Vartmans - Code of Conduct
Lord Swaminarayan stated that devotion and moral behaviour is essential for salvation and reaching divine Akshardham. A person must be pure in his actions and thoughts whilst being disciplined in life in order to be moral.
Vartman translates to a way of behaviour or conduct so to help His followers maintain a high level of morality in life, Lord Swaminarayan defined five vartmans that His devotees must always observe. He stated that whoever wants to embrace His sampraday must abide by these five:
Drug, Alcohol, Intoxication
Do not drink wine, beer, intoxicating drugs, or sniff, inject any intoxicating drugs or any forms. Do not consume any product that is addictive.
Do not eat meat in any form, even if it is an offering of sacrifice to devs.
Do not commit adultery, do not to look at members of the opposite sex passionately, and do not keep their company unless they are close relatives.
Do not steal, even if the item is small and worthless or if it is for Bhagvãn.
Food & Drink from Improper Sources
Do not change someone’s dharma of their varna and ashram by force, and do not change your own dharma of your varna and ashram. This includes not taking food or drink from improper persons or made by improper persons or sources, and also includes not performing the duties of other varnas.
Five Vows for Tyãgis
Sãdhus of Shree Swãminãrãyan have to observe their five additional vows strictly as well as the five basic vows listed above. They are given to them at the time of their initiation as a sãdhu. They are initiated by the Ãchãrya from either Amdãvãd or Vadtãl Gãdi. These are taken at the time when they receive their mahã-dikshã.
- Nishkãm – To observe the vow of the eight-fold celibacy, and to be without lust and desire. Not to expect any form of reward for good deeds and should have no desire for anything.
- Nirlobh – To remain without greed, and not be attached to worldly objects. Not to touch or accept money for himself.
- Nisvãd – To remain detached from the pleasure of taste, not desire food with taste. Not to eat anything that is not offered to God.
- Nirmãn – To remain without pride. Also, he should not abuse anyone even if someone were to beat him, but should instead wish him well.
- Nisneh – To remain without attachment to bodily relations. He should only have affection for Bhagvãn.
For one to truly observe the Vartmans,
it must be observed throughout your THOUGHTS, SPEECH & ACTION
Initially, one must physically, through behaviour, follow the vartmans. Following the vartmans is the foundations of the spiritual journey.
Often, it can be overlooked throughout ones life where we break the vartmans through speech, but to encourage yourself or even others to oppose the vartmans can be immoral and is as good as breaking them.
To even have the intention to break the vartmans is as good as breaking them. It is important that we truly understand why we follow the vartmans to ensure that they are kept firm in the mind. It is only after one follows the vartmans through thoughts along with the aforementioned that one can truly appreciate the benefits the vartmans have on our spiritual journey.