The question arises as to what is Santana Dharma? It can safely be said that it is the Vedic religion based on Vedas alone. The Hinduism as we find today is not pure Vedic religion it mixer of different ideologies accepted by the people time to time. Thus the Hinduism is hotchpotch mixer of many ideologies.
Hinduism is not religion it is way of living of different caste and creeds following their own regional cultures and traditions in different parts of India. All the so called Hindus are divided by caste, sub-castes and creeds with in the Hinduism. Thus the pure Santana Dharma or Vedic religion is no longer in existence in its ancient grandeur as it was prior to the Buddhism and Jainism.
As one goes deeper in to the annals of the religion one becomes aware of the fact that, Santana Dharma has no beginning. Nobody can say when it started. It is without a beginning and so without an end. It is eternal and everlasting. That which has a beginning, has also an end, as all beginnings have an end also.
Santana Dharma has no founder. All religions are known by their founders or prophets but this is not the case with Santana Dharma. It neither has any prophet to begin it nor any book or authorized scripture told by the prophet who got revelation.
If Santana Dharma has no founder but all so called Hindu religions are known by their founders or sages, therefore Hinduism cannot be the pure Vedic or Santana Dharma. Thus, it proves that, the religions founded by the Sages after 7th century onwards are not the pure Santana Dharma or Vedic religion.
As one peeps in to the annals of the all history of all religions, one becomes aware of the fact that, the religions with scripters have got the largest number of followers and those without scriptures are rare and scarce. In both these class of religions, one finds that the truth is the result of experience of a particular person – Jesus, Prophet Mohammed or Buddha and Sri Sankara, Guru Nanak, Mahavira. All of them experienced truth and that they preached. All religions are built upon direct experience of this experience. But there is a difference.
Others have the founders of this experience known as the first founder of the religion and after their name the religion is known. The other difference is that they now claim that the experience, the prophets had, is now no longer possible. So one have to rely on "Belief”.
The experience of the scientists says that if one experience is possible, it will be repeated eternally. This is the Law of Nature. What once takes place, takes place often and always.
As one goes deeper into the annals of religious history, he becomes aware of the fact that, Santana Dharma differs with other religions on this point. Santana Dharma is not based on spiritual experience of any single individual or any such revelation. It is based on realization, on intuition, and experience of a number of seers, sages and mystics who realized the Infinite and were illuminated. It does not owe its origin to any one person or prophet nor does it adhere to any papal authority or dogma.
It does not built around one man as its centre though it is not opposed to philosophies build around personalities and prophets. It believes in scientific precision and experiments to arrive at truth any time and many times, so it believes in free expression of thoughts and inquiry into the fundamentals even. It is therefore a tolerant religion, granting freedom of Inquiry and Expression, seeking evidence.
Looking in to all these facts one can conclude that the Santana Dharma is an eternal and everlasting humanitarian religion of all mankind. It is not limited to the teaching of any particular people or class of people or any form of worship. It is a comprehensive way, a law of Being ever praying to be with the Absolute.
In this respect, the present Hinduism with its diverse caste and creed, dogmas, rituals, beliefs and worships are not purely Vedic Religion but it is hotchpotch of ideologies adopted from other ideologies and seers experiences.
As one goes in deeper in annals of religious history, one also finds the oldest spiritual writing known to mankind in the Vedas about 6000 BC, orally transmitted for most of history and written down in Sanskrit. It makes them the world’s longest and most ancient revealed scripture of Santana Dharma.
Vedas are concerned with wisdom; what is life about; what does death means, what the human being is, what is the nature of the Absolute that sustains us, and the cosmos etc…..
Sanatana Dharma believes that there is nothing that is not God. The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all. God permeates everything and nothing permeates Him.
The famous peace invocation of Isa Upanishad says:-
Om Purna- madah, purna-midam purnat-purnam-udacyate
Purnaysa purna-madaya purna-meva-vasisyate
When fullness is taken from fullness/ fullness still remains.
