I hope not to offend, but I should admit that I don't intend to read the entirety of the Vedas to find whether or not it forbids murder, rape, lying, hypocrisy, etc.

As I am sure you are well aware, other holy texts have a great deal of commandments such as 'do not kill' or 'murder infidels', and I am curious if such exists in the Vedas.

I am working on the history of morality. I am aware of a great deal of good and a great deal of bad within the Vedas, but specific questions are difficult to find where I am from (America).

So, do the Vedas command against murder? If so, what quote or reference may you provide? I'm also interested if it forbids traditionally accepted evils (theft, perjury, hypocrisy).

And, if you'll pardon me to break the rules a bit, I'd like to ask a simpler question: when are the Vedas suspected to have been created (orally, and in the written form)?

  • Read satyarth prakash first then you will be eligible to ask question on vedas. – Manoj Pilania Feb 26 '18 at 6:23
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    I'm ineligible to ask questions about a text because I do not understand it? That sounds like a horribly dangerous thought, and you even spent the time to down-vote my curiosity into the religion. That might be the most extremist, fundamentalist, dangerous philosophy I have ever been confronted with on the internet, and I do not mean that hyperbolically. You don't say that I'm an idiot, or something of this sort, but me being an outsider is in itself illegitimacy. You aren't aware of it, but that's precisely how genocides start, my friend. – user31078 Feb 26 '18 at 6:26
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    @ManojPilania There is no ineligibility to ask questions. It is a bad comment. Everyone are eligible to ask questions. Does reading a text you like make anyone eligible to ask questions? – Sarvabhouma Feb 26 '18 at 6:28
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    There is always eligibility because if you do not know alphabets and asking question how to write poem like poet. – Manoj Pilania Feb 26 '18 at 6:45
  • @ManojPilania That doesn't apply here. I don't know whether you have read alphabets or recite poems. So, should I not read your questions and answers too? That definition doesn't apply here or Stack Exchange. Here, anyone can ask and anyone can answer. It is the stack Exchange motto. Know that first. SE is different. – Sarvabhouma Feb 26 '18 at 8:01

If by commandments in hinduism, you mean "Code of conduct/ethics" , then please refer: What are the Hindu Code of Conduct (Ethics)?


ref: https://www.himalayanacademy.com/media/books/code-of-conduct_ei/web/ch42.html

The Ten Vedic Restraints= Yama

  1. Ahimsa Nonviolence
  2. Satya Truthfuless
  3. Nonstealing, Asteya
  4. Divine Conduct, Brahmacharya
  5. Patience, Kshama
  6. Steadfastness, Dhriti
  7. Compassion, Daya
  8. Honesty, Arjava
  9. Moderate Appetite, Mitahara
  10. Purity, Saucha

The Ten Vedic Practices =Niyama

  1. Remorse, Hri
  2. Contentment, Santosha
  3. Giving, Dana
  4. Faith, Astikya
  5. Worship, Ishvara-Pujana
  6. Scriptural Listening, Siddhanta Shravana
  7. Cognition, Mati
  8. Sacred Vows, Vrata
  9. Recitation, Japa
  10. Austerity, Tapas

ref: http://hindupedia.com/en/Ethics_of_Hinduism

Ṛgveda It means 5 commandments. Hindus today submit to the Panchavrata or five major vows or commandments:

Ahiṅsa - non-injury
Brahmacharya - non-fornication
Asteya - non-stealing
Satya - non-lying
Aparigraha - non-possessiveness 

The following excerpt from the Ṛgveda sums up the Panchavrata: "Violence, womanizing, drinking liquor, gambling, stealing, falsehood or lying and association with those who commit these sins; one who commits any of these sins is a sinner."

Bhagavad Gitā It has 9 commandments. The lawgiver Kṛṣṇa gave the following precepts:

Amanitva - Absence of pride
Adambhitva - Absence of deceit
Ahiṅsā - Non-injury
Śanti - Patience
Arjava - Uprightness
Acaryopāsāna - Service to the teacher
Sauca - Internal and external purity
Sthairya - Steadfastness
Atmavinigraha - Self-control

Srimad Bhagavatam It has 30 commandments. The Śrimad Bhāgavatamlays down the following customs to be practiced for a good human life.

Bathing twice a day
Discrimination between right and wrong
Control of the mind
Control of the senses
Reading of scripture
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
Seeing every soul as a part of the Supreme Lord
Hearing about the activities and instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead
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
Surrendering one's whole self

As per Patanjali yoga sutra (canonical text of yoga): Yama (restraints) are: The five yamas listed by Patañjali in Yogasūtra 2.30 are:

Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence, non-harming other living beings
Satya (सत्य): truthfulness, non-falsehood
Asteya (अस्तेय): non-stealing
Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity,marital fidelity or sexual restraint
Aparigraha (अपरिग्रहः): non-avarice, non-possessiveness

ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras_of_Patanjali#1._Yamas

Ten Yamas (restraints) The ten yamas listed by Śāṇḍilya Upanishad, as well as by Svātmārāma are:

Ahiṃsā (अहिंसा): Nonviolence
Satya (सत्य): truthfulness
Asteya (अस्तेय): not stealing
Brahmacharya (ब्रह्मचर्य): chastity, marital fidelity or sexual restraint
Kṣamā (क्षमा): forgiveness
Dhṛti (धृति): fortitude
Dayā (दया): compassion
Ārjava (आर्जव): non-hypocrisy, sincerity
Mitāhāra (मिताहार): measured diet
Śauca (शौच): purity, cleanliness

ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yamas

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niyama (practices)

Śauca (शौच): purity, clearness of mind, speech and body
Santoṣa (सन्तोष): contentment, acceptance of others and of one's circumstances as they are, optimism for self
Tapas (तपस): austerity, self-discipline, persistent meditation, perseverance
Svādhyāya (स्वाध्याय): study of self, self-reflection, introspection of self's thoughts, speeches and actions
Īśvarapraṇidhāna (ईश्वरप्रणिधान): contemplation of the Ishvara (God/Supreme Being, Brahman, True Self, Unchanging Reality), attunement to the supreme consciousness

I will recommend Patanjali Yoga Sutra.

