30 Qualities for Civilized Human Beings

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O King Yudhisthira, these thirty qualifications must be acquired in the human form of life. Simply by acquiring these qualifications, one can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

– Śrīmad Bhāgavatam, 7.11.8-12

  1. Truthfulness: Satyam, truthfulness, means that one should always feel that let good things happen to every living entity “Sarve bhavantu sukhinah” and give up the feelings that bad things otherwise.
  2. Mercy: Compassion should be shown to all living entities to progress towards the ultimate destination which is going back home, back to godhead.
  3. Austerity:  Observing fasts on certain days of the month such as ekadashis and Vaisnava festivals.
  4. Cleanliness: Bathing twice a day and chanting minimum 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha Mantra.
  5. Tolerance: Tolerance means that one should be practiced to bear insult and dishonor from others.
  6. Discrimination between right and wrong: One should be able to discriminate between right and wrong code of conduct and behavior in the society, For Eg., what should be eaten and what should not be eaten; covering oneself with cloth; etc. Actions without such discrimination is in the mode of passion.
  7. Control of the mind: means that one should restrain the mind from unnecessary thoughts.  The power of thought should be developed in association with persons who are authorities in the scriptures, saintly persons and spiritual masters and those whose thinking is highly developed (B.g.10.4)
  8. Control of the senses: Control of the senses means that the senses should not be used for unnecessary personal enjoyment.
  9. Nonviolence: nonviolence means not to put others into distress.
  10. Celibacy: Continence or abstaining from misuse of one’s semen – not indulging in sex with women other than one’s own wife and not having sex with one’s own wife when sex is forbidden, like during the period of menstruation
  11. Charity: Charity is meant for the householders. The householders should earn a livelihood by an honorable means and spend fifty percent of their income to propagate Krsna consciousness all over the world. Thus a householder should give in charity to institutional societies that are engaged in that way (B.g. 16.1).
  12. Reading of scripture: reading of transcendental literatures like Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Ramayana and Mahabharata (or, for those not in Vedic culture, reading of the Bible or Koran).
  13. Simplicity: Simplicity means that without diplomacy one should be so straightforward that he can disclose the real truth even to an enemy.
  14. Satisfaction: Satisfaction means that one should not be eager to gather more and more material goods by unnecessary activity. One should be satisfied with whatever is obtained by the grace of the Supreme Lord.
  15. Rendering service to saintly persons: rendering service to saintly persons who make no distinctions between one living being and another and who see every living being as a spirit soul
  16. Gradually taking leave of unnecessary engagements: not taking part in so-called philanthropic activities and gradually taking leave of them one by one.
  • Observing the futility of the unnecessary activities of human society: Unnecessary activities endeavors that are not connected to the ultimate benefit of Krishna consciousness. The Vedas enjoin that one should not try to increase happiness or distress because they are destined and cannot be changed.  Rather one should utilize the time for advancement in spiritual life of Krsna Consciousness.  One should discriminate by observation of such endeavors in the human society so as to avoid them.  Futile endeavors usually take the form of extreme endeavors called ugra karma.  Development of factories and mills is called ugra-karma, or pungent activities, and such activities deteriorate the finer sentiments of the human being and society to form a dungeon of demons (SB. 1.11.12)
  1. Remaining silent and grave and avoiding unnecessary talk: Unless one becomes silent, he cannot think completely about the pastimes and activities of the Lord. One should become silent so that people will not disturb him. Mauna necessitates refraining from nonsensical talking, and engaging the talking facility in the pastimes of the Lord. In that way one can chant and hear about the Lord in order to perfect his life. (S.B. 3.24.42) A person who does not express his mind to everyone, or whose mental activity and plan of action are very difficult to understand, is called grave (N.O.D 21)
  2. Considering whether one is the body or the soul: One should be conscious of one’s existence as the spirit soul and must not get attached to the bodily conception of life thinking everything connected to body as “me” and “mine”. (S.B. 3.20.18)
  3. Distributing food equally to all living entities (both men and animals): Eating is the first necessity of the human as well as animal society. One should be liberal to distribute Krsna Prasadam equally to all living entities. Evreyone will be eternally benefitted by honoring Krsna Prasada.
  4. Seeing every soul (especially in the human form) as a part of the Supreme Lord: The Personality of Godhead Lord Sri Krsna is in every living being along with the individual soul. This fact is perceived and hypothesized in our acts of seeing and taking help from the intelligence. The presence of Paramatma in everyone’s company is not very difficult to realize, even for the common man.  One can perceive one’s self-identification and feel positively that he exists.  We can easily attain to the true, spiritual conception by recognizing the Superself (Paramatma) to be our friend and guide and by dovetailing our intelligence with the superior intelligence of Paramatma.
  5. Hearing about the activities and instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead (who is the shelter of the saintly persons): Sravanam, refers to giving aural reception to the holy name and descriptions of the Lord’s form, qualities, entourage and pastimes as explained in Çrémad-Bhägavatam, Bhagavad-gétä and similar authorized scriptures.
  6. Chanting about these activities and instructions: After aurally receiving such messages, one should memorize these vibrations and repeat them (kirtanam).
  7. Always remembering these activities and instructions: Smaraëam means trying to understand more and more about the Supreme Lord.
  8. Trying to render service: Pada-sevanam means engaging oneself in serving the lotus feet of the Lord according to the time and circumstances.
  9. Performing worship: Arcanam means worshiping Lord Visnu as one does in the temple.
  10. Offering obeisance: Vandanam means offering respectful obeisances or offering prayers.
  11. Becoming a servant: Thinking oneself to be nitya-krsna-dasa, everlastingly a servant of Krsna, is called dasyam
  12. Becoming a friend: Sakhyam means being a well-wisher of Krsna. Krsna wants everyone to surrender unto Him because everyone is constitutionally His servant. Therefore, as a sincere friend of Krsna, one should preach this philosophy, requesting everyone to surrender unto Krsna.
  13. Surrendering one’s whole self: Atma-nivedanam means offering Krsna everything, including one’s body, mind, intelligence and whatever one may possess.
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