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The Quest for the Royal Road: Basic Features of Righteous Conduct

Published: 15.02.2016

"Righteous behaviour is the main religion." In these words[1], righteous behaviour implies the highest religion. This shows that the word conduct by itself suggests righteous conduct- still, interpreting it as righteous conduct proves the fact that in the name of righteous conduct some undesirable things are also being encouraged. That is why, in the present context, lofty behaviour is being described as righteous behaviour.

Righteous behaviour is something universal. Limits of time and place cannot divide it, nor can dispute about its basic importance. Just as the light of the sun is meant for everyone, the basic tenets of righteous conduct are useful for all beings. Some people give more importance to their own country, family and conventional code of conduct, but this is the illusion of affinity. The individual, instead of thinking that what he is doing is the righteous thing, he should strengthen the belief that he must do what is righteous.

The righteous person adheres to moral principles. Under no circumstances would be agree to the contravention of moral principles. A moral person has been described as follows:

The person who possess as the qualities of fearlessness, softness, truth, simplicity, compassion, fortitude, devotion to duty, control of personal acquisition and who is honest, is a moral person.[2]


He who is devoted to truth, who is not afraid to fight injustice, who has no hesitation in accepting his mistake after realising it, and is ready to face the most difficult situation, is a fearless person.


Tenderness is called softness. It is the formula for successful community life. It brings a relish in a person's life. There is flexibility in soft temperament. A person with a soft termperament makes any atmosphere favourable to himself. Very often, what cannot be achieved through strict discipline, is achieved through softness.


Truth means reality. To know reality as it is, believing it, accepting it and accommodating it, is to know truth. Pursuit of truth is no doubt difficult. But it is something that brings self-contentment. A person devoted to truth never resorts to untruth for the attainment of any selfish motive. Truthful individuals like Raja Harishchandra are considered the pride of human culture even today.


Simplicity is the basis of righteous conduct. Righteous conduct sustains itself like a plant flourishing in fertile soil. A manipulating person can never behave righteously.


Compassion is the root of righteous conduct. A person whose heart is not full of compassion can never understand the principle of non-violence. Feeling of equanimity cannot develop without non-violence. Only equanimity or non-violence gives the individual the sense of treating others as himself. The attitude treating others as oneself prevents a person from harming others.


Fortitude is that feeling which strengthens one's faith in righteous conduct. Generally, when a person does something good and does not get its good reward immediately, he turns towards evil behaviour. But the person who is fortitudinous continues doing good things without eagerly waiting his reward.


Attachment means deep longing. A person attached to material objects does not hesitate in resorting to unrighteous conduct to acquire these objects. But the person who frees himself from attachment cannot even think about what is illusory.


A person who is dependent on others, exploits other people on the strength of his power, wealth and authority. But he who believes in self-reliance, does not exploit anyone.


Self-discipline is the greatest achievement of administrative machinery. When a person develops self- discipline, he becomes restrained as a matter of course. Then, he turns his back to the life of luxury and indolence and takes to righteous conduct, i


Tolerance helps a person in observing the rules of righteous conduct. An intolerant person blunders even in distinguishing between the real and the illusory.

Devotion to Duty

Devotion to duty is the inspiring force behind righteous conduct. The person who is conscious about his duty keeps away from indulging in any unworthy action. Whenever he tends to become indolent, the inspiration of his duty brings him round and he makes the good resolve.

Restraint on Individual Accumulation of Wealth

Lack of restraint on individual accumulation of wealth is the biggest motive that makes man unrighteous. The reason for not exercising restraint is unlimited aspirations. Aspiration can be regulated only by exercising restraint.


The result of honesty is righteous behaviour. How far a person is righteous can be known by his dealing with others. The person who has imbibed the sanskaras of honesty can never cheat anyone, he cannot harm anyone, and he cannot disregard human values.

The above-mentioned 13 formulae are the basic tenets of righteous conduct. Apart from these, there are many other things that could be included in righteous behaviour. But they are the things whose implementation is not impossible. Nor can they be categorised on the ground of nationality, religion, class, etc. Only the elements which are universal and belong to all times and are related to people in general can become the common ideal for every person.


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Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Discipline
  2. Equanimity
  3. Fearlessness
  4. Karuna
  5. Non-violence
  6. Pride
  7. Raja Harishchandra
  8. Satyam
  9. Tolerance
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