1. Benefits of abiding by Achardharma at an individual level
According to Manusmriti, the following mediums purify human beings – Karmas like ritualistic worship, sacrificial fires, etc., viewing of the sun, sprinkling of cow-dung diluted in water, water, fire, penance, knowledge, mud, air and time. How does following of achars purify an individual from different perspectives is provided ahead.
A. Purification of the Body
Bathing cleanses the External Body : Bathing daily does clean the physical body; besides, the scriptures also advise bathing with the clothes on, to overcome the effects of touching a menstruating women, impurity caused by birth and death, touching a corpse etc.
Achaman (Ritualistic sipping of water from the Right Palm) brings about internal purification : Achaman not only purifies the individual performing it, but it also satisfies the entire world. Achaman should be performed after urination, defecation, bathing and eating food. Passing gas, speaking lies, anger or aggression makes the body impure; performing achaman at such times eliminates such defects.
Touching the right ear after certain acts causes purification
क्षुते निष्ठीवने चैव दन्तोाqच्छष्टे तथाऽनृते ।
पतितानां च सम्भाषे दक्षिणं श्रवणं स्पृशेत् ।।
– Parasharsmruti, Chapter12, Shloka 19
Meaning: After sneezing, spitting, leaving food after partially tasting it, speaking lies or chatting with the downtrodden, we should touch our right ear to purify ourselves.
क्षुते निष्ठीवने स्वापे परिधानेऽश्रुपातने ।
पञ्चस्वेतेषु नाचामेद्दक्षिणं श्रवणं स्पृशेत् ।।
– Garudpuraṇ, Chapter 97, Shloka 10
Meaning: After sneezing, spitting, waking up from sleep, wearing clothes, and crying, perform achaman and touch the right ear.
Science underlying the act of touching the ear : The right channel in the body provides motion and strength to the activity. With the help of the marak (Destroyer) Principle, it annihilates Raja-Tama components at the level of Tej. This channel helps destroy the distressing vibration generated by all the above mentioned activities. The effect of touching the right ear is known as ‘destroyer of sin’.
2. Internal Purification (mental purification)
Abiding by ethical principles, refraining from actions like committing injustice on others, stealing wealth or articles belonging to others, adultery, treachery, ungratefulness and cheating brings about internal purification.
A. Since the subtle body is highly susceptible to
impressions, internal purification is more important than external purification
On one occasion, after the surgical instruments had been sterilized, my fingers inadvertently brushed against them. The surgeon was very upset with this and had them sterilized again. If instruments can be contaminated by touch, how much more intensely should one guard the purity of the body that is subtle, subtle most and highly prone to impressions and is lodged within the physical frame ? – Gurudev Dr. Kateswamiji
B. Likely hood of Negative energy
distress is more when one is unclean and naked
शाक्तविषये न मुहूर्तमप्यप्रयतः स्यात् । नग्नो वा ।
– Apastambdharmasutra, 188.8.131.52-9
Meaning: If possible one should not remain impure and naked for even a moment.
C. Mental purity depends on purity of the diet
The guidelines for purity of diet as prescribed by the scriptures are very stringent. Mental purity depends on purity of the diet. Ingesting sattvik food makes an individual’s temperament sattvik. Contrary to this, intake of tamasik food makes an individual’s temperament tamasik.
3. Purity Of wealth
According to Manusmruti, purity of wealth is supreme
सर्वेषामेव शौचानाम् अर्थशौचं परं स्मृतम् ।
योऽर्थे शुचिर्हि स शुचिः न मृद्वारिशुचिः शुचिः ।। Manusmruti, Chapter 5, Shloka 106
A. Types of wealth
Arthanubandh wealth : Pure wealth is termed as Arthanubandh wealth. This wealth alone is responsible for the welfare of the individual and the society.
Anarthanubandh wealth : Impure wealth or ill-gotten wealth is Anarthanubandh wealth. This wealth brings ruin upon the individual, family, the society and the Nation. An individual can become wealthy by earning wealth by unlawful means; but the wealth cannot bring about welfare of the individual or the society. It cannot be used for the individual’s benefit or any constructive activity. The individual earning wealth by unlawful means could be an intellectual or a scientist, he could have also done a lot of research, yet there will be no constructive benefit to the world from such an individual, simply because he lacks the right foresight. Such research will be utilized for destructive activity. Achardharma teaches an individual to earn wealth by Righteous means; hence, abiding by Achardharma automatically leads to purify of wealth.
4. Vastushuddhi (Purification of premises)
Vastushuddhi refers to the destruction of distressing vibrations in the premises and the creation of pleasant vibrations.
A. Vastudosh (Defects in the premises)
Improper construction, frequent attacks on the premises by Raja–Tama particles, and the distressing vibrations generated from the inhabitants with rajasik–tamasik temperaments; negative energy problems, etc affect the premises. They generate distressing vibrations, meaning they are the cause of vastudosh.
