Hinduism Code of Conduct
Hinduism has a strict code of conduct that its followers should abide by in their daily lives. It consists of ten restrictions, or yamas and ten observations, or niyamas. This is the ethical and moral discipline of the Sanatana-dharma religion, without the support of which, spiritual progress would be absolutely impossible.
YAMAS OR RESTRICTIONS
1. Ahimsa: non-violence, or not to harm or assault any living being, either verbally, mentally or physically. To practice kindness and compassion for oneself and for others. To live perceiving everything and every living being as a different manifestation of the Divine, and to respect and love others as we love ourselves.
2. Satya: to live in the truth, to be truthful on the level of thought, word and communication, to keep our promises, not to keep secrets from our loved ones. To always tell the truth, but to be very conscious and careful not to cause unnecessary harm or pain to others. That is to say, that our fulfillment of truthfulness should not be incompatible with our vow of ahimsa.
3. Asteya: not to steal, not to take what belongs to another. Theft is the result of believing that we lack something or that we do not deserve something, which demonstrates ignorance. It is important to get used to seeing the beautiful in us, to watch our own inner richness, to understand that the attitude of desiring what belongs to others is a product of a lack of internalization. It is also not to use tricks or illicit means to obtain benefits.
4. Brahmacharya: sexual moderation, conservation of energy, abstinence, celibacy. To avoid excesses in our sexuality; before marriage to use the energy in study and training, and after marriage to limit its expression only to sex within the marriage and only with the object of procreation. Sex is not, in any case, a mere means of satisfying the senses. The practice of brahmacharya also includes complete abstinence from conversations and jokes about sex and avoidance of photographs and films of a pornographic character, as well as an effort to communicate with the opposite sex in a decent manner.
5. Kshama: patience, to be patient and tolerant towards others. We should not expect the entire world to adjust to our ideas; every person has a certain character and habits corresponding to the ways they were influenced in childhood and life. It is important to be compassionate and patient and try to understand others, to be patient with the family and children, and with the neighbors and co-workers. Every follower of the Sanatana-dharma religion has to be an example of patience and tolerance with all persons and in all the different circumstances that life presents.
6. Dhriti: constancy, power and firmness of character. It is necessary to persevere and be constant in our life in order to grow and develop in any field we choose. A mature person who knows what he wants in life will not surrender easily when faced with any kind of difficulty.
7. Daya: compassion, one of the most important virtues in our spiritual development. It is born in our vision of the world and of every living being as a Divine expression and manifestation, which moves and drives us to see the ones around us not as objects, but as beings, souls.
8. Arjava: honesty, not to cheat other people, to be honest both with others and with ourselves. To renounce deceit completely, both deceit of those around us and deceit of ourselves.
9. Mitahara: moderation of the appetite. It is important to eat to live, and not to live to eat. It is very different to eat healthy food and lead a healthy life, than to turn the process of eating into a mundane activity of sensual satisfaction or addiction. It is recommended to eat at regular hours, not to eat meat, eggs or fish, and to accept only foods that have been offered to the Divine; that is, only prasadam. It is not recommended to eat in restaurants, or to consume foodstuff if we do not know how, or by whom, it was prepared.
10. Shaucha: cleanness or external and internal purity. This refers to the care of our own body and its surroundings, with a very high level of hygiene that characterizes every follower of Hinduism. Our environment reflects our interior; that is to say, the emphasis on the cleanness and order of our environment will have a sattvic influence on our inner world. Cleanliness draws the Divine closer to us. It is also very important to maintain cleanliness, order and purity both at the verbal and mental levels.
NIYAMAS OR OBSERVANCES
1. Hri: remorse, to be modest and express our shame and discomfort about our own errors and inappropriate behavior. It is important to develop enough modesty to be able to apologize for our faults in front of others. We must not let time go by without really exerting ourselves to grow, evolve and develop.
2. Santosha: contentment with what God has assigned for you as your quota, the attitude of accepting what is and what you have, which indirectly leads to the gratitude for life. Santosha consists of living with a content and grateful attitude, not with a negative attitude of being exploited. Make wise use of anything at your disposal and do not experience unnecessary distress over whatever you do not have.
3. Dana: to give, remembering not to see the fruits of our efforts as our own, but as belonging to the Divine. However, it is not advisable to give something to anyone without using common sense. For example, we do not give cigarettes to smokers, meat to meat eaters, alcohol to drunkards and drugs to drug addicts; we do not give money without discrimination to someone we know will spend it on beer. It is about helping by sharing a portion of the fruits of our labor with religious and spiritual organizations. What humanity really needs is spiritual wisdom, because the disconnection of humanity from God is the real reason for all the problems.
4. Astikya: faith and confidence in oneself, in our spiritual path, our religion, our revealed scriptures, in our master guru maharaja and in God. To develop confidence in the words of the revealed scriptures, as well as of the previous acharyas and of our own spiritual master.
5. Ishvara Pujana: worship, to do whatever possible to make a separate space in our home, and if possible a room, that is intended for worship. To arrange an altar with our Ishta Devata and some portraits of our guru, to burn incense there, to keep this place clean and very much in order. To offer daily worship under the guidance and instruction of our spiritual master and more advanced swamis. It is of vital importance that families create more homes that will allow devotion to God to grow and develop.
6. Siddhanta Shravana: to listen to lectures and talks about the revealed scriptures. We should look for a wise guru or bona fide spiritual master and follow his instructions, trying to attend his classes on the Vedic scriptures regularly. The study of the scriptures in direct association with saints, sages and more advanced god-brothers is a powerful aid to purify our mind and intellect.
7. Mati: wisdom, under the guidance of an authentic spiritual master, to exert oneself to spiritualize our intellect and will, to comply with the daily sadhana recommended by our spiritual master.
8. Vrata: sacred vows. We should be very serious concerning our sacred vows and commitments to our religion, our guru and God; basic vows such as avoiding the eating of meat, intoxication, illicit sex and games of chance, are important and very serious observations which are actually a spiritual commitment we make with our parampara, or lineage of masters. It is important to be very strict with vows like marriage, loyalty to a spiritual line, vegetarianism, celibacy, etc., etc., and to be very strict in the sadhana and spiritual practices recommended by our own guru.
9. Japa: repetition of the mantra. This is considered the broom of the mind. In the same way that you bathe and clean yourself daily, the name of God sweeps and cleans the mind of all that is low and negative. Therefore japa is a kind of spiritual hygiene; it is a very important means to keep ourselves in tune with the Divine and transcendental.
10. Tapas - austerities. This refers to having the discipline and maturity to know how to accept the uncomfortable situations that life presents. To happily and enthusiastically fast, worship, and go on pilgrimage to holy places. To live with a spirit of austerity without looking for excessive luxury or extravagances. Not to surrender indiscriminately to an exaggerated satisfaction of the senses.
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