Sanatana Dharma is the original name of what is now popularly called Hinduism or Hindu Dharma. The terms Hindu and Hinduism are said to be a more recent development, while the more accurate term isSanatana Dharma. It is a code of ethics, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha(enlightenment, liberation). It is the world’s most ancient culture and the socio, spiritual, and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth’s inhabitants. Sanatana Dharma represents much more than just areligion; rather, it provides its followers with an entire worldview, way of life and with a coherent and rational view of reality.
Sanatana Dharma do not denote to a creed like Christianity or Islam, but represents a code of conduct and a value system that has spiritual freedom as its core. Any pathway or spiritual vision that accepts the spiritual freedom of others may be considered part of Sanatana Dharma.
First and foremost, Sanatana Dharma is anadi (without beginning) and also a-paurusheya (without a human founder). It is defined by the quest for cosmic truth, just as the quest for physical truth defines science. Its earliest record is the Rigveda, which is the record of ancient sages who by whatever means tried to learn the truth about the universe, in relations to Man’s place in relation to the cosmos. They saw nature — including all living and non-living things — as part of the same cosmic equation, and as pervaded by a higher consciousness. This search has no historical beginning; nor does it have a historical founder. This is not to say that the Rigveda always existed as a literary work. It means that we cannot point to a particular time or person in history and say: “Before this man spoke, what is in the Rigveda did not exist.”
The Nature of Sanatana Dharma
By its nature, Sanatana Dharma is…
- God-centered rather than prophet-centered.
- Experience based rather than belief based.
- Beyond any historical date of founding.
- The process of growth, which comes from the seed.
- Inherent in, and inclusive of all.
- In the world, while above the world.
- Both immanent and transcendent.
- The whole and the parts.
- Loving of all and excluding of none.