Āchāra means the way we perform any act. In the context of customs and rituals, the source of knowing the right way to perform any custom or ritual is through the knowledge of Śruti and Smṛti. There is a saying “Ācārahīnaṃ na punanti vedāḥ" which means the one who does not perform the instructed ritual as per the Vedas. It is believed that if one wants to get the best result of the rituals performed, the rituals should be performed in the accordance with the guidelines prescribed in Vedas. This emphasizes the importance of Āchāra.
Sometimes transliterated as: Sadachara, SadAchAra, Sadaachaara
The prefix ‘sat’ to the word āchāra means the rituals or customs performed in accordance with the Śruti and Smṛti. The antonym of sadāchāra is durāchāra which means the ritual or custom that are not in accordance with the Śruti and smṛti. There may be different ways of performing the same ritual, according to the place that one belongs to. Hence, it is advised to perform the ritual or act according to the regional customs that are practiced by one’s ancestors.
Yasmin deśe ya ācāraḥ pāramparya kramāgatḥ | śrutismṛtyavirodhena sadācāraḥ sa ucyate ||
Sadāchāra does not confine just to the extent of rituals but it also has equal significance in day to day life. It helps a person to develop discipline in one’s own life.
- Saṃskāramanjarī, smṛti muktāphalaṃ, p. no. 05