By Swami Harshananda
Adhvara literally means ‘that which leads by a straight, therefore true, path’.
Human beings by nature, are interested in getting the good things of life so that they can live in comfort, happiness and peace. Those of them that believe in an after-life, are also interested in performing those acts here, that assure them a happy life hereafter.
If the religious and spiritual leaders do not show them the right way, in all likelihood, they will adopt the wrong way, the way of selfishness, competition and even fighting among themselves. Hence it is the need to show them the right path, the straight path, the good path. This is exactly what ‘adhvara’ is.
Etymologically it means a path which is not crooked, which does not cause harm to others.
But in usage, it means a Vedic sacrifice. Since the Vedic sacrifices point the straight and good path for the fulfillment of man’s wishes, here and hereafter, they are designated ‘adhvara.’
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore