Everyone says, ‘Do your duty’. But what is duty? Who teaches us about duty? Who taught duty to the Sun, clouds, Earth etc.? Who taught a seed to germinate? Who taught a mango tree to bear mango fruit? Who taught a bird to return to its nest at sundown? Who taught the digestive system to process food? Who taught the nose and lungs to breathe? Who taught a woman’s body to mature a foetus in her womb, give birth to the child and then breast feed? The list is endless … these timeless duties are ingrained within! These are the unwritten laws laid down by God Himself … Sanatana Dharma! To each, his own!
Now a days there is a lot of chatter about Sanatana Dharma. Perhaps there is lack of understanding about what it really is. Sanatana literally means eternal. It is that which has no beginning nor end; was never born nor will ever die. God alone is eternal. God is Santana and the Dharma/law/duty mandated by Him is Sanatana Dharama. It is the eternal law! And it belongs to everyone … just like the Sun, Moon, planets etc.
All forms of life, whether humans, trees, animals, birds etc. are born and they die. Even mountains, rivers, volcanoes etc. form and as time passes, they cease to be. But each of these entities, whether living or non-living has a dharma to execute, that is ingrained in them. Just like that, the principles of Sanatana Dharma are ingrained in humans too. These are the code of conduct for the welfare of all. The basic tenets of living are Sanatana Dharma.
Sanatana Dharma is not derived from or prescribed by any Avatar or sage, religion or sect. It is the primal essence of the rules of the universe. It is the Law of the Universe. Religion facilitates us to understand Sanatana Dharma but we cannot narrow down its scope to any religion. Limiting it to any religion is inappropriate, because it is beyond boundaries.
All religions, recommend pleasing God. All propagate seeking to emulate Divinity and about aspiring to merge into Him. If we aspire to merge into Divinity we have to be worthy of mergence. And for that we have to conduct ourselves in accordance with the eternal laws of the universe!
When people fail to do their duty or follow the laws of the universe, humanity gets afflicted by fear and agony in many ways and this leads to sorrow.
The Hindus are bestowed with a wealth of knowledge through the scriptures. God is the personification of Dharma. Lord Rama stood and lived by the principle, ‘Raghukul reet sada Chali aayi, praan jaaye par vachan na jaaye.’ So much was his commitment to his duty that Rama was prepared to lay down His life for upholding Dharma. Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the essence of all sculptures is, “Love all, Serve all!”
Indian culture has been eroded in many ways due to multiple aggressions by invaders and also the influence of the West. It is because we do not know about our culture and do not stand up for it, that others hurl stones at us. Let us not forget that our culture is based on the Vedas. It is divine and potent. We need to wake up and take stock of what we are losing before it’s too late.
In 1665, Newton discovered the force of gravitation and later formulated the ‘Law of Gravitation’ in 1686. But does that mean that before Newton discovered it, there was no force of gravitation? It was always there! Recently India has landed Chandrayaan on the Moon. It is sending pictures of the surface of the Moon. But whatever it is documenting has been there forever. Certain things just are! So is the Sanatana Dharma … it was, is and shall always be!
This piece has been published in the HT on 17.09.2023. It can be viewed here https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/sunraysunderstanding-the-dharma-that-is-sanatana-101694938426280.html
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