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Dharma Ethics


The Yamas & Niyamas: The Ten Codes of Dharma


Being a moral human being is the beginning foundation of any meaningful spiritual practice. Every authentic spiritual path assures us of this fact. A yogi is by definition an ethical being. There can be no such thing as a true yogi who is not also ethical. Sanatana Dharma has a sophisticated and very highly developed system of ethical principles that all serious Dharmis aspire to observe strictly and with dedication. These ethical principles are found in many places throughout the Vedic scriptures, and they are numerous. Among our most important principles are the ten codes of Dharma known as the Yamas (proscriptions) and the Niyamas (prescriptions).

As translated in the Initiation Guidebook by Sri Acharyaji, the ten codes of Dharma are the following:

Yamas

  1. Non-violence (Ahimsa)
  2. Truthfulness (Satya)
  3. Non-stealing (Asteya)
  4. Sexual Abstinence (Brahmacharya)
  5. Non-Attachment (Aparigraha)

Niyamas

  1. Contentment (Santosha)
  2. Discipline/Austerity (Tapasya)
  3. Study of Scriptures (Svadyaya)
  4. Devotion to God (Ishvara-pranidhana)
  5. Cleanliness (Shaucha)