The Pancha Nitya Karmas

In addition to the yamas and niyamas, our religion provides us with a second group of guidelines to help us become better people. These are the pancha nitya karmas, "five constant duties." We could say that they are an amalgam of all the counsel of the Vedas and Agamas to guide daily and yearly religious life. These five obligatory religious practices are simple and applicable for all. Study them and put them into practice in your own life.


Proper conduct follows the laws of dharma and includes observing the teachings of the Holy Kural, remaining celibate until marriage, obeying sthree dharma for women and purusha dharma for men. It is goodness in thought, word and deed.

2. WORSHIP (Upasana)

Personal worship in the home shrine includes performance of puja, sadhana, japa and religious study. Regular devotions in the home and temple bring forth love of God and prepare the mind for the practices of meditation.

3. HOLY DAYS (Utsava)

The observance of Saivite festivals in the home and temple, including guru puja days, brings deep communion with God during highly spiritual times of the year. This includes fasting and attending the temple on Fridays, the Hindu holy day.

4. PILGRIMAGE (Tirthayatrai)

At least once each year every Saivite must make a pilgrimage to a holy place, whether near or far. This is a time when all worldly matters are set aside and God becomes the central and singular focus of life.

5. SACRAMENTS (Samskaras)

Sacraments are special ceremonies which mark our passages in life and sanctify these experiences. They include the rites of birth, first feeding, learning, marriage, death, monastic vows for monks and more.


1. Our constant duties as Saivites are the pancha nitya karmas.

2. They are virtuous living, worship, holy days, pilgrimage and sacraments.

The Importance of Virtue

The Saivite religion, when properly practiced, brings the devotee close to the Holy Feet of supreme God Siva. The practice is outlined in the yamas and niyamas and the pancha nitya karmas. They should be followed ever more strictly by the brahmachari and brahmacharini. They are the foundation for spiritual life. To live an unvirtuous life while performing sadhana would be to waste time, as adharma brings the mind into crude states of consciousness.

An ascetic did penance for many years and gained great merit and spiritual power. An enemy plotted to destroy his power. The technique was simple. He made the ascetic frightfully angry. In that one fit of rage, the painstaking penance and hard work was dissipated.

There are many Saivites who have taken the brahmachariya vrata and eagerly look forward to learning "advanced" yoga techniques. They have mastered the difficult sadhana of the art of controlling and channeling the sexual energies of the body, emotions and the mind. The ascetic in our story had not accomplished this sadhana. He had not conquered anger, and it cost him the benefits of his austerities. As Chellachi Amman, a saintly lady who was a respected elder to my Sat Guru, Siva Yogaswami, once said, "The spiritual path is like a bridge of hair over a river of fire."


The Saivite religion has three great pillars upon which it stands. These are the temples, the scriptures and the Sat Gurus. These three powerful increments form a perfectly balanced and natural vehicle for Truth to shine through on this planet. Like anything else, however, the Saivite Hindu religion must be used effectively by the individual who wishes to enjoy its lasting effects. Studying about it is not enough. Saivism is to be lived. Each member must put what has been learned into practice to the best of his ability. Use the temples for prayer and as places of worship. Read and heed the scriptures and apply their teachings to daily life. They are not mere theory. They are divine law. Obey your guru and reap the benefits.


1. Virtue is the one and only foundation for spiritual unfoldment.

2. You must use your religion if it is to help you.

3. Brahmachariya is control and channeling of your forces.

Control Your Dreams and Fantasies

Those who have resolved to follow the path of brahmachariya but are troubled by sexual fantasies and nightly encounters during their dream state should not despair. These are simply indications that their creative energies are not being used to capacity. They should work harder, mentally and physically, get up early in the morning and do sadhana, go to bed early and seek the more refined areas of consciousness during the dream states.

How can you seek these more refined areas during sleep? This is done through chanting and meditating before going to sleep, and through praying for guidance from Lord Ganesha.

