so simple, so elementary, and primitive as love. But then, explain why all the Enlightened figures, from whether Rama, Krishna, Buddha, Mahavira, or Nanak take human birth?

Why did Rama suffer separation from his only wife only to lose her again, but continue to rule Ayodhya? Why did Krishna accept the curses of Gandhari and preside over the end of his lineage and clan? Why did the Buddha continue to minister to men and women despite attaining Nirvana?—or Mahavira, Kaivalya? Or the Sikh Gurus in such a terrible time for Bharatavarsha?

Absolute Brahman is pure thought, and that thought is Love. Desire to not only receive but to Give love.

But it is not for nothing that individuals searching for love reject “perfect matches” based on biodata, asking the universe why they have yet to gain their “one true love”. They too have to be worthy of what they wish to receive. Only after an individual becomes worthy of the love they seek, do they eventually receive it. It is only after mastering Dharma do we understand Rta and realise its origin in Satya.

It is only out of compassion rooted in love for mankind, and the suffering it endures on account of its own sins, that great Souls walk upon this earth suffering undeserved misery and humiliation, so as to show men and women how to live virtuously. The best teachers are not hypocrites who live dissolute  lives in youth or old age (or both). Rather the best teachers, like the best leaders, do so by example. How to accept what is accorded to us, not because it may be what we want at a given time, not even cause its what we deserve, but because it is what is best for all humanity, for all of creation. This is the bittersweet truth of not only Satya, but also Rta. The pain of one individual pales in comparison to the misery of the entire cosmos. This harmony, this Cosmic order, is Rta.

But order cannot exist on its own. Order cannot exist for its own sake. And order itself is not the Absolute Truth, how could it be? Only fools who mutilate already mutilated translations of Sri Adi Sankara or Vidyaranya, think it so. This is why journalists, avadhanis, and glorified translators cannot assert agency and authority to creatively interpret Dharma. Instead, what must be done is to respect the teaching of those qualified to interpret and explain Dharma, and teach in consonance, teach in harmony with what they say. These are our real Adhyatmika Acharyas.

The value of Dharmic instruction is not determined by precision of quotation or diligence and plethora of citation, but on Truth and Clarity. An instructor must teach not for his own amusement or as a matter of jaded occupation, but as a matter of duty. The student has a duty to diligently listen, the teacher has a duty to patiently, correctly, and clearly explain. It is not the realm for “the delicate genius” or self-declared “polymath”.

It is argued that Rta is immutable. True. Rta gives the Laws of Satya. Laws may not change but the applications can and must to preserve harmony. That is the relationship between Rta and Dharma.

Rta is emphasised in the Chatur Veda because the focus of Karma-kanda is Rta. As explained by a practicing Brahmin Pandit , “It gives man a chance to participate in keeping order”. The ritual offerings in yagna  are given to the the presiding deities who maintain the Cosmic order assigned to them by Brahma.

The absolute Truth is referred to as “Satyam Param”. And Satyasya Satyam, the original truth. [6, 10.2.26]

Rta is not just cosmic, societal,and spiritual order, it is also moral order. Rta is the rejection of chao, the rejection of might makes right, the rejection of matsya nyaya.

Rta fundamentally is about transcending calculations of situational individual interest in the name of long term societal & cosmic interest. Rta is about determination to stand up for what’s right, because it is right. It is the moral order not merely because it is divine commandment, but because the spirit of Rta emanates from a desire to do justice and seek the good of all beings and all creation, rather than just a few.

When the moral order is overturned, when wrong itself is not only seen to be right, but audaciously and shamelessly said to be right, then such a society is not only set for destruction, but deserves it. When younger dictates to elder, when child demands obedience from parents, when sishya lords over guru, such a world is in the throes of anrtam.

War is peace

Anrtam is not mere untruth, but rather the rejection of truth. It is the rejection of the sentiment and spirit of doing right so that wrong can be couched in the form of a topsy-turvy upside down immoral order. Such a new and such a world order is eminently disgusting, deceitful, and above all, exploitative. Fools, with relative might, stupidly think their power will last (or seek to maintain it). Shameless dogs and wretches merely respond to the changing fortunes like leaves in the fall wind. Forget the dangers of such a world, what right-thinking, right-minded soul would want to live in it? What deity could preside over it? How could any who would deign to associate himself with it consider himself good? He may point to the letter (of their false codes and laws), but they know they have violated it in spirit.

When men behave like women and women behave like men, and humans behave like beasts, and all three copulate interchangeably, it is anrtam. The state of chaotic and topsy-turvy order. It is not only Dharma which is dying in such a world, Rta itself has now been pierced. Dharma exists to uphold Rta. That is what gives it its meaning. The essence of this moral order is not about caste, it is about right and wrong. Protection vs exploitation.

