These are the "four regulative principles" of the Hare Krishna movement,
or ISKCON. Developed by Bhaktivinode Thakura, they seek to assist the practitioner in developing "inherent
spiritual qualities" of compassion, truthfulness, cleanliness and
austerity, and to "control the insatiable urges of the mind and
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
- No eating of meat, fish, or eggs. These foods (and onions
and garlic) are saturated with the modes (gunas) of passion and
ignorance, and therefore cannot be offered to the Lord. A person who eats
these foods participates in a conspiracy of violence against helpless animals
and thus curtails his spiritual progress (c.f. ahimsa).
- No gambling. Gambling invariably puts on into anxiety and fuels
greed, envy and anger.
- No sex other than for procreation within marriage. Sex for
pleasure compels one to identify one with the body and prevents from
understanding Krishna Consciousness. The scriptures teach that sex
attraction is the most powerful binding us to this illusory and material
worlds (maya). In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord says that
sexual union for conceiving a child to be raised in God consciousness is an
act of devotion to Him, therefore anyone serious about advancing themselves
spiritually should abstain from, or regulate sexual activity according
- No intoxication, including all recreational drugs, alcohol, tobacco,
tea and coffee. These things cloud the mind, and overstimulate the
senses, making it impossible to understand or follow the principles of
used to add a fifth stricture: "Always think of Krishna
and never forget him".
As well, as these things, though, a full-time devotee of the movement will
also engage in japa meditation, the practice of offering
prasadam to the deity, kirtana or congregational chanting,
associate with devotees, and study the Vedic literatures.
(Compare: Ten Offences against the Holy Name.)