Sadvrutta (सद्वृत्तम्)

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Sadvrtta (सद्वृत्तम्)

Sadvrtta (सद्वृत्तम्।) is a code of good conduct put forward by Ayurveda Acharyas for maintaining personal as well as social health. Sadvrtta provides guidelines on various day-to-day activities and throws light on their role in various aspects of health. This code of conduct is described under the section of preventive medicine in Ayurveda. It is believed that, when religiously observed, this code of conduct helps to balance one's physical, mental and social aspects of health. Thus, Sadvrtta can also be called as health promoting conduct.

परिचयः ॥ Introduction

Ayurveda focuses on maintaining balanced state of body, mind, senses and life energy. Ayurveda also believes that, not just the food we consume, but also each and every part of our lifestyle and behavior has definitive effect on our health and well-being. These day-to-day activities include, those related to general hygiene, food consumption, sexual intercourse, exercise and also communication or pattern of one's behavior while living in the society. All these factors directly or indirectly affect one's body, emotions, thoughts, actions and the feeling of well-being in life. One of the doctrines of Ayurveda also emphasizes on the necessity to control the impulses of emotions which are otherwise meant to cause the mental illness as well as distress in relationships and society. Therefore, Ayurveda provides a guideline on how these activities and behavioral patterns should be observed in order to have their only positive impact on life.

सद्वृत्तस्य स्वास्थ्यरक्षणे कार्यभागः॥ Sadvrtta : As an important determinant of health

The 3 main causes for development of any diseases are considered as Prajnaparadha (प्रज्ञापराधः। intellectual errors and offense against wisdom), inappropriate exposure of sense organs to their objects and inappropriate occurrences of various seasons/ times of the year. Sadvrtta is a behavior that keeps individual from taking inappropriate actions that may result due to Intellectual blasphemy. Thus, Sadvrtta is considered as the preventive aspect of health.

It is also believed that, by incorporating the ethical and moral values in daily activities one can avoid untoward consequences leading to stress, anxiety and emotional breakdowns and help prevent their negative impact on health. Good personal conduct provides good health and a control over individual senses and desires. Emotional imbalances caused due to Prajnaparadha, interrupt the social conduct of a person leading to psychosomatic disease. Thus, it is required that, each and every part of the society follows this conduct in order to maintain one's own health as well as to help maintain peace, safety, stability in the society which is important for the welfare of the entire human race.

व्युत्पत्तिः ॥ Etymology

The term Sadvrtta is composed of 2 parts, 'Sad' (सद्। Or सत्।) and 'Vrtta' (वृत्तम्।).

  1. Sad (सद्। Or सत्।) means good/moral/ethical and,[citation needed]
  2. Vrtta (वृत्तम्।) refers to Behavior or conduct[citation needed]

Thus the term Sadvrtta means 'Good behavior or conduct'

सद्वृत्तपालनस्य फलम्॥ Effect and importance of Sadvrtta

Acharya Charaka has highlighted the importance of following Sadvrtta. He says that if followed religiously, Sadvrutta helps to conquer Indriyas, indicating control over senses and desires. Control over Indriyas (इन्द्रियम्।) confers prevention from diseases caused due to their excess, deficient or abnormal involvement in their objects of focus. This ultimately helps to prevent various diseases.

तद्ध्यनुतिष्ठन् युगपत् सम्पादयत्यर्थद्वयमारोग्यमिन्द्रियविजयं चेति (Char. Sutra. 8/18)[1]

taddhyanutiṣṭhan yugapat sampādayatyarthadvayamārogyamindriyavijayaṁ ceti

Meaning : That (sadvritta), if practiced simultaneously fulfills two objectives – maintenance of positive health and control over sense organs.

