Sanatana Dharma (Part 2)
‘Sanatana Dharma’ is a way of life. It is the ‘Eternal Principles’ followed by the group of people living on the eastern side of the Indus river. It is founded on the aphorism, “Tat Tvam Asi”.
When man stoops down to ‘Adharma’, or forgets his ‘Dharma’, he moves away from ‘Godhood’. Religion or ‘the various isms’ is but a way to get back to this ‘Eternal Truth’ or ‘ Godhood’ or ‘Self-Realization’. Religion helps man to re-discover one’s original self. The word Religion in English and Yoga in Sanskrit mean the same. Religion etymologically is derived from the Latin term ‘Re’ & ‘ligare’. ‘Re’ means back and ‘ligare’ means to bind. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the root word ‘yuj’ and it means ‘to join’ or ‘to unite’.
This said Hinduism seems to contradict itself by claiming to advocate a single God but in practice worshipping so many gods, containing so many sects, creeds etc. Is this a contradiction or can we explain this?
This is the genius of the sages of lore. An ingenious design!
The sages found that the human mind was very complex. It could get carried away in different directions. And with this quality it is difficult for the mind to focus on one single Reality. So how do you solve the problem?
Very simple! Plant divinity wherever the mind went! So Goddess Lakshmi for those who constantly thought of wealth, Goddess Saraswathi for those who worshipped knowledge, Goddess Parvati for those who wanted power, so forth and so on. The list of desires was endless and so were the Gods. Even the diseases were divinized.
Hinduism worked as a super multi-specialty hospital where one went and got cured of all diseases in the many departments available. Thus, the goal of self-realization i.e. good health was reached effectively. Hinduism was meant to cure people’s mind, treat them exactly like a multi-specialty hospital!!!
This master mind plan of uniting the mind towards the Self is the essence of Hinduism.
However, this plan was misunderstood. People got stuck to these gods, goddesses and rituals. Instead of using them to reach the Self, they have got attached to these rituals and religious practices. The need of the hour is to understand that all the various sects, creeds, practices; rituals are only a means to the end. And the end is Self Realization.
Each and every one of us has to realize this truth and uplift ourselves. Move beyond the pluralistic rituals towards the singular Self. This is not group work. This path is singular; each one has to tread it by himself. And once you have risen, it becomes the duty of this person to set examples for others to follow.