Scriptural Verses B – Core Values and Virtues

Scriptural Verses B (word document download)

Verses on Core Values and Virtues

Please also refer to the section on proverbs for further relevant verses.

In here, there are four main categories, namely:

A. Godly / Spiritual Qualities (general)
B. Demonic / Materialistic Qualities (general)
C. Specific Virtues
D. Miscellaneous

A. Godly / Spiritual Qualities (general)

The laws of life are five:

These laws are universal, unaffected by time, place, birth, or circumstance.
Together they constitute the “Great Law of Life.”

– The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, 2:30-31

Fortitude, forgiveness, self-control, abstention from unlawful gain, purity of body and mind, sense-control, study of scriptures, meditation on the Supreme, truthfulness, freedom from anger, – this is the tenfold path of virtue.

These are the general principles to be followed by all human beings: truthfulness, mercy, austerity (observing fasts on certain days of the month), bathing twice a day, tolerance, discrimination between right and wrong, control of the mind, control of the senses, non-violence, celibacy, charity, reading of scripture, simplicity, satisfaction, rendering service to saintly persons, gradually taking leave of unnecessary engagements, observing the futility of the unnecessary activities of human society, remaining silent and grave and avoiding unnecessary talk, considering whether one is the body or the soul, distributing food equally to all living entities (both men and animals), seeing every soul (especially in the human form) as a part of the Supreme Lord, hearing about the activities and instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead (who is the shelter of the saintly persons), chanting about these activities and instructions, always remembering these activities and instructions, trying to render service, performing worship, offering obeisances, becoming a servant, becoming a friend, and surrendering one’s whole self. 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 Lord.

– Bhagavat Purana 7.11.8-12

One who is not envious but is a kind friend to all living entities, who does not think himself a proprietor and is free from false ego, who is equal in both happiness and distress, who is tolerant, always satisfied, self-controlled, and engaged in devotional service with determination, his mind and intelligence fixed on Me – such a devotee of Mine is very dear to Me.

He for whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.

My devotee who is not dependent on the ordinary course of activities, who is pure, expert, without cares, free from all pains, and not striving for some result, is very dear to Me.

Anyone who neither rejoices nor grieves, who neither laments nor desires, and who renounces both auspicious and inauspicious things- such a devotee is very dear to Me.

One who is equal to friends and enemies, who is equipoised in honour and dishonour, heat and cold, happiness and distress, fame and infamy, who is always free from contaminating association, always silent and satisfied with anything, who doesn’t care for any residence, who is fixed in knowledge and who is engaged in devotional service – such a person is very dear to Me.

Those who follow the imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.

– Bhagavad Gita 12. 13-20

Humility; pridelessness; non-violence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth and death; old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.

– Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12

The Supreme Lord said: “O Uddhava, a saintly person is merciful and never injures others. Even if others are aggressive, he is tolerant and forgiving toward all living entities. His strength and meaning in life come from the truth itself, he is free from all envy and jealousy, and his mind is equal in material happiness and distress. Thus, he dedicates his time to work for the welfare of all others. His intelligence is never bewildered by material desires, and he has controlled his senses. His behaviour is always pleasing, never harsh and always exemplary, and he is free from possessiveness. He never endeavours in ordinary, worldly activities, and he strictly controls his eating. He therefore always remains peaceful and steady. A saintly person is thoughtful and accepts me as his only shelter. Such a person is very cautious in the execution of his duties and is never subject to superficial transformations, because he is steady and noble, even in a distressing situation. He has conquered over the six material qualities—namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death. He is free from all desire for prestige and offers honour to others. He is expert in reviving the Krishna consciousness of others and therefore never cheats anyone. Rather, he is a well-wishing friend to all, being most merciful. Such a saintly person must be considered the most learned of men. He perfectly understands that the ordinary religious duties prescribed by me in various Vedic scriptures possess favourable qualities that purify the performer, and he knows that neglect of such duties constitutes a discrepancy in one’s life. Having taken complete shelter at my lotus feet, however, a saintly person ultimately renounces such ordinary religious duties and worships me alone. He is thus considered to be the best among all living entities”.

– Bhagavat Purana 11.11.29-32

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: “Fearlessness; purification of one’s
existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; non-violence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigour; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honour- these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.”

– Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3 1

B. Demonic / Materialistic Qualities (general)

Those who are demoniac do not know what is to be done and what is not to be done. Neither cleanliness nor proper behaviour nor truth is found in them.

They say that this world is unreal, with no foundation, no God in control. They say it is produced out of sex desire and has no cause other than lust.

Following such conclusions, the demoniac, who are lost to themselves and who have no intelligence, engage in unbeneficial, horrible works meant to destroy the world.

Taking shelter of insatiable lust and absorbed in the conceit of pride and false prestige, the demoniac, thus illusioned, are always sworn to unclean work, attracted by the impermanent.

They believe that to gratify the senses is the prime necessity of human civilisation. Thus until the end of life their anxiety is immeasurable. Bound
by a network of hundreds of thousands of desires and absorbed in lust and anger, they secure money by illegal means for sense gratification.

The demoniac person thinks: “So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer, I am perfect, powerful and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.” In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.

Thus perplexed by various anxieties and bound by a network of illusions, they become too strongly attached to sense enjoyment and fall down into hell.

Self-complacent and always impudent, deluded by wealth and false prestige, they sometimes proudly perform sacrifices in name only, without following any rules or regulations.

Bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust and anger, the demons become envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in their own bodies and in others, and blaspheme against the real religion.

Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, I perpetually cast into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.

Attaining repeated birth amongst the species of demoniac life, O son of Kunti, such persons can never approach me. Gradually they sink down to the most abominable type of existence.

There are three gates leading to this hell – lust, anger and greed. Every sane man should give these up, for they lead to the degradation of the soul.

– Bhagavad Gita 16.7-21

C. Specific Virtues

Note: the first twelve are listed in the Teachers Book, page 37

1. Ahimsa

Non-violence means that one should not do anything that will put others into misery or confusion. Material activities that are promised by so many politicians, sociologists, philanthropists, etc., do not produce very good results because the politicians and philanthropists have no transcendental vision; they do not know what is actually beneficial for human society. Non-violence means that people should be trained in such a way that the full utilization of the human body can be achieved. The human body is meant for spiritual realization, so any movement or any commissions which do not further that end commit violence on the human body. That which furthers the future spiritual happiness of the people in general is called non-violence.

– Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5 Commentary

Non-violence means not arresting the progressive life of any living entity. One should not think that since the spirit spark is never killed even after the killing of the body there is no harm in killing animals for sense gratification. People are now addicted to eating animals, in spite of having an ample supply of grains, fruits and milk. There is no necessity for animal killing. This injunction is for everyone. When there is no alternative, one may kill an animal, but it should be offered in sacrifice. At any rate, when there is an ample food supply for humanity, persons who are desiring to make advancement in spiritual realization should not commit violence to animals. Real non-violence means not checking anyone’s progressive life. The animals are also making progress in their evolutionary life by transmigrating from one category of animal life to another. If a particular animal is killed, then his progress is checked. If an animal is staying in a particular body for so many days or so many years and is untimely killed, then he has to come back again in that form of life to complete the remaining days in order to be promoted to another species of life. So their progress should not be checked simply to satisfy one’s palate. This is called non-violence.

– Bhagavad Gita 16.1-3 Commentary

2. Mind and Sense Control

The senses are so strong and impetuous, O Arjuna, that they forcibly carry away the mind even of a man of discrimination who is endeavouring to control them.
– Bhagavad Gita 2.60

One must deliver himself with the help of his mind, and not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well.
– Bhagavad Gita 6.5

Control of the senses means that the senses should not be used for unnecessary personal enjoyment. There is no prohibition against meeting the proper needs of the senses, but unnecessary sense enjoyment is detrimental for spiritual advancement. Therefore the senses should be restrained from unnecessary use.
– Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5 Commentary

3. Tolerance


The non-permanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
– Bhagavad Gita 2.14

As long as the material body exists, there are actions and reactions in the material modes. One has to learn tolerance in the face of dualities such as happiness and distress, or cold and warmth, and by tolerating such dualities become free from anxieties regarding gain and loss.
– Bhagavad Gita 2.45 Commentary

Tolerance and forgiveness should be practiced; one should be tolerant and excuse the minor offenses of others.
– Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5 Commentary

4. Hospitality

Even an enemy must be offered appropriate hospitality if he comes to your home. A tree does not deny its shade, even to one who comes to cut it down.

– Mahabharata XII. 374

5. Compassion

[Krishna continues] Showing compassion to all living beings, you will attain self-realisation. Giving assurance of safety to all, you will perceive your own self as well as … Myself in you.
– Bhagavat Purana 3.21.31

Material compassion, lamentation and tears are all signs of ignorance of the real self. Compassion for the eternal soul is self-realization… No one knows where compassion should be applied. Compassion for the dress of a drowning man is senseless. A man fallen in the ocean of nescience cannot be saved simply by rescuing his outward dress—the gross material body.
– Bhagavad Gita 2.1 Commentary

6. Protection of dependants

[Krishna says] It is my duty to give protection and safety to all living entities struggling for existence. Certainly it is the duty of the master to protect his suffering dependents.
– Bhagavat Purana 8.7.39

If a person is able to care for or give protection to old parents, a chaste wife, children, the spiritual master, brahmanas and other dependents but does not do so, he is considered already dead, although he is supposedly breathing.
– Bhagavat Purana 10.45.

