Manu Smriti (4.138)

सत्यं ब्रूयात् प्रियं ब्रूयान्न ब्रूयात् सत्यमप्रियम् ।
प्रियं च नानृतं ब्रूयादेष धर्मः सनातनः ॥ १३८ ॥

satyaṃ brūyāt priyaṃ brūyānna brūyāt satyamapriyam |
priyaṃ ca nānṛtaṃ brūyādeṣa dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ || 138 ||

Speak truth in such a way that it should be pleasing to others. Never speak truth, which is unpleasant to others. Never speak untruth, which might be pleasant. This is the path of eternal law, sanatana dharma.

You can see that lying is never allowed.

My question is, what is the stance of Orthodox Sanathana Hindu Dharma especially Vedanta school of any sub school on lies told to do good or to save some one or to avoid suffering of humanity or to protect dharma if there need be such a situation.

Please do answer with appropriate references and don't answer with your own opinions.

  • See this post same thing asked there too. And I can't answer here because I have already done it there.
    – Rickross
    Nov 7, 2018 at 13:59

2 Answers 2


There is this passage in the Mahabharata which discusses this issue.

Bhishma said, ‘To tell the truth is consistent with righteousness. There is nothing higher than truth. I shall, now, O Bharata, say unto thee that which is not generally known to men. There where falsehood would assume the aspect of truth, truth should not be told. Then, again, where truth would assume the aspect of falsehood, even falsehood should be said. That ignorant person incurs sin who says truth which is dissociated from righteousness. That person is said to be conversant with duties who can distinguish truth from falsehood.’ [i.e., who knows when truth becomes as harmful as untruth, and untruth becomes as righteous as truth.]

Mahabharata, Santi Parva, Section CIX

  • He asked vedantic view ? Nov 17, 2018 at 20:20

This is discussed in Mahabharata: Karna Parva. As per the text, five kinds of falsehood have been declared to be sinless:

  • 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

The text also contains a story to explain this: the story of Kausika who always used to speak the truth. But due to his one truth, robbers found out the persons they sought and slew them all. In consequence of that great sin, Kausika fell into a grievous hell.

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