This belief is all- comprehensive and all- absorbing. There is nothing that is not God.
This truth has been told by the seers. This is the only truth but is described by the people differently.
The message of Sanatana Dharma goes that Akem Satya; Vipraha vividha Vadanti i.e. Truth is one but the people describe it in different ways. Those on journey to Eternity may differ but once reached there, all the differences sink into oneness.
The whole humanity has to arrive at this eternal truth one day.
Looking all these above aspect on can conclude the present Hindusim is modified to suit mass mind set by the sages by adopting ideology from other ideologies in the past is nothing to do with the pure Vedic religion or Santana Dharma.
Sanatana Dharma aims at making the whole world full of Aryas. It is not confined to the need of self-salvation alone. It has a missionary message too. It says, ’Kranvanto Viswam Aryam’ let the people of the world be made Arya i.e. gentle, righteous, and religious minded. The central point of Isa Upanishad is -- Renounce and enjoy. This has to be our aim of life.
Sanatana Dharma is a cosmopolitan religion. It wishes the happiness of the world. Man is essentially divine. There is divinity in every man. He has to realize it. Then alone the world can become a place to live in.
Sanatana Dharma says that:-
Sanatana Dharma says that:-
Sarve Bhavanti Sukhinah/ Sarve santu Niramayah
Sarve Bhadrani Pashyanti, Ma Kashchid Dukh Bhag Bhaveta.
This is the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma -- a religion of all religions and all mankind. Sanatana Dharma stresses upon action. It believes in theory of Karma. The Upanishad says, ’you are what your driving desire is, as your desire is, so is your will, as your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny.’ Thus we create our own destiny through thought and action. So the message goes that there is no joy in the finite, there is joy only in the Infinite. Nothing can satisfy us but reunion with our real Self which in fact is attainment of Sat-Chit-Anand. Self-realization is in becoming immortal. It does not mean an everlasting life but it stands for a state that is beyond death and life alike.
Santana Dharma believes in the immortality of soul. It inhabits one body after another according to Karma in previous life, during its eternal journey to the Absolute till it is one with God. This is called belief in Reincarnation. It is not a fact that the individual dies with the death of the visible body. At death, the soul leaves the physical body and does not die. It gets into a subtle body called Astral on non-physical dimension. The forces which brought the body and personality into existence continue shaping its destiny after death and would do so till unison with the Absolute when one becomes free from the circle of birth and death.
When Yajurved says:
They enter darkness, those who worship natural things (for example air, water, sun, moon, animals, fire, stone, etc).
They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol etc.)
"Deep into shade of blinding gloom fall asambhuti's worshippers. They sink to darkness deeper yet who on sambhuti are intent."
[Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Giffith pg 538]
"They are enveloped in darkness, in other words, are steeped in ignorance and sunk in the greatest depths of misery who worship the uncreated, eternal prakrti -- the material cause of the world -- in place of the All-pervading God, But those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time."
[Yajur Veda 40:9.]
So, Yajur Veda indicates that:-
They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti. (Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol etc [Yajurved 40:9]
Those who worship visible things born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like) in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness, in other words, they are extremely foolish, fall into an awful hell of pain and sorrow, and suffer terribly for a long time." [Yajur Veda 40:9.]
When the religion of the Veda knows no idols then why so many gods and goddesses with different form and name are being propagated as Vedic gods. Why these conceptual gods are introduced when Vedic concept of god is free from form and attributes.
Who introduced concept of god with attributes and attributeless gods, when Yajur Veda says: - those who worship visible things, born of the prakrti, such as the earth, trees, bodies (human and the like), in place of God are enveloped in still greater darkness. Therefore, all these add-ons proves that the form and attribute based concepts are introduced by some sages of the past with new belief system and code of conducts in the name of Vedas.
