Imbibing Of The Five Values-Satya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema And Ahimsa


There is a moral order subsisting in the Universe. Everything is governed by certain inviolable laws. Each and every bit in creation, every species and being is bound by certain moral obligations and duties. Everything and everyone has a specific purpose in the divine scheme of creation. When everything abides in its sphere of Dharma and when every being conducts itself / himself / herself, in conformity with the codes of Dharma pertaining to itself / himself / herself without violating them, then alone will order, peace and harmony prevail in the Cosmos, and the divine scheme and purpose of the creation will find its goal and fulfilment.

It is said that God has created man in His own image, which implies that man is endowed with all divine attributes to some except at least. In our human conception and comprehension, what can be God except that He is all perfection and embodiment of all virtues? He is indeed the abode of all auspicious attributes and qualities. Man, having been created in the image of God, has all the divine attributes endowed within him, atleast to some extent – atleast the seeds would be there in his bosom. In order that these seeds will sprout and blossom forth to their fullness and that man will be able to live the world manifesting these divine excellences and virtues, God has gifted him the necessary faculties – especially the faculty of intelligence and the power of discrimination. Man can discriminate between what is right and what is wrong; he can introspect, exercise restraint in his conduct, and can even cultivate and raise his consciousness to higher peaks, culminating in Total Awareness, the Total perspective of the Truth and Reality. His evolution is far higher even at birth than that of any other species in the creation. Animals are not self-conscious; they are ruled by instinct and impulses and behave accordingly. Man is different. He is gifted with intelligence. He can guide his conduct in the light of reason; he can tame his lower impulses; he can outgrow his nature; and he can outshine himself. He has all the potentialities within himself to be able to even transcend human nature and raise himself to divine perfection. Animal to man, and man to the Divine / God – that is the scheme of evolution.

To raise ourselves to divine state of perfection may be too long and drawn-out a process, perhaps involving many many births, but it is certainly within every one of us, to live conforming to and abiding by the elementary human values of life at least, worthy of a human being. If we are not able to restrain ourselves but give a free play to the animal instincts and impulses which have shadowed us from our former lives and are still lurking in our nature, and if we make no effort to regenerate and refine our nature, and discipline and regulate our conduct, we are certainly not worthy of the human status; we indeed forego and lose all claim to be reckoned as human beings, although we have climbed up to the higher rungs on the ladder of evolution.

To guide us in our conduct, our Sastras have laid down codes of moral values or ethical codes – the Do’s and Don’ts. These are called Dharma Sastras. If we abide by these codes without transgressing them, then we will prove worthy of the human status. Then only we will be in tune and accord with the moral forces governing the Cosmos and the harmony in God’s Creation.


All the codes of ethics, viz., the Dharma Sastras, could be put in concisely, so to say, in nutshell, and be formulated into five principles or values of life. They are, (i) Sathya, (ii) Dharma, (iii) Shanthi, (iv) Prema and (v) Ahimsa. All the ethical and moral laws are encompassed by and circumscribed within these Five Principles. These are indeed the foundation pillars of all the religions of the world; these are indeed the pillars of the Mission of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and the way of life that all of us should adopt. Let us try to understand these, so that we can fully imbibe them, cultivate them and put them into practice in our day-to-day living, thus ennobling ourselves.


Baba has said that Sathya is, “the fulfilment of the quest (the search) of the intellect in Truth and Being.” This is, of course, the Paramarthic or the Spiritual or Higher import and meaning of Sathya. In the ethical sense, it implies truthfulness of speech and harmony between our thought, word and deed. “Manasyekam, Vachasyekam, Karmanyekam” as Baba puts it.

Truth is perfect accord with Reality. It is the spiritual aspect of Being which does not change. It is the true nature of every being. It is the divine aspect within each one of us. The awareness or the realisation of our true-being dawns more and more as more and more perfection, which is already in us, manifests itself. The process of the revelation of truth begins with the quest of the intellect into intuition. When the mind rids itself of all earthly and sensuous desires and becomes one-pointed on the contemplation upon Truth, it rises to a higher level of consciousness and intuitive perception, and will apprehend the Truth – The Trikala Sathya, the unchanging and eternal Reality, remaining the same in the Past, the Present and the Future, the Self, the God, the Spirit, and the Supreme Consciousness.

Truthfulness in speech is an indispensable ethical discipline for purification of the mind. It is also a social obligation and necessity. Untruthfulness corrupts the mind and destroys its tranquillity, and pollutes the environment and harms the society.

Truthfulness is the primary as well as the foremost tenet – Sathyam Naasti Paro Dharmah, acclaim the scriptures. So truthfulness is the basic value in life.

  • You should restrict your talk to the barest minimum. When you talk too
  • much, you may stray away from Truth. That is why the ancients practised
  • “less talk, more work”. Love is the most essential undercurrent of your talk
  • and work. Speaking with love is Truth and doing work with love is
  • Righteousness. It will give you Peace. (SSS 30.16: July 18, 1997)

Swami said in a discourse in Kerala on the 20th December 1967, “If you want to know the way in which you have to observe Sathya or truth in speech, look into the Bhagavad Gita (‘The Celestial Song’ from the Indian epic ‘Mahabharata’). It tells you that the best form of speech is ‘anudvegakaram vaakyam’ (speech that does not create pain, anger or grief to others). The Shasthras (ancient scriptures) also say, ‘Sathyam brooyaath, priyam brooyaath na brooyaath Sathyam apriyam’ (Speak the truth; speak the truth pleasingly; never speak truth which is unpalatable). Simply because a statement will please the listener, don’t speak it out to win the person’s approval; if speaking truth will cause grief or pain, then maintain silence.” This is the vow of truth in ordinary daily life.


Baba explains Dharma as, “the disciplining of the human will for doing right action always.” Right conduct is to be achieved through unerring exercise of the human will. Right conduct is an indispensable component of a well-integrated personality. It is the conformation of human will and it’s doing, (abidance) in right action.

Under the Indian concept, Dharma, all duties and obligations of man-physical, moral, social, religious and spiritual are encompassed. It regulates all the activities of man from dawn to dusk, from birth to death.

In essence, Dharma implies right moral conduct, which will be conducive to one’s own well-being, as well as the well-being of all. Dhaaryati iti Dharmah, it is said. Dharma is that which sustains and upholds the whole universe, it is that which keeps up the law and harmony in the creation. Everyone is but a link in the chain of creation, and, just as each link needs to be in a sound condition for the sound functioning of the chain, so also, each one’s conduct should be perfect for the perfect condition and the orderly functioning of the universe.

Besides the virtuous and righteous way of living, we should have a regular and constant dedication of all activity as worship of the Lord. Thus there should be a spiritual orientation in addition to the moral basis in whatever we do in our life. Dharma is the first and the basic ideal among the four Purusharthas of life, viz. Dharma, Artha, kama and Moksha.

Sathyam vada Dharmam chara (Speak truth. Practise dharma).

Truth and Righteousness are the two pillars on which the mansion of human life rests. Dharma is the practical application in real life of the ideal of Truth i.e to put into action your words is Right Action (Dharma). For all these Love is primary. Love in action is righteousness.

In the ‘Dharma Vahini’, Swami says,

“Whoever subdues his egoism, conquers his selfish desires, destroys his bestial feelings and impulses, and gives up the natural tendency to regard the body as self, he is surely on the path of Dharma. He knows that the goal of Dharma is the merger of the wave in the Sea, the merging of the self in the Over-self.”


Baba describes Shanthi as, “the resolution of all the welter (confusion) and conflict of human emotions into the basic attitude of peace.” It is desires that create agitations in the placid waters of the lake of the mind and create unrest. A mind free of desires gets back to the state of peace. Only when one has tranquillity of mind can enlightenment dawn. And only through an enlightened mind (intellect) can the sublimest peace (Prasanthi) be attained and enjoyed. This higher state of peace is bliss / Ananda.