If you mean 10 commandments in sense of 10 "core principles" , then there are 10 commandments of Arya samaj(which is one sect of hinduism)(other sects view may be different).

ref: https://archive.org/stream/TenCommandmentsOfAryaSamaj/Ten%20Commandments%20of%20Arya%20Samaj_djvu.txt


The 10 Principles of Arya Samaj:

God is the original source of all that is known by spritual knowledge and the physical sciences.

God is Existent, conscious, all-beatitude, Formless, Almighty, Just, Merciful, Unbegotten, Infinite, Unchangeable, Beginningless, Incomparable, the support of All, the Lord of All, All-pervading, Omniscient and Controller of All from within, Evermature, Imperishable, Fearless, Eternal, Pure, Creator of the Universe. He alone ought to be worshipped.

The Vedas are the books of all True knowledge. It is the paramount duty of all Aryas to read them, to teach them to others, to listen to them and to recite them to others.

All persons should always be ready to accept truth and renounce untruth.

All acts ought to be performed in conformity to Dharma(righteousness) i.e. after due consideration of truth and untruth.

The primary object of Arya Samaj is to do good to the whole world, i.e. to promote physical, spiritual and social progress of all humans.

Your dealings with all should be regulated by love and due justice, in accordance with the dictates of Dharma(righteousness).

Avidya(illusion and ignorance) be dispelled, and Vidya(realisation and acquisition of knowledge) should be promoted.

None should remain satisfied with his own progress only, but incessantly strive for the social upliftment, realizing his own benefitin the advancement of all others.

All men ought to dedicate themselves necessarily for the social good and the well being of all, subordinating their personal interest, while the individual is free to enjoy the freedom of action for individual being.

Now, From an 'atheist hindu point of view', the Hindu ethics can be seen in Veer Savarkar literature on Hindu ethics, which can be found at http://savarkar.org/en/encyc/2017/5/23/Ethics-truth-nonviolence.html

What is ethics or good attribute?:

…Any thought or deed that is beneficial to human life may be termed ethical or meritorious. Whatever runs contrary to the same may be termed as unethical or harmful…In other words, human life is the touchstone of ethics. (1940, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.60)

When does truth become untruth?:

Welfare of humanity is the sole litmus test of all good attributes. In other words, that which results in overall human welfare is truth, good attribute and dharma (*righteousness). But that ‘truth’ which punishes the innocent and spares the guilty is no truth, it is untruth or bad attribute. (1947, Majhya aathvani or My reminiscences, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.1, p.247)

Compassion is the highest sentiment:

Of the various noble sentiments that are responsible for the stability, happiness, contentment and glory of the human race, compassion is the foremost. What a mother is to her child, so is compassion to society. (1936, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.239)

The origin of compassion for all living beings:

Just as compassion for humankind is innate to humans, so too compassion for all living beings springs from a natural feeling of empathy and sympathy. Those whose horizons of compassion have broadened enough to include all animals gave compassion the pride of place as the highest human attribute. Compassion for humankind broadened initially to compassion for select animals and finally in the case of tender-hearted souls to compassion even for the most violent animals such as tigers and lions. (1936, Ksha kirane or X rays, Samagra Savarkar vangmaya, Vol.3, p.241)

additionally also see:

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    You should add only one answer. You can edit your answer to add information. See How do I format my posts using html or Markdown and also avoid recommendations and copy paste answers. – Sarvabhouma Feb 26 '18 at 8:01
  • There are some exceptional situations to every rule. Commandments of christianity like "thou shalt not steal" etc can be inferred to that questioner is asking for Ethics/Code of conduct of hinduism. And Comamndment of christianity like "I am the Lord thy God, thou shall not have any strange gods before me." can be inferred to that questioner is asking for "core principles". In both views, i have given long enough separate answers.Mixing both the views would have confused the answer and the questioner/seeker . – zaxebo1 Feb 26 '18 at 8:09
  • It doesn't confuse the questioner. The views are not that distinct to confuse the users. There are many answers in the site which have given more than one views in a single answer. The second answer is nothing but the views of Arya Samaj which questioner didn't ask. The question is something else. There is no need of multiple answers in this case too and also consider editing your answers. – Sarvabhouma Feb 26 '18 at 8:13

Vedas do not have commandments since God does not actively run the universe.

According to Hindu scripture God is just a spectator. God does not actively run the universe. It is primordial Nature, God’s shakti (power) which does everything.

Resorting to Prakrti, Nature, which is My own Power, I send forth again and again this multitude of beings that are without any freedom, owing to Nature's sway over them. Gita 9.8

These activities do not in any way bind Me, because I remain detached like one unconcerned in their midst. Gita 9.9

Under My direction and control, Nature brings out this mighty universe of living and non-living beings. Thus does the wheel of this world revolve. Gita 9.10

God only helps those who sincerely seek God. Others have to live their lives according to their Karma. God only distributes the fruits of Karma.

There is moral and ethical advice but no commandments.

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