Vaishnavas believe that the type of activities one performs effects one’s state of mind, so one can elevate consciousness by elevating the nature of activity. An activity is thus considered spiritual if it helps to purify the consciousness and direct one towards God.
In this light, the regulations of spiritual life are not restrictions but are ‘regulative principles of freedom’ – tools for advancing personal development and spiritual consciousness.
The four basic guiding values are:
- Cleanliness – of body, mind and soul.
- Mercy – to help others (materially and spiritually).
- Austerity – to take only what we need, without greed or violence.
- Truthfulness – an honest deed is the best gamble in the world and a sure winner.