Is It Okay to Lie About My Education?

Question

Hello. I’m caught up in figuring out whether it is ever ok to lie. In my experience, I can feel that lies negatively affect my throat chakra. I’m caught in a situation where my mother needs me to lie to family members, friends, and relatives about how many years I’ve been in school. I am 21 and have only completed 1 full semester of school whereas others my age have completed 3 years. Because of this, my mother wants me to lie to family about what year of school I am in. Is this okay spiritually?

—Milan, USA

Answer

Dear Milan,

I salute you for asking this question, and I’m sorry that you’re caught in this awkward situation. You say that your mother “needs” you to lie. Needs? Is that really true, or is she merely trying to inflate others’ opinion of you (and of her)? It can be okay to lie in order to save life or serve some other high purpose, but I doubt that this particular lie qualifies on either score, and it is sure to cause trouble in some way.

On a practical level, one trouble is that sooner or later, people will find out the truth and then both you and your mother will look even worse than if you had been truthful in the first place. Others will know the truth about your education, plus they will know that you lied.

On a spiritual level, a lie disconnects you from reality — in particular, the truth of your own existence. It is hard to establish that connection; lying makes it even harder. There will be further karma for you on account of having supported your mother’s lie — and she will receive bad karma as well. Don’t go there.

Perhaps you can give an incomplete response to relatives’ questions about your education — one that is neither a lie nor the full story — then change the subject. For example, “So far, so good” or “I’m not finished yet.”

But in any case, Milan, do not lie. Parents can put a lot of pressure on their children in this way, and I hope you will be able to avoid this multi-faceted trap. No one wins from such a lie.

Blessings,
Nayaswami Gyandev