Sanātan Dharma principle

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By Himanshu Bhatt

Sanātan Dharma is a phrase used to refer to the right way of conduct but on a general note it refers to Hinduism. The reason why it has been applied as a synonym to 'Hindu Dharma' is because the phrase itself reflects eternal, universal ethics or "laws." The phrase perhaps goes as far back as Atharva Veda wherein in Hymn XCI[1] it mentions the "eternal Law" and "eternal Order". It is also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gitā as "Sanātanah Dharme." Kurukṣetra War when Arjuna calls Krishna "the protector of the Eternal Religion" is noted in the Bhagavad Gitā.[2] The idea of a "protector of the eternal religion" has been taken up by the Swamy Nārāyaṇa sect which uses the phrase Sanātan Dharma Sanrakśak. Even certain Hindu sects use the phrase 'Sanatan Dharma' or a version of it in a different language. For example the Bon sect uses the phrase 'Yungdrung Bon' which means Eternal Religion. Jainism too has used the phrase 'Eternal True Dharma'.[3]

Sometimes transliterated as: Sanatan Dharma principle, SanAtan Dharma principle, Sanaatan Dharma principle


In mainstