General Rules Of Conduct

The first rule is that one should keep his nails and hair short, always put on clean and white clothes,wear a light turban and a pair of shoes and carry an umbrella and a stick in his hand. One should discourse, when necessary, with another in a sweet and gentle voice and his speech should be laconic and pleasing. He should first accost his elders and acquaintances in cases of meeting before they speak. He should be kind and compassionate, to all creatures, and be approved of by his elders and superiors. He should be in full possession of resources and in an undisturbed state of the mind. One should not stir out at night nor walk about in the grounds of public executions, undulated places, dens and rocks. * He should not go (at night) to where roads cross nor to places covered with heaps of husks, ashes, bones, hair, stones, baked earthy and charcoal, nor to places commonly considered as unholy. 66.

* The text has Indra-kila which means a hilly country inhabited by barbarous people.

Men should never deride a king, nor use harsh and impolite words to, nor act meanly and treacherously towards him. One should not speak ill of the king, the gods, the Brahmanas and the Pitris (departed Manes), and he should never use harsh and slanderous words. He should not tell a lie nor associate with king-haters nor with the insane, degraded, mean and narrow-hearted persons. 67.

Climbing up trees, mountains, ant-hills and undulating grounds, etc , and going up to a waterfall as well as riding on a wild and unbroken horse or elephant are strictly prohibited. One should not descend into an unknown tank, den as well as into the sea or into a river at flood times. Old haunted and deserted houses, cremation grounds and solitary forests should be strictly shunned. One should not come into actual contact with fire, wild beasts, snakes and venomous insects. The site infested with wild beasts, snakes, venomous insects, lizards and horned animals as well as where virulent epidemics would be raging should be avoided, nor should the sites of actual affrays and battles be resorted to, nor the scene of a violent conflagration of fire. 68.

Passing between two rows of fire, between cows, elders, Bráhmanas, moving cradles and a married couple is forbidden. One should not (unnecessarily) follow a corpse. Even the shadow of a fallen, degraded and sick person as well as of a cow, Bráhmana, divine image, banner or of a Chaitya (tree growing on a cremation ground) should not be trodden upon. One should not gaze at the rising or the setting sun. One should not report to another the fact of a milch cow sucking her own calf, nor of her traversing or freely grazing in another's field nor the fact of witnessing a rainbow or a meteor fall. One should not blow up a fire with one's breath, nor hit the ground or water with one's hands and feet. 69.

A man should never repress any natural urging of his body, nor should he pass water or evacuate excrements in an open or public place, within the confines of a town or village, close to a cremation ground or any place of worship, at the crossing of roads, in reservoirs of water or on the high road nor should he do so facing a fire, in the presence of his superiors, cows, the sun and the moon nor facing against the wind. 70.

Scratching (unnecessarily) the ground with one's nails, etc., should not be done, and one should not yawn nor sneeze, nor raise any eructations nor breathe hard in an assembly (of gentlemen) without previously covering his face. Sitting in an unseemly raised-up position on a couch as well as with extended feet in front of one's superiors should be renounced. 71.

The hair, nostrils, ear holes, teeth or any channel of the body should not be fingered. The hair, face, fingernails, clothes and the body should not be shaken. Never keep time with music by beating the body or the cheeks with the hands or by striking the finger nails against each other. Never (wantonly) strike or break or cleave a piece of wood or stone or weed, etc. 72.

Never expose yourself to the rays of the sun, or to the gusts of wind blowing in your face. Basking before a fire immediately after a meal or sitting on one's legs on a narrow wooden stool should not be indulged in. Never hold the neck in a contrary (contorted) posture. Neither do nor eat anything by keeping the body in a contrary posture. Never look steadfastly towards any object and particularly towards the sun or any luminous body * or towards any extremely attenuated, revolving or moving object. Never carry a load on the head. Sleeping, waking, sitting, lying down, walking, jumping, running fast, plunging in water, swimming, riding on a horse or in a vehicle, talking, laughing, sexual intercourse and taking (any other) physical exercise though accustomed and recommended should not be inordinately indulged in. 73.

A bad habit should be gradually discontinued and a good one even when (beneficial to health) should similarly be gradually inculcated by a quarter only and not all at once. 74.

It is improper to lie down with one's head downward. One should not drink water from a broken vessel nor with the help of blended palms. Food, which is wholesome and approved of by one's physician and which abounds in articles of sweet and emollient properties † should be taken at the proper (and regular) time (every day) in a moderate quantity. It is forbidden to take any food in the house of a trader (i.e., of a (hotel-keeper) or a courtesan, nor in the house of a wily, degenerate or inimical person, nor at a village-assembly. The refuse of another's dishes, as well as articles of food infested with flies, insects, etc., or possessed of an objectionable colour, taste, smell, touch or sound or those which producelan unpleasant impression in the mind, or food of like nature as well as those served (handled) by many persons should not be partaken of (in spite of repeated requests in that behalf). It is not advisable to sit down to a meal without washing one's hands and feet. One should never take anything by repressing a natural urging for stool and urine, nor sit down to a meal just at the break or the close of day, nor in an unprotected situation (i.e. without any shade, or without something to sit upon). One should not take his meal after the expiry of the (daily) appointed time nor in an insufficient or inordinate quantity, nor partake of food whose Sneha (oleaginous substance) has been removed. 75.

* Some explain "Jyolish" as a blaze of fire and others explain it as stars.

† The framers of the Ayurveda were aware of the fact that the human system is incapable of directly assimilating starchy substances without converting them into sugar. This has been emphasised in the Sutra-Sihána, where Sus'ruta insists that a food stuff, in order to be worthy of the epithet, must be Madhura (i e , of sweet flavour) and contain a large qnantity of proteid matter such as is found in milk, butter, meat, etc. - Ed.

Metrical Text

It is forbidden to see one's image reflected in water, nor is it advisable to plunge naked into water. Curd should never be taken at night, nor should it be taken (at all) without sugar * or clarified butter, nor without saturating it with Mudga-soup or the admixture of honey, nor without (the expressed juice of) the A'malaka, nor with any hot substance † or article, as otherwise it may bring on Kushtha (cutaneous affections), erysipelas, etc. 76-77.

Exercise, addiction to wine, gambling and music are bad. One should not bear witness to any fact (before a law court) nor stand surety for any body. One should not use the shoe, umbrella, garland (of flowers,) ornaments or ragged clothes previously used by another. Never defile a Bráhmana, or a fire, or a cow by touching them before washing (your hands and mouth) after eating. 78.

* Dallana adds that curd should not be taken without an addition of water and salt as well. This is also the practice in general.

† All the existing editions of the Sus'ruta Samhitá readGeneral Rules Of Conduct 200137 (i e., curd should not be taken with any "hot" substance). Here it should be noted that the term "hot" may also include the substances which are heat-making in their potency. Here, however, the reading seems to be incorrect. The lines are found verbatim in the work of Charaka, where he readsi.e., hot curd should not be taken, since it produces, as he himself tells us later on, an aggravation of the blood and the Titta. - Ed.

Memorable Verses

The general rules of (good) conduct are described above. Health, wealth and longevity never fall to the lot of those who do not follow these rules of conduct. A wise man should take food of such tastes (Rasa) in any particular season of the year as is antidotal to the bodily Dosha which is naturally aggravated in that season. 79-80.