Indian Ethics: Essence, Theory and Praxis


  • Kamalpreet Kaur Panjab University, Chandigarh.



Dharma, Ethics, Karma, Niti, Indian Folktales


The paper aims at sculpting out the practice of ethics by comparing and contrasting it with morals, religion, metaphysics, among others in turn highlighting the praxis of ethics in India. It also aims to differentiate between the western concept of morals and ethics while drawing out an argument in favour of Indian ethics or Niti. Though ancient, Nitishastra is still as relevant as ever and teaches righteousness by balancing Karma with Dharma where Dharma is the cosmic order that upholds the world. Nitishastra inclines more in favour of ethics which are intuitive than morals which are law-bound. Furthermore, Indian ethics come close to values that are innate, inherent and inclusive; thus, possessing spiritual affinity which one attains only by exploring one’s self or the Self. The awareness of the Self fortifies one by empowering against the vulnerability of emotions and impulses adding further to the tenets of Indian ethics. The value of the paper lies in the use of Indian Folktales to highlight the uniqueness of Indian Ethics.

Author Biography

Kamalpreet Kaur, Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.


Bradley, F. H. (1951). Ethical Studies: Selected Essays. New York: Liberal Arts Press.

Bilimoria, P., Prabhu, J. and Sharma, R. (2008). Indian Ethics: Classical Traditions and Contemporary Challenges. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Capra, F. (2010). The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Physics and Eastern Mysticism. California: Shambhala

Halbfass, W. (1988). India and Europe: An Essay in Understanding. New York: State University of New York.

Hare, R. M. (1952). The Language of Morals. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

The Hindu. (2019). Pravritti and Nivritti.

Hiriyanna, M. (1967). The Essentials of Indian Philosophy. London: Allen and Unwin.

Kane, P. V. (1962). History of Dharmasastra. India: Bhandarkar Press.

Kant, I. (1998). Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals, translated by Mary Gregor and Jens Timmermann. London: Cambridge UP.

Matilal, B. K. (2000). Ethics and Epics: The Collected Essays of Bimal Krishna Matilal. Vol. 2. London: Oxford University Press.

Munshi, K. M. (1995). Bhagavad Gita and Modern Life. India: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan.

Olivelle, P. (1997). The Pancatantra: The Book of India’s Folk Wisdom. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Perrett, R. W. (1998). Hindu Ethics: A Philosophical Study. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Prasad, R. (2008). A Conceptual Analytic Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals. New Delhi: Centre for Studies in Civilizations, pp. 229-404.

Radhakrishnan. (1958). Eastern Religions and Western Thought. London: Allen and Unwin.

Schopenhauer, A. (1909). The World as Will and Idea: Volume 1. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.

Sharma, I.C. (1965). Ethical Philosophies of India. London: George Allen & Unwin.

Sheldrake, R. (2009). Morphic Resonance: The Nature of Formative Causation. Paris: Park Street Press.

Sivananda, S. (1957). Ethics of the Bhagavad Gita. Uttar Pradesh, India: Divine Life Society.

Vivekananda, S. (1896). ‘The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 5/Epistles - First Series/LVIII Alasinga’, available at: (accessed 20 June 2021).

Zaehner, R. C. (1968). The Bhagavad-Gītā: With a Commentary Based on the Original Sources. Oxford: Clarendon Press.




How to Cite

Kaur, K. (2022). Indian Ethics: Essence, Theory and Praxis. Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 14(2).

Most read articles by the same author(s)