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Views on self injury in Hinduism

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Jahnava Nitai Das

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What are the hindu views on self injury and how do you monitor ethical behaviour?

Thank you for writing. In the Gita Lord Krishna states that penance and austerity is of three types, namely that done in the mode of goodness, that done in the mode of passion, and that done in the mode of ignorance. He explains the difference between these three as follows:


shraddhaya paraya taptam

tapas tat tri-vidham naraih

aphalakankshibhir yuktaih

sattvikam paricakshate


"This threefold austerity (of body, mind and words), practiced by men whose aim is not to benefit themselves materially but to please the Supreme, is of the nature of goodness."



tapo dambhena caiva yat

kriyate tad iha proktam

rajasam calam adhruvam


"Those ostentatious penances and austerities which are performed in order to gain respect, honor and reverence are said to be in the mode of passion. They are neither stable nor permanent."


mudha-grahenatmano yat

pidaya kriyate tapah

parasyotsadanartham va

tat tamasam udahritam


"Penance or austerity performed out of foolishness, with self-torture or to destroy or injure others, is said to be in the mode of ignorance."


The destination of those acting in ignorance is described by Lord Krishna elsewhere in the Gita as follows:



adho gachanti tamasah


"Those situated in the abominable mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds."


Ethical behaviour is guided by the scriptural texts known as "Dharma-shastras". These are the law books of mankind, and they explain in detail the laws of karma (action and reaction). Ultimately dharma, or proper conduct, comes from the Lord:


dharman tu sakshat bhagavat pranitam


"Dharma is the direct instruction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead".


Those who are true Hindus understand the intricate law of karma, and thus they do not wish to cause disturbance to any living entity, knowing the reactions will come back to themselves in this life and the next.


I hope this has answered your question. Please feel free to write for clarification.


Yours in service,


Jahnava Nitai Das,

Bhaktivedanta Ashram




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I believe that God is an all-powerful Spirit.

Who is both meaningless yet is all light.

He is absolutely nothing

Yet absolutely all that is goodness and life.

I have read in certain books that God is a creature, yet I find that in truth there is neither creation or unendurability within the essence of God.

What I am saying is that Spirit is nothing of what is seen and will endure for ever.

I have a theory that in truth there is a way to be followed.

Who believes that truth is not found in everyday life.

As simply as watching the sunset there is a degree of truth.

Who wants truth?

In your life there are moments when you feel at peace.

peace is simple feeling good, Alright?

Do you know what time it is?

it is 12:10pm as I write this. Why do I mention this?

Because there are two things you should know about me.

One is that I simply feel good.

Two is that I simply believe in Jesus Christ.

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Dear Sir,

In view of what you have said, how much do you recommend people doing hatha yoga? Some asanas in the beginning cause good amount of pain to the body. Is this necessary? Of course after some amount of practise the body gets used to the pain. But till then we are putting the body under pain. Is this good to do?




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