B. Need for Vastushuddhi
Due to the vastudosh, various physical, mental, financial, domestic and spiritual obstacles develop in the lives of inhabitants of the premises. The sadhana of seekers can also be affected by vastudosh.
C. Some Methods of Vastushuddhi
Every day, either gomutra (Cow’s Urine) or water containing vibhuti (Holy Ash) should be sprinkled and vibhuti should be blown in the premises.
Every morning and evening, a lamp with ghee or oil should be lit, along with the lighting of incense sticks and burning of dhoop (Frankincense).
A photo of the Deity should be kept facing east or west in the temple at home.
All members of the family should come together, pray collectively, chant for some time and recite stotras (Hymns) of God.
Create a mandal (Protective sheath) of the Name–strips of Deities by sticking them onto the walls and thereby creating a protective subtle sheath.
Everyone residing in the house should have good achars and thoughts.
In case of severe vastudosh, the ritual of vastushanti should be performed.
5. Methods prescribed by Manusmriti for
purification of Human beings and inanimate objects
A. Achardharma has the ability to destroy defects like lust, anger, etc.
The achars followed by Hindus include not only purification of the body and the mind, but also include control over desires. These achars are designed to draw an individual towards the worship of God and protecting him from committing sins. Achardharma provides a mechanism for control over the six foes of lust, anger, greed, pride, attachment and jealousy.
B. Achardharma has the ability to eliminate sorrows
युक्ताहारविहारस्य युक्तचेष्टस्य कर्मसु ।
युक्तस्वप्नावबोधस्य योगो भवति दुःखहा ।।
– Srimadbhagwadgita, Chapter 6, Shloka 17
Meaning: Only those individuals who have a regular pattern of diet and sleep and perform all his activities and karmas in an appropriate manner attains Yoga, and thus his sorrows are eliminated.
C. Concentration of the mind is not
possible without adhering to do’s and don’ts
Unless one adheres to do’s & don’ts as prescribed by the scriptures, concentration of the mind will not be attained. Not letting organs like eyes, vocal chords, ears, hands, legs and mind get attracted towards evil aspects are the do’s and achieving that is termed as detachment. Taking the mind and the other organs in the right direction is termed as vivek (Discretion). This is what is termed in the Holy Gita as abhyas (Study). Without the do’s and don’ts, the mind cannot be controlled. Abiding by the scriptures and day to day ritualistic chores helps gain control over animalistic desires. This, in itself, is a path to the elimination of demerits. With the elimination of demerits, the subconscious gets purified progressively. Thereafter concentration of the mind is attained easily. The entire exercise of sadhana through worship is for the practice of concentration of the mind.
Whoever abides by achars always remains holy, happy and blessed
6. Abiding by Dharma and sixteen sanskars transforms
a human being into a Kohinoor (The most precious diamond)
यस्यैते षोडश संस्कारा : भवान्त ।
स ब्राह्मण : सायुज्यं सलोकतां प्राप्नोति ।।
Meaning: A Brahman who has undergone the ritual of sixteen Sanskars attains Sayujya–mukti (Experiencing oneness with God) or Salok–mukti (Getting the lok [Region] of the Deity of worship).
यस्य तु खलु संस्काराणामेकदेशोऽप्यष्टावात्मगुणा
अथ स ब्रह्मणः सायुज्यं सालोक्यं च गच्छति गच्छति ।
– Gautamdharmasutra, 1.8.26
Meaning: An individual who has undergone some among the forty sanskars and one who has eight virtues of the soul, namely compassion, forgiveness, love, purity, effortlessness, auspiciousness courage and desireless certainly attains Sayujya and Salok–mukti with Brahman.
Explanation: That the inner self should be purified through the process of abiding by Dharma and the ritual of sixteen sanskars is the directive from the scholars of Dharma. When a diamond excavated from a mine is processed to perfection and its radiance is enhanced, only then does it get transformed into a Kohinoor; else it is just a lump of coal. Likewise, it is the sanskars that turn human beings into a Kohinoor.
The above shlokas exemplify the fact that the Hindu scriptures have stressed on the importance of the sanskars.
7. Benefits related to samashti on abiding by achars
A. For control over the society, there is no substitute to
having a definite set of achars for each and every group in the society
Control by Dharma cannot possibly be uniform for all segments of the society. For the intellectually backward, Dharma means actual achar. For the benefit of this social class, it is the obligation of the administrator of the society to define Dharma as ‘आचार : प्रथमो धर्म’, meaning, achar is the principle Dharma.
B. Benefits at vyashti and samashti level because of abiding by achar
Sanatan Achardharma controls the individual as well as society.
Evolution of the individuals and the society because of abiding by sadachar
The body mind and intellect of the individual who abides by the scriptural injunctions get evolved spiritually. Such an individual sanctifies the earth.
Sacred achar leads to self- purification and please the entire Universe.
Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text Introduction to Achardharma