Sanatana Dharma - A Discussion Series​

A series of posts on understanding our Sanatana Dharma - A way of life

Sanatana Dharma? - 3 - What is Aachaara?

After a bit of a festive break on our Shri Krishna’s janmadina, let us take our discussions on #SanatanaDharma further. In part two editions of this series, we heard Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri Vidhushekhara Bharati Mahaswamigal of the Sringeri Sharada Peetham explain the importance of following our Aachaaras or habits and customs that define Sanatana Dharma even in our daily lives.

What is Aachaara? Various texts such as the Dharma Sutras and Manu Smriti, plainly define it as “good conduct”. If we extend the definition a bit, we could explain the term as “a set of orderly customs” that are followed by all.

When such Aachaaras or customs become a habit that are followed daily, they become Nityaachaaras or Anushtaanas, which refer to our spiritual duties.

It is at this stage that most of us seem to face a barrier.

In today’s fast-paced life, we are often unable to regularly follow these Aachaara-Anushtaanas regularly. On a seemingly practical note, this might look fine, but is this the reality. Rather than look at Aachaaras as complex rituals let us start from the basics –

The Taittiriya Upanishad says this beautifully in a simple verse that is even taught even to children as they begin their education – Satyam Vada, Dharmam Chara (Speak the Truth, Live, or Act by Dharma). Let us focus a bit on the word ‘Chara’. It basically means ‘to move’ Thus, Aachaara that arises from Chara just refers to a set of practices or habits that helps us move ahead in life. So, how can something that helps us progress and create a path, become a barrier?

Today, with the blessings of our great Acharyas and Gurus, let us resolve to cross that barrier.

In the next post in this series, let us look at ways to do so.

Jai Shri Ram! 

Vande Maataram!