Table of Contents

  About the Author
  Books by Bansi Pandit
  What is Hindu Dharma?
  Hindu View of God
  Why Hindus Worship Deities
  Hindu Scriptures
  Principal Hindu Doctrines
  Law of Karma
  Popular Systems 
  Moral & Ethical Ideals of Hindus
  Hindu View ...
  Hindu Reverence for Elders
  Daily Routine of a Devout Hindu
  Hindu Dharma
  Hindu View of Ecology
  Some Philosophical Aspects
  Hindu Response 
  Contribution of Hindus
  Practicing Hindu Dharma
  Timeless Wisdom 
  Swămi Vivekănanda's Address
  Works Cited
  Color Plates
  Download Book

Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri



Chapter 8: Moral and Ethical Ideals of Hindus

Ethics can be described as the science of morality, and morality as the living of a virtuous life. Hindus place greater emphasis on the attitude of the mind rather than on postulation of the elaborate theories of what is right and what is wrong. Accordingly, the Hindu vision of morality and ethics is characterized by the following considerations:

  • Morality proceeds from the inner spirit of man. In Hindu view, one's motive is as important in the performance of an action as the action itself. When the heart is pure and free from lust and greed, whatever one does to perform one's duties has a high moral value.
  • Harmlessness to all creatures is the highest morality.
  • There are four sources of right conduct: Vedas, the Smriti (secondary scriptures), the conduct of wise persons, and the individual's own judgment. 8
  • In times of confusion and crisis regarding what is right and what is wrong, one's own conscience is the sole guide. "In times of doubt, O, son of Kunti [Arjuna], one must decide using one's own good sense." 9
  • An individual is ultimately responsible for his own actions, i.e. the Law of Karma. He is also responsible for the actions of others if he induces or forces them to perform such actions.
  • Hindus declare that loyalty to one's moral values is the highest loyalty, and of all the losses, loss of one's character and loss of judgment are the worse. 7
Yamas and Niyamas16 - Moral and Ethical Ideals of Hindus
1. Ahimsă (non-injury) Don't harm others by word, deed or thought.
2. Satya (truthfulness) Refrain from lying and betraying promises.
3. Asteya (nonstealing) Don't steal, covet or enter into debt.
4. Brahmachărya (controlling sex) Observe celibacy when single, and faithfulness in marriage.
5. Kshamă (forgiveness) Restrain from intolerance and ill will.
6. Dhriti (firmness) Overcome fear, indecision, and fickleness.
7. Dayă (compassion) Conquer callous and insensitive feelings.
8. Ărjava (honesty) Renounce fraud, cheating and stealing.
9. Mităhăra Refrain from overeating and consuming meat.
10. Shaucha (purity) Observe purity of the body, mind and intellect.
11. Hrî (remorse) Be modest and show remorse for misconduct.
12. Santosha (contentment) Don't be a slave to the senses. Seek joy and serenity in the Self.
13. Dăna (tithing) Give generously without thought of reward. The more you give, the more you get.
14. Ăstikya (faith) Have unwavering faith in God's grace.
15. Pűjana (worship) Perform daily worship and meditation.
16. Shravana (hearing of
Study scriptures, listen to the teachings of the wise, and faithfully follow guru's advice.
17. Mati (cognition) Sharpen the intellect with guru's guidance.
18. Vrata (sacred vows) Observe scriptural injunctions faithfully.
19. Japa (chanting) Chant God's names and sacred mantras daily.
20. Tapas (austerity) Perform sădhana (spiritual discipline) as outlined by the guru.


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