The same brahmana whose very word was once synonymous with Truth, now barters learning for wealth, power, and women. The same kshatriya who once protected his subjects now seeks to feed on their wealth, their daughters, and their very lives . The same vaisya whose duty was to provide economic service to society now carves up society into commodities for his economic benefit. When younger brother plots to overthrow a just or non-wrong doing elder brother, this is adharma as it violates rta. But when sinful parents assist him in this and say it is “dharma”, that it anrtam, as order itself has been pierced and flipped upside down. When such a younger child then demands the obedience of parents and the thralldom of gurus and declares whatever he does is right, because it is he who is doing it, that is anrtam.

Duryodhana violated Dharma, because he said knew Dharma but did not wish to practice it. Rta  had not yet become topsy-turvy. It was not anrtam, but adharmam. But we live in such a degraded era where modern Duryodhanas enshrine their evil ways as  ‘dharma’. A society can limp along with the destruction of Dharma and stand perilously close to the cliff. But it does not fall over the cliff until Rta itself is pierced. It was when all the elders from Bhishma and Dhritarashtra to Drona and Kripa themselves asserted Duryodhana had a right, that Rta was threatened. They forgot to ask if what Duryodhana did was right. That is anrtam. A topsy-turvy order where the right of a Duryodhana came before the duty of Dignity of a Woman was created by these so-called wise men and “Acharyas”. Fake and Fool-Acharyas were there in the Dvapara and are here in the Kali. And when Satya is extracted and subordinated to Rta, then the Kali Yuga is truly deep. Rta that exists for its own sake is not Rta. Rta exists as an expression of Satya, because of that single thought. That single cit, that is Prema.

The desire not to harm simply because another being  is deserving of dignity. That is Satya. It is because of Satya that Drona, Karna, and Duryodhana could all be killed in a manner that violated a specific (visesha) Dharma of battle, in order to preserve the Great Saamaanya Dharma. But what is Saamaanya Dharma? It is a desire not just for self-interest, or simple a desire for non-chaos, but a harmony imbued with the spirit of love for all creatures and the dignity each is entitled to. A place for everyone and everyone in their place. This harmony is Rta. The problem is, some poets styling themselves as Pandits don’t know their place, and should be put back in it.

“A spoon does not know the taste of soup, nor a learned fool the taste of wisdom.”

It is because of the Satya-Prema not just for Draupadi, but for all women, royal or common, Brahmin or Chandala, that Dushasana had to be so severely punished. How dare a man violate the dignity of all women by disrobing one in public?! It was not merely adharma, or mere anrta, but asatya. It was asatya to say that a married woman staked in a foolish wager could be disrobed in public because she had been made a dasi. No man still has the right to do that to a woman, whatever a her status, whatever his status.

And that is the problem today. What is wrong is itself being called ‘Dharma” and passed off as such. Anrtam is not merely chaos as mere order is not Rta but Krama. Anrtam is the presiding of a chaotically topsy turvy order. One that asserts that what is true is false and what is false is true: “Draupadi could be wagered”. That is anrta, and above all, that is asatya, and why Satya is the most ancient of all the concepts and realities, and the origin of Rta and Dharma.  Satya is not merely the transactional Truth. It is the absolute Truth as well: Satyam-Param and  Satyasya Satyam.

tasya haitasya puruṣasya rūpam yathā māhārajanaṁ vāsaḥ, yathā pāṇḍv-āvikam, yathendragopaḥ, yathāgnyarciḥ, yathā puṇḍarīkam, yathā sakṛd-vidyuttam; sakṛd-vidyutteva ha vā asya śrīr bhavati, ya evaṁ veda. athāta ādeśaḥ na iti na iti, na hy etasmād iti, na ity anyat param asti; atha nāma-dheyaṁ satyasya satyam iti. prāṇā vai satyam, teṣām eṣa satyam.[2]

Tasya haitasya puruṣasya rūpam: This Puruṣha within us manifests himself in the subtle body…

…What is its name? It is the Truth of truth, Reality of reality, Being of being. It is the Soul of soul; it is the Self transcendent to the self. Prāṇā vai satyam, teṣām eṣa satyam: The individual self, of course, is real; anything connected with the individual self also is real. But, this is more real than the individual selves, more real than the mind and the understanding and the Prāṇas and the senses. It is the ultimate Reality; it is the Supreme Being



  2.,mundaka 3-1, brihadaranyaka 2-3
  4. Bhagavad Gita.
  6. Srimad Bhagavatam.