To aid in the depolarization and transmutation of creative forces, certain mantrams are chanted. These logically concentrate the conscious mind and harmonize its subconscious. Mantrams draw the creative forces from the instinctive to the intellectual and superconscious regions. The mantram AUM aids the most in the depolarization and transmutation process. This mantram harmonizes the physical, mental and spiritual forces.



To chant the mantram AUM, intone A (pronounced ah) and center the sound in the solar plexus region of the body. Next intone U (pronounced oo) and center this sound through the throat area. Then intone M (pronounced mmm) and send this vibration through the cranium by placing the front teeth tightly together. In chanting the mantram A-U-M, first intone each sound separately, then blend the sounds together forming AUM, a steady hum or drone. The mantram AUM is the essence of sound itself. All sounds blended together intone AUM.

As you intone AUM, you are releasing your creative energy. This energy pours through your mental, emotional, and physical bodies, opening a new world for you.


1. Sexual dreams and fantasies indicate energies are not being utilized.

2. Learn to chant AUM to unleash and sublimate your creative energies.

Be Pure in Thought, Word and Deed

Purity is the natural state of the soul. It is clarity and clearness in all dimensions of being. One who is successful in the sustained practice of brahmachariya and the performance of sadhana radiates this purity as the sun radiates warmth and light.

Brahmachariya may be thought of as wisdom in handling the forces of the mind and body, most especially the sexual impulses. In this sadhana, the innate purity of the soul shines forth. Striving for this purity is the practice of brahmachariya. As a brahmachari or brahmacharini you must attune yourself to the inner worlds, the Second and Third Worlds. You must strive to live the contemplative life. You must associate with other Hindu devotees, seeking the company of good and holy men and women. You must be pure in your thoughts, never allowing your mind to indulge in sexual fantasies. You must speak pure words that reflect the purity of your thought. Never use harsh, angered or indecent language.

Do not harbor any harmful thoughts. Discard anger and jealousy. Be modest, disciplined and happy, and you will reach the top. Know thy Self by thy self.


The too great loss of [the reproductive fluids] soon produces the effects, . . . such as weakness, dejection of mind, debility, and pusillanimity, together with all that mental timidity which exaggerates the least dangers and succumbs under the most trivial apprehensions.



The observance of brahmachariya is perhaps the most essential aspect of a sound, spiritual culture. This is why in Saivism, boys and girls are taught the importance of remaining celibate until they are married. This creates healthy individuals, physically, emotionally and spiritually, generation after generation.


1. Strive for purity in thought, word and deed.

2. Preservation of the sacred seed gives strength.

3. Its loss is the dissipation of life force.

Guide and Protect Your Awareness

How should you regard members of the opposite sex? Do not look at members of the opposite sex with any idea of sex or lust in mind. Do not indulge in admiring those of the opposite sex, or seeing one as more beautiful than another. Boys must foster the inner attitude that all young women are their sisters and all older women are their mother. Girls must foster the inner attitude that all young men are their brothers and all older men are their father. Do not attend movies that depict the base instincts of humans, nor read books or magazines of this nature. To be successful in brahmachariya, one naturally wants to avoid arousing the sex instincts.

Purity is but freedom from desire and that is achieved by desiring to know Truth."



Be very careful to mix with good company--those who think and speak properly--so that the mind or emotions are not led astray and vital energies needed for study used up. Get plenty of physical exercise. This is very important because exercise sublimates your own instinctive drives and directs excess energy and the flow of blood into all parts of the body.

Morning, noon and evening we will chant with joyful hearts the blessed name of Siva. We will sever in our minds the root of all desire and lust and, sweetly as we please, we will abide where night is not nor day. If you always offer worship to the Almighty's holy feet, then you will have peace. That will make you rule the mind, which treads the senses' path.