सद्वृत्ताचरणम्॥ Various components of Sadvrtta

In order to maintain positive health and have control over one's sense organs various acharyas have proposed Sadvrttam. [1] [2] [3] Acharya Charaka has put forward the following code for one's personal and social well-being as a part of Sadvrtta.[1]

मानस सद्वृत्तम् ॥ The Codes of Conduct to balance mind and emotions

  • सर्वप्राणिषु बन्धुभूतः स्यात्, क्रुद्धानामनुनेता, भीतानामाश्वासयिता, दीनानामभ्युपपत्ता, सत्यसन्धः, सामप्रधानः ,परपरुषवचनसहिष्णुः, अमर्षघ्नः, प्रशमगुणदर्शी, रागद्वेषहेतूनां हन्ता च||

(Help and save those persons who are in dire situations or distress, should be compassionate), should pacify the angry and the discontent, and console the frightened)

  • Remain pleasant faced and take an initiative during discourses, be truthful & peaceful..
  • One should timely speak useful, measured, sweet & meaningful words
  • Should help the needy and poor
  • Should be tolerant of harsh words, and should curb the practice of intolerance
  • Should always concentrate on the qualities of peaceful life and should be the remover of the causes of attachment and aversion.
  • One should not initiate quarrels.
  • Should be self controlled & virtuous
  • हेतावीर्ष्युः, फले नेर्ष्युः ||

(One should be zealous to the cause but not be anxious about the result/outcome)

  • One should be free from anxiety, fearless, shy (from committing bad deeds), wise, highly enthusiastic, skillful, fore bearing, religious, with positive attitude
  • One should be devoted to the teachers, accomplished persons and to those who are superior in modesty, intellect, learning, clan and age.

प्रतिषिद्धाः आचाराः ॥ Forbidden codes of conduct

  • One should not tell lies and should not take other’s possessions
  • Should not covet other’s women or property
  • Should not indulge in enmity, sinful acts, or be vicious (even to a sinner).
  • Should not point out defects of others and should not try to know other’s secrets.
  • One should not keep company of the unvirtuous, those hated by the king, insane persons, those not following social ethics, foetus killers, wretched and wicked ones.
  • One should not be attached to women, friends and servants with sinful conduct, should not oppose or antagonize superior persons and be attached to inferior persons.
  • One should not take interest in crooked things, take refuge of wicked persons and indulge in frightening/ terrorising acts.

शारीर स्वास्थ्यरक्षणार्थं सद्वृत्तम् ॥ Code for maintaining general health and Well-being

This code of conduct also plays important role in the prevention of diseases by offering strength and safety guidelines to the physical body.

  • One should apply oil to head, ear, nose, and feet daily and should resort to (healthy) smoking
  • One should bathe twice a day, and one should clean his excretory passages and feet frequently
  • Cutting of hair, shaving & nail cutting should be done thrice a fortnight
  • One should always wear untorn clothes, should be cheerful, use flowers and fragrance. The attire should be gentle and style of hair should be as commonly in practice
  • One should walk with an umbrella, stick, turban & foot wear, and look six feet ahead
  • One should adopt auspicious conduct, should avoid places with dirty clothes, bones, thorns, impure articles, hairs, chaff, garbage, ash, and skull and one should bathe & sacrifice
  • Should discontinue exercise before feeling of fatigue.
  • One should not ride on defective vehicles, sit on hard place of knee height, sleep on uncovered hard bed or having no pillow, not having sufficient dimensions or uneven.
  • One should not move on uneven tops of the mountains, climb trees, and take dip in water with strong currents.
  • One should not tread on the shade of a bank, or move around the place that are prone to fire hazards,
  • One should not see light, undesirable, impure and inauspicious objects, should not produce any abnormally loud sound at the sight of corpse and tread on the shadow of sacred persons, teachers, revered ones or any such persons.
  • One should not stay for long in the temples, sacred places, raised platforms, crossroads, gardens, cremation grounds & places of execution during nights, and should not enter a deserted house or forests alone
  • One should not indulge in undue courage or excessive sleep, night awakening, bath, drinks and food. One should not stay for long with knees up and approach fierce animals and those having prominent teeth and horns.
  • One should not be exposed to easterly winds, the sun, dews and the strong currents of wind.
  • One should not sneeze, eat and sleep in curved position.
  • One should not be engaged in other works while natural urge arises.

समाज स्वास्थ्यरक्षणार्थं सद्वृत्तम् ॥ Code of conduct for maintaining personal and social hygiene

  • One should not spit out sputum, pass feces and urine in front of the winds, fire, water, the moon, the sun, and the preceptors.
  • One should not urinate on the road, in crowded (public) places and while taking food.
  • One should not let out oral or nasal excreta at the time of recitation of mantras, oblation, studies, and sacrifice, religious and auspicious acts.
  • One should not laugh loudly, release flatus with sound, should not yawn, sneeze, or laugh with uncovered mouth, should not contort the nose, grind teeth, make scratching sounds using nails, strike the bones, scrape the earth, cut the grass, press the earthen lamp, perform any improper actions of body parts .

