Guiding Light: Aahara Vihara Vyavahara

Guiding Light: Aahara Vihara Vyavahara

Ahaara is the input we take; Vihara refers to the indulgence; Vyavahara is the conduct.

Dr. S. AinavoluUpdated: Tuesday, November 28, 2023, 10:09 PM IST
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Ahaara is the input we take. Generally, it is interpreted or attributed as the food. In reality, aahara refers to all the inputs we take, both physical and psychological. From the pancha-kosha theory, the inputs happen at different kosha (sheath) levels of annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vignanamaya. The last of the kosha is the ultimate, anandamaya which refers to the connection with the Brahman itself. Hence, no inputs or outputs at this level.

Vihara refers to the indulgence. As the above illustration goes indulgence can happen at any of the four levels. What triggers the indulgence? The body has sense organs at the physical level and these need inputs. The variety and diversity of the inputs results in more ‘engagement’ and often ‘pleasure’. These pure pleasure-driven acts are the indulgence. Next is will the indulgence happen at the other levels as well. The answer is in affirmative.

The thought levels are more easier to indulge than even physical. Thought is ‘kshana bhangura’, it can get created or destroyed in a moment. With this argument it may appear that thought or psychological indulgence is harmless. But the answer is no. The reason is between the creation and destroying of the thought, there are actions that may follow. These acts that are based on the indulged thoughts can not be of pure nature. They pull down and bring one into the slurry of negative spiral.

Vyavahara is the conduct. Conduct gets expressed through body and mental planes. The conduct gets displayed again through physical means. Even if it is a pure thought wave, when it gets converted into the speech or the act of doing something, it is conduct in physical terms. Aahara may damage one’s body through getting bad health. Vihara again damages one’s own body and even reputation. Vyavahara exposes one and one’s clan into the risks that are NOT seen earlier and damages the reputation forever. So, the key is in limiting the vyavahara, upto required manner.

In normative terms how do we receive the traditional wisdom and act on it are the questions seekers often come across. One of the guiding principles is ‘ati sarvatra varjayet’, meaning doing excess is bad, and in everything. Limiting and restricting one’s ‘inputs’ is the answer.

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