Sanatana Dharma

From The SpiritWiki

Sanatana Dharma (colloquially known as Hinduism) is the religious/spiritual system (Connection Framework) of the Hindus.

Related Terms

Hinduism > Achara, Ashramas, Brahman, Brahmarishi, Dharma, GodHead, Moksha, Neo-Hinduism, Paramatman, Purushaarthas, Rishis, Samadhi, Saptarishis, Varnas, Vichara

Sanatana Dharma > Achara, Ashramas, Brahman, Brahmarishi, Dharma, GodHead, Moksha, Neo-Hinduism, Paramatman, Purushaarthas, Rishis, Samadhi, Saptarishis, Varnas, Vichara

List of Connection Frameworks

Arica School, Baha'i, Eupsychian Theory, Gnosticism, LP Connection Framework, Neo-Hinduism, Sanatana Dharma, Shattari, Sufism, Theosophy, Wicca, Zen

Notes

"The word Hindu also calls for a discreet analysis and assessment. Barhaspatya Samhita (a section of the Rig Veda) defines it as the land lying between the Himalayas to the north and Indusarovara (the Indian Ocean) to the south .... Hindu, thus, is not a religious name. It is a territorial or geographical reference, denoting the people who lived and still live in a specific area of the earth. Whatever new religion or cult they belong to does not matter at all. They are all ethnically Hindus, having been born in and continuing to live in this blessed land."[1]

Structure

" The whole dharma is phased in a very effective manner to facilitate progress and evolution. It has two phases, achara and vichara. Achara denotes various kinds of practices relating to individual, family, society, and the administration that governs them. Vicharadenotes truthful introspection on these and allied matters. The intention is to begin with achara, which alone will be possible for children and young people. Then, the maturing adult should turn to meaningful introspection, or vichara, and elevate the practices from the sensory level to the mind and intelligence"[2]

Note, achara -> Right Action Vichara -> Right Thought

"Despite the vast nature of Hindu literature on the subject of dharma, the concept as well as pursuit of the whole Sanatana Dharma can be condensed in three sets of four words each—a total of twelve words:

  1. Four varnas— braahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra[3]
  2. Four purushaarthas (human pursuits)—dharma, artha, kama, and moksha
  3. Four ashramas—brahmacharya, garhasthya, vanaprastha, and sannyasa" [4]

Three Categories of Knowledge

"The school of Indian philosophy known as Vedanta ascertained ages ago that knowledge is of three kinds—pratyaksha, paroksha,and aparoksha. Pratyaksha is that knowledge gained by the sensory organs. Paroksha is what is arrived at by the intelligence, through inference. In these, either senses work or the mind and intelligence work.

There is another level and kind of knowledge called aparoksha, a concept unique to Sanatana Dharma. It is beyond the realm of senses (pratyaksha) or intelligence (paroksha). Yet there is full comprehension. For instance, how do we know that we slept and did not know anything at all? In sleep, we are unaware of the body, mind, intelligence, and even the ego. Yet we wake up to say we were, and we slept. Naturally that knowledge is beyond and different from that perceived through senses, mind, and intelligence."[5]

The essential unity of God

"Though Sanatana Dharma is primarily and ultimately philosophical and spiritual, it does comprehend religious thoughts and the assorted needs of humanity and caters to varied tendencies and predilections. As in the matter of food, dress, and residences, in religious and devotional relish also there is need for ample variety. On this basis, the Hindu pantheon also arrays a variety of gods and goddesses, each of whom is imbued with a specific set of qualities, which are, in fact, the desires, choices, and affinities of the human mind. Nevertheless, Sanatana Dharma clarifies, emphasizes, and confirms in unambiguous terms that God is but one, omnipresent, having no physical form or shape."[6]

Tolerance

"The Divine of the Sanatana Dharma is a Universal Being or Paramatma, who transcends all boundaries of time, space, and causation. This Being is not bound to just the Hindus or even human beings but is available to the whole of creation. It has existed always and will continue to exist even if no one believes in It. It is the ultimate truth of everything and everyone. That being its foundation, Hinduism is the most tolerant religion in the world. As a goal-oriented religion, it offers us many paths of approach to God, which cater to different types of personalities. It does not insist that there is only one path and one way to approach the Paramatma or the Supreme. There are many paths and many ways."[7]

History

Composite of two traditions, Aryan and non-Aryan. Aryan peoples entered India after 2,000 BC. Marks a shift in spirituality. "The development of Hinduism is now seen as a progressive Indianization of the incoming tradition. By Indianization is meant that the non-Aryan native elements gradually modified the Aryan elements..." (Berry, 2992: 5).

Non-Aryan early elements from Indus Valley 2800 to 1700 B.C. Sites include Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa, and Chanhu-Daro

Non-Aryan early elements from Tamil region in South, and Bengal region in East

Vedic Hymns, Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads

Upanishads (1000 - 600 B.C.). Primarily Aryan

Brahmanical Tradition

See Berry (1992) p. 38 for outline of Brahmanical tradition

Codes of conduct: Laws of Manu, Dharma Sutras, Grihya Sutras

Epics: Mahabharata, Ramayana, Bhagavad-Gita

Philosophical Sutras: Sankhya, Yoga, Vaishesika, Nyaya, Mimamsa, Vedanta

Puranas, Agamas, Tantras

Writings of Vedanta Theologians

Hymns and Writings of Saints

Modern spiritual and theological writings.

Further Reading

Berry, T. (1992). Religions of India: Hinduism, Yoga, Buddhism: Columbia University Press.

Footnotes

  1. Vanamali. The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India. Toronto: Inner Traditions, 2015.
  2. Vanamali. The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India. Toronto: Inner Traditions, 2015.
  3. Hindu caste system
  4. Vanamali. The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India. Toronto: Inner Traditions, 2015.
  5. Vanamali. The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India. Toronto: Inner Traditions, 2015.
  6. Vanamali. The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India. Toronto: Inner Traditions, 2015.
  7. Vanamali. The Science of the Rishis: The Spiritual and Material Discoveries of the Ancient Sages of India. Toronto: Inner Traditions, 2015.