(Last Updated on : 26/04/2011)
The seven forms of Achara are Vedachara, Vaishnavachara, Shaivachara, Dakshinachara, Vamachara
, Siddhantachara and Kaulachara. Achara is the way and practice of a particular class of sadhaka. They are stages through which the worshipper has to pass before he reaches the highest stage of Kaulachara.
Vedachara is a part of the Vaidik rites. It is the gross body which includes within it all other acharas which are subtle bodies of various degrees. The worship is of an external and ritual character and it aims to strengthen dharma. Vedachara is the path of action.
Vaishnavachara is the second stage the worshipper. This is a shift from blind faith to an understanding of the supreme protecting energy of the Brahman. This is the path of devotion. This stage aims at the union of it and faith acquired earlier.
The worshipper with a strong determination to protect dharma and destroy adharma passes into Shaivachara. It is the warrior stage. Here love and mercy are added along with strenuous striving and power cultivation. Here there is the unison of faith, devotion and inner determination. One enters in this stage through the path of knowledge.
Dakshinachara in Tantra means favourable. It is that Achara which helps accomplishment of the higher sadhana. Devi is the Dakshina Kalika. When a worshipper can make Dhyana and dharana of three fold Shakti then this stage commences. Sadhaka is Shakta and can worship threefold Shakti of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Maheshvara. He is initiated in the Gayatri-mantra and worships the Devi Gayatri, the Dakshina Kalika that is the union of the three Shakti. Dakshinachara is the stage of individualistic Brahmana tattva. Its aim is the union of faith, devotion and determination with knowledge of the threefold energy.
Men are received by initiation into Vamachara. Vamachara means the worship of women when she enters lata-sadhana. Vama devi is worshipped. In Vamachara the sadhaka starts to directly destroy Pravritti. With the help of Guru Nivritti is cultivated. The force of Pravritti is used in such a way so that it can make them self-destructive. At this stage the worshipper commences to cut off all the eight bonds which mark the pashu that is mentioned in Kularnava Tantra. Vamachara liberates from the bonds which bind men to the sansar. The sadhaka is thereby qualified for the highest grades of sadhana in which the sattvika guna dominates.
In Siddhantachara the sadhaka becomes free from the darkness of the worldly ties. They are attached to nothing, hate nothing and are ashamed of nothing. The worshipper is free from the artificial bonds of family, caste and society. The sadhaka learns to reach the upper heights of sadhana and the mysteries of yoga. The movements of the different vayu in the microcosm the Kshudra-brahmanda, the regulation of which controls the inclinations and propensities are learned by the devotee.
Once the worshipper attains the perfection in Ashtanga yoga, he can enter the highest stage of Kaulachara. This is the supreme Achara of all. A Kaula is one who has passed other stages. According to Visvasara Tantra Kaula is neither rule of time nor place. His actions are not affected either by the phases of the moon or the position of the stars. At the stage of Kaulachara the sadhaka attains Brahma-jnana.
After he receives Maha Purna Daksha he performs his own funeral rites. In a lonely place he remains in constant Samadhi and attains its Nirvikalpa form. He becomes a Paramhamsa, who is liberated while living.