Anuvrat has already created a deep impact on Indian society. It has been warmly welcomed by all sections of people. On account of the strong support from the masses it has emerged as a national campaign for the regeneration of moral and spiritual values. The main reason of the popular support lies in its thoroughly non-sectarian approach.
Anuvrat does not interfere in a person’s individual religious beliefs. It is not interested in knowing the mode of worship an individual follows or the sacred name he recites. Nor is it interested in knowing whether one goes to a temple, a mosque or a church, or visits monks and nuns. It also shows no interest in finding out whether one believes in a doctrine of the soul or a super-soul or in the doctrine of moksha (liberation). Anuvrat only lays emphasis on the fact that an individual should endeavor to preserve the purity of his life and character. It has nothing to do with religious books, temples, ritualistic practices, pilgrimages to sacred places and external symbols of religion. It only wants to see that Dharma becomes an integral part of the behaviour of an individual. This exposition notwithstanding, most people across the world continue to ask the question “What is ANUVRAT?” Literally it means ‘small vows’. Anu means small and vrata means a vow. It inspires individuals to practise some basic moral values.
If I try to answer this question in the form of precepts or definitions, my elucidation will be as follows:
- Anuvrat is the name of the minimum ethical code of conduct.
- Anuvrat is the name of a religion free from sectarianism.
- Anuvrat is a step raised towards the direction of changing our value system.
- Anuvrat is the name of a condition which recognizes no gap between words and deeds.
- Anuvrat is the name of the campaign for human solidarity.
- Anuvrat is the name of a plan that reduces the gap between knowledge and conduct.
- Anuvrat is a campaign for transforming human propensity for crime.
- Anuvrat is a project for character-building.
- Anuvrat is a technique of self-introspection.
When we glance from the window of the above definitions a new portrait of the anuvrati (one who is committed to anuvrat) emerges. Accordingly an anuvrati is he or she who :
- does not participate in destructive violence.
- does not commit aggression against anyone.
- believes in religious tolerance.
- does not cast aspersions against an individual, class or a religious belief.
- does not violate business ethics.
- does not use drugs and alcohol.
- does not consider an individual low or high on grounds of caste and color etc.
- does not regard any one untouchable.
- does not encourage evil practices prevalent in society.
- does not resort to immoral practices in elections.
- does not fuel the flames of violence and hatred in a country.
- does not support separatist tendencies.
In addition to making the above ideals the basis of an anuvrati’s lifestyle it is also imperative that he shows integrity and transparency in his field of work. As a result, some of the activities become naturally prohibited. For example,
- an anuvrati student will not use unfair means to pass an examination.
- an anuvrati teacher will not declare a student successful by unfair means.
- an anuvrati businessman will not resort to adulteration. He will also not indulge in the sale of counterfeit goods.
- an anuvrati employee will not accept bribes.
- an anuvrati officer will not abuse his authority.
- an anuvrati laborer will not play truant from his work.
- an anuvrati farmer will not treat his animals cruelly nor will he indulge in hoarding.
- an anuvrati legislator will not indulge in horse-trading.
An excerpt from Acharya Tulsi’s daily diary