It is sometimes argued that religious codes of conduct were devised for simpler and disciplined societies and might not be relevant any more. But that is not true. The truth is that the religious codes are truths realised intuitively by saints or men of God and they guide us in this complex world.
If we follow the code of religion, God will look after us. We can consider the codes of different religions to see the similarities. Enumerating the commandments, Jesus said, “Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony (lie), honour your father and mother and love your neighbour as yourself.”
The Buddhist Noble Eightfold Path stresses on right views, right attitude of mind, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right effort, right mind control and right meditation. Right conduct consists of vows to abstain from killing, stealing, sensuality, lying and taking intoxicating liquors or drugs.
Swami Sivananda listed guidelines for yogis: Get enough sleep but not too much; do japa and pranayama, read spiritual books, do physical exercises or asanas; do some work; observe silence for one or two hours daily; control anger and lust; fast on religious occasions; and keep a diary.
The Five Pillars of Islam are: Oneness of God and the revelation of God’s will to man through a series of prophets, the last in the series being Mohammad; Prayer; Fasting; Charity; and Haj or pilgrimage to Mecca. Haj is compulsory only for those who can afford to travel to Mecca.
Some writers feel that religious codes do not place adequate emphasis on work. Khushwant Singh says: “India’s new religion must be based on a work ethic. It should provide leisure time to recoup one’s energy to resume work but discourage uncreative pastimes.”
Regarding environment, he says: “We have to revive the worship of trees — not as objects of religious adoration but as things to be preserved for posterity.”