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In Hinduism we say सत्यमेव जयते. What does it mean?

By simple translation it means that truth always wins, but I find many contradictions with this meaning.

If truth always wins why are innocent people jailed while criminals roam free? If truth always wins then why are people who speak truth executed and no one saves them? For example, during coronavirus, those who spoke against the Chinese govt were rooted out? Jack Ma also disappeared because he spoke the truth which was against the interests of Chinese govt.

Innocent sadhus are also killed and we are yet to see justice delivered to them. Murthis are also broken by savages and no harm is inflicted on them.

How does truth exactly triumph?

I believed in this theory literally and faced many hardships because of it. There was scam going on in my college and when I spoke against it, I was threatened. I had to let go of the truth to save myself.

So how do we interpret truth always win because I haven't seen it winning in many cases?

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    Its more suitable for law/politics than Hinduism, also it is kind of opinion based. – Proxy Jan 16 at 5:30
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    @Proxy, why do you think one of the most profound Upanishadic quotes should not be the subject of a question on HSE – iruvar Jan 16 at 6:38
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    @iruvar I was not talking about the quote but the contradictory statements that were provided with it. "If truth always win why.." probably I took the question other way around. – Proxy Jan 16 at 10:04
  • Excellent question! Good answers have already been given. I will just comment with another example. When Kamsa was about to kill Devaki, his own sister, after her marriage, a rishi stood up to him and scolded him and said he will face consequences. Kamsa imprisoned the rishi, but in the end he did face the consequences. So the rishi said the truth, he was physically tortured for it, but truth took its revenge on Kamsa in the end. So Satyam is beyond personal selfishness. Sometimes, we don't immediately see truth winning because we or someone else can't go beyond our personal selfishness. – RamAbloh Jan 16 at 14:52
  • Similarly, Krishna always acted beyond his personal interests for the cause of Satyam. He even allowed his own Yadava family get destroyed for the cause of Satyam. And also, what is Satyam is also what is Dharma. – RamAbloh Jan 16 at 14:52
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Manu Smriti says:

na adharmash charito loke saddyah phalati gaur iva | ,

Which means unrighteousness or Adharma does not produce it's result (i.e. an apt punishment for that Adharma) immediately.

4.172. Unrighteousness, practised in this world, does not at once produce its fruit, like a cow; but, advancing slowly, it cuts off the roots of him who committed it.

That implies criminals might not get punished immediately. And, bad things can very well happen with a person whose current acts are all good. Because, we can't see all the Karmas that this person has done in his pasts or in his past lives.

So, there is no contradiction between the statement "satyameva jayate" and the incidents/situations you have mentioned in the question.

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  • @Lokesh, while respecting the choice of accepting answers resting at the sole discretion of the asker, it would be advisable to accept this answer ✔️. Very concisely this answers the basic doubt which you raised in the question about the sadhus etc. This answer doesn’t not leave scope for any ambiguity and doesn’t encompass rhetorical questions. Still the choice is yours :) – Archit Jan 17 at 5:15
  • I wanted to select both as the right answers but can't. For now I've marked this as the accepted answer as most people voted this. – Lokesh Jan 18 at 11:33
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The quote is from Mundaka Upanishad. Let me quote that fully from an answer in Quora.

satyameva jayate nānṛtaṃ satyena panthā vitato devayānaḥ yenākramantyṛṣayo hyāptakāmā yatra tat satyasya paramaṃ nidhānam

In English Translation,

TRUTH alone triumphs; not falsehood. Through truth the divine path is spread out by which the sages whose desires have been completely fulfilled, reach to where is that supreme treasure of Truth.

The Truth referred to is the Paramatma. For sages who speak the truth they proceed closer to attaining ‘Moksha’ or oneness with that supreme Brahman is its real meaning.

I can ask, was that the intention when you spoke truth about some happenings in your circle? To attain Paramatman? Probably not, correct? Since we do live in a ‘false’ mayic Kali world where the truth is hidden, Occasional ‘small’ level truth expositions has its backlashes. Doesn’t mean that the Supreme Truth fails. In reality, falsehood doesn’t exist. It’s just the absence of truth. What were you afraid of? the repercussions? Something you are bonded with? Like your degree, your importance attached to that? Your future? All of it right? May be even your life ? In reality, this attachment is what beats you. Not really any of other’s action towards that. Maybe the scam in college was for a higher purpose. Saturn’s work for some punishment for someone, may be 😀. You probably did intervene in that. Could be right? For sadhus in the path to Moksha ‘inaction’ is prescribed. Don’t do anything. Stay away from the swinging Pendulum. If you do intervene then we do have to face it’s karmic repercussions. On the brighter side, think of this this way, taking back the true statement possibly saved someone’s life... So essentially, ‘Satyameva Jayathe’ should be read in its proper context.

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  • Very good answer 👍 – Lokesh Jan 16 at 6:33
  • Yes. That statement is from Jewish Kaballah. It is very similar to “what goes around comes around” referring to Karma. ‘Bird eating the fruit’ and the other bird does not and watches on etc. – Gopal Anantharaman Jan 16 at 6:59

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