1) Guru Principle: The Vedic path always recognized the fact that it is only under the expert guidance and grace of an authentic guru (an enlightened spiritual master) that we can traverse the path to liberation both safely and effectively. Members of the ISDS are fortunate to be guided, both as individual disciples and as a world-wide movement, by a living and extremely qualified representative of the Vedic ideal in the form of our enlightened spiritual teacher Sri Dharma Pravartaka Acharya.
2) Scripturally-Based: The teachings of Sanatana Dharma are derived completely from the Vedic scriptures, which all sincere followers of Sanatana Dharma consider to be the perfect and eternal Word (shabda) of God. The ISDS scrupulously bases everything the we believe, do and teach upon a clear and orthodox understanding of the Vedic scriptures. Our approach to philosophy, spiritual practice, meditation and lifestyle are all rooted directly in the teachings of the scriptures. Indeed, in-depth and guided study of the Vedic scriptures is one of the most important ongoing practices that our members engage in.
3) Academic Excellence: Our members strongly strive to couple their meditative spiritual practice with a very scholarly and philosophical grasp of the philosophy, theology, culture, history and application of Sanatana Dharma. Mystical attainment can never be used as an excuse for intellectual lethargy on the part of the spiritual practitioner. Success on the spiritual path is only possible with the integrative partnership of both subjective spiritual experience (anubhava) coupled with wisdom and understanding (buddhi).
4) Quality over Quantity: In our philosophy and practices (both personal and as an organizational structure), the ISDS always emphasize the spiritual quality of our activities over mere quantity. Thus, rather than artificially focusing on merely having a large mass following, we instead strive to have a smaller membership of truly exceptional and sincere spiritual practitioners. Consequently, we have sometimes been called somewhat elitist or exclusive in who we accept as members and formal students. We're fine with that! Our goal is to serve those who are sincerely ready for the real thing: an authentic path the goal of which is having a direct experience of truth.
We also seek to create the qualified Dharma leaders and teachers of the future who will carry on the traditions of the most ancient spiritual path on Earth. The ISDS represents nothing less than the cutting-edge Vedic vanguard. The ISDS is thus not for everyone. But if you are willing to learn and practice authentic Vedic spirituality in a mood of humility and sincerity, and to experience growth in your spiritual life in a manner that is truly meaningful, then you are very welcome to join.
5) Vedic Authenticity: We are radical traditionalists in our approach to the Vedic way. We seek to practice Dharma in as traditional, authentic, orthodox and uncompromisingly real a manner as is possible in the modern era. There is nothing new, "New Age", Neo-Hindu, Neo-Vedantist, Radical Universalist, or concocted in how we teach and practice the Vedic way.
Moreover, we do not "mix and blend" our practice or understanding of Sanatana Dharma with those of other, non-Vedic paths. We follow Sanatana Dharma, and Sanatana Dharma alone. If you are interested in the ISDS, in the teachings of Sri Acharyaji, or in being involved in our movement in a meaningful way, please do so knowing that what you will be taught and will be following nothing less than the authentic and ancient religion of Sanatana Dharma - the Eternal Natural Way.
6) Comprehensiveness: As students of the Vedic way, we understand that Sanatana Dharma is so much more than merely a religious tradition. Rather, the world-view, arts and sciences of Vedic culture are meant to very naturally extend into every field of human concern. This includes not only the overtly spiritual, but also the social, political, economic, scientific, medical, artistic, musical, culinary, martial, cultural, civilizational and philosophical realms of human endeavor. The ISDS seeks to not only help our members in their own individual spiritual progress, but to also extend the truths of Dharma over the entire sphere of human endeavor. Our goal is to change all of society on the most fundamental of levels, and to thus affect the re-spiritualization of global civilization. There is in the ISDS, contained in seed form, the beginnings of a future Vedic civilization!
7) Effective Sadhana: It is only in following a systematic spiritual practice (sadhana) that an individual can make spiritual practice. All of the powerful spiritual disciplines that the ISDS teaches its members are highly effective, authorized and authentic, ancient and scripturally-based. The spiritual exercises taught and practiced by ISDS member emphasis the full Yoga system, in addition to the practice of mantra, puja, yajna (sacred fire ceremony) and meditation as revealed in the Upanishads.
8) Highest Ethical Standards: Many in the West have all too often found themselves exploited by unethical "spiritual teachers" who falsely claimed to be representing the pure Yoga and Dharma tradition, but who only turned out to be amoral abusers of their innocent followers. The ISDS is unyielding in its commitment to upholding and educating all its members in the very highest ethical standards that form the core behavioral expectations of Vedic culture. Our strict code of ethics includes adherence to the Yamas and Niyamas of Yoga philosophy, in addition to all of the ethical and moral codes contained in the Vedic scriptures.
Both the initiated students and the leaders of the ISDS are expected, without exception, to strictly observe the following ethical standards: a) no intoxicants (including alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, hashish, ayahuasca, etc.), b) strict lacto-vegetarianism (no consumption of meat, fish or eggs), c) no illicit or exploitative sexual behavior (sexuality should be confined exclusively to the institution of marriage), d) avoidance of all gambling, e) a complete rejection of both pornography and video games.