The Ten Yamas - Restraints or Proper Conduct in Hinduism

01
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1st Restraint - Ahimsa or Non-injury

One man is beating a small boy, while an onlooker rushes forward to intervene and stop the injury. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

What does living virtuously mean to Hindus? It is following the natural and essential guidelines of dharma and the twenty ethical guidelines called 'yamas' and 'niyamas,' or 'restraints' and 'observances' - ancient scriptural injunctions for all aspects of human thought, attitude and behavior. These "do's" and "don'ts" are a common-sense code of conduct recorded in the Upanishads, the final section of the 6,000 to 8,000-year-old Vedas.

Here we present the ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The first restraint, Noninjury (ahimsa) - not injuring or harming others by thought, word, or deed.

Practice noninjury, not harming others by thought, word or deed, even in your dreams. Live a kindly life, revering all beings as expressions of the One Divine energy. Let go of fear and insecurity, the sources of abuse. Knowing that harm caused to others unfailingly returns to oneself, live peacefully with God's creation. Never be a source of dread, pain or injury. Follow a vegetarian diet.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

02
of 10

2nd Restraint - Satya or Truthfulness

A boy has broken a vase and is denying the mischief. Mother watches, hoping he will learn to tell the truth. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow -- as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The second restraint, Truthfulness (Satya) - refraining from lying and betraying promises.

Adhere to truthfulness, refraining from lying and betraying promises. Speak only that which is true, kind, helpful and necessary. Knowing that deception creates distance, don't keep secrets from family or loved ones. Be fair, accurate and frank in discussions, a stranger to deceit. Admit your failings. Do not engage in slander, gossip or backbiting. Do not bear false witness against another.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minim ela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

03
of 10

3rd Restraint - Asteya or Nonstealing

Two boys conspire to break the principle of asteya as one distracts merchant while the other steals a book. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The third restraint, Nonstealing (asteya) - neither stealing nor coveting nor entering into debt.

Uphold the virtue of nonstealing, neither thieving, coveting nor failing to repay debt. Control your desires and live within your means. Do not use borrowed resources for unintended purposes or keep them past due. Do not gamble or defraud others. Do not renege on promises. Do not use others' names, words, resources or rights without permission and acknowledgment.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minim ela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

04
of 10

4th Restraint - Brahmacharya or Sexual Purity

A brother guards his sister's purity, brahmacharya, from a rogue who has approached her immodestly. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The fourth restraint, Sexual Purity (brahmacharya) - divine conduct, controlling lust by remaining celibate when single leading to faithfulness in marriage.

Practice divine conduct, controlling lust by remaining celibate when single and faithful in marriage. Before marriage, use vital energies in study, and after marriage in creating family success. Don't waste the sacred force by promiscuity in thought, word or deed. Be restrained with the opposite sex. Seek holy company. Dress and speak modestly. Shun pornography, sexual humor and violence.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

05
of 10

5th Restraint - Kshama or Patience

Kshamâ is epitomized by a mother's patiently setting aside her urgent duties to tend to her daughter's tears. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The fifth restraint, Patience (kshama) - restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances.

Exercise patience, restraining intolerance with people and impatience with circumstances. Be agreeable. Let others behave according to their nature, without adjusting to you. Don't argue, dominate conversations or interrupt others. Don't be in a hurry. Be patient with children and the elderly. Minimize stress by keeping worries at bay. Remain poised in good times and bad.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

06
of 10

6th Restraint - Dhriti or Steadfastness

The worker on the left works steadily and energetically, exemplifying dhriti, while the other is less productive. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow -- as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The sixth restraint, Steadfastness (dhriti) - overcoming non-perseverance, fear, indecision, inconstancy and changeableness.

Foster steadfastness, overcoming non-perseverance, fear, indecision and changeableness. Achieve your goals with a prayer, purpose, plan, persistence and push. Be firm in your decisions. Avoid sloth and procrastination. Develop willpower, courage and industriousness. Overcome obstacles. Never carp or complain. Do not let opposition or fear of failure result in changing strategies.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

07
of 10

7th Restraint - Daya or Compassion

The man beating his dog has little compassion, dayâ. A friend urges him to cognize the cruelty of his actions. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The seventh restraint, Compassion (daya) - conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings.

Practice compassion, conquering callous, cruel and insensitive feelings toward all beings. See god everywhere. Be kind to people, animals, plants and the Earth itself. Forgive those who apologize and show true remorse. Foster sympathy for others’ needs and suffering. Honor and assist those who are weak, impoverished, aged or in pain. Oppose family abuse and other cruelties.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

08
of 10

8th Restraint - Arjava or Honesty

Two students re cheating on a test while a peer admonishes them to follow ârjava, honesty. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The eighth restraint, Honesty (arjava) - straightforwardness, renouncing deception and wrongdoing.

Maintain honesty, renouncing deception and wrongdoing. Act honorably even in hard times. Obey the laws of your nation and locale. Pay your taxes. Be straightforward in business. Do an honest day’s work. Do not bribe or accept bribes. Do not cheat, deceive or circumvent to achieve an end. Be frank with yourself. Face and accept your faults without blaming them on others.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

09
of 10

9th Restraint - Mitahara or Moderate Diet

At a cafe two men enjoy a rice and curry meal on banana leaves. One follows mitâhâra, while the other overeats. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The ninth restraint, Moderate Diet (mitahara) - neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, fowl or eggs.

Be moderate in appetite, neither eating too much nor consuming meat, fish, shellfish, fowl or eggs. Enjoy fresh, wholesome vegetarian foods that vitalize the body. Avoid junk food. Drink in moderation. Eat at regular times, only when hungry, at a moderate pace, never between meals, in a disturbed atmosphere or when upset. Follow a simple diet, avoiding rich or fancy fare.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

10
of 10

10th Restraint - Saucha or Purity

A man finds his friend outside an X-rated theater and urges him not to sink into a low-minded sensual life. Source: 'Yoga's Forgotten Foundation' by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The ten yamas, or the controls and restraints every ideal Hindu should follow - - as interpreted by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami.

The tenth restraint, Purity (saucha) - avoiding impurity in body, mind and speech.

Uphold the ethics of purity, avoiding impurity in mind, body and speech. Maintain a clean, healthy body. Keep a pure, uncluttered home and workplace. Act virtuously. Keep good company, never mixing with adulterers, thieves or other impure people. Keep away from pornography and violence. Never use harsh, angered or indecent language. Worship devoutly. Meditate daily.

Reproduced with permission from Himalayan Academy Publications. Parents and educators may visit minimela.com to purchase many of these resources at a very low cost, for distribution in your community and classes.

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Das, Subhamoy. "The Ten Yamas - Restraints or Proper Conduct in Hinduism." ThoughtCo, Nov. 24, 2017, thoughtco.com/the-ten-yamas-restraints-1770075. Das, Subhamoy. (2017, November 24). The Ten Yamas - Restraints or Proper Conduct in Hinduism. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/the-ten-yamas-restraints-1770075 Das, Subhamoy. "The Ten Yamas - Restraints or Proper Conduct in Hinduism." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/the-ten-yamas-restraints-1770075 (accessed January 17, 2018).