Cultivation of forbearance, taking joys and sorrows in an equal stride without letting them affect the mental poise, cultivation of unwavering faith in the power of the Spirit and in the saving power of the Providence, cultivation of more and more detachment from the world and attachment to the Lord, and daily contemplation and meditation on Him – all these will certainly help one to attain the highest peace.

Love in thought is peace. When man thinks, speaks, and acts along virtuous lines, his conscience will be clear and he will have inner peace. Knowledge is power, it is said; but virtue is peace.


Baba explains Prema as the awakening of the Soul and the blossoming and expansion of the heart and spontaneous out pouring of love towards all. It results from intuitive awareness and perception of the Divine as abiding in all.

Baba says, “Love is selflessness”, “Love lives by giving and forgiving”. “By means of love, one can approach God and stay in his presence, for God is love, and when one lives in love he is living in God.” Love perceives a spirit of identity and non-distinction of oneself with others. It is the realisation of the truth and feeling of brotherhood of all men and the kinship of all life, arising in one’s own heart which has been cultured with constant love for God.

Swami says “Cultivate love towards all, that is the way to gain nearness to Me. I do not measure distance in terms of meters or miles; the intensity of love decides the distance between you and me”.

Love is the foundation for all the other four values.

Love in Thought is Truth.

Love in Action is Right Conduct.

Love in Feeling is Peace.

Love in Understanding is Non-violence.


Ahimsa is the result of the total blossoming of the soul and the state of Advaitic awareness, the oneness and unity of all existence. It is a state and sense of feeling of total identity with all life and creation. It results from spiritual awareness; it is a quality and attribute of the awakened Soul. It sees but one God everywhere, inherent in all beings and in every bit of creation. Such an awakened Soul begins to feel that anybody’s or any being’s happiness and unhappiness verily as its own. Such a one feels no distinction at all between oneself and others. It is pure and impersonal love flowing from the Spirit.

While the other four values, Sathya, Dharma, Shanthi and Prema are mostly subjective in their implications, stressing the individual’s own responses at different level of his personality in relation to another individual or a few individuals at the most, Ahimsa refers to one’s social obligation and general attitude towards the – entire world and all beings. It is all-expansive and all-encompassing love – love enfolding in its embrace all beings, without least distinction.

During the Summer Course on Indian Culture and Spirituality in 1978, Baba said, “We generally think that ahimsa means not causing harm to any living being. ‘Himsa’ is not merely causing physical harm, even looking at debasing things, listening to evil or wrongful words and speaking harshly amounts to Himsa (violence).”

Ahimsa is hailed by all Faiths as the highest duty of man – Ahimsa Paramo Dharmah. It does not apply to physical aspect alone. There should be non-violence in thought, word and deed. That is true Ahimsa. That is why our Swami gives a lot of emphasis on the dictum “Help Ever Hurt Never”.


The above five values encompass all other virtues and values of life. If we keep these values as our ideal, culture our minds and hearts imbibing these, discipline our intellect and will-power and regulate our conduct so as to conform to and to bear these values, then we will be treading the right path, promoting our own good, good of others, and living in conformity with the Divine Will and the Divine Scheme and Order.

These five human values should be deemed as the fivefold life breaths or Pancha Pranas (Prana, Apana, Udhana, Samana, Vyaana – the incoming, outgoing, upward flow, even and circulating breaths). Since the values constitute the life breath, one who does not radiate the values in one’s actions is deemed to be lifeless!

This indeed is the Sai Message, the Divine Message that Sai is teaching us through His own personal life and example, day in and day out, and all along. Our Swami says,

“Sathya is My Prachar (what I teach);
Dharma is My Aachar (the way I live);
Shanthi is My Swabhaava (the mark of My personality);
Prema is My Swaroopa (my very Nature)”

Let us tread the Sai Path, follow in his Foot Prints and redeem ourselves and contribute to the good of the Society and the World in our own small and humble measure.

Imbibing Of The Five Values-Satya, Dharma, Santhi, Prema And Ahimsa – Quiz

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