भोजनविषये सद्वृत्तम् ॥ Codes and Etiquette for Eating

  • One should not eat without wearing precious stones in the hand or without taking bath or while wearing torn clothes, without reciting mantras, without offering oblations to God, without offerings to the departed forefathers, teachers, guests and dependents.
  • One should not eat without applying purifying fragrance and garland, without washing hands, feet and face, without cleaning the mouth, facing towards the north, with depressed /stressed mind, surrounded by the disloyal, undisciplined, unclean and hungry attendants, in unclean utensils or at improper place and time, in crowded surroundings, without first offering to the fire, without sprinkling with sacred water, without sanctifying it with mantras, with contemptuous disposition towards the food.
  • One should not take contaminated meal or food which has been served by enemies or opponents.
  • One should not take stale food.
  • One should not take curd at night.

आचारनियमाः ॥ Behavioral codes to be followed in society

To maintain personal as well as social health, peace, safety, security and morality.

Codes for Behavior with Women

Under this topic, various aspects of one's interaction with women have been keenly dealt with in order maintain health of the individual. These aspects include behavior with women, general rules for selecting a female partner for sexual life and rules regarding the desired health status, time, place for such activity. These rules have been enlisted considering health of both the partners involved in an activity. Since Ayurveda believes that Brahmacharya is one of those 3 pillars of ones health of an individual, paying attention to these rules and following the instructions wisely is of great importance for maintaining the harmony of life. Some of the rules have been listed here. details can be found in classical treatises of Ayurveda.

  • The female partner selected for performing sexual activity should be healthy. It is not recommended to perform sexual intercourse with a woman during her menstrual period, with a woman suffering from a disease, or one who is unhygienic, with undesirable qualities, with bad behavior/conducts and manners.
  • One should not indulge in physical intimacy with a woman who is not having passionate desire or has passionate desire for some other person or is married to some other person.
  • Involving in sexual activities with partner from other animal species or unnatural routes is prohibited.
  • One should not perform sexual intercourse under holy trees, at sacred places, public courtyard, on a crossroad, in a garden, at cremation ground, execution place/ slaughter house, near water reservoir, in the medicine stores. Sexual intercourse is also prohibited in the houses of brahmins, teachers and in temples.
  • One should not perform sexual intercourse during the dawn and dusk and on inauspicious days i.e. on full moon days and pratipadas, etc. One should not perform sexual intercourse if unclean, if not taken aphrodisiacs, without prior determination and desire, without having proper erection, without food or after excessive food intake, on uneven place, while under the urge of micturition or defecation, after exertion, physical exercise, during fasting, after exhaustion or in a place having no privacy .

Behavior Code with Preceptors

  • One should not speak ill of noble persons and preceptors.
  • One should not perform spells, worship of sacred trees and superiors, and studies while remaining impure.

Codes for Social Behavior in general

  • One should not deviate from generally approved social practices and should not break any code of conduct.
  • One should not move in the night or in an inappropriate place. One should not indulge in taking food, studies, sexual relations or sleep during the dawn or dusk.
  • One should not make friendship with children, the old, the greedy, the fools, the persons under affliction.
  • One should not have interest in taking wine, gambling and making physical relationship with prostitutes.
  • One should not disclose secrets and should not insult anybody. One should not be self conceited, unskilled, inexperienced and envious.
  • One should not insult those involved in pious acts nor should beat the cow with sticks. One should not abuse the old, the preceptors, the administrative class and the king.
  • One should not speak too much nor treat kins, persons attached, that stood along in difficult times and the persons who know the secrets disparagingly.

Code for Learning and Studying

  • One should not study when there is unseasonal lightning, houses appear as if they are burnt, during outbreak of fire, earthquake, grand festivals, fall of meteors, eclipses (solar or lunar). One should not study on a new moon day, during dawn or dusk.
  • One should not study without being instructed by preceptor. One should not pronounce words in low, high, weak or deranged voice, without proper accents and morphological symmetry, neither too fast nor too slow, nor with excessive delay and nor with too high or too low pitch of sound.

