Ethics In Hinduism: New Perspective for most

A Strong Foundation of Ethics In Hinduism

Hinduism has shown a strong inclination to metaphysics and spiritualism, but it has certainly not ignored ethics. Ethics as dharma comes first among the goals of human beings in Hinduism and the scriptures insist that other goals are to be pursued according to dharma.

Hinduism lays great emphasis on ethical discipline. Yama (self-restraint) and Niyama (religious observances or canons) are the foundations of Yoga and Vedanta.

Undeveloped persons cannot think for themselves. Hence rules of conduct have been laid down by great sages or seers like Manu and Sage Yajnavalkya.

Hinduism proposes different ways to reach God (The path of love, devotion, knowledge) depending on each person.

The ethical principles of Hinduism include Ahimsa (Non-Violence), detachment (abandonment of the fruits of the action), Charity (Daana), Truthfulness, Not to steal, Self-control, discipline, Appropriate words and thoughts, and Motivation to achieve the goal.

How does detachment relate to ethics in Hinduism?

In Hinduism, detachment refers to a lack of physical or mental attachment to the objects of the world, as well as to your own mind and body, as well as to your accomplishments, traits, renown, name, and status.

The true ultimate state sought is that of being in the moment: While one is responsible and active, one does not worry about the past or future.

The detachment is towards the result of one’s actions rather than towards everything in life.

More on the difficult concept of detachment

What is the role of karma in Hinduism?

In Hinduism, karma is the concept of “action” or “deed”. It is understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called saṃsāra) originating in ancient India and treated in Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist philosophies.

How does karma relate to ethics in Hinduism?

Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

Karma is understood in Hinduism as a universal law of cause and effect. Positive actions produce positive effects; negative actions produce negative effects. To act dharmically is to act in a karmically positive manner. When one acts dharmically, one necessarily produces positive karma.

Ahimsa and its Significance of ethics in Hinduism

Hinduism does not prevent you from self-defense and clearly mentions that Himsa should be used as needed for self-defense and for survival)

Ahimsa is the ancient Indian principle of nonviolence which applies to actions towards all living beings. It is a key virtue in Indian religions like Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Sikhism.

In Hinduism, ahimsa is the standard by which all actions are judged. For a householder observing the small vows (anuvrata), the practice of ahimsa requires that one not kill any animal life.

However, for an ascetic observing the great vows (mahavrata), ahimsa entails the greatest care to prevent the ascetic from knowingly or unknowingly being the cause of injury to any living soul (jiva); thus, ahimsa applies not only to human beings and to large animals but also to insects, plants, and microbes.

Image credit:

Ms Sarah Welch, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons