“May noble thoughts come from all directions.”
This verse is a lasting reminder of the all-encompassing nature of a religion that is the world’s oldest living one. One that about 1 billion people across the world follow, with the followers majorly in India, Nepal and Mauritius. And yet, Hinduism is so much more than an organized religion.
As Sri Aurobindo writes in ‘India’s rebirth’:
“Hinduism … gave itself no name, because it set itself no sectarian limits; it claimed no universal adhesion, asserted no sole infallible dogma, set up no single narrow path or gate of salvation; it was less a creed or cult than a continuously enlarging tradition of the God ward endeavor of the human spirit. An immense many-sided and many staged provision for a spiritual self-building and self-finding, it had some right to speak of itself by the only name it knew, the eternal religion, Santana Dharma…”
The word “Sanatana” means “that which cannot be destroyed” and “Dharma” can be roughly translated to mean “the code of righteousness.” In reality, dharma is said to be that which upholds the entire universe and without which, the universe will collapse. Based on certain eternal and unchanging values, Sanatana Dharma is a guide on how to live a life and that is why it cannot be confined to the realm of the word “religion.”
A Unique Aspect of Hinduism
One remarkable feature of Hinduism is that it does not have just one of anything – it has many. You can choose one or more to pray to; you can also choose not to pray at all!
There is no one God – there are millions of deities – including powerful goddesses
There is no one prophet – there are innumerable sages of the highest spiritual order
There is no one dogma – worshipers are free to follow any of the systems of worship and philosophy that come under this religion.
There is no one holy text – there are several scriptures that serve as a guide on how to live a righteous and fulfilling life.
And the most remarkable feature – even if you …
Don’t believe in God or attaining Him or
Think of Nature as the ultimate or
Consider the human body itself is a temple of the divine and must be cared for very well or
Believe the purpose of this life is to enjoy it to the fullest..
…you are not an outcast – you are still a Hindu!
This is only possible because Sanatana Dharma says that “There are as many temperaments as there are people and therefore, an equal number of paths to attain the objective of human life.”
In the words of Sri Aurobindo in ‘Karmayogin’ :
“Hinduism, which is the most skeptical and the most believing of all, the most skeptical because it has questioned and experimented the most, the most believing because it has the deepest experience and the most varied and positive spiritual knowledge, that wider Hinduism which is not a dogma or combination of dogmas but a law of life, which is not a social framework but the spirit of a past and future social evolution, which rejects nothing but insists on testing and experiencing everything and when tested and experienced, turning in to the soul’s uses, in this Hinduism, we find the basis of future world religion.”