Krishna Temple, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh

Morality and Spirituality are different but connected. We cannot be spiritual unless we are moral. So moral living ( yama ) and moral conduct ( niyama ) are the foundation of spiritual life.

Yama: Rules of Moral Living

The rules of moral living can be found in several holy texts. In Patanjali's Yoga-Sutras ( 2:30 ) we find the list of the following 5 yama -s (literally "restraints")

ahimsa - Nonviolence : means "to abstain from injuring any being at any time in any manner." Includes absence of hatred, malice, and jealousy expressed through thought, word, or deed.

satya - Truthfulness : means "agreement between thought and word and fact; that means, words and thoughts should be in harmony between what has been said, heard or inferred."

asteya - Non-stealing : means not appropriating, actually or mentally, what we are not entitled to.

brahmacharya - Chastity : means sexual responsibility

aparigraha - Non-receiving : means not accepting things if they take away one's freedom

These 5 rules lead to the 5 vows of moral living:

Aware of suffering brought about by the destruction of life, I vow to cultivate compassion and learn ways to protect the lives of human beings and other species.

Aware of harm brought about by falsehood, I vow to abide by the practice of truthfulness in though, word, and deed.

Aware of pain caused by exploitation, social injustice, stealing, and oppression, I vow to respect the property of others and prevent others from profiting from human suffering.

Aware of damage caused by sexual misconduct, I vow to cultivate responsibility and learn ways to protect the safety and integrity of others.

Aware of weaknesses caused by greed, I vow to limit my needs to what is essential for a healthy, wholesome life.

Niyama: Rules of Moral Conduct

The rules of moral conduct can be found in several holy texts. In Patanjali's Yoga-sutras ( 2:32 ) we find the list of the following 5 niyama-s (literally "observances"):

saucha - Cleanliness : physical (daily bath, healthy food) and mental (freeing the mind of arrogance and greed)

santosha - Contentment : means being happy with what we have.

tapas - Austerity : "the ability to endure hardships and not get upset by physical discomfort."

svadhyaya - Self-study : study of texts and repetition of mantra

isvara-pranidhana - Worship of God :

These 5 rules lead to the 5 affirmations of moral conduct:

I am determined to maintain physical and mental purity.

I am determined to be content with my environment and my situation in life.

I am determined to practice forbearance without complaint and anxiety, and learn to be in control of myself.

I am determined to learn the truth through study and prayer.

I am determined to reach out to the Supreme Being, who is the Soul of my soul.

Spiritual Practice

Basic Practices

Prayer, Worship, Meditation

Basic Approach

Yoga - Karma, Bhakti, Jnana, and Dhyana

MIT Vedanta Society:

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Hindu Chaplain: Swami Tyagananda