In the Tirumantiram, the 10th book of the Tirumurai, Saint Tirumular speaks of the values of brahmachariya. He insists that it is very important that the brahmachari and brahmacharini strive to keep awareness in the refined areas of the mind so that beneficial, constructive thoughts can be created. Then the energies are properly employed so that spiritual unfoldment can be experienced in this and future lives.


1. Do not view others through the veil of lust.

2. Keep good company, get plenty of exercise and worship God.

Explain the Life Force to Your Children

Every Hindu mother and father must explain to their boys and girls the basic principles we are describing here. It is the parents' duty to provide a sound education in the use and misuse of the life forces and teach their children how to control the forces within them as they grow into adulthood. Only in this way will they have the knowledge required to face the challenges of their own instinctive/intellectual nature. If you have chosen family life, here are some helpful suggestions to put into practice when you have children.


There are a two main areas that parents can feel free to speak with their boys and girls about as they are growing up from a very young age. These are prana and the chakras. Once your children have a clear idea of what prana actually is and what the chakras actually are, they will be confident in lifting up the pranas into the higher chakras when puberty is upon them.

Explain it in this way: "You are a person with a great deal of energy, and this energy is called prana. This prana will increase within your physical body until you are about forty years of age. After that the prana increases in power within the mental body until you are about the age of seventy. Then the prana continues to increase within the spiritual body of the soul." Carefully explain time and time again to your children that it is up to them to control their prana, their life force, which is the total energy of their body. Until forty years of age this is done through education, exercise and hard work. After forty until seventy, this is done through study, caring for those younger than themselves, community service and additional education. After seventy this is done through worship, sadhana, tapas and deep meditation.

The Lord who not a whit is separated from you, those of impure mind can never see. The mind is a temple; the soul is its lamp. Meditate, meditate! The truth will dawn for you.



1. Teach children about prana and the chakras to equip them to control their sexuality when it awakens.

2. Through life's stages, prana increases and feeds first the physical body, then the mental body and then the body of the soul.

Nourishing the Chakras

Children have an abundance of energy, and sometimes it can make them rather wild. How should this be controlled by the parents? When children run around excitedly, refer to their energy as Siva's prana within them. Congratulate them each time they exercise control over it, but don't punish them when they don't. Instead, explain that it is important that they learn to control and use their energies in positive ways. Have them sit with you and breathe deeply. Teach them to feel energy. Go into the shrine room and sit quietly with them until their pranas become quiet, and then help them observe the difference. To hit them or to yell at them when they are rowdy is only sending more prana into them from you. Another technique is to withdraw your prana from them and pretend to be hurt by their actions. Put on a sour face. Gradually, by teaching about energy in this way you pave the way for a positive outlook on sex that will remain with them throughout their life. They will see the sexual energies, when they begin to awaken, as increased creative life force. And they will have the tools to transmute this force into the higher chakras.


When explaining the chakras to your children, refer to these force centers as lovely flowers within them that need to be fed by their vital energies. Teach them to breathe deeply and lift the energy from the lower chakras to the higher ones and hold it there, as if to feed and water these flowers. Teach them that chakras are also rooms of consciousness, and energy we put into the chakras awakens this consciousness and makes us very alert and intelligent.

In other words, as soon as your children can understand you, you can begin teaching them about their energies. In this way you give them the tools to handle their sexual nature so that their forces do not run away with their mind during puberty. In this way, you will open channels to talk freely with them about sex when the time comes. Many parents give absolutely no guidance in this area to their children, who then have to learn from other children about this natural function of their life. So, be a wise parent and begin early. Remember, there are only two areas to cover: prana and chakras. Your own intuition will guide you as to how to proceed.


1. Do not punish rowdy children, but guide them gently and teach about energy.

2. Teach children that the chakras are like flowers within them which they feed and water by lifting their pranas.

Personal Challenges for Chapter Three

when completed Discipline


Chapter Four: Energy, Life, Procreation

Saivite Virtue Contents Page