Codes for Maintaining Good Psyche in Society

  • One should not be impatient, or overexcited/ over exhilarated.
  • One should not be the person who does not support his attendants, confide in his kins, be happy alone and has unpleasant conduct, behaviour and attendance.
  • One should not rely on everybody nor suspect all and should not be critical (too meticulous) at all times. [26]
  • One should not be in a habit of postponing things at the time of action.
  • One should not indulge in any activity without properly examining it.
  • One should not be submissive to his senses nor should let his fickle mind move around.
  • One should overburden his/her intellect or senses.
  • One should avoid procrastinating.
  • One should not do things in a fit of anger or rejoicing.
  • One should not be under continuous grief.
  • One should not be conceited over achievements or desperate in loss.
  • One should always remember his own constitution of mind (nature).
  • One should have faith in the correlation of the cause and effect that is good and bad deeds and their corresponding results and should always act on it.
  • One should not be despondent and assume that now nothing can be done.
  • One should not lose spirit (give up courage) nor should remember his insults.

Auspicious Codes of Conduct related to Dharma

  • One should worship God, cows, those who are involved in pious acts, preceptors, elderly persons, highly accomplished persons and teachers.
  • One should honor fire with oblation, should put on auspicious herbs in fire (ref
  • Should offer oblation, perform religious sacrifices, donations, pay respect to road crossings, offer bali (religious offerings or ritualistic sacrifices)
  • Should offer hospitality to guests, offer pindas (rice balls) to forefathers
  • One should not do yajna (worship fire) in secluded place, should not keep feet close to fire, and should not wear spotted clothes. One should not take bath when tired and exhausted, and should rest and wash the face before taking bath. Should not touch the head with dirty clothes nor should strike at hair tips and should wear fresh clothes after bathing .
  • One should not leave without touching the gems, ghee, the respectable, the auspicious and flowers.
  • One should not pass the respectable and the auspicious on left and others on right side.
  • One who is desirous of one’s wellbeing should not offer oblation to the fire with cow ghee, whole rice grains, tila (Sesamum indicum Linn.), kusha grass (Desmostachya bipinnata Staff.) and mustard seeds while in impure condition.
  • One should touch water, reciting- Agnirme na apa gachhet. After touching the lips and feet, one should daub water on all the orifices of the head (two nasal, one buccal, two auditory, and two ocular orifices), the seats of his soul (mentally), heart and head. [28]

ब्रह्मचर्यज्ञानदानमैत्रीकारुण्यहर्षोपेक्षाप्रशमपरश्च स्यादिति||२९||

Brahmacaryajñānadānamaitrīkāruṇyaharṣōpēkṣāpraśamaparaśca syāditi||29||

Meaning: One should follow the path of brahmacharya (celibacy), knowledge, charity, friendship, compassion, cheerfulness, detachment and peace. [29]

Importance of Sadvrtta

Sadvrittas are regarded as one of the measures to prevent diseases. The role of Sadvritta is more of preventive in nature. It also plays a great stress on personal cleanness of body and mind. It acts as shield and strains of life under which we are constantly put in this world8. The activities as therapies which are adopted during the epidemics which can easily save life of individuals. Air,

Water, Place and Time are the epidemic producing factors being deranged. The persons managed with preventive therapy remain immune against the diseases. Truthfulness, compassion for living beings, charity, sacrifices, prayer to the gods, adoption of preventive measures, tranquillity, protections of the self by mantras etc. Search for the things as they are good for the self, residence in auspicious localities and observance of Brahmacharyas (celibacy). Serving to those observing Brahmacharyas, discussions of religious scriptures, great sages and who have self controlled and constant association with religious, Saattvika (great sages) and learned persons. This is the protection of life for those whose death is not certain during the Epidemics.

following which leads to prevention of psychological, physical & psychosomatic disorders. And all over, sadvritta play a vital role in preventing communicable diseases.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Charaka Samhita (Sootrasthanam Adhyaya 8 Sootra 18)
  2. Ashtanga Hrudayama, Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 3
  3. Ashtanga Sangraha Sutrasthanam Adhyaya 5