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Re: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?

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  • devindersingh gulati
    What I have gathered so far from the discussion I summarize thus: The term religion is a western construct that cannot convey the  exact meaning of dharma. To
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 20, 2013
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      What I have gathered so far from the discussion I summarize thus:
      The term religion is a western construct that cannot convey the  exact meaning of dharma. To be a member of a religion is akin to being  a member of a club where you follow club rules to stay in or else be thrown out. Dharma on the other hand gives you considerable leeway to follow your individual growth path so long as it is not in conflict with the growth of others similarly following their dharma without also coming in conflict with society at large. 
      A sampradaya is a variation of a dharmic tradition or path that may ebb or wane over time, sometimes be totally eclipsed...to be replaced by new sampradayas; but 'sampradaya' always finds its rationale in the everlasting dharma. 
      These two instances here fit neither into the mould of religion, nor of sampradaya. They find refuge in dharma:


      From: vasant sardesai <vasant_sardesai@...>
      To: media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com; "TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com" <thebecoming@yahoogroups.com>; "issuesonline worldwide@yahoogroups.com" <issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Thursday, 21 February 2013 11:34 AM
      Subject: RE: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?

      It appears that your description of religion is based on these Abrahamic religions;the fact is that Christianity and Islam are not religions but cults even though they call it as religion. Dharma is a way of life which includes religion.

      --- On Wed, 20/2/13, Tilak Shrestha <tilakbs@...> wrote:

      >From: Tilak Shrestha <tilakbs@...>
      >Subject: RE: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma? [1 Attachment]
      >To: "media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com" <media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com>, "TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com" <thebecoming@yahoogroups.com>, "issuesonline worldwide@yahoogroups.com" <issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com>
      >Date: Wednesday, 20 February, 2013, 11:10 PM

      >Kumar Jee
      >Please do read the posting carefully before opining. Otherwise, you did not understand what I wrote. The whole point is, 'Dharma is not religion.' Dharma is like joining school. Religion is like joining army. Please read my earlier posting carefully twice. In case you miss it first time. Let me attach an article on the issue AGAIN.
      > To: media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com; thebecoming@yahoogroups.com; issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com
      >From: kumar_8134@...
      >Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 07:35:18 -0800
      >Subject: Re: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?

      >>>Religion is like joining an army. Once you join, you loose your individuality, must believe and do whatever been told. It always looks own members as brothers, and others as enemies. Only your religion is true, all others are evil. Such doctrines and practices always leads to violence. >>

      >I beg to differ. Following a religion or faith, one does not lose his individuality, and need not follow the edicts told to you (esp. Hindu-s who are free to follow the entire sprectrum of aetheism to full time piety and prayers), and no Hindu thinks followers of other faiths as nemies!! Otherwise the Arab traders would not have been welcomed in Kodungalloor in Kerala and given land and funds to build a mosque nor the Christian Missionaries welcomed and allowed to propogate the faith by the King Zamorin of Calicut(Kozhikode) by providing all facilities?

      >Hinduism never attacked other faiths or invaded any Country or grabbed the wealth and women of others. Hindu-s have only acted defensively when attacked to the breaking point and even then pardoned the attackers repeatedly until they were killed()Prithivraj Chauhan)
      >From: Tilak Shrestha <tilakbs@...>
      >To: "TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com" <thebecoming@yahoogroups.com>; "media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com" <media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com>; "issuesonline worldwide@yahoogroups.com" <issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 8:21 PM
      >Subject: RE: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?

      >Sardesai Jee Namaste! India and all over the world. Do not take my word for it. Ask any member of any Sampradaya and any religion, "Do you claim that only yours is true and others are wrong?" Let them answer. Tilak
      >To: media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com; thebecoming@yahoogroups.com; issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com From: vasant_sardesai@... Date: Wed, 20 Feb 2013 14:46:42 +0800 Subject: RE: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?  
      >Where do you find the difference between Sampradaya and religion as shown by you?

      >V.S.Sardesai --- On Tue, 19/2/13, Tilak Shrestha <tilakbs@...> wrote:
      >>From: Tilak Shrestha <tilakbs@...>
      >>Subject: RE: [media_monitor5] [TheBecoming] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?
      >>To: "media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com" <media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com>, "TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com" <thebecoming@yahoogroups.com>, "issuesonline worldwide@yahoogroups.com" <issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com>
      >>Date: Tuesday, 19 February, 2013, 9:09 PM
      >>Dear all: Namaste! Sampradaya and religion are not same. Similarity is only superficial.  Sampradaya is like joining a social organization. It has certain philosophy, practices, and culture. However, it is neither militant nor condemns others. Religion is like joining an army. Once you join, you loose your individuality, must believe and do whatever been told. It always looks own members as brothers, and others as enemies. Only your religion is true, all others are evil. Such doctrines and practices always leads to violence. The root of Sampradaya is Dharma or a way of inner progress. Gurus are there to teach what they know. The root of Religion is tribal survival and conquest by militarizing society. Moses or Muhammad are for political command and control of Jews and Muslims. They are not there teaching any spiritual values. Do you know any? Thanks, Tilak
      >>To: TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com; media_monitor5@yahoogroups.com; issuesonline_worldwide@yahoogroups.com From: kumar_8134@... Date: Tue, 19 Feb 2013 05:23:20 -0800 Subject: [media_monitor5] Re: [TheBecoming] Fw: Hinduism – Religion or Dharma? 
      >>1. Sampradaya in Sanskrit means what had been advised by (Sadupadesa or good advice) a Guru to the follower orally.
      >>"Vardhanam Chhedanedha Dwey Aanandanasabhajaney
      >> Aapracchanadhey Mnaaya:Sampradaya: kshayey kshiya" Amarakosa Thritheeya Kanda- Sankeernavarga:
      >>Sampradaya literally means tradition followed by generation afetr generation, transferred orally.
      >>On the other hand, Matha: means doctrine, opinion or view which is closer to religion as used to refer Hindumatha!..etc.
      >>2. Dharma means established order, usage, custom prescription,, rule, duty, virtue, moral, merit, good works, virtue, right, justice, law,..etc. e.g. Yamadharma means Judge of the dead and Prajapati
      >>From: Deen Khandelwal <Ddk1007@...>
      >>To: "TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com" <TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com>
      >>Sent: Saturday, February 16, 2013 9:16 PM
      >>Subject: Re: [TheBecoming] Fw: Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?
      >>Here are a few comments as I understand.
      >>1.    Right translation of word religion in Hindi is sampradaaya.
      >>2.    Two meanings of word dharma can help a lot in understanding Hinduism.  Duty and nature.  Both are eternal. Thus Hinduism is eternal, not other religions.
      >>3.    Religion is a path that you choose or you design for yourself for your spiritual goals or for intensifying your relationship with the divine/god. Sent from my iPad
      >>On Feb 15, 2013, at 2:15 PM, MOHAN DADLANI <mohandadlani@...> wrote:
      >>>Dharma is a part of a religion
      >>>Religion includes philosophy, mythology and rituals etc
      >>>Religion is like an ocean. Dharma is an essential aspect.
      >>>-----Original Message-----
      >>>From: Ram Angod
      >>>Sent: 15 Feb 2013 15:00:13 GMT
      >>>To: TheBecoming@yahoogroups.com
      >>>Subject: Re: [TheBecoming] Fw: Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?
      >>>It boggles my mind to think that this confusion with translation persevered in India for over 150 years and there has been no serious attempt to fix it, considering the difference is as big as between a cow and a chicken! What other mega idealogical delusions have we acquiesced to over this same period?
      >>>On 2013-02-14, at 9:22 PM, Leena Mehendale wrote:
      >>>>It is understood by some that DHARMA is not the proper translation of RELIGION and vice-versa. However this translation has been in vogue since nearly 150 years -- eversince the British came here  and established the RULE OF ENGLISH over our minds.Now most COMMON PEOPLE understand the two words as SYNONYMOUS. Words have a very powerful methodology of creating MENTAL ATTITUDES.
      >>>> Hence, unless we COIN a new word in Hindi for RELIGION and a new word in English for DHARMA, people will continue to treat these two words as a translation of each other and the di-harmony and confusion coming out from this inapt translation will continue. 
      >>>>On Thu, Feb 14, 2013 at 11:25 AM, vavamenon <vavamenon@...> wrote:
      >>>>>>--- On Wed, 3/11/09, vavamenon <vavamenon@...> wrote:
      >>>>>>>From: vavamenon <vavamenon@...>
      >>>>>>>Subject: Re: [VRI] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?
      >>>>>>>To: vedic_research_institute@yahoogroups.com, hinduism_environment@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>>Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 4:29 PM
      >>>>>>>The following comparisin between DHARMA AND RELIGIONS would be apt in this regard :
      >>>>>>>  Dharma Religion
      >>>>>>>1 It was/is determined by the Creator. It is founded by a human being.
      >>>>>2 It is eternal. It has no beginning and no end too. We cannot live without it. It was born on a certain date. What takes birth must die too, and hence, it will not exist for ever. We lived without it and we shall again live without it.
      >>>>>3  It doesn't go through any modification/ revision. It needs to be modified with the passage of time.
      >>>>>4 It is applicable to all human beings irrespective of their gender, color, culture, national origin, etc. It favors none. Every human being has fundamental right to heed and follow it. It originates from a mortal human being, and therefore, it's likely to be preferential to a section of the human population. It may have discriminatory clauses.
      >>>>>5 The world is dependent on it like it depends on the sun, air, water, etc. It is as basic as anything we can imagine. The day dharma vanishes from the world, the world will vanish too. Dharanat iti dharmah, i.e. dharma holds the creation, the creator being the Dharmaraja. It is a fabrication of a mortal human being who is not likely to be all-knowing and as benevolent as the Cosmic Spirit is. It can certainly not be a basic thing because the humanity managed without it before it came into being.
      >>>>>6 It is so natural that a few wise people can sit together to discuss and search in their conscience what our dharma is. It requires an extraneous authority for its determination.
      >>>>>7 It has universal acceptance. It can never have universal acceptance.
      >>>>>8 It has nothing that contradicts the laws of nature because the dharma and the laws of nature originate from the same source, the creator. It often contradicts the laws of the nature.
      >>>>>9  Its purpose is to guide the humanity towards righteousness for our overall personal and collective good. Its purpose may be the selfish interest of an individual or a group of individuals.
      >>>>>10  It brings universal love, brotherhood and peace among the entire humanity as parents desire in their family. It often causes conflicts and strife leading to wars among followers of different religions.
      >>>>>11  It can be understood by an intelligent person through his/her intellectual faculties. It discourages us to use our intellectual faculties. It requires blind faith in a human being.
      >>>>>12  It appeals to the natural human compassion and love. It may give rise to hatred among its followers towards the followers of other religions.
      >>>>>13 It encourages us to know and understand the Cosmic Spirit and to be in communion with Him directly. It gives importance to a human being, past or present and positions that man between us and the Cosmic Spirit. Thus, it creates an artificial distance between 'me and God.'
      >>>>>14 One is encouraged to maintain pure innocence to see and enjoy every event as a miracle, such as a bud blossoming into a flower. It brings in false concepts of miracles and thereby snatches away our pure innocence, encouraging irrationality, blind faith, conceit and hypocrisy.
      >>>>>15 There is considerable individual freedom for personal growth provided it doesn't hurt others. There is no freedom because there is fear that an individual may become equal or even superior to the person who founded that religion.
      >>>>>16 One can follow dharma anytime, anywhere at any age. One must go through certain rituals to be initiated into a religion. There may not be an appropriate guideline applicable to every place and at all times.
      >>>>>17 If dharma sees its decline then … …..religions flourish and create havoc for the noble people.
      >>>>>18 Dharmais one and only one. Religions are many.
      >>>>>19 Dharmagives rise to higher moral and intellectual stature. Religions may cause decay in moral and intellectual stature.
      >>>>>20 Dharmais a unifying force towards a global village of the entire humanity. Religions are divisive that the entire earth can become a battlefield.
      >>>>>This comparison chart is saved from some mail I received.
      >>>>>anilbhanot <abhanot@...> wrote:
      >>>>>Dr Raj Pandit Sharma ji
      >>>>>Brilliant as ever! Thank you for that explanantion and analysis. I did suspect that the 3 not included would be covered by the 10 which you have pointed out so correctly.
      >>>>>It is not that the 3 kaxan were not there in Dharma but the sub-laxan's 3 are merely in religion. The article was wrong to suggest that Manu did not include them in Dharma.
      >>>>>anil bhanot
      >>>>>----- Original Message -----
      >>>>>From:Dr Sharma
      >>>>>To:'anilbhanot' ; 'ramans shriman' ; 'pratinidhi sabha' ; 'Swami Agnivesh' ; 'photografics bhatia' ; 'Anand Kumar Arya Bangal' ; 'arun soni' ; 'arya samajon,ine'
      >>>>>Cc:aaam@... ; adkum35@... ; akshaykapoor1973@... ; akv@... ; amarerry@... ; amorsty@... ; anil@... ; animalahimsa@... ; arun1@... ; aryagan@... ; aryaguyana@... ; aryasamaj@... ; aryasamaj@... ; aryasamajlondon@... ; aryavrt39@... ; aryayouth@... ; aryayouthgroup@yahoogroups.com ; asharanirai@... ; asoni@... ; 'ajay arya' ; 'arya veer' ; 'Ashwini' ; 'Delhi Sabha' ; 'Dr. Ashok Arua' ; bhaktivedanta.manor@... ; Unitedhindufront@...
      >>>>>Sent:Tuesday, February 05, 2008 10:48 PM
      >>>>>Subject:RE: dharma vs religions
      >>>>>Anil ji the ten attributes (lakshan) of Dharma are described in this verse from the Smriti
      >>>>>“dhriti kshama damo stute yai shaucamindri nigrah
      >>>>>dhividya satyakrodho dashakam dharma lakshanam”
      >>>>>1.  Dhriti-patience, tolerance
      >>>>>2.  Kshama-forgiveness
      >>>>>3.  Dama-self control
      >>>>>4.  Asteya non-stealing, honesty integrity
      >>>>>5.  Shaucha-cleanliness and purity
      >>>>>6.  Indriya-nigrah-restraint over the senses
      >>>>>8.  Vidya-knowledge
      >>>>>9.  Satya-truth
      >>>>>10.  Akrodha-calmness, equanimity, non anger
      >>>>>I understand that there is an implicit indication from these ten attributes that ahinsa, prem (love) and Shanti (peace and tranquillity) are included.
      >>>>>“Ahinsa” is often misunderstood in Sanatan Dharma and I would like to offer my analysis.
      >>>>> Ahinsa is a Sanskrit term and concept, which is central to Sanatana Dharma. Now the etymology:
      >>>>>ahinsA = a + hinsaa
      >>>>>a = Not or non-,
      >>>>>hinsaa = MALICIOUS violence.
      >>>>>It is NOT just violence.
      >>>>>For example, a Peregrine Falcon swooping on a field rabbit or a bird carrying a worm to its nest to feed its children most certainly constitutes violence. However, it does NOT constitute hinsaa.
      >>>>>Malice or malice aforethought is an essential ingredient of hinsaa. Thus, an action may itself be violent, but when necessary and carried out with total detachment it does not contravene dharma.
      >>>>>This is the concept enshrined as 'mens rae ' in the British justice system. To qualify as murder, not only the killing has to be established but also a deliberate intent to kill must be established.
      >>>>>"hinsA" or violence, injury, harm etc. is categorised in three ways,
      >>>>>1. Mansik (mental) as `" bearing malice” (mens rea-guilty mind)
      >>>>>2. Vaachik (verbal), as "abusive language"
      >>>>>3. Karmik, (actual) as `" acts of violence”
      >>>>>That is why it is important to realise that 'ahinsA' does not equate to "non-violence" or inaction, just as 'dharma' does not equate to 'religion'.
      >>>>>Derivation of 'hinsA in my humble opinion is from the Sanskrit verb 'hins' meaning to "injure, kill or harm,” e.g. hinsati-he injures. In the itihaas such as Mahabharata, it appears as 'hinasti', which may be interpreted as "to degrade.”
      >>>>>Prem (love) emanates from tolerance and forgiveness, which are two of the lakshan described by Manuji and shanti or peace will come if one observes all the attributes of Dharma.
      >>>>>What the author of the article has failed to recognise is that just as all other colours are derived from the primary colours, similarly these ten attributes are the building blocks of all Dharma and all other qualities will arise (such as love, compassion, peace etc.) by following Dharma.
      >>>>>The other religions have not invented these basic parameters, they simply revamp them and present them to unwitting followers as something new, whereas in reality they are the original tenets of Dharma laid down by aadi Manu.
      >>>>>Raj Pandit Sharma
      >>>>>--- On Wed, 3/11/09, mega_irreverant-he@... <mega_irreverant-he@...> wrote:
      >>>>>>From: mega_irreverant-he@... <mega_irreverant-he@...>
      >>>>>>Subject: [VRI] Hinduism – Religion or Dharma?
      >>>>>>To: vedic_research_institute@yahoogroups.com, hinduism_environment@yahoogroups.com
      >>>>>>Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2009, 2:31 PM
      >>>>>>Hinduism – Religion or Dharma? 01/03/2009 11:06:04 By Sunil Tuppale Growing up in Bharat, I have heard people proclaiming out time and again that “All Religions are the same and they teach the same thing”. Elders, teachers, great men of Bharat, leaders and intellectuals, all of them have been drumming the same tone. Naturally I believed in it till I could think for myself. I have seen that it is only in Bharat one hears the above expression. I have lived in the West for quite some time and I must say I haven’t seen any staunch Christian say the same. I have seen that practicing Christians believe that they alone are right in their beliefs and everyone else who is not a Christian have no chance of being saved. The same goes for Muslims. I have some Muslim friends who are pious and committed to Islam. But they are sincere in their belief that they alone are the chosen people and that they have the last word on Religion, Truth, God and that
      all non-Muslims are doomed. It made me wonder why are Hindus so keen on speaking for the other religions? I have heard Hindus eagerly quote the mantra from the Rig Veda “Ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti” to mean that truth is one and that truth is called as Allah or Jesus by different religions. They don’t quote the entire mantra. They quote only a fourth of the mantra. The entire mantra is Indram mitram varunam agnim ahuhu atho divya sa suparno garutman ekam sad vipra bahudha vadanti agnim yamam matarisvanam ahuhu (Rigveda 1.164.46) ‘They hail him as Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni or the Divine Garuda. Truth is one and the Wise ones refer to the truth by different names as Agni, Yama, and Matarisvan.’ To use this verse to say that all religions are the same is a blatant misuse of the profound verse. To say all religions are the same, one must have studied deeply all the different religions. I have seen that people who claim that all religions are
      the same have rarely studied other religions. They are just parroting that statement they heard from someone and it is not a conclusion that they arrived at by their own study, understanding and conviction. Also I wish to raise a fundamental question.Is Hinduism also a religion like Christianity and Islam? Why should we consider religions on par with Hinduism? Before I begin, I want to decipher the word religion. A word means one thing in one part of the world whereas in another part of the world, the same word means something totally different. Take the instance of the word secularism. In the West it means the separation of the Church and the State. Where as in Bharat, the definition of secularism is "Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava" which means all religions will be considered equal and given equal preference. Thus the meaning of secularism is totally distorted in Bharat. And particularly secularism in the current context implies animosity towards anything
      Hindu. What does the word religion connote in the Western world? It connotes that a religion should be monotheistic. In other words they should believe in One God. It should have a Prophet and that Prophet is reckoned to have been the person who started the religion at a particular point in history. So the three main religions we have are Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Of course there are other religions like Zoroastrianism, Shintoism, Bahai and so on. But for the purpose of this discussion let us consider the Monotheistic religions, particularly Christianity and Islam because they are the only two religions aggressively competing for converts among the entire humanity. The rest of the religions are non converting and therefore non aggressive and non invasive. Judaism is a non converting religion. In other words, you can’t convert to become a Jew. Either you are born a Jew or you are not a Jew. But Christianity and Islam thrive on conversion. In
