Glory of Sadachara or Right Conduct
by Swami Sivananda
1. A man, who has attached ethical perfection by the continued practice of right conduct or Yama and Niyama, has got a magnetic personality. He can influence millions. Character gives a strong personality to man. People respect a man who has good character. Moral people command respect everywhere. He who is honest, sincere, truthful, kind and liberal-hearted always commands respect and influence at the people. Sattvic virtues make a man Divine. He who speaks truth and practices Brahmacharya becomes a great and dynamic personality. Even if he speaks a word there is power in it and people are magnetized. Character building is of paramount importance if a man wants to develop his personality. No development of a strong personality is possible without celibacy. Personality can be developed. But the practice of virtue is indispensable.
2. A man may die but his character remains. His thoughts remain. It is the character that gives real force and power to man. Character is power. They say knowledge is power but I say with all the emphasis at my command that character is power. Without character the attainment of knowledge is impossible. That man who has no character is practically a dead man in this world. He is ignored and despised by the community. If you want success in life, if you want to influence others, if you want to progress well in the spiritual path, if you wish to have God-realisation, you must possess an unblemished or spotless character. The character of a man survives or outlives him. Sri Sankara, Buddha, Jesus and other Rishis of yore are remembered even now because they had wonderful character. Character is a mighty soul-force. It is like a sweet flower that wafts its fragrance far and wide. A man of noble traits and good character possesses a tremendous personality. Personality is character only. A man may be a skillful artist, a clever songster, an adorable poet or a great scientist, but if he has no character he has no real position in the society.
3. You must be polite, civil and courteous. You must treat others with respect and consideration. Good manners and soft words have brought many a difficult thing to pass. He who gives respect to others gets respect. Humility brings respect by itself. Humility is a virtue that subdues the hearts of others. A man of humility is a powerful magnet or loadstone.
4. Note carefully how the Rishis had given instructions to their students when they had finished their course of study: "Speak the truth. Do your duty. Do not neglect the study of the Vedas. Do not swerve from Truth. Do not swerve from duty. Do not neglect your welfare. Do not neglect your prosperity. Do not neglect the learning and teachings of Vedas. Do not neglect the duties towards God and forefathers. May the Mother be thy God (Matri-devo bhava). May the Father be thy God (Pitri-devo bhava). May the preceptor be thy God (Acharya-devo bhava). May the guest be thy God (Atithi-devo bhava). Do such actions as are blameless. Those that are good works to us, they should be performed by thee, and none else. Those Brahmins that are superior to us, they should be comforted by thee with seats, etc. Give with faith. Do not give without faith. Give with joy, with modesty, with fear, with kindness."
5. Righteousness is eternal. Do not leave the path of righteousness even if your life is in danger. Do not leave righteousness for the sake of some material gain. A virtuous life and a clean conscience give great deal of comfort to a man while living and at the time of death also. A holy man with piety is far superior to the mighty potentate. God is much pleased with a pious man. Lord Krishna says: "Even if the most sinful worshipeth Me, with undivided heart, he too must be accounted righteous, for he hath rightly resolved." There is a great hope even for a cutthroat, if he makes a strong determination and takes up the spiritual path.
6. Dear friends! Do your duties in a satisfactory manner in accordance with Sadachara. Apply yourself diligently to all kinds of your daily duties. Consult the Sastras and Mahatmas whenever you are in doubt. Build up your character. This will give you success in life. Practise daily to remove old evil habits. Establish daily virtuous healthy habits. Character will help you to attain the goal of life. Character is your very being. Evolve. Expand. Grow. May the character take you to the Atmic Bliss and Self-realisation.
7. Nectar's sons! Children of Immortality! Shake off all weaknesses. Stand up. Gird up the loins. Have Sadachara satisfactorily in accordance with your caste or stage in life. Evolve quickly in spiritual path. Eternal Bliss, Supreme Peace, Infinite Knowledge can be had only in God (Atman). Practice of Sadachara will surely lead you to the attainment of God-consciousness. There is no happiness in finite objects. Infinite alone is Bliss. Understand the Truth through the practice of Sadachara. This world is unreal. It is like a mirage. Senses and mind are deceiving you at every moment. Wake up. Open your eyes. Learn to discriminate. Do not trust your Indriyas. They are your enemies. It is very difficult to get a human birth. Life is short. Time is fleeting. Walk in the path of Sadachara. Those who cling to unreal things of this world are verily committing suicide. Struggle hard to practice Sadachara.
Keep up the ideal always before your eyes. Attempt to realise the ideal. Stick to Sadachara with leech-like tenacity. Practise it and realise Sat-chit-ananda state right now in this very second.