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Ethics of Hinduism
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Wikipedia:Template:Hindu philosophy

Sir Edward Blunt writes[1]:

A Hindu's code of ethics is as high as that of any other civilized nation.

Sir Richard Burn writes of Hindu ethics[2]:

He knows that it is wrong to commit murder, adultery, theft, and perjury, and to covert, and he honors his parents, in the case of the father at any rate, to a degree exceeding the customs of most nations, which have no ceremony resembling that of the shraddha.


Rig Veda (5 commandments)Edit

Hindus today submit to the Panchavrata or five major vows or commandments:

  1. Ahimsa (non-injury)
  2. Brahmacharya (non-fornication)
  3. Asteya (non-stealing)
  4. Satya (non-lying)
  5. Aparigrahā (non-possessiveness)

The following excerpt from the Rig Veda (10:5:6)[3] sums up the Panchavrata:

"Violence, womanising, drinking liquor, gambling, stealing, falsehood or lying and association with those who commit these sins; one who commits any of these sins is a sinner."

Bhagavad Gita (9 commandments)Edit

The lawgiver Wikipedia:Krishna gave the following precepts:

  1. Amanitva - Absence of pride
  2. Adambhitva - Absence of deceit
  3. Ahimsa - Non-injury
  4. Shanti - Patience
  5. Arjava - Uprightness
  6. Acaryopasana - Service to the teacher
  7. Sauca - Internal and external purity
  8. Sthairya - Steadfastness
  9. Atmavinigraha - Self-control

Manu Smriti (10 commandments)Edit

In Wikipedia:Manusmriti ten aspects of general duties are mentioned. They are:

  1. Ahimsa
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Non-stealing
  4. Purity
  5. Control of senses
  6. Intelligence
  7. Knowledge
  8. Non-anger
  9. Forgiveness
  10. Tenacity of purpose

Yājñavalkya Smṛti (5 commandments)Edit

Sage Yājñavalkya was a rishi in the Vedic age, and mentor of Raja Janaka. The Wikipedia:Yājñavalkya Smṛti (5.122[4]) prescribes the Panchavrata, apart from other moral codes.[5]

Yoga Sutra (10 commandments)Edit

Patanjali in his Wikipedia:Yoga Sutras lists 10 commandments to follow for a good or sinless livelihood.

  1. Ahimsa: Nonviolence. Abstinence from injury that arises out of love for all, harmlessness, the not causing of pain to any living creature in thought, word, or deed at any time. This and Satya are the “main” yama. The other eight are there in support of its accomplishment.
  2. Satya: Truthfulness, word and thought in conformity with the facts, honesty.
  3. Asteya: Non-stealing, non-coveting, non-entering into debt.
  4. Brahmacharya: being constantly aware of the universe, immersed in divinity, divine conduct, continence, celibate when single, faithfulness when married.
  5. Kshama: Patience, releasing time, functioning in the now.
  6. Driti: Steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, and indecision; seeing each task through to completion.
  7. Daya: Compassion; conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings.
  8. Arjava: Honesty, straightforwardness, renouncing deception and wrongdoing.
  9. Mithara: Moderate appetite, neither eating too much nor too little; nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs.
  10. Shaucha: Purity, avoidance of impurity in body, mind and speech

Sandilya Upanishad (10 commandments)Edit

Sandilya Upanishad is the 62nd Upanishad[6], and it declares 10 yamas.[7]

  1. Ahimsa - Non-violence
  2. Satya - Truth
  3. Asteya - Non-stealing
  4. Brahmacharya - Celibacy
  5. Daya - Compassion
  6. Arjava - Equanimity
  7. Kshama - Forgivness
  8. Dhrti - Firmness of mind
  9. Mitahara - Vegetarianism, and non-wasting of food
  10. Sancha

Veda Vyasa (10 commandments)Edit

In the Mahâ Purânam Srimad Devî Bhâgavatam, Wikipedia:Veda Vyasa writes of achieving yoga or union with God by destroying the six enemies of yoga; lust, anger, greed, ignorance, vanity and jealousy. The six attributes can be destroyed by following Patanjali's commandments.[8]

Maharishi Gautama (10 commandments)Edit

Maharishi Gautama was a lawgiver, and ascribed eight yamas.[9]

  1. Daya sarvabhuteshu: Kindness, compassion, pity and sympathy towards every living being
  2. Kshama: Forgivenss
  3. Anusuya, anirmatsarata: No jealousy
  4. Shauch, antar-bahya-shuchirbhutata: Purity, the state of being pure from outside and inside
  5. Anayasa: Not to indulge in petty and meaningless things
  6. Mangala: To think, wish and work for bliss, wellbeing and prosperity of all
  7. Akarpanya: Neither to be nor to show weakness and miserliness
  8. Aspriha: Neither list nor wish to possess whatever belonged to others

Srimad Bhagavatam (30 commandments)Edit

The Wikipedia:Srimad Bhagavatam 7.11.8-12 lays down the following customs to be practiced for a good human life.[10]

  1. Truthfulness
  2. Mercy
  3. Austerity (observing fasts on certain days of the month)
  4. Bathing twice a day
  5. Tolerance
  6. Discrimination between right and wrong
  7. Control of the mind
  8. Control of the senses
  9. Nonviolence
  10. Celibacy
  11. Carity
  12. Rading of scripture
  13. Simplicity
  14. Satisfaction
  15. Rendering service to saintly persons
  16. Gradually taking leave of unnecessary engagements
  17. Observing the futility of the unnecessary activities of human society
  18. Remaining silent and grave and avoiding unnecessary talk
  19. Considering whether one is the body or the soul
  20. Distributing food equally to all living entities (both men and animals)
  21. Seeing every soul (especially in the human form) as a part of the Supreme Lord
  22. Hearing about the activities and instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead (who is the shelter of the saintly persons) #Chanting about these activities and instructions
  23. Always remembering these activities and instructions
  24. Trying to render service
  25. Performing worship
  26. Offering obeisances
  27. Becoming a servant
  28. Becoming a friend
  29. Surrendering one's whole self

Narada Bhakti Sutra (5 commandments)Edit

The Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 78 declares five principles to practice.[11]

  1. Nonviolence
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Cleanliness
  4. Compassion
  5. Faith

Rules of warEdit

For the Rajanya (Kshatriya) it should be either death or victory in battle...He should not in battle kill one who is stunned, who has surrendered his arms, or is a fugitive, nor those of his enemies whom he has captured nor their wives or children. Whatever is acquired either by victory or treaty should be distributed amongst the soldiers in shares according to merit.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. P. 303 The Caste System of Northern India By Sir Edward Blunt
  2. P. 303 The Caste System of Northern India By Sir Edward Blunt
  3. Divine Message Of God To Mankind Vedas By J.M. Mehta
  4. p. 104 An Introduction To Gerontology By Swami Shankrananda
  5. P. 76 New Dimensions in Vedanta Philosophy, Volume 2 By Swami Sahajānanda
  6. P. 18 Monotheism of Hindu religion: unity in diversity of Hindu worship By Krishnaswamy Srinivasan
  7. P. 122 Values and Value Theories in the Light of Sri Aurobindo By V. Madhusudan Reddy
  8. "On the Yoga and Mantra Siddhi"
  9. You and Your Queries By Shrikant Prasoon
  10. Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 7.11.8-12
  11. Nārada Bhakti Sūtra 78
  12. The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies By Thomas McEvilley

Wikipedia:Category:Hinduism Wikipedia:Category:Ethics

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