Sanaatan Dharma has been defined as a way of life. The Sikhs, Jains, Vaidiks and the Buddhists consider their faith to be Dharma which is eternal and have common basic principles with minor variations [For a cohesive narrative, it is better to overlook those minor differences and focus on that which is common]. Thus, they fall under the category of Sanaatan Dharma. But what exactly is it?
[Note: The Word Hindu was referential to the people who practiced Sanaatan Dharma in the subcontinent of Bharat. However, I have not used this terminology due to the Political distortions of this word. Also, the term ‘Vaidik’ includes the Pauraaniks as they too consider Vedas as the most significant.]
We keep talking about Sanaatan Dharma being Open and something that accepts all paths to the Supreme. However its beliefs have been less spoken about and rarely discussed as to why. We speak more of what Sanaatan Dharma is not as to what it really is. A faint understanding of one’s own Faith makes one prone to delusion. Such a person is bound to be ashamed of his/her Dharma and more over Apologetic.
Thus, let’s look at what it means to be a Sanaatani. There are certain truths discovered by our Rishis and Seers via various experimentations, experiences, debates, interactions and re-experimentations. These truths are to be realised by practitioner of Dharma in order to reach the Supreme. These constitute the fundamental philosophies of the Vaidiks, Jains, Sikhs and the Buddhists. Different terminologies in Pali, Ardhamagadhi and Gurbani can be used but for better understanding, I’ve used Sanskrit words to indicate them. [However, Sanskrit, too has many words to denote the same thus, I’ve tried to mention the most comprehensive terminology.]
These concepts are as follows:
Ishwar: The Supreme Self that Embodies as well as Emanates both Purusha and Prakriti. Ishwar exists in the unmanifest form as ‘Paramatma’ and Manifest as the ‘Jagat’.
Prakriti: Dynamic Material Energy which consists of the Five elements ( as well as it’s corresponding senses), Mind, Body, Intellect and the “I”ness.
Purusha or Brahman: The All-pervading Existence, Consciousness, Bliss and Love. That being indivisible, appears to be different in different beings. Brahman too, is a similar term that is equally applicable.
Jagat: The Ever-changing, Material and Cyclic Universe manifested out of the fusion of Purusha and Prakriti.
Jeeva: The Atman or the Part of the Purusha that exists in all Beings, unbound by Time, Space and Matter, yet conditioned by desires of Previous Karma, transmigrates through various forms of Material Existences (Higher or Lower Lokas).
Sambodhi: The realisation that you’re not the Body, Mind, Intellect or Ego; but the Atman and that this Atman as the Purusha pervades the entire Material and Immaterial Universe.
Moksha: Freedom from the Cycles of Birth and Immorality in the form of merging with state of Paramatma.
In a nutshell one can describe the Practice of Uniting one’s Own Jeeva with the Jagat and the Supreme in order to achieve freedom from Reincarnation caused by Karma and to gain an Eternally Blissful Existence by merging with Paramatma.
The following 15 pointers are an amalgamation of certain things that are needed to be observed and understood for the Evolution of the Self as a practitioner of Sanaatan Dharma.
These are certainly inspired by Various Enlightened Gurus coming from varied schools of thoughts, ShrimadBhagavadGita, the Upanishads and other Textbooks as mentioned in the discourse below.
1] AUM, That (Ishwar) is complete. This (Jagat) is complete. This complete manifests from That complete and even if this keeps happening (In cycles of Creation, Sustainance and Dissolution), That complete remains complete, Eternally (irrespective of the appearance or disappearance of this complete).
HARI AUM TAT SAT – HARI AUM (referring to Ishwar and its Opulence) is the Eternal Truth.
2] The Self (Jeeva) is like a treasure at the depth of the ocean as it is that Supreme Consciousness entrapped in Material Energy, experiencing which in totality, one will be able to Achieve the Ultimate Goal. The Currents are what stop you from seeing what’s below the surface. Thus, in order to perceive the self, your Body, Mind, Intellect, Ego and the Jagat must act in Sync and Unison. You must strive to achieve this in various aspects of Human Experience.
3] Ishwar is all pervasive as the resident Consciousness and the Manifest Material Energy. Thus, don’t harm anything or anyone. See equally, both a Friend and a Foe. Love everyone equally. The five Elements, Your Body, Mind, Intellect and Ego are nothing but an appearance of Ishwar’s Material Energy. Eternally you’re the Same Indivisible Consciousness emanating from Ishwar. Thus, share the Bliss you Experience with all.
4] Relations are reasons for a Stable life. Finding the affinity with them, we reconnect with our eternal nature because we all possess the same indivisible Bliss and thus, they act as gateways to Unconditional Happiness. Thus, create harmony amongst your Family, Friends and Self.
5] Work in devotion to Ishwar without any desires for its Fruits as a matter of Responsibility. Choose your work based on your Abilities, Willingness and Capacity. In this way, you will never get disinterested in what you do. Even if the fruits of it might be sour, your mind will be at peace.
6] Attachment to any act or thing is a way to bind yourself into Pains of Endless Births and Deaths. Everything must Perish or change its Form. This is the law of the Jagat. Attachment to anything born out of Material Nature is a gateway to sorrow. Thus, practice detachment.
7] Provocation of sensory organs is natural but it is the Glory of an Animal to act upon it, without thinking. Thus, think before you act for your Pleasures.
