Bhagwan Swaminarayan prioritized moral codes of behavior. In the Shikshapatri, He gave a list of moral standards for His devotees to follow. While some of the rules for sadhus and householders seem obvious or primitive, society had degenerated to such a point that warranted their need. The following is a brief list of the major standards. The moral disciplines prescribed by Bhagwan Swaminarayan can be further studied in the books Gems from the Shikshapatri and Vachanamrut Handbook, available at a BAPS center near you.
Bhagwan Swaminarayan enunciated key moral disciplines for sadhus and householders.
- Live an addiction-free life; Do not partake in drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
- Consume a strict vegetarian diet free from tamasic foods, such as onion and garlic.
- Refrain from stealing, violence, slander, and fraud.
- Live a morally pure life free from adultery.
- Nishkam - Live a life free from lust; Follow the discipline of eight-fold celibacy.
- Nisneh - Live a life free from attachment; Offer complete servitude and love for God.
- Niswad - Live a life free from gluttony or vicarious taste; Relish only in the flavor of God’s splendor.
- Nirman - Live a life free from ego; Practice humility and selfless service.
- Nirlobh - Live a life free from greed; Satisfaction is only derived from attaining God.
Additional moral disciplines that all devotees and sadhus follow are as follows:
1. No Violence
Not to abuse, hurt, or kill any living being.
2. No Adultery
Not to commit adultery or excessively associate oneself with the opposite sex.
3. No Consumption of Meat
Not to eat meat or take medicines derived from meat.
4. No Consumption of Alcohol
Not to consume alcoholic drinks or take medicines mixed with alcohol.
5. No Suppression
Not to suppress or take advantage of those who are helpless.
6. No Committing Suicide
Not to commit or even contemplate suicide.
7. No Theft
Not to steal or take anything without the owner’s permission.
8. No Slander
Not to slander or blacken the character and lives of others.
9. No Vilification
Not to vilify other deities or religions. Respect all faiths.
10. No Impurities
Not to take food which is impure, not prepared with filtered water, or prepared by unknown hands.
11. No Atheistic Association
Not to keep the company of atheists or listen to lectures given by non-believers.