Activities performed from waking up till retiring for the day are collectively called Dinacharya.
Anhik (Daily rituals in the morning) and nityakarma (Daily duties)
A. Dinacharya should go hand in hand with the laws of Nature
Dinacharya is planned such that a man remains healthy all his life and without any illness. The health of an individual depends upon his diet, exercise and actions. Thus, Dinacharya is important from the perspective of health. If Dinacharya is in harmony with the laws of Nature, then man will benefit and not get distressed. Hence, it is necessary to behave in harmony with Nature (as advised by Dharma); for example, waking up early in the morning, rinsing the mouth, cleansing the teeth, bathing etc. Sages performed daily ablutions, bathed and performed sandhya (Ritualistic worship of the Sun Deity to be performed daily at sunrise, noon and sunset by all those whose thread ceremony is performed. It is accompanied by chanting of the Gayatri mantra(A sacred verse from the Vedas, to be recited mentally by a Brahman (One who belongs to the first of the four varnas (Class), studies scriptures and imparts knowledge to the society)) at Brahmamuhurt. After that, they would study the Vedas, do farming and retire to bed early at night. That is why, they were physically healthy. Today, people are behaving against the laws of Nature and hence, their health has worsened. Even animals and birds perform Dinacharya as per the laws of Nature. – H.H. Parshram Pande Maharaj, Sanatan Ashram, Devad, Panvel
B. An individual strictly adhering
to daily rituals does not become target to disasters
like poverty, illness, vices, psychological disorders etc.
The scriptures on Dharma have given high priority to daily rituals. While setting the laws of daily rituals, the scriptures have, on one hand, given importance to the science that helps and nurtures the physical body, and psychology that causes development and evolution of the mind is also dealt with in detail. An individual strictly adhering to daily rituals does not become a victim of calamities such as poverty, illness, vices, psychological disorders etc.
4. Some karmas included in Dinacharya
All karmas right from waking up in the morning till retiring to bed at night are included in Dinacharya. Details of some are given ahead.
Activities which when performed result in gaining only purification of the subconscious mind, still their non-performance leads to demerits – these are called nityakarma. For example, chanting the Gayatri-mantra and performing sandhya are nityakarma for a Brahman.
Some examples of nityakarma
1. Nityakarma as prescribed by varna
The nityakarma of a Brahman is adhyayan (Study) and adhyapan (Imparting knowledge, teaching, instruction), that is, learning about spiritual practice and communicating it to others. Nityakarma of a Kshatriya (One who belongs to the second of the four varnas, namely the warrior class) is protecting society from evildoers, nityakarma of a Vaishya (One who belongs to the third of the four varnas and carries on some trade) is serving the society through cattle-breeding, farming and business, and that of a Shudra is conducting any trade except that conducted by Brahmans and Kshatriyas.
2. Nityakarma as prescribed by the ashrams (Stages of life)
Studying how to follow Dharma while in the stage of Brahmacharyashram (The first among the four stages of life – the Stage of celibacy); repaying debts unto God, Sages, departed ancestors and the society in Gruhasthashram (The second among the four stages of life, namely, the Stage of the married householder); performing spiritual practice with the aim of purification of the body and studying philosophy in Vanprasthashram (Third stage among the four stages of life, Stage of retired householder); and asking for alms, chanting, meditating etc.