Sanatana Dharma, a spiritual path that has been in existence since the time immemorial, is the true and original name of Hinduism. In fact, Sanatana Dharma is not only a religion but in a true sense of the word a way of living through which a person may attain salvation. It is one of the most ancient and profound philosophical cultures of the world. It is the socio, spiritual and religious tradition of one billion inhabitants of the earth. 

Sanatana Dharma has no beginning. It is endless, eternal and everlasting and without a human founder. Sanatana Dharma by its nature is not prophet centered but God is in its centre. Sanatana Dharma means the eternal law which cannot be destroyed by any weapon of the world. It exists in all the living and non living beings of the world. Sanatana Dharma is the universal law, a foundation on which the Hindu way of living is based. The meaning of Sanatana Dharma which has been mentioned above may be found in the Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.

Sanatana Dharma which is popularly known as Hinduism today is considered to be one of the oldest religions of the world. Sanatana dharma is said to be originated in Indian Sub Continent over 5000 years ago. Sanatana literally means eternal which has no beginning or end. It is beyond constrains of time so it is called to be the oldest living religion of in the world. Undoubtedly, Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion after Christian and Islam. The term Hindu was originally used within the Persian Empire to describe the land and people who used to live on the other side of Sindhu River. The Greeks who followed Alexander the Great in his invasions borrowed the term Hindu from the Persian. Thus, Hinduism is more of a geographical and cultural identity, rather than a religious one. In fact, Hinduism is a mixture of sects, cults and principles which have a profound effect on Indian culture.

Hindus do not worship only one deity.  In Hinduism, there are innumerable deities that are being worshipped by the Hindus. Every individual in Hinduism has his own deity such as Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Rama, Krishna, Parvati and Durga. Any individual can worship all the deities or a few or even none of them. Sanatana Dharma does not force any individual to adopt a special form of worship. It has accepted nearly all the form of worship. It may be monotheism, polytheism and atheism for in Hinduism, a deity is considered as a possibility towards the ultimate goal of enlightenment. In Hinduism, any deity may be considered by a devotee as a representative of the Almighty God, but ultimately, the deity is a stepping stone to salvation from the process of repeated life and death. The supreme is one without a second. He may be worshipped as formless or in any form that the devotees’ heart desire. In fact, God is one but his forms are infinite. He is supreme, eternal, all pervading, all knowing, all powerful, genderless, nameless and changeless. He is beyond the concept of time and space.

The goal of Sanatana Dharma is self realization. Besides this, it has several aims such as ‘to seek the truth’, ‘to know the truth’, ‘to be the truth’, and ‘to be the liberated soul’. Sanatana Dharma aims to understand that within every human being, there is a desire to go beyond all the limitations and boundaries. The breaking of all these limitation is traditionally known as emancipation, salvation and liberation of the soul. Thus Sanatana Dharma is a beautiful, dynamic but stable process for the salvation of the individual. Sanatana Dharma is an integral part of every Hindu’s life and it is impossible to separate the way of Hinduism from the life of an Indian person. It has become a process for the physical, psychological and spiritual well being of the mankind. Thus Sanatana Dharma may be helpful in restructuring the lives of humans as a way of self realization.

By: Soorajpal

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