Sruti is made the final or exclusive authority in apara Vidya and that for supporting the tenet of the CAUSAL relation or creatorship of Brahman, Nirguna Brahman = the "Absolute beyond qualities," which can be defined only in a negative way. For the Shankarian school = the Ultimate Reality, higher than the Lord. i.e. of Saguna or apara Brahman ... The support of Scriptural Revelation is, therefore, absolutely necessary for this hypothesis of cosmology, this Saguna or apara (= inferior) Brahman, but not for the absolute truth of Nirguna Brahman. Therefore, all the add-ons and attribute based knowledge, which are inferior, have to be bifurcated and excluded to know the ultimate truth.
Gaudapada says that:- The merciful Veda teaches karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, while Jnana is taught to those of higher intellect.
This clearly indicates that religion, which is based on individual conduct, prescribes karma and Upaasana to people of lower and middling intellect, therefore religion is for the lower intellect. And wisdom is for those are capable of inquiring into their own existence to know and realize the ultimate truth, which is Brahman.
Brahman is considered the all-pervading consciousness, which is the basis of all the animate and inanimate entities and material. (brahmano hi pratisthaham, Bhagavad Gita 14.27)
Sri, Sankara’s notion of Maya, the cosmic illusion, which must be transcended in order to realize the truth of Brahman, which means ultimate truth.
If Brahman is considered the all-pervading consciousness then, it is necessary to realize, the consciousness as self, which pervades all the three states, to realize the fact that, there is no second thing exists other the consciousness. Thus, consciousness [Ataman] is ultimate truth [Brahman].
As indicated in ISH Upanishads: - By worshipping gods and goddesses you will go after death to the world of gods and goddesses. But will that help you? The time you spend there is wasted, because if you were not there you could have spent that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is your goal. In the world of gods and goddesses you cannot do that, and thus you go deeper and deeper into darkness.
It clearly indicates that:-If the human goal is to acquire Self-Knowledge then why one has to indulge in rituals and glorifying the conceptual gods, goddesses and gurus to go in to deeper darkness. Instead spend that time moving forward towards Self-knowledge, which is one’s prime goal.
Since it is eternal and infinite, it comprises the only truth. The goal of Vedic religion, through the various yogas, is to realize that the consciousness (Atman) is actually nothing but Brahman.
The Vedic pantheon of gods is said, in the Vedas and Upanishads, to be only higher manifestations of Brahman. For this reason, "ekam sat" (all is one), and all is Brahman. Thus, the goal is to realize Atman (consciousness). If Atman (consciousness) is nothing but Brahman and by realizing Atman [consciousness] as Brahman [ultimate truth] is truth realization or Self-Realization , then there is no need to follow religion, study scriptures or glorifying gods or gurus and follow the path of doubts and confusion by losing oneself in the present form of Hinduism, which contradicts the Vedic ideology. As declared by Vedas and Upanishads: - the main aim of human life is to acquire
Self-Knowledge. Therefore , the time one spends in religious ritual, glorifying gods and gurus is wasted. One should utilize that same time to acquire Self-knowledge, which is his prime goal.
The Sruti itself says: "This Atma is NOT to be attained by a study of the Vedas. [Katha Upanishad I, 2, 23.]
The self-knowledge is the prime goal of human life as declared by Vedas, which can be attained by knowing the ultimate truth or Brahman.
Self-knowledge cannot be attained by study of the Vedas and intellectual understanding or by bookish knowledge. Therefore there is no use of studying the Vedas and other scriptures in order to acquire the non-dual wisdom. That is why Buddha rejected the scriptures, and even Sri, Sankara indicated that, the ultimate truth lies beyond religion, concept of god and scriptures.
There is only one Reality to be known, the same for all seekers, but the ways to it, are hidden by the religion. Self-discovery is the only way, towards non-dual Absolute without any religious doctrines, which will help the seekers to unfold the mystery of the illusion in which we all are searching the truth of our true existence.
Tags : self-knowledge Edit | Delete
Feb 11, 2011 at 09:47 am
Very true sir