Hinduism –The Sanatana Dharma

Hinduism signifies the Sanatana Dharma –the eternal law, the perennial or the timeless order. The word Hinduism is depicted of Hindu. It implies generally a geographic, ethnic or cultural identifier for people living in the Subcontinent of India –around or beyond river Indus, Sindhu. 

Hindus, inhabitants of Hindustan –Bharat are since time immemorial the followers of the way of life guided by the Vedas and Vedic treatises. The Vedas (four in number, i.e., the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda) are the chief elaborators of the Sanatana Dharma.

 

Further, the Vedas call each and everyone to realize the reality of universal unity. They, declaring universal unity to be the fundamental basis of equality among all, urge human beings for carrying out day-to-day activities at all levels. They guide for large-scaled co-operation, co-ordination and harmony among fellow beings to pave the way for the welfare of one and all. On the basis of this, the Vedas beseech man to make his life worthy and meaningful.

Hence, the Sanatana Dharma, especially elaborated and dissected by the Vedas and other foremost Vedic texts, is an eternal order dedicated to the welfare of all. It calls everyone to become the part and parcel of large scaled co-operation, co-ordination and harmony, the essentials for realization of universal unity –to reach the Satya. Thus, in short, the Sanatana Dharma is an eternal order devoted to universal unity –the Satya. It is committed to the Satya and operated by the same Satya. It is, to repeat, determined to be in compliance with the Satya, to establish equality among all and to accord welfare to everyone. As a human being is the finest and superior among all the creatures, the Sanatana Dharma, therefore, urges everyone, woman or man, to embrace the reality of equality. It calls for working for the welfare of all making it the goal of life.

Due to its dedication to the Universalism the Santana Dharma has for thousands of years left deep impression on almost all social, cultural, and more especially religio-spiritual philosophies established or developed in India. The Vedic-Hindu philosophy, the explainer and elaborator of the Santana Dharma, especially its crown scriptures –the Vedas and the Upanishads (the Vedanta) have not only impressed and led all schools of thought of the Indian origin, but they have, more or less, exerted influence on religio-spiritual, social and political philosophies developed from time-to-time the world over.                                

The Mantras of the First Sukta of the First Mandala of the Rigveda –the first and the foremost of the four Vedas, well depict the reality of the Sanatana Dharma. Besides the supremacy and grace of the Creator, the Protector and the Liberator –Ishwara, the universal truth related to unity, the reality of the eternal law of change, and the superiority of Ahimsa as the supreme human values can be well comprehended through these Mantras. These Mantras pave the way for the welfare of all through collective endeavours, by large-scaled co-operation and co-ordination, and harmony among fellow beings. By the use of the word ‘Ham’ –we, these hymns wish for rise of all and call each and everyone to reach the SatyaParamatma, Who is Himself the basic source of Unity, through the development of virtues and righteous acts. These are also the foremost elements of the Santana Dharma, which after their appearance through the Mantras of the Rigveda, became since time immemorial the basis of people’s practices and their social dealings in the Aaryaavarta. They left impression on other philosophies developed all over the world along with becoming the basis of development of religio-spiritual schools of thought of the Indian origin. This reality can be well assessed from many couplets of the Dhammapada –collection of sayings of Gautama Buddha in which the Shakyamuni stresses on making life meaningful through righteous acts, and the basis of upright acts is good contemplation with sound character (to mention a few, 87/6 and 168/13),  and he declares it to be the Dharma. We are well familiar with the fact that this concept of action and contemplation is a leading idea of the Vedanta in the form of a beautiful combination of Karma and Jnana. This very idea is of prime importance in Jainism as well.

Along with this, development of the spirit of kindliness towards all –Sarvasauhard, transformation of enmity prevailing in opponent to goodwill through compassion, friendliness and love, and enterprise of concord through good deeds –Satkarmas are the basic teachings of the Sanatana Dharma –the best introduction of the fundamentals of the Sanatana Dharma. The following couplet of the Dhammapada (5/1) should be comprehended in this very context:

“Na Hi Verena Veraani Sammantiidha Kudaachanam/ Averena Cha Sammanti Esa Dhammo Sanantano//”

Meaning thereby, “Hatred never ceases by hatred, hatred ceases by goodwill. This is the Sanatana Dharma” –the eternal rule. 

This is just an example. We can find such kind of examples, one after the other, in all philosophies –schools of thought categorically reflecting on them the impact of the basics of the Sanatana Dharma and establishing the Sanatana Dharma as the basic Dharma, the fountainhead of all philosophies developed all over the world from time-to-time. They all, in a way or the other, bring to the notice the reality of the basic spirit of the Sanatana Dharma –being to be the eternal, its dedication to the universal unity and commitment to equality of all irrespective of any kind of discrimination.

 

The need of the hour is that the reality of the fundamentals of the Sanatana Dharma –the Vedic-Hindu way of life should be brought out honestly and sincerely. Moreover, the followers of the Sanatana Dharma should get familiar with the basics of the Sanatana Dharma. Keeping the vital message of universal unity as the nucleus in thoughts and actions they should tread the path of the Satya. To repeat again, equality, co-operation, co-ordination and harmony at all levels in all walks of life pave the way to the welfare of one and all and these are the prime principles of the Sanatana Dharma. One claiming to be a true Sanatanist –a follower of the Vedic-Hindu way of life inevitably needs to make these principles the essential part of his routines and mutual dealings.

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