7. Respect

He [the devotee of God] is respectful to all others and does not demand respect for himself
– Bhagavat Purana 3.15.25 Commentary

One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to give all respect to others without expecting any respect for oneself. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.

– Siksastaka Verse 3

A devotee should see other living entities as spiritual sparks, parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. A devotee is to offer respect to every entity that has a relationship with the Lord. Because every living entity originally has a relationship with the Lord as part and parcel, a devotee should try to see all living entities on the same equal level of spiritual existence.
– Bhagavat Purana 3.29.16 Commentary

8. Wisdom

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.
– Bhagavad Gita 2.16

An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.
– Bhagavad Gita 5.22

Of secret things I am silence, and of the wise I am the wisdom.
– Bhagavad Gita 10.38

The sage who enjoys wisdom and who entertains no enmity towards any creature does not know fear of rebirth or fear of the world beyond.

– Mahabharata, XII, 54

Wisdom is the boat that carries us across the dark sea of wrong doctrines; wisdom is the eye of the world; wisdom is a tall mountain on the banks of the river of right behaviour; wisdom is the remover of flaws of character; wisdom is the secret mantra in the endeavour for emancipation; wisdom is the purifier of the heart; wisdom is the drum that is sounded at the time of departure for heaven; wisdom is the cause of the highest felicity.
– Subhashitarnava, 281

9. Austerity

So potent is the power acquired through austerity that those who attain it may even stay the moment of death.

-Tirukkural 27.269

Austerity of the body consists in worship of the Supreme Lord, the brahmanas, the spiritual master, and superiors like the father and mother, and in cleanliness, simplicity, celibacy and non-violence.

Austerity of speech consists in speaking words that are truthful, pleasing, beneficial, and not agitating to others, and also in regularly reciting Vedic literature.
And satisfaction, simplicity, gravity, self-control and purification of one’s existence are the austerities of the mind.

This threefold austerity, performed with transcendental faith by people not expecting material benefits but engaged only for the sake of the Supreme, is called austerity in goodness.

– Bhagavad Gita 17.14-17

10. Celibacy

Any form of religious principles in which the followers are trained to pursue the vow of celibacy is good for the human being because only those who are trained in that way can end the miserable life of material existence.

– Bhagavat Purana 2.6.20 Commentary

11. Honesty

Non-violence, truthfulness, honesty, desire for the happiness and welfare of all others and freedom from lust, anger and greed constitute duties for all members of society.
– Bhagavat Purana 11.17.21

12. Cleanliness

Cleanliness is essential for making advancement in spiritual life. There are two kinds of cleanliness: external and internal. External cleanliness means taking a bath, but for internal cleanliness one has to think of Krishna always.

– Bhagavad Gita 13. 8-12 Commentary

Cleanliness is necessary both for the mind and for the body. Simply bodily cleanliness may help to some extent, but cleanliness of the mind is necessary, and it is effected by glorifying the Supreme Lord. No one can cleanse the accumulated mental dust without glorifying the Supreme Lord.

– Bhagavad Gita 1.17.25 Commentary

13. Humility

Humility means that one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honoured by others. The material conception of life makes us very eager to receive honour from others, but from the point of view of a man in perfect knowledge—who knows that he is not this body—anything, honour or dishonour, pertaining to this body is useless.

– Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12 Commentary

Without humility, understanding is not truly possible. To think oneself God is most puffed up. Although the living entity is always being kicked by the stringent laws of material nature, he still thinks, “I am God” because of ignorance. The beginning of knowledge, therefore, is humility.

– Bhagavad Gita 13.8-12 Commentary

14. Patience

Do not be despondent because of ill-fate; there cannot be sesame-oil without crushing the sesame seeds.

– Pancatantra, II

If there were no patient people resembling the earth, there would be no peace, since anger is the root cause of all discord. The one who had been cursed, would curse back, and the one who had been struck would strike back: in this way creatures would perish and the law with them.
– Mahabharata, III, 20

15. Forgiveness

It is said that the beauty of a tapasvi, or saintly person, is forgiveness. There are many instances in the spiritual history of the world in which many saintly persons, although unnecessarily harassed, did not take action, although they could have done so.
– Bhagavat Purana 6.4.48 Commentary

One who is both devoted and highly advanced in intelligence does not take action against the soul or the body. If there is any discrepancy, he forgives. It is said that forgiveness is a quality of those who are advancing in spiritual knowledge.
– Bhagavat Purana 4.20.4 Commentary

16. Determination

Anyone who is steady in his determination for the advanced stage of spiritual realization and can equally tolerate the onslaughts of distress and happiness is certainly a person eligible for liberation.
– Bhagavad Gita 2.15 Commentary

As for determination, one should follow the example of the sparrow who lost her eggs in the waves of the ocean. A sparrow laid her eggs on the shore of the ocean, but the big ocean carried away the eggs on its waves. The sparrow became very upset and asked the ocean to return her eggs. The ocean did not even consider her appeal. So the sparrow decided to dry up the ocean. She began to pick out the water in her small beak, and everyone laughed at her for her impossible determination. The news of her activity spread, and at last Garuda, the gigantic bird carrier of Lord Vishnu, heard it. He became compassionate toward his small sister bird, and so he came to see the sparrow. Garuda was very pleased by the determination of the small sparrow, and he promised to help. Thus Garuda at once asked the ocean to return her eggs lest he himself take up the work of the sparrow. The ocean was frightened at this, and returned the eggs. Thus the sparrow became happy by the grace of Garuda.

Similarly, the practice of yoga, especially bhakti-yoga… may appear to be a very difficult job. But if anyone follows the principles with great determination, the Lord will surely help, for God helps those who help themselves.
– Bhagavad Gita 6.24 Commentary

17. Intelligence

It is a sign of the intelligent to understand quickly, to listen carefully, not to be prompted to action as soon as something has been understood, and not to mind someone else’s business without having being asked
– Mahabharata V. 33

18. Contentment

The content lives happily with whatever fate may bring; the discontent, not having self-mastery, is not happy even when winning the three worlds.
– Bhagavat Purana, VIII, 19

Contentment is the highest heaven, contentment is the highest bliss. There is nothing higher than contentment. When one withdraws all desires like a tortoise withdraws its limbs, then the natural splendour of the soul soon manifests itself. When one does not fear any creature, nor any creature is frightened by one, when one conquers both one’s desires and aversions, then one is said to behold one’s soul. When one seeks not to injure anybody in word or deed and cherishes no desire, one is said to attain the Highest.
– Mahabharata, X11, 21

19. Duty

(Everyone must work). Even a lion cannot sleep, expecting a deer to enter his mouth.
– Hitopadesa

Perform your prescribed duty, for doing so is better than not working. One cannot even maintain one’s physical body without work.
– Bhagavad Gita 3.8

20. Truthfulness

Satyam, truthfulness, means that facts should be presented as they are, for the benefit of others. Facts should not be misrepresented. According to social conventions, it is said that one can speak the truth only when it is palatable to others. But that is not truthfulness. The truth should be spoken in a straightforward way, so that others will understand actually what the facts are. If a man is a thief and if people are warned that he is a thief, that is truth. Although sometimes the truth is unpalatable, one should not refrain from speaking it. Truthfulness demands that the facts be presented as they are for the benefit of others. That is the definition of truth.

– Bhagavad Gita 10.4-5 Commentary

4. Miscellaneous


Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.

Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the kshatriyas.

Farming, cow protection and business are the natural work for the vaishyas, and for the shudras there is labour and service to others.
– Bhagavad Gita 18.43-44

The symptoms of a brahmana are control of the mind, control of the senses, austerity and penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, forgiveness, simplicity, knowledge, mercy, truthfulness, and complete surrender to the Supreme Lord.

– Bhagavat Purana 7.11.21

Mental equilibrium, sense control, austerity, cleanliness, tolerance, simplicity, detachment, theoretical and practical knowledge, satisfaction, truthfulness and firm faith in the Vedas are the twelve qualities of a brahmana.
– Muktaphala-tika


Beauty is ruined by old age, deliberation by desire, life by death, the fulfilment of duties by grumbling, shame by love, good manners by service to unworthy people, grace by anger; everything, however, is ruined by pride.

– Mahabharata, V, 35


To enter a house uninvited, to talk without being asked, to praise oneself and to run down others, these four are the signs of a featherbrain.

– Subhashitarnava, 123


Do today what has to be done tomorrow; do this morning what has to be done this evening; death does not wait for you to complete your task.

– Mahabharata, XII, 169