Truth, falsehood and lies in the Indo-Iranian world

Haudry, Jean. 2014. Vérité, fausseté et mensonge dans le monde indo-iranien. Journal Asiatique 302 (2), 349–364.

Aside from the inherited designation of truth and its contrary by means of the root of the verb ‘to be’, *sánt-, *satyá-: *ásant-, *asatyá-, Indo-Iranian has an antonymic couple of notions whose expression is asymmetrical: one, *árta-/*ṛtá-, is purely nominal; the other expressed by the root*dhr(a)ugh- furnishes both nominal and verbal forms. Since this root is generally considered to mean ‘to deceive’, *árta-/*ṛtá-, whose meaning is much debated must, one way or another, be linked with the idea of ‘truth’. The original operative field of those notions may be found. In a non dogmatic conception of religion, it cannot be the doctrine. The frequent meaning of ‘to do harm, to prejudice’ of the representatives of the root *dhr(a)ugh- points to the notions of ‘truthfulness’, ‘loyalty’ with their opposites, in a state of the society in which those values and the behaviours which are connected to them are essential.