Code of Conduct to live in society

Spiritual progress is the ultimate goal of every individual’s life as per Sanatana Dharma. For advanced and rapid spiritual progress every Hindu is expected to follow stipulated code of conduct including ten yamas (restrictions) and ten niyamas (observation). A balanced yamas and niyamas help sustain higher consciousness by providing the foundation of Yoga practice. These yamas and niyamas are elaborately mentioned in the core Hindu scriptures including –

  • The final part of Vedas i.e. the Upanishads; in Upanishads specifically it is mentioned in Shandilya and Varuha.
  • The Hatha Yoga Pradipika by Gorakshanatha
  • The Tiru-mantiram of Tirumular
  • The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

The yamas and the niyamas are treasured since thousands of years as the foundation i.e. the 1st and 2nd stage of the 8-staged practice of Yoga. In the word of the famous Sage Patanjali, the foremost propounder of Raja Yoga, “These yamas are not limited by class, country, time (past, present or future) or situation. Hence they are called the universal great vows.”

Yamas (Restrictions)

The ten yamas i.e. the do not’s, harness the inherent nature along with its ruling impulses including fear, anger, lust, jealousy, selfishness and greed.

  1. Ahimsa – Non-injury
  • Spread non-violence and peace
  • Never propagate physical or mental abuse
  • Perceive everything as a manifestation of divine
  • Love and respect others as we love ourselves
  1. Satya – Truthfulness
  • Be truthful in word, thought and communication
  • Keep promise, avoid secrets from loved ones
  • Be truthful, conscious and careful
  • Don’t harm, hurt or give pain to others
  • Maintain balance between truth and nonviolence
  1. Asteya – Non-stealing
  • Never steal, pilferage as it signifies lack of something
  • Theft demonstrates ignorance, hence it should be avoided
  • Get used to observing beauty in the surroundings and inner-self
  • Avoid things that denote lack of internalization
  • One should not use tricks and other inappropriate means to obtain benefits
  1. Brahmacharya – Divine Conduct
  • Practice sexual moderation, abstinence, celibacy to preserve energy
  • Unmarried should utilize time in studying and training
  • Not to limit expression only to sex and procreative activities after marriage
  • Communicating with the person of opposite sex in an appropriate manner
  1. Kshama – Patience
  • Be patient and tolerant in everyday activities
  • Avoid expecting anything from anyone
  • Be adjustable with people of different background and upbringing
  • Be patient with children, family and everyone around
  • Try to adjust in all circumstances and situations
  1. Dhriti – Steadfastness
  • Maintain constancy, firmness and power in your character
  • Exercise patience and perseverance in daily life
  • Strive hard to grow and prosper in life
  • Be matured to face any difficulty in life
  • Attain ‘never say die’ attitude while facing any challenge
  1. Daya – Compassion
  • Exercise compassion as the first step towards spiritual development
  • Inculcate a selfless nature and a giving attitude towards surroundings
  • Manifest every individual not as living being but as an individual soul
  1. Arjava – Honesty
  • Renounce the habit of deceiving, if any
  • Never cheat on somebody
  • Be honest with oneself and others
  1. Mitahara – Moderate Appetite
  • Eat to live and not live to eat
  • Eat to remain fit and healthy
  • Take meal at regular hours
  • Don’t eat to satisfy any addiction or sensual pleasure
  • Avoid non-vegetarianism including meat, fish, egg, etc.
  • Accept only prasadam i.e. the food offered to the Divine.
  • Eat food from the hands of only those people whom you know
  1. Shaucha – Purity
  • Focus on external and internal purity
  • Offer personal care and maintenance to the surroundings
  • Remember, that a clean inner-self reflects a clean environment
  • Maintain purity of mind and soul to throw sattvic influence into the nature
  • Maintain cleanliness to automatically draw Supreme Divine closer to you
  • Also, uphold purity at verbal and mental levels

Niyamas (Observation)

Niyamas are the religious observances that are cultivated to generate the refined soul qualities. Niyamas bring spiritual upliftment that help elevate the awareness into higher chakras consciousness of love, compassion, selflessness, intelligence and bliss.

  1. Hri – Remorse
  • One must express discomfort or shame on their own inappropriate behavior
  • It’s important to develop conscience so that one can apologize for one’s fault
  • Each and every moment should be utilized to grow, evolve and finally shape up our inner beauty
  1. Santosha – Contentment
  • Always feel contented with the surroundings where God has kept you
  • Attitude of accepting what you have leads to your attitude of life
  • Always inculcate a contented and grateful attitude not a negative one
  • Never get distressed over what you do not have
  1. Dana – Giving
  • Dana or giving is the best Dharma or Religion
  • We should never expect anything in return for dana
  • Dana should be performed using the common sense
  • One should perform dana checking the eating and drinking habit of the person, to be more precise after considering the character of the person
  • The idea behind dana is connecting humanity with spiritual wisdom
  1. Astikya – Faith
  • Inculcate faith within oneself and the Supreme Divine
  • Develop confidence in the path of spirituality and religion
  • Read ancient Indian scriptures and revealed scriptures with great interest
  • Follow the spiritual guidance of Acharyas and gurus with full faith and understanding
  1. Ishvara Pujana – Worship
  • Get separate place for God worship in your home
  • It’s better if a special room is dedicated to God worship
  • An altar dedicated to Ishta Devata, should be kept clean and neat
  • Offer daily worship to Lord under the guidance of advanced swamis (priests)
  • Promote religion and God worship at the highest level amongst the family members and others
  1. Siddhanta Shravana – Scriptural Listening
  • Follow the path of a spiritual guru
  • Listen to the lectures of the guru who read directly from the revealed scriptures
  • Boosting of mind and body for spiritual upliftment of the soul is possible by only following the guru path
  1. Mati – Cognition
  • Earn wisdom under the spiritual guidance of a spiritual master
  • Spiritualize your intellect and you will reach the goal of salvation
  • Perform daily sadhana as recommended by the spiritual guru
  1. Vrata – Sacred Vows
  • One should be serious concerning the sacred vows and commitments
  • The goal should be to fulfill the commitment made towards one’s religion, God and guru
  • Basic vows include maintaining celibacy, avoiding meat, drinking and illicit sex
  •  To be strict with the vows like loyalty towards one’s spiritual line, vegetarianism, etc.
  1. Japa – Recitation
  • Repetition of mantra is considered as broom of the mind
  • Chanting God’s name cleanses one’s mind of all negative energies
  • Japa is a type of spiritual hygiene
  • It keeps one’s inner-self in tune with the divine and transcendental
  1. Tapas – Austerity
  • Practice discipline and maturity to accept any uncomfortable situation
  • Avoid using excessive luxuries or extravagances
  • Avoid indulging in excessive and exaggerated satisfaction of the sensual pleasures
  • Live without luxury or extravagance and nurture the spirit of austerity