From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sadācāra literally means ‘good conduct’.

Dharma[1] is the principal basis of religion. Its entire value- system depends on the former. The four sources of dharma are:

  1. Vedas
  2. Smṛtis[2]
  3. Sadācāra[3]
  4. Ātmanah priyam[4]

Sadācāra is generally defined as the ācāra or conduct of śiṣtas or satpuruṣas or good persons. These śiṣtas have purified themselves by practicing the virtues ordained in the holy texts and by eschewing the ariṣaḍvargas.[5] Whenever there is any doubt about one’s conduct in a particular situation in life, one should look at the conduct of these śiṣtas and follow them.[6]


  1. Dharma literally means righteousness.
  2. Smṛtis means secondary scriptures not opposed to the Vedas.
  3. Sadācāra means conduct of good people.
  4. Ātmanah priyam means what is sanctioned by one’s pure conscience.
  5. Ariṣaḍvargas means the six enemies like lust, anger and greed.
  6. Taittirlya Upanisad 1.11
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore