Sanatan Dharma: Exploring the Eternal Path of Hinduism•
Posted on July 05 2023
Sanatan Dharma, also known as Hinduism, is one of the oldest living religions in the world. Rooted in the timeless wisdom of ancient India, it encompasses a rich tapestry of beliefs, rituals, and practices that have guided millions of people on their spiritual journey for thousands of years.
The term "Sanatan Dharma" translates to "Eternal Order" or "Eternal Way," emphasising the timeless nature of its teachings and principles. It is a complex and multifaceted religion that encompasses a wide range of beliefs, rituals, philosophies, and practices.
At its core, Sanatan Dharma is a way of life that offers guidance on how to live in harmony with oneself, others, nature, and the divine. It is not a centralised religion with a single founder or scripture, but rather a vast and diverse collection of religious and philosophical traditions that have evolved over thousands of years.
Sanatan Dharma recognizes the existence of a supreme cosmic power known as Brahman, which is considered formless, infinite, and all-pervading. It teaches that the ultimate goal of human life is to attain liberation (moksha) from the cycle of birth and death and merge with the divine consciousness.
Sanatan Dharma also embraces the concept of dharma, which encompasses moral and ethical duties, righteousness, and the pursuit of a virtuous life. It recognizes that individuals have different paths (yogas) to achieve spiritual progress, including the paths of knowledge (Jnana Yoga), devotion (Bhakti Yoga), selfless action (Karma Yoga), and meditation (Raja Yoga).
Principles of Sanatan Dharma: Unveiling the Divine Order
Sanatan Dharma is founded on a set of fundamental principles that shape the spiritual and philosophical outlook of its followers. These principles include:
Dharma refers to righteousness, moral duty, and ethical conduct. It emphasises living in harmony with one's responsibilities and obligations towards oneself, others, society, and the environment.
Karma is the law of cause and effect, which states that every action has consequences. It encourages individuals to perform their duties selflessly and accept the outcomes with equanimity.
Moksha is the ultimate goal of Sanatan Dharma. It signifies liberation from the cycle of birth and death, attaining union with the divine, and experiencing eternal bliss.
Atman represents the individual soul, which is believed to be immortal and divine in nature. Recognizing the divinity within oneself and others is a central tenet of Sanatan Dharma.
The Sanctity of Beliefs: Unfolding the Sacred Mysteries
Sanatan Dharma encompasses a sacred tapestry of beliefs, where mysticism intertwines with spiritual enlightenment. Embrace the profound truths that unfold:
Brahman is the supreme, formless, and all-pervading cosmic power that underlies the universe. It is the ultimate reality, from which everything originates and to which everything returns.
2) Devas and Devis
Devas and Devis are celestial beings or gods and goddesses worshipped in Sanatan Dharma. They represent various aspects of divinity and play significant roles in mythological stories and religious rituals.
Sanatan Dharma believes in the concept of reincarnation, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. It suggests that the soul takes on new bodies in successive lives, based on its past actions and karma
The Enchantment of Rituals and Prayers: Awakening the Divine Connection
Sanatan Dharma weaves an enchanting tapestry of rituals and prayers that enrapture the soul, forging a celestial connection with the divine. Immerse yourself in these transformative practices:
The celestial communion with the divine, Pooja is an exquisite dance of devotion performed in sacred temples and humble abodes. It involves offering prayers, fragrant flowers, sacred incense, and delectable food to the deities, accompanied by the enchanting resonance of ancient mantras and the celestial chimes of bells.
A celestial spectacle of divine adoration, Aarti illuminates the sacred space with the radiant glow of flickering lamps. As the celestial flames dance, they dispel darkness, revealing the divine light within and invoking the presence of the gods and goddesses.
3) Mantra Japa
Mantra Japa is the repetition of sacred sounds or chants, such as the chanting of Om or specific mantras associated with particular deities. It is believed to purify the mind, evoke positive vibrations, and invoke divine blessings.
Food Habits: A Way of Life
Sanatan Dharma places great emphasis on Ahimsa (non-violence) and the idea of food as a sacred offering. Many Hindus follow specific dietary guidelines, such as:
Vegetarianism is widely practised among Hindus, with the belief that consuming a vegetarian diet promotes compassion, minimises harm to living beings, and purifies the mind and body.
2) Sattvic Diet
A sattvic diet consists of foods that are pure, fresh, and promote mental clarity and spiritual growth. It includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Onions, garlic, and certain pungent spices are often avoided as they are believed to stimulate the senses and distract from spiritual practices.
Fasting holds a significant place in Sanatan Dharma. Devotees observe fasts on auspicious days or during religious festivals as a means of purifying the body and mind, practising self-discipline, and enhancing spiritual awareness.
Prasad is the sacred offering distributed to devotees after religious rituals. It is considered blessed and is believed to carry the divine grace of the deity. Devotees accept prasad with reverence, recognizing it as a symbol of divine blessings and a token of divine love.
The Teachings and Cultural Significance
Sanatan Dharma encompasses a vast treasure trove of scriptures, including the Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Puranas, which provide guidance on various aspects of life, spirituality, and self-realisation. These texts emphasise virtues such as compassion, love, truth, self-discipline, and service to others.
Sanatan Dharma is deeply ingrained in the cultural fabric of India. It has contributed to the development of various art forms, music, dance, architecture, and literature that reflect the spiritual and philosophical depth of the religion. Festivals such as Diwali, Holi, Navaratri, and Durga Puja are celebrated with great enthusiasm, showcasing the rich cultural heritage and religious devotion of the followers.
Sanatan Dharma in the Modern World
In the modern world, Sanatan Dharma continues to provide solace, guidance, and a sense of belonging to millions of people. It offers a holistic approach to life, encompassing spiritual, ethical, and moral dimensions. Its teachings encourage individuals to lead a righteous life, cultivate inner virtues, and seek self-realisation while contributing to the well-being of society.
Furthermore, Sanatan Dharma promotes inclusivity, respecting diverse paths to the divine and recognizing the underlying unity of all beings. It encourages individuals to live in harmony with nature and adopt sustainable practices that honour the environment.
Sanatan Dharma, or Hinduism, is a vast and diverse spiritual tradition that encompasses profound principles, sacred beliefs, rich rituals, and timeless wisdom. It provides a roadmap for spiritual seekers, emphasising the pursuit of righteousness, self-realisation, and unity with the divine. Its teachings, rituals, prayers, and food habits all contribute to a holistic and meaningful way of life, inspiring individuals to lead a balanced, virtuous, and spiritually fulfilling existence.
Written by Puja Paul