Words of Truth

On the path of Truth, all faiths and religions are one, race and color have no relevance, and there is no difference between men and women.[1]

This saying is from Words of Truth, the unique book of wisdom I am going to write about today. Compiled by Dr. Bahram Elahi, Words of Truth is a collection of sayings based on the teachings of his father Ostad Elahi (1895-1974). Having read it a few years ago, I go back to it whenever I am in need of an answer or looking for guidance. It is a handbook of wisdom, and of practical points on how to conduct a “good life” while becoming a true human being.

Ostad Elahi was a renowned Persian magistrate and musician who dedicated his life to the search of Truth, and to acquiring self-knowledge. Having spent first 25 years of his life in asceticism and traditional spirituality, he renounced traditional mysticism in order to join society. He undertook the judicial career to become a magistrate, and started to build his innovative approach to spirituality. Ostad Elahi’s approach is based on his personal experiences, observations, and research. The key features of his teachings are practical and adaptable to everyday life, regardless of religion or gender.

His lifetime quest for Truth resumes:

“Truth” is knowing what we are, where we have come from, what duties we have here and where our ultimate destination lies. To access the Truth, we must devote ourselves to the pursuit of this knowledge and seek to understand it through practice.[2]

 In this quest for Truth, the essential prerequisite is to become truly human.

A true human being’s natural inclination is to always strive to have a positive impact; his actions benefit society and he is well-liked by others. In other words, when a person becomes truly human, his nature dictates that his actions always be beneficent[3]…[he] rejoices in the happiness of others and shares in their sorrows. The other sign of a true human being is to feel an aversion toward vile deeds and all that is contrary to one’s conscience and dignity.[4]

 However, there is a major obstacle in the pursuit of Truth, which is the inevitable “confrontation with the imperious self”[5]. This confrontation entails an ongoing fight against the imperious self’s instincts and illegitimate desires that urge for immediate gratification. It also does not take into account reason or law, or the rights of the others. This fight thus accumulates “a strong negative psychic energy which is harmful for the soul and which prevents us to see the Truth”[6].

One should strive to strengthen the body, while at the same time fortifying the soul such that the body, with all its means, remains subservient to the soul. This approach to confronting the imperious self is analogous to a new science of medicine intended to purify the soul that I’ve come to realize through personal experience. The whole of the twelve years of asceticism that I endured prior to entering public service had less spiritual value than just a single year spent in a professional work environment.[7]

 The coherence of one’s actions, words and conduct in society is emphasized as an essential part of becoming human.

Words are one thing, for them to have an impact is another. By practicing that which we believe, our actions and words are endowed with impact. It is action alone that yields impact.[8]

Throughout the book, one can find answers to essential questions such as:

  • How to become a true human being and remain virtuous while living in society?
  • How to fight against the imperious self and advance in our quest for the Truth?
  • The immortality of the soul and what awaits us in the other world?

Words of Truth may be like a treatment for the soul. Every time I reopen this book and read even a few words, it cultivates an inner richness in me, and I see its noticeable impact on my everyday life. Its simple and sincere language provides me with the tools I need to enrich my self-knowledge and, who knows, to become one day a true human being.

If you want to discover Words of Truth for yourself, it’s published and available in the following languages:


15 June 2018

[1] Saying 21

[2] Saying 1

[3] Saying 4

[4] Saying 277

[5] Introduction, French edition page 16 (translated by the author of this article) .

[6] Introduction, French edition page 16.

[7] Saying 322

[8] Saying 337

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