Nitya Karma

Definition - What does Nitya Karma mean?

Nitya karma refers to a daily obligatory action that must be performed by Hindus. These are called karmas, a Sanskrit word that can also denote rituals. A nitya karma may include any activity that is regular or scheduled, but is not necessarily a duty. Hinduism shares roots with yoga and, as such, these practices have similarities with some of the rituals or practices observed by yogis.

Yogapedia explains Nitya Karma

According to the sacred Hindu texts known as the Shastras, neglecting to perform the nitya karmas will lead to sin. Examples of nitya karmas include:

  • Snana yatra - bathing
  • Sanshyavandanam - religious rituals performed at the opening and close of the day
  • Aupasanam - keeping the marital fire burning
  • Agnihotram - heated milk offering

There are different nitya karmas necessary at different times of the day. Some nitya karmas only need to be performed by certain people; for example, those who are married or have undertaken particular religious initiations.

A subdivision of nitya karma is nai-nitya karma. These karmas are considered compulsory yet conditional, depending upon the individual's circumstances.

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