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Hindu Religion or Sanatan Dharma

By Swami Paratmananda Saraswati

Hindu Religion

Hindu Religion

  1. Hindu religion offers clear vision of the Truth. It also offers clear view of life and a way of life to own up the vision. Hindu Religion or Sanatan Dharma is Indigenous Religion of Bharat. It is very much different or unique compared to all new religions of the world, which are dated during the last two/three millennia. In today’s world, there are so many “Neo Religions”. If one looks at the history of these religions, one will find that [1] These ‘neo religions’ were started/founded by an individual at a specific time and specific place. [2] When these religions emerged, they disturbed pre-existing religions and cultural traditions of that time. Not only they disturbed then, some of them continue to disturb now also.

  1. Hindu religion was not founded by any particular person at a given time. Even though, in our Religious Tradition, Shri Rama and Shri Krishna are worshipped as incarnations of the Lord, they did not found/started Hindu Religion and Hindu They did not begin Hindu Dharma. In fact, they incarnated within the existing Hindu Dharmik tradition, their lives exemplified the values given by Vedas. Therefore, Hindu Dharma is called as Sanatan Dharma. The word Sanatan Dharma –has two meanings. [1] ‘Sanatanasya Dharma’. Hinduism is the Dharma of the Lord and since the Lord is without beginning and end, so also, Hindu Dharma has no worldly beginning or end. And (2) The Second—‘Sanatanascha Asau Dharmashch’Meaning–:  The Dharma that flows perennially. Our Dharma keeps  re-emerging at every cycle of creation.

Beginning –Less Hindu Dharma-:

  1. Hindu Dharma is revealed by the most ancient body of knowledge, the most ancient book of Knowledge/Wisdom called as “Vedas” and these Vedas are looked upon as beginning less.
  1. Knowledge of physics is there since beginning less time. Even monkeys had the knowledge of physics. Therefore the Knowledge of Physics cannot be attributed to a given person- that He/She began it Similarly, one cannot trace the origin of Hindu Dharma to a specific person. However, there is fundamental difference between the body of knowledge called physics and the body of knowledge called Vedas.

Contents of Vedic Knowledge-:

  1. Sanatana Dharma or Hindu Dharma expounds or reveals the nature of the Truth that is absolute and Non Separate from an individual. Whereas, Science, is a body of knowledge reveals the truth that is variable, not absolute. Moreover, Vedas reveal to us that this Absolute Truth is yourself.
    The Vedas reveal Spiritual Goal to be achieved in this life. Generally, people consider money, power sense pleasure etc. as the goal of life. Life becomes a continuous pursuit for acquiring these things. Vedic tradition or Veda reveals that the goal of human life is not these things. Vedas say , the goal of life is to discover fullness, to discover Ananda, called as “Moksha”( and that is to discover oneself). It reveals that life should be a process of unfolding the truth that is you, that is fullness. This is the spiritual pursuit of Vedas. These  Spiritual pursuit culminates in this life itself. When a human being is alive, he/she can accomplish this ultimate and in this life itself. Moksha is not salvation. Salvation is interference. You are condemned already, so somebody has to give you salvation in heaven. But Moksha is freedom from the notion that you are bound/limited. All the preachers of the world over are believers only. A believer tend to be a fanatic who will never change his belief.
  1. Other religions do not seem to have a well-defined spiritual goal to be achieved in this life. They don’t reveal or talk about the goal of human being but talk about the goal of “Faithful, the goal of Believers/Faithfuls. Different cultures of the world also don’t seem to have well-defined Spiritual Pursuit.

Need To Protect Dharma and Culture-:

  1. Every culture provides certain forms to a given society. So also, Hindu culture has so many forms. However, there is basic difference between Hindu cultural forms and forms belonging to other cultures. Hindu culture and all cultural forms are very much connected to Hindu Dharma. In fact connected to the Spirit of Dharma, connected to the Vision/the Knowledge of Dharma, revealed by Veda. This Knowledge alone is the goal. It manifests in various forms. Cultural forms are non-separate from the Vedic Vision/Knowledge. Hindu culture teaches us how to look at the things and the beings. What should be our attitude? Attitudes are manifestation of the Vision/Knowledge And these attitudes express in forms. Since our attitudes are born out of our understanding, out of our religion, all our cultural forms are religious.
  1. The Hindu religion and its religious culture which pervades every aspect of our life, the culture which is non-separate from religion, needs to be protected by Hindus. In the modern times, there are some religions, who ridicule our culture, our Dharma. Not only that, in our contemporary society, we have communication infrastructure, such that we are exposed to various religions, various cultures and different value system. We are exposed to different cultural values. To protect one’s Dharma, to protect Hindu Dharma, Hindu should know the Dharma very well and should live Dharma. We have to understand the spirit of our religious traditions. Hindu should know the Vedas. Hindu should understand what is the goal, what is the meaning or the content of Vedic teaching. What is the purpose of various forms, etc. We should know certain basic things about our religion. Also, we should know certain basic tenets of Neo Aggressive Religious traditions which are causing a great threat to the very existence of Hindus and Hindu religion.

SPIRITUAL CULTURE-:

Sanatan Dharma

Sanatan Dharma

Hindu religion and its Spiritual Cultureis unique. The Neo Aggressive Religions claim that God is in heaven. They also say “He showers his grace only to the faithfuls / believers.

Vedic mantras  say,  the Lord is, “All that is here is the Lord – Bhagavan. The entire universe is non-separate from Bhagwan”. This being the case, only Hinduism reveals THE TRUTH  that Lord is everywhere. The Lord  is eminent (all pervasive) and transcendental.

Every living being is endowed with body- senses-mind complex. And The Lord is something to be understood, not believed. When something can be understood, when something can be known, there is reality. Every person is entitled for God’s grace. We are the only people who can tell the universal truth that God is everywhere and His grace is available to all. This is the glory of our spiritual culture.

We find that every person is endowed with a body, mind and sense complex. Everyone has buddhi and means to make his or her living. Everyone experiences pleasures and pain and is subject to ageing, disease and death. There are people who are privileged in every religion. Nobody can deny these facts. Moreover all human beings are governed by the same physical, biological, physiological, psychological and cognitive (faculty of knowing) laws of the universe etc. Then how can some people assert that God ensures His grace only for them and their followers and leave others in disgrace?

 

VEDAS ARE BEYOND SCIENCE-BUT SCIENTIFIC-:

Vedas are independent means of knowledge. Since it is an independent means of knowledge, its subject matter is beyond the scope of other means of knowledge such as perception, inference etc. Any means of knowledge does NOT necessitate collaboration / confirmation from other means of knowledge. Also, such knowledge through a proper means of knowledge cannot be contended. Subject matter of science is within the purview of perception, inference and human intellect. It is proper to say that the subject matter of Veda is independent of perception, inference, etc. The Vedas are beyond Science. Vedas talk about heaven and hell, punya and papa, duties and rituals (and their results to be experienced here or hereafter). Upanishads and Gita reveal the self that is fullness, non-dual, Ananda. All these are beyond the scope of human intellect or science.

Apart from Dvaraka, more than thirty-five sites in North India have yielded archaeological evidence and have been identified as ancient cities described in the Mahabharata. Copper utensils, iron, seals, gold & silver ornaments, terracotta discs and painted grey ware pottery have all been found in these sites. Scientific dating of these artifacts corresponds to the non-aryan-invasion model of Indian antiquity.

In Hindu Dharma Spirituality and Science have gone together. Among the Vedic sciences, one can find a whole range of sciences from astronomy and chemistry to psychology and surgery, and the science of Yoga itself. This Holistic approach to both the spiritual and material sciences can be called as ‘Vedic science.’

Milleneas before Pythagoras, Hindu Wise men in India had understood that gravitation held the solar system together, and that therefore the sun, the most massive object, had to be at its center.” “Twenty-four centuries before Isaac Newton, the Hindu Rig-Veda asserted that gravitation held the universe together. The Sanskrit speaking Aryans subscribed to the idea of a spherical earth in an era when the Greeks believed in a flat one. The Indians of the fifth century A.D. calculated the age of the earth as 4.3 billion years; scientists in 19th century England were convinced it was 100 million years.

CONCEPT OF REVELATION OF HINDU DHARMA-:

Hinduism says that Vedic knowledge, Veda mantras were revealed to the Rishis at the beginning of the creation. These Rishis passed down the knowledge received from the Lord to their disciples. The same knowledge and the teaching tradition is available to us through Guru-Shishya Parampara – “Teacher-taught” tradition. The Neo aggressive religions also claim that their God revealed the religion to his son or prophet etc. It appears that the idea of revealed knowledge is the same. But there is a MAJOR DIFFERENCE. A set of beliefs are revealed to those religions whereas in Hinduism what was revealed is not something to be believed but something to be understood and taught to students. There is lot of difference between belief and knowledge. Often these beliefs are non-verifiable. A belief is nothing but a judgment before knowing, and is subject to correction on verification. IF God is matter of belief, then God may exist or may not exist – subject to correction on verification. Such belief in God is ultimately not acceptable in Hinduism. Whereas, knowledge is something which is to be understood. Hinduism has unbroken chain of ancient spiritual heritage in terms of teaching tradition beginning from Rishis.

Modern physics has thus revealed that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction. The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another’’. For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomenon. Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our times, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance.

What They Say-:

Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996) astrophysicist, in his book Cosmos, says : “The Hindu religion is the only one of the world’s great faiths dedicated to the idea that the Cosmos itself undergoes an immense, indeed an infinite, number of deaths and rebirths. It is the only religion in which the time scales correspond to these of modern scientific cosmology”.

Modern physics has revealed that every subatomic particle not only performs an energy dance, but also is an energy dance; a pulsating process of creation and destruction. The dance of Shiva is the dancing universe, the ceaseless flow of energy going through an infinite variety of patterns that melt into one another’’. For the modern physicists, then Shiva’s dance is the dance of subatomic matter. As in Hindu mythology, it is a continual dance of creation and destruction involving the whole cosmos; the basis of all existence and of all natural phenomenon. Hundreds of years ago, Indian artists created visual images of dancing Shivas in a beautiful series of bronzes. In our times, physicists have used the most advanced technology to portray the patterns of the cosmic dance.

In the television series “Cosmos”, he acknowledges that of all  the world’s philosophies and religions those originating in India are remarkably consistent with contemporary scenarios of space, time and existence.

Julius Robert Oppenheimer (1904-1967) the developer of the atomic bomb, studied Sanskrit and called the Gita “ the most beautiful philosophical song existing in any known tongue.” Oppenheimer wrote :”The general notions about human understanding which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics are not in the nature of things wholly unfamiliar, wholly unheard of or new. Even in our own culture they have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place. What we shall find (in modern physics) is an exemplification, an encouragement, and a refinement of old wisdom.”

Albert Einstein “ When I read the Bhagwad Gita and reflect about how God created this universe, everything else seems so superfluous.”

Mark Twain “ Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of mankind are treasured up in India in Vedas. It is already becoming clear that a chapter which had western beginning will have to have an Indian ending.

Henry David Thoreau “In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of Bhagwad Gita.

Alfred Brush Ford – grandson of Henry Ford “For me the most important thing is to spread Hindu knowledge about the soul. This is more important than any other knowledge and it is my main priority.

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