      fact they feel that if they don’t convert, their statuses are in peril. So they have perfected the art of conversion. Another feature of the monotheistic religions is that they all believe that this One God, who they claim created the world, is located up in Heaven. And all the monotheistic religions have a ‘Day of Judgment’. In case of Christianity and Islam in particular, the theology is imposed so strongly that people are told that if one doesn’t accept their doctrines, one would have to be punished with eternal damnation or hell fire and all believers of the respective doctrines would go to Heaven and stay with God forever. That is what is meant by the word Salvation. They all believe in one birth and you have to proclaim your faith and adherence to the particular doctrines of your faith in this birth or you will burn in the eternal pit fire of hell. And there is no chance of  redemption. In the East, the word religion has a different sense
      all together. We call it Dharma. There is no English equivalent for the word Dharma. It is loosely translated as religion. But it is definitely not religion in the Western sense. Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana means timeless. Meaning there was never a time when it was not. Dharma is a profound word. It is also called Vaidika Dharma because it is based on the Vedas. The Vyakhya(elaboration ) of Dharma is “Dharyate iti Dharma”. That which upholds everything is Dharma. There is a Cosmic order in the Universe. That order is manifest as everything in this Universe. That which holds this vast and wonderful universe with all its millions of stars, galaxies, planets with all the things and beings in harmony is this Rita, the Cosmic order. The Cosmic order includes the Physical, Physiological, Psychological and Spiritual order. All these are the manifestations of Bhagavan. For Hindus, Bhagavan (The Lord) is present in the form of the Cosmic order. In
      fact Bhagavan is never separate from this Universe. The Shastras (scriptures) say that all that is here is Bhagavan.“Isavasyam idam sarvam” meaning Bhagavan pervades everything like Akasha (space). Nothing is separate from Akasha. The Creator and the created are non separate like the spider and the web, like the dreamer and the dream. That which holds this Rita, this cosmic order is Dharma. So to me, Dharma is a Way of Life, Values of Life and Expression of Life that is in keeping with the Vision and understanding of Isavasyam idam sarvam. Being committed to Dharma means having this grand vision of life that all that is there IS Bhagavan and expressing that vision and understanding through our thoughts, words and deeds. That in essence constitutes a Dharmic life. A Dharmic person never goes against the Natural Cosmic Order. Why? Because if I rub against the order, I will get rubbed in the process. If I hurt somebody, I may get away from man made
      laws because my brother in law is in the Police Department, but I will not be able to escape from the Cosmic law. It is this sense of Dharma that should be the basis of all our endeavors. I should not hurt anybody or anything because I don’t want to be hurt and also by hurting anything or anybody I am hurting something of which I am a part. I should not steal because I don’t want anybody to steal from me. The Mahabharatha speaks of a time when Dharma ruled the world when it says Na Rajyam Naiva Rajasit Na Dando na ca Dandikaha Dharmenaiva Praja Sarvaha Rakshantisma Parasparam The verse above means that there was a time long ago where there was no Kingdom nor a King and no punishments nor a person who would administer punishments. Everybody protected each other with a sense of Dharma. In other words, Dharma was the protector of the people. Everybody acted according to Dharma. So that is our notion of Dharma. Secondly, our Dharma was not founded by an
      individual Prophet like the Monotheistic religions. Bhagavan Krishna or Bhagavan Rama did not start our Dharma. They were born into our Dharma. They were born as Vaidikas. I have had a few people in the West ask me when our ‘religion’ started. I would respond to them saying that the question is like asking “When did Physics start?” Did the laws of Physics start on a particular day? Isn’t it that the laws of Physics have always been there as long as this creation has been? Similarly, our Dharma has always been throughout the myriad cycles of manifestation (Shristi) and dissolution (Pralaya). So it is not that our Dharma originated at some particular point in History. Hence it is called Sanatana. It has always been there. It was manifested by Bhagavan at the time of Shristi and it becomes unmanifest at Pralaya. Thirdly, our concept of Heaven is not where you go and stay permanently. Our Shastras tell us that heaven is a temporary place one goes
      to enjoy the fruits of one’s good Karmas (Punyas). It is said “Kshine Punye Martya Lokam Vishanti”. After ones Punyas are exhausted, one will have to go back to Martya loka or the earth where one gets another chance to work for Moksha (liberation from cycle of births and deaths) which is not salvation. Salvation means you are condemned and then you need to be salvaged. Our scriptures do not consider us as condemned. It refers to us as “Amritasya Putraha” meaning immortal children. Moksha is the outcome of Self Knowledge. Dharma doesn’t divide humanity into believers and infidels as religions do. We also have amongst us those who are Nastikas. Nastikas are those who don’t accept the Vedas as a valid means of knowledge. The Nastikas include the Baudhas (Buddhists), Jainas (Jains) and Charvaks (materialists) . Vaidika Dharma recognizes that all forms of worship of the Lord to be true as elucidated in the Rig Vedik Mantra above. Since the Lord
      is not separate from this Universe, we can invoke the lord in any form. Pushpadantacharya’s Shiva Mahimna Stotram says Ruchinam Vaichitryat Ruju Kutila Nana Patha Jusha Nrinam Eko Gamya Tvam Asi Paya Samarnavaiva According to ones disposition, one takes to a form of worship or a path of Sadhana (Spiritual Practice) which may be direct or meandering and all those paths are valid as long as they are ultimately the worship of Bhagavan which in turn leads us to Atma Gyan or Self Knowledge. Bhagavan also says in the Bhagavad Gita “Ye Yatha Mam Prapadyante, TansThataiva Bhajamyaham” (Ch 4 Verse 11) which means “In whatever form people worship me, in that form I respond to the devotees and bless them”. That is why we have so many forms. We can invoke and worship the lord in whatever form we wish to, according to our taste and disposition. And we are not idol worshippers as the others like to accuse us. We are Bhagavan worshippers. We worship Bhagavan
      in the idol. So we have all the different panthas (paths) each specializing in the worship of Bhagavan in one form or the other. Thus we have the six main recognized forms of worship according to Bhagavan Bashyakara Acharya Shankara which includes Shaiva (worshippers of Bhagavan Shiva), Shakta(worshippers of Bhagavathi or Goddess), Vaishnava (worshippers of Bhagavan Vishnu), Ganapathya(worshipp ers of Bhagavan Ganapathy), Kaumarya(worshipper s of BhagavanKarthikeya) and Saurya(worshippers of BhagavanSurya) . Many forms of worship are of recent origin and we accept them also as long as they lead us to the Knowledge of the Atma (Self). Above all, Dharma cannot be imposed. It can be revealed or taught, but never imposed by force. Again, to quote from the Mahabharatha ‘Dharmasya Tattvam Nihitam Guhayam’ which means the expression of Dharma comes from within a person. It can never be imposed. Religions are almost always imposed on people either by lure
      or by force. So when you consider these, it is not difficult to recognize the profound differences between religions and Dharma. How can we consider Hindu Dharma as a religion? How can we accept that Dharma and religions are the same? People who claim that All Religions are same are ignorant of Religions as well as of Dharma. I would like to say that there may be many religions, but there is only one Dharma and that is the Sanatana Dharma or Vaidika Dharma or Hindu Dharma. We are belittling this Dharma by calling it religion or even worse, calling it faith. Religion when elaborated properly according to the Western concept turns out to be dogmatic and cannot be accepted as valid or cannot be compared to Sanatana Hindu Dharma which is vast, profound and timeless. Acknowledgements “Foundations of Dharma”– Shri Swami Iswarananda Giri “What is Hinduism?” – Shri Swami Dayananda Saraswathi “Hindu view of Christianity and Islam” – Shri Ram
      Swarup “Defence of Hindu Soceity” – Shri Sita Ram Goel http://www.haindavakeralam.com/HkPage.aspx?PAGEID=8285&SKIN=D-- ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किंच जगत्यां जगत्। तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथाः मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम्।। for learning easy HINDI TYPING click here
      >>>>Leena Mehendale Member CAT, Mumbai Gulistan Building (LIC) Fort, Mumbai 400001 Ph (off) 022-22072678 Mo. 09869039054

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