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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Shaucha (Sanskrit: शौच, romanizedŚauca) literally means purity, cleanliness, and clearness.[1] It refers to purity of mind, speech and body.[2] Shaucha is one of the niyamas of Yoga.[3] It is discussed in many ancient Indian texts such as the Mahabharata and Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. It is a virtue in Hinduism and Jainism.[4] In Hinduism purity is a part of worship and an important quality for salvation. Purity is a mind pure and free of evil thoughts and behaviors.[5]

Shaucha includes outer purity of body as well as inner purity of mind.[6] It is synonymous with shuddhi (शुद्धि).[7] LePage[clarification needed] states that shaucha in yoga is on many levels, and deepens as an understanding and evolution of self increases.[8]

In yogic practice, shaucha is considered essential for health, happiness, and general well-being. External purity is achieved through daily ablutions, while internal purity is cultivated through physical exercises, including asana (postures) and pranayama (breathing techniques). Along with daily ablutions to cleanse one's body, shaucha suggests clean surroundings, along with fresh and clean food to purify the body.[9] Lack of shaucha might be the result, for example, of letting toxins build up in the body.[10]

Shaucha includes purity of speech and mind. Anger, hate, prejudice, greed, lust, pride, fear, and negative thoughts are sources of impurity of mind.[10][11] Impurities of the intellect can be cleansed through the process of self-examination, or knowledge of self (Adhyatma-Vidya).[12] The mind is purified through mindfulness and meditation on one's intent, feelings, actions, and its[ambiguous] causes.[13]

Teachers of the Vedanta path of yoga prepare to have holy thoughts and to perform holy actions. Students and the young help teachers prepare for worship, building[ambiguous] self-control and selflessness.[14] Sarada Devi said "pure mind begets ecstatic love (prema-bhakti)".[15][better source needed]

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Shaucha is included as one of five niyamas in Yoga, that is activity that is recommended for spiritual development of an individual. Verse II.32 of Yogasutra lists the five niyamas.[16] In verse II.40, Patanjali describes outer purity, while verse II.41 discusses inner purity,[3] as follows:

Shaucha is one of the ten yamas (virtuous restraints) listed by Śāṇḍilya Upanishad,[18] as well as by Svātmārāma.[19]

The Epic Mahabharata mentions the virtue of purity (shaucha) in numerous books. For example, in Book 14 Chapter 38, it lists shaucha as a quality found in the liberated, happy, and dharmic person,

Bhagavad Gita describes purity at three levels in Book 17, verses 14–16, namely body, speech and thoughts.[21] Purity of body comes from cleanliness of body as well as from what one eats and drinks. Purity of speech comes from being truthful and through use of words that are not injurious, hurtful, or distressing to others or self. Purity of thoughts comes from reflection, peace of mind, silence, calmness, gentleness, and purity of being.[21]

Purity of mind, speech, and body has been one of the important virtues in Indian philosophy.[22]

See also

  • Ahiṃsā – Ancient Indian principle of nonviolence
  • Akrodha – Important virtue in Indian philosophy and Hindu ethics
  • Ārjava – Hindu philosophical concept
  • Asteya – Non-stealing, a virtue in Indian religions
  • Brahmacharya – Motivated abstinence from worldly pleasures
  • Dāna (charity) – Concept of charity in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism
  • Dayā (compassion) – Moved or motivated to help others
  • Dhṛti – Yama (ethical rule) in Hinduism
  • Dhyana in Hinduism – Term for contemplation and meditation
  • Kṣamā (forgiveness) – Renunciation or cessation of resentment, indignation, or anger
  • Mitahara – Concept in Indian philosophy
  • Sattva – Hindu philosophical concept
  • Satya – Sanskrit word and a virtue in Indian religions


  1. ^ "zauca". Sanskrit English Dictionary. Koeln University, Germany. Archived from the original on 2014-12-27.
  2. ^ Sharma; Sharma (2001). Indian Political Thought. Atlantic Publishers. p. 19. ISBN 978-8171566785.
  3. ^ a b c Patañjali (1914). "Book 2, Means of attainment (sādhana)". The yoga-system of Patañjali; or, The ancient Hindu doctrine of concentration of mind. Translated by Woods, James Haughton. Harvard University Press. pp. 181–182. ISBN 978-0-486-43200-7.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Purity of Intellect". Hindupedia. Retrieved 27 June 2019.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "zuddhi". Sanskrit English Dictionary. Koeln University, Germany. Archived from the original on 2014-12-27.
  8. ^ LePage, J. (1995). "Patanjali's Yoga Sutras as a Model for Psycho-Spiritual Evolution". International Journal of Yoga Therapy. 6 (1): 23–26. doi:10.17761/ijyt.6.1.d3j5663g6127rp0j.
  9. ^
    • Brown, Christina (2003). The Yoga Bible. Penguin Publishing. pp. 14–17. ISBN 978-1582972428.
    • Birch, Beryl (2010). Beyond Power Yoga: 8 Levels of Practice for Body and Soul. Simon & Schuster. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0684855264.
  10. ^ a b Raghupathi, K. V. (2007). Yoga for Peace. Abhinav Publications. pp. 60–61. ISBN 978-8170174837.
  11. ^ Kadetsky, Elizabeth (2008). "Modeling School". The Antioch Review. 66 (2): 254–268.
  12. ^ Aiyar, K.N. (July–September 2007). "Hinduism's Restraints and Observances] Hinduism Today". Hinduism Today.
  13. ^ Lasater, Judith Hanson (28 August 2007). "Cultivate your connections". Yoga Journal.
  14. ^ Sarada, Annapurna (21 February 2009). "Sowing Seeds for an Age of Light". Nectar. No. 24. Sarada Ramakrishna Vivekananda Associations; SRV associations. pp. 54–55.
  15. ^ Vedanta Society of New York. "Sayings of Holy Mother Sarada Devi". Archived from the original on 10 July 2019. Retrieved 28 June 2019.
  16. ^
    • Original Sanskrit: शौच संतोष तपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानानि नियमाः Translation: saucha (purity), santosha (contentment), tapah (meditation), svādhyāya (continuous learning), and isvarapranidhana (contemplation of one's origins, God, Self) are the niyamas
    • Desmarais, Michele (2008). Changing Minds: Mind, Consciousness And Identity In Patanjali's Yoga-Sutra. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 125–134. ISBN 978-8120833364.
  17. ^ "Patanjali Yogasutra". Sanskrit Documents. II.41.
  18. ^ "Sandilya-Upanishad of Atharvanaveda". Thirty Minor Upanishads. Translated by Aiyar, K. Narayanasvami. Madras. 1914. pp. 173–176.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  19. ^
    • Svātmārāma; Pancham Sinh (1997). The Hatha Yoga Pradipika (5 ed.). Forgotten Books. p. 14. ISBN 9781605066370. अथ यम-नियमाः
      अहिंसा सत्यमस्तेयं बरह्यछर्यम कश्हमा धृतिः
      दयार्जवं मिताहारः शौछम छैव यमा दश
    • Lorenzen, David (1972). The Kāpālikas and Kālāmukhas. University of California Press. pp. 186–190. ISBN 978-0520018426.
    • Subramuniya (2003). Merging with Śiva: Hinduism's contemporary metaphysics. Himalayan Academy Publications. p. 155. ISBN 9780945497998.
  20. ^
  21. ^ a b Flood, Gavin (2005). The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition. Cambridge University Press. pp. 77–93. ISBN 978-0521604017.
  22. ^ Radhakrishnan, S. (1922). "The Hindu Dharma". International Journal of Ethics. 33 (1): 1–22. doi:10.1086/intejethi.33.1.2377174. S2CID 144844920.
This page was last edited on 7 June 2024, at 05:43
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