8] Humans have the faculty of Choice. Human life is in order to evolve Spiritually and to wash of Previous karmas. Consumption of complex organisms is difficult for digestion. What doesn’t get digested gets added to your Nature. Thus, consume as simple as possible.
9] To gain stability in life, don’t get affected by the occurrence of Gains or Losses, Happiness or Distress. Know that they are temporary as the seasons of Heat and Cold.
10] We are Limitless beings of whom, the Source is Ishwar. We are bound in a Limited body and thus we need Limited Experiences that remind us and help us concentrate on this Limitless nature. Ishwar takes forms to annihilate the Miscreants, to re-establish the Imperishable Science of Ishwar, Jeeva and the Jagat (Right now as preserved in the scriptures of the Vaid-Agam-Pauraanik, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh schools of Thought). Therefore practice the devotion of any Forms or Avataars Taken by Ishwar elaborately explained as in these books. Learn about them, and become devoted to any form(s) that you find dear, as your Ishta (Deity), or on the Unmanifest form of Ishwar through worshipping the teachings of the Gurus or seek refuge under enlightened beings who have achieved Moksha. Consider him/her/them to be the Supreme for yourself and put your complete faith in them. Respect and accept the paths chosen by other Sanaatanis as Supreme for themselves. Participate in their worship and invite them to participate in yours. After all you’re celebrating the glory of the same Supreme truth.
11] Dharma is the portal for Eternal Happiness and Freedom, thus, practice and protect Dharma. Observance of Non-Harming, Non-Stealing, Truth, Contentment, Detachment, Purity, Selfless Acts, Austerity, Acquiring Worldly and Divine Wisdom, Devotion, Love, Compassion, Yoga, Actions, Rituals and Rationality as guided and debated by the Vedas, Brahmasutra and concluded by ShrimadBhagavadGita, and Restated in the Jain, Baudhha and Sikh Darshanas.
12] Adhering to the Great Truth, Scientific Understanding and Observance of Rituals and Practices, Lawful Punishment to the Guilty and Treacherous, Abolishment of Unfair Practices, Initiatives, Studying the World-Views of different philosophies in the World and understanding our position on those Philosophies, Commitment, Dedication, Hard-work, Selfless Actions and Love committed to the Ishwar are ways in which Dharma can be protected in the Society. Remember that Dharma protects those who protect Dharma.
13] Mothers have a special role in our development. It is only due to their Love, Protection, Nourishment and Sacrifice, do we become capable of achieving anything. If Motherly Figures become endangered, Peace and Prosperity becomes endangered. Thus, protect and serve all motherly figures, feminine animals, Rivers, one’s Nation and its Natural resources, without any compromise.
14] Choose an Enlightened Guru to Guide you. Giving Due respect, Seek and ask questions to your Guru, you are bound to get answers. Questioning is your privilege but receiving respect is your Guru’s right. The Guru will guide you till a point where he considers that you’re ready to progress on your own. At that point, pay back in whatever form you can. Don’t keep Owings to your Guru or your Parents, these cannot be paid back easily in other Lifetimes.
15] In this way you can Practice to Experience the nature of the Unmanifest and the Manifest form of Ishwar. And seek to understand how Ishwar has manifested as yourself, as the entire Universe and as various Personalities of itself from time to time. The knowledge of the Manifest, shall guide you to Freedom from Reincarnation and the knowledge of the Unmanifest shall give you Eternal Existence in the realm of Blissful Consciousness whose source is Ishwar. The attainment of this Experience is Enlightenment and the Freedom achieved and the subsequent Merger with Ishwar is Moksha. This is the ultimate goal.
This is not a One Lifetime affair but a constant evolution to eventually reach this state. Even if this ultimate goal is not reached in this Lifetime, be certain that by following this path, you will be Blissful and Content, in this Lifetime and will attain the merits in the next one from where you can progress further on this Journey.
As the Bhagavad Gita (6.5) says:
“A man must elevate himself by his own self and not degrade himself. For the self alone can be the best friend of the embodied or his worst enemy as well.”
- HARI AUM TAT SAT
- See all as One Indivisible Brahman (Purusha).
- Sync and Unite with the Jagat & Ishwar for progress towards Moksha.
- Create harmony in between your Self and your Family and Friends.
- Karma, Attachment & Sensory Pleasures bind in Reincarnation.
- Work in Devotion to Ishwar without Desiring the Fruits of Karma.
- Practice detachment to experience Moksha.
- Think Before you act for Pleasures.
- Consume in Simplicity.
- Be Unaffected by Gains or Losses.
- Become devoted to any form(s) of Ishwar that you find dear, as your Ishta (Deity), or to its Unmanifest form through the worship of teachings by the Gurus or seek refuge under enlightened beings who have achieved Moksha through Sambodhi.
- Practice and Preach Dharma.
- Protect Dharma.
- Don’t be Indebted to the Motherly personalities, your Father & Guru(s).
- Moksha through Sambodhi and freedom from Rebirths is the Ultimate Goal.
This is supposed to be a suggestive approach rather than a commanding one. I have tried my best to provide a holistic approach with reason as to what the ‘Sanaatan way of life’ is, which can further open a discussion on the unity of Philosophies of Sanaatan Dharma. Divisiveness adopted by invaders has fragmented the unity of Dharma for which our forefathers stood for. Ours must thus, be an approach to discuss and strengthen the Genius of Sanaatan Dharma; not for expansion or exploitation but for self-determination and independence of the Sanaatanis in Bharat as well as all over the world.