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Sadachara In Hinduism – Principles Of Good Conduct In Hindu Religion

Sadachara Vrtti is the principles of good conduct and it has been repeatedly emphasized in Hinduism. It is primarily assigned to the householder who is considered the pivot of society. The celibates, forest-dwellers, and renunciates have their own set of rules in Hindu religion, but the householder is said to be the keystone of the arch of society.

The principles range from simple chores like getting up early in the morning, or taking a daily bath before ritual worship, to more complicated ones like worshipping Surya, the sun god, with the repetition of the Gayatri Mantra.

Rules or physical exercise, guidelines for taking food and all other activities are enjoined in text like smritis, the Mahabharata, the Puranas, the Ramayana, Nitigranthas (text of morals), etc.

A person’s attitude towards his fellow beings, society, and flora and fauna are included in sadachara. A person is required to be good in behavior, aptitude, and character. One may outwardly possess good manners, but he may not have intrinsically good inclinations (vrittis). Before returning home from the teacher’s hermitage, pupils were thoroughly instructed in good conduct (Taittiriya Upanishad 1/11/1-4).

The Mahabharata states that the signs of greatness of a man are to be found in the sadachara (Mahabharata Shanti Parva 193.2).

Love and self restraint also come under sadachara (Mahabharata Shanti Parva 83.21, 83.15).

It is said that where there is sadachara, there is power. It is also said that where there is truth, there is sadachara (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 124.54)

It is said that where there is sadachara, there is power. It is also said that where there is truth, there is sadachara (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 124.54).

The Hindu shastras enumerate many rules for a householder. Taittirya Upanishad (1/11/2) states, “matrdevo bhava, pitrdevo phava….atithidevo bhava – regard your mother, father, teacher and the guests like Gods.

A house holder should offer food to deities, elders and guests. He should feed all his relatives, even servants. Only after giving food to everyone, should he himself eat.  He should only eat twice a day. He should not sleep during daytime. (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva

He should love his wife (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 243.14). He must exhibit self restraint. He should not find fault with others. He should not argue. In this way, a householder may win the whole world. (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 243.16.17).

If any family member insults him, he should not feel disgraced and should not show anger. He should win over his fatigue and never show slackness in his duties. It is said that a person who observes the rules of a householder with pleasure gets the highest lokas of Vishnu. (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva

A householder should not go in pursuit of more and more pleasure. There are enjoyments which come by themselves in his life. He should apply his efforts only to perform Dharma (Mahabharata, Shanti Parva 295.35).

A house holder should decide his duties and definitely perform yajnas (sacrificial ceremonies) and Shraddhas (rituals to appease ancestors). He should not kill animals. He should give donations. According to the Mahabharata, a man who does not deviate from Sadachara, even in adversity is a truly learned man.

Source – Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume IX – page 20 - IHR