Discussing Mahabharata (Vana) 209.42-43 - Truth and Honesty as the Foundation of Eternal Virtue

In this discussion, we explore a verse from the Mahabharata's Vana Parva, specifically Verse 209.42-43. These verses emphasize the profound importance of truth and honesty as the highest virtues. The concept of eternal virtue rooted in truth is examined, highlighting its significance in shaping moral character.
“Those cognizant with virtue and morals have said that truth and honesty are the highest virtues. Virtue that is eternal is difficult of being understood. But whatever it is, it is based on truth.” (Mahabharata, Vana Parva 209.42-43).


Mahabharata Vana Parva 209.42-43 asserts the elevated status of truth and honesty as paramount virtues. Those who possess a deep understanding of virtue and moral principles recognize these qualities as foundational to ethical conduct.

The verses acknowledge that comprehending the nature of eternal virtue can be challenging. However, they affirm that whatever constitutes true and enduring virtue is firmly rooted in truth itself. Truth serves as the bedrock upon which virtue stands, shaping character and conduct.

Key Points

  1. Highest Virtues: The verses declare truth and honesty as the loftiest virtues, recognized by those well-acquainted with virtue and moral principles.
  2. Eternal Virtue: The concept of eternal virtue, though complex, is affirmed to be grounded in truth, forming the essence of moral character.
  3. Foundation of Character: Truth is identified as the foundation upon which enduring virtue is built, influencing ethical behavior.


These verses underline the pivotal role of truth and honesty in shaping ethical conduct and moral character. By recognizing truth as the basis of virtuous actions, we are inspired to cultivate honesty in our interactions with others.

The teachings of these verses align with the values promoted by various religious traditions that emphasize the importance of truthfulness and ethical behavior. By embracing these shared virtues, we can foster understanding and harmony among diverse communities.

As individuals, we can apply this wisdom by prioritizing truth and honesty in our words, actions, and decisions. By doing so, we contribute to the cultivation of virtue and the advancement of a more just and ethical society. These verses remind us that truth not only guides our actions but also shapes our character, forming the cornerstone of lasting virtue.

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