The ISKCON Code of Ethical Behavior

Ratified into ISKCON law on August 21, 2021

Learn about the Code, how it can protect devotees, and what to do if you have questions.

How the Code can help leaders care for their communities.

Read or download a copy of the Code of Ethical Behavior.

Contact an Ethics Navigator to help with an ethical question or issue.

Ethics and spiritual progress

Exemplary ethical behavior is a symptom of one who has surrendered to Krishna. In chapter 12, the Gita lists the following description of a surrendered soul: not envious, friendly, compassionate, devoid of selfish interests, does not identify with the body, steady in happiness or distress, tolerant, forgiving, self-controlled, content and grateful, determined to remain on the spiritual path, modest, puts no one in difficulty, not disturbed by others or by fear or anxiety, pure of heart, equal to all, indifferent to honor and dishonor, avoids bad company and frivolous talk, wise, consistent, and always seeking to serve God and others. The Code of Ethical Behavior has been constructed on a foundation of these ethically exemplary qualities.

“Those who think that devotion to God and kindness to the jivas are mutually different from each other, and perform accordingly in their life, such persons will not be able to follow the devotional culture. Their performance is only a semblance of devotion.

Therefore, all the types of beneficence to others, like kindness, friendliness, forgiveness, charity, respect, etc. are included in Bhakti… Charity of medicines, clothes, food, water, etc. shelter during adversities, teaching of academic and spiritual education, etc. are the activities included in the devotional culture.”

(Bhaktivinoda Thakura, Sri Tattva-sutram, 35)

The Code of Ethical Behavior currently covers these key areas

The Law

Honoring local and international laws

Relationships

Treating other devotees with respect, care, and honesty

Sexual Conduct

Avoiding inappropriate behavior

Personal Bias

Avoiding discrimination based on personal bias

Opposing Ideologies

Presenting arguments in a respectful manner

Social Media

Using good judgement in public forums

Bullying, Financial responsibility, Philosophical Doubts, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse & Neglect, Confidentiality, The Environment

Endorsements

Long overdue! A much-needed tool for the many anomalies we need to set right in our great and exemplary organization.
Bhakti Vinode Swami
Ahead of its time, yet long overdue, may this booklet and the principles it calls on us to live by become the planks and beams of the model society Srila Prabhupada wanted us to build.
Badrinarayan Swami
A substantial contribution for the present and future of ISKCON.
Yadunandana Swami
A very formidable document and very useful for defining ISKCON’s standards
Satsvarupa das Goswami
A valuable service… for helping us become more orderly, fair, and just.
Bhaktimarga Swami