From here

"Listen to it, O Dhananjaya! One who speaks truth is righteous. There is nothing higher than truth. Behold, however, truth as practised is exceedingly difficult to be understood as regards its essential attributes. Truth may be unutterable, and even falsehood may be utterable where falsehood would become truth and truth would become falsehood. In a situation of peril to life and in marriage, falsehood becomes utterable. In a situation involving the loss of one's entire property, falsehood becomes utterable. On an occasion of marriage, or of enjoying a woman, or when life is in danger, or when one's entire property is about to be taken away, or for the sake of a Brahmana, falsehood may be uttered. These five kinds of falsehood have been declared to be sinless. On these occasions falsehood would become truth and truth would become falsehood. He is a fool that practises truth without knowing the difference between truth and falsehood. One is said to be conversant with morality when one is able to distinguish between truth and falsehood. "

Does he mean whispering sweet nothings to your wife or lying to seduce a woman who is not your wife?

  • Astounding! Can you put Sanskrit verses also if possible. :O Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 2:16
  • Include this in details - "Is there any explanation of his words we somewhere found in the Mahabharata or other scriptures?", Otherwise it might look like opinion based. Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 2:50
  • @iammilind Your answer & explanation is good but it doesn't answer this question at all. You just quoted the same quote at the last. Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 3:05
  • @Rajas, I may not be completely answering that part. However the Qn does ask about this Qn. If either of the criteria are met then it's a possible duplicate. Intention is to combine the answers of both the Qn-s in single thread for the good of future visitors.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 3:24
  • 2
    This is not found in Sanskrit on same website neither in critical edition. Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 10:15

1 Answer 1


Kṛṣṇa probably means it in the following sense.

Manusmṛti 8.112

कामिनीषु विवाहेषु गवां भक्ष्ये तथेन्धने ।
ब्राह्मणाभ्युपपत्तौ च शपथे नास्ति पातकम् ॥ ११२ ॥

kāminīṣu vivāheṣu gavāṃ bhakṣye tathendhane |
brāhmaṇābhyupapattau ca śapathe nāsti pātakam || 112 ||

There is no serious offence in swearing to women, or in connection with marriages, fodder for cows, or fuel, or for the sake of a Brāhmaṇa.—(112)

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

‘Kāminīṣu’—‘Kāma’ is a particular form of pleasure caused through the tactile organ; and those who are productive of such pleasure are called ‘Kāminī,’—which is a terra that stands for wife, courtesans and so forth. To these if one swears, for the fulfilment of his desire—in such words as ‘I do not love any other woman, thou art the queen of my heart,’ etc.,—there is nothing wrong in this; though, if after meeting the women, and on being asked by her to give a certain thing, he swears falsely that he would give it to her,—then this is certainly wrong.


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 229), which adds the following notes:—‘Kāminīṣu,’ when conversing with a woman in secret one may swear falsely for the purpose of satisfying her;—similarly for the purpose of bringing about a marriage, for obtaining food for cows, for obtaining fuel necessary for offerings, and for saving a Brāhmaṇa;—and in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (p. 406).

  • Basically to satisfy a women? Or lessen her anger? Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 5:23
  • 2
    This sounds so sexist!
    – user9969
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 13:52
  • @SuryaKantaBoseChowdhury thankfully not found in critical edition of Mahabharata. Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 14:43
  • 2
    @SuryaKanta, once you are married then you will find this same approach as a 'practice' instead of 'sexist'. :-) From my personal experience, a marriage works only after a 'man' transforms to 'yes man'. Most of the authors in this site are bachelors, hence they speak of 'ideals'; but married man eventualy become 'practical'.
    – iammilind
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 2:29
  • 1
    @iammilind I don't want to marry lol
    – user9969
    Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 3:13

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