Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Dharma, has always fascinated and attracted me. To the point where decluttering its scriptures has now become my purpose! Incorrectly referred to as Hinduism, its distinction lies in its all-inclusiveness. Contrary to common beliefs, there are no must-dos in this. We’re talking about a remarkably personalized thought process here.
As a believer of Sanatana Dharma, your imagination is the limit to your faith. You can believe in anything that appeals to you – Nature, Energy, God in any movable or immovable form. You can decide whether you wish to be a part of a community or prefer to be in solitude. There isn’t any mandatory requirement of visiting a temple or dressing up in a particular manner. Since this is your personalized doctrine, there isn’t any concept of conversion, either. Arguably, you could even be an atheist follower of Sanatana Dharma!
Fundamentally, Sanatana Dharma is like a buffet. Eating food from a wide-spread meal can be a gratifying and liberating experience, provided we learn to be alert, aware, and responsible for our choices. As they say, “With power comes responsibility!”
Why Sanatana Dharma?
Sanatana Dharma is liberalism at its best. If we truly grasp its essence, the dream of a peaceful world might come true! The principle goal of Sanatana Dharma is peace within and peace in the world. The path to that is pursuing our self-purification or refinement. When we eliminate our negative subconscious tendencies, we can experience our latent Divinity. At that point, we experience eternal peace. Self-purification begins with self-awareness. That is, understanding ourselves from a physical, emotional, and intellectual perspective.
To give the beginners a direction, the seers of yore devised many methods of living. They encouraged everyone to follow a few of those techniques that worked for them. If someone was resourceful enough to formulate their path, they were encouraged to do so. If that new path helped many people, that got recognized as part of the culture as well. In that sense, the practices of all religions of our world could become acceptable methods in Sanatana Dharma because these were all paths created by eminent and noble souls. We could walk any route, as long as we’re transforming from good-to-great-to-Divine human beings.
Three Notable Ideologies
The Vedic scriptures document many ideas that have evolved over the years. The high point of these texts are the three notable ideologies:
- Aham Brahmasmi, I am Divine. [BU 1.4.10]
- Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma, Everything that exists is Divine. [CU 3.14.1]
- Poornasya Poornamadaya Poornam Eva Vashishyate, When (this) completeness gets negated out of (that) completeness, there still remains (that) completeness. [BU 5.1.1]
Found in the Brihadaranyaka (BU) and Chandogya (CU) Upanishads, these three ideologies give us a guideline against faltering in our personalized path. If we operate with the attitude of I am Divine, there is no question of feeling inferior or lacking self-esteem. Notwithstanding the intensity of my issue, I can handle it with confidence because I’m Divine.
On the flip side, the thought of myself being Divine can cause our ego to bloat! It helps to know that I’m not the only one who’s Divine to prevent that from happening. Everyone is equal, and everything that exists is Divine. Hence, being inclusive of others’ viewpoints and giving respect to their opinions becomes essential. Also, every living being has an equal right to thrive in this universe. That includes everything from trees to insects and animals.
Finally, even though I’m Divine, I’m not irreplaceable! I am complete and beautiful, but Nature can function without me. Nature remains complete without any manifested form, including me. And, I’m still a speck of dust as compared to the forces of Nature. Therefore, it helps to be humble and surrendered to the Divine Mother Nature.
Words of Caution
Anyone, irrespective of their caste, creed, and religion, can benefit from the Vedic literature. However, to understand the contextual reference, it is essential to study the Vedas in conjunction with other texts. That includes Vedic history, Upanishads, Puranas, and other supportive scriptures. Out of context study of the Vedas can cause more harm than good. If misunderstood or abused in their practices, the Vedic knowledge can even become sources of evil. This issue is even more severe with the Tantrik scriptures.
In today’s world, without proper understanding, many eastern philosophy followers have started behaving like cults! Regrettably, the word Tantra itself has become synonymous with sexual indulgence in the Western world. In essence, we can think of this as akin to nuclear science. It can either be a destructive force or a medicinal cure.
Most of us don’t have the time or energy to study the infinite scriptures of Sanatana Dharma. Hence, there is a lot of misinformation floating around. Due to the institutionalizing of spirituality, the essence of Sanatana Dharma seems to have taken a back seat. I’ve made it my purpose to declutter these timeless scriptures and extract the diamonds out of them. Besides my thoughts, learnings, and observations, I will summarize relevant scriptures, with references to factual sources (as much as possible).
Hopefully, if we become aware of the actual contents of Sanatana Dharma’s scriptures, we may perceive it from a different light. That could prevent us from falling prey to those who use the scriptural knowledge for personal gains. This mammoth task of sorting through the scriptures brings meaning to my life. I sincerely hope you will benefit from my purpose as well.
At the onset of this cause, I offer my prostration to the revered Mother Sri Devi who is the Divine Om.
Note: This was the very first blog post I ever wrote. I’m putting it out here so that my readers can be aware of what to expect from my writings.