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From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Śauca literally means ‘cleanliness,’ ‘purity’.

The Yogasutras of Patanjali[1] lists śauca or purity as one of the five disciplines under niyama, the second of the eight steps of yoga. It is of two kinds:

  1. Bāhya or external - It is achieved by cleansing the body.
  2. Āntara or internal - It is achieved by conquering the six-enemies like lust and greed.

It is interesting to note that the Manusmṛti[2] considers purity in financial dealings as the real or the best purity. The dharmaśāstras and the various smṛtis give a detailed account of āhnika or the daily routine of a dvija.[3] Śauca or bodily purity is an important part of the same.


  1. He lived in 200 B.C.
  2. Manusmṛti 5.106
  3. Dvija means a member of the first three castes.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore