The 64 “Acharam” (Dos and Don’ts)
[Special Customs and Conventions for Bramhans]
Listed here are the 64 practices and customs believed to have been established by Sankaraachaarya (788 – 820 AD) specially for the Braahmanans .
Several of these are of course, irrelevant now, since the caste system has legally been eliminated, and customs, traditions and life-styles have changed drastically.
* Do not use twigs (a common practice elsewhere) for brushing teeth.
* During the daily bath, do not bathe with the clothes worn till then.
* Do not use the clothes worn till bath for wiping the body after bath (as a towel).
* Do not bathe before sunrise.
*Do not cook before bathing.
* Do not use water stored (drawn from well) on the previous day for the next day’s use.
* While performing daily rites, do not seek any results, be detached.
* Excess water after “Soucham”, “Aachamanam” etc. shall not be used for other purposes.
* Braahmanans, desirous of purity (“Suddhi”) shall bathe if they touch “Soodran”, etc.
* Bathe if lower caste persons come close.
* Bathe (in a different pond), if the water in a pond is touched, if the same has been touched earlier by a lower caste person.
* Bathe upon stepping on the ground which has been swept with broom, but has not been sprinkled with water.
* “Bhasmam” (ash), etc. are to be smeared first vertically once and then horizontally in three lines.
* Braahmanans while performing rituals, shall chant “Manthrams” themselves.
&Do not use previous day’s food.
* Leftover food of even children shall not be eaten by pious Braahmanans.
* Food items (“Nivedyam”) offered to Lord Sivan are not to be consumed.
* Food served with hand shall not be eaten
* Buffalo milk and ghee prepared from it shall not be used for religious rituals.
* Rice shall be eaten only in the form of balls but such balls shall not be kept in the leaf as leftover.
* If one is polluted in any form (“Asudhham”), even betel-chewing is prohibited.
* A “Brahmachaari” (boy during the period between Upanayanan and Samaavarthanam) shall observe “Nishthha” and “Vratham”.
* “Gurudakshina” (appropriate offerings to the teacher) must be given after completing the study of Vedam.
* Vedam shall not be recited on the streets.
* “Shodasamskara” shall be performed during the prescribed periods.
Girls shall not be sold.
* “Vrathams” shall not be observed with the expectation of any results in mind.
* Women who touch another woman in period, shall have to bathe before eating.
* Braahmanans shall not spin thread.
* Braahmanans shall not do the work of washermen.
* Only Braahmanans are permitted to perform Siva Pooja on “Rudraaksham” (seed of the plant Eloeocarpus ganitrus), etc.
* Braahmanans shall not receive “Sraadhha Dakshina” (ritual offer on the death anniversary) from a “Soodran”.
* Braahmanans shall perform “Sraadhham” of their father’s and mother’s parents.
* Sraadhham shall be performed on every “Amaavaasi” (new moon) day.
Upon the father’s or mother’s death, one shall observe “Deeksha” for one year.
At the end of Deeksha on the 12th month, “Sapindi” shall be performed.
* If “Aasoucham”comes during the Sapindi period, wait till it is over.
* Sraadhham day is reckoned based on the star of the month (“Nakshathram”).
* Children after being given for adoption to another family, shall perform Sraadhham of their own parents.
* Cremation shall be in own land.
* “Samnyaasi” (Saint) shall not look at women.
* “Samnyaasi” shall not perform Pindam nor Sraadhham.
* No ritual is performed when a Samnyaasi dies.
* A Braahmana woman shall not look at any man other than her husband, father, grandfather or their brothers on either side.
* Bramhan women shall not move out of the house without a maid.
* They shall wear only traditional dress.
* They shall not pierce the nose.
* Excommunication is imposed on a Braahmanan who consumes alcohol.
* Excommunication is imposed also if he sleeps with any other Braahmana woman.
* “Pretha” (spirit) shall not be consecrated in temples.
* The idols in temples (“Deva Prathishthha”) shall not be touched by “Soodrans”, etc.
* Offerings made to one god shall not again be proffered to another god.
* Marriages and other “Karmams” shall not be performed without “Homam”.
* Braahmanans shall not bless each other, for, they are equals.
* They shall also not prostrate before each other.
* Do not sacrifice cows.
* Saiva, Vaishnava and other such distinctions shall not exist.
* Two Yajnopaveetham, (sacred thread) should be worn by Braahmanans after marriage.
* Only the eldest son in the family shall marry an women ( too irrelevant )
* Sraadhham shall be performed only using rice.
* Non-Braahmanans are not eligible to enter into Samnyaasam.
* “Kshathriyans” and others shall perform Sraadhham for maternal uncles, since they follow matrilineal system.
* A woman whose husband is dead, shall enter into Samnyaasam.
* Braahmana women shall follow “Paathivrathyam” (chastity) strictly, but are prohibited from performing “Sathi” (immolation on husband’s funeral pyre).
( I have taken this from Nambothiri Bramhan website and have changed tamil terms into either Sanskrit or in English. )