LOVE for truth has been one among the many noble qualities of great men. Even in their childhood, they believed that their truthfulness pleased God. This love for truth in their early age gave them strength and courage in their later life to fight evil in the world. This is the valuable message we get from the lives of saints like Swami Vivekananda and great patriots like Lokamanya Tilak. Even in their childhood, they loved and respected Truth as much as they loved and respected God Himself.

Swami Vivekananda was known in his school days as Narendra Datta. Even as a child, he made his parents feel proud of him by his truthfulness and courage. He would never utter a false word nor fail to confess when he committed a mistake.

One day, his teacher was conducting an oral class examination in Geography. The students answered by turn the questions asked by the teacher. It was now the turn of a student sitting on a bench near Narendra. The teacher asked the student a difficult question, which he answered with some fear and hesitation. At once, the teacher shouted, “What? Is this your knowledge of Geography? You don’t listen to what I teach you in the class. Nor do you study at home”. Raising the cane in his hand, he added angrily, “Stretch your hand”.

Before the cane came down on the student’s palm, Narendra stood up and boldly said, “Sir, please don’t beat him. He is right. His answer is correct”. The whole class was stunned. The teacher then turned his angry eyes on Narendra and shouted, “You are teaching me Geography! Come on, stretch your hand”. Even as he stretched his hand and the teacher started caning him, Narendra continued to repeat his words, “Sir, his answer is correct.” Then, when he was crying in pain, he said in a very appealing tone, “Sir, please refer to the geography book. I am speaking the truth.”

The word ‘truth’ touched the teacher’s heart. Even then, hoping to prove that Narendra was wrong, he opened the geography book. Slowly, he started reading the page on which the full answer to the question asked was given. All the boys who were anxiously watching the teacher saw his face turning pale as he read the page.

Coming close to the two students, the teacher said “I am sorry. I misunderstood his answer. What he said was correct”. Then, turning to Narendra, he said “My dear boy, I admire your courage and love for truth. You are an ideal student”. On hearing these words, all the pain in the caned palm vanished because Narendra felt happy that the truth had won the battle.

It was this love of truth that made Narendra later on go to Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to learn from him the truth about God and His creation. When he became Swami Vivekananda, he worked hard to spread this truth throughout the world, so that men might become wiser and lead a happier life.


  1. What gave strength and courage to Narendra to save his friend from being caned by the teacher?
  2. Why should we have faith and devotion?
  3. (a)Have you at any time been hurt or punished for speaking the truth?
    (b)Have you at any time been made happy for speaking the truth? Describe your experience in full.
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