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What Is Achara In Tantra?

Achara in Tantra means the manner in which worship is performed. Three acharas are recognized –

  1. Vedachara – in which Agni is the God worshiped and the mantras are according to the Vedic tradition. This achara is meant for the beginner.
  2. Dakshinachara – it came from the Sage Dakshinamurti. It is looked upon as an intermediate step.
  3. Vamachara – it is considered to be the highest type, uses a vama, i.e., a woman as partner, in the sadhana.

In Kularnava Tantra (II. 7 -8), seven acharas are mentioned. The highest among them is called Kaulachara. In some texts nine acharas are described. They also recognize Kaulachara as the highest, producing quick and definite results.

Division according to bhava places aspirants into progressively higher groups, such as puja bhava, japa bhava, stave bhava, dhyana bhava, and brahma bhava. Bhava means disposition or mental inclination of the aspirant regarding the mode of practice. Brahma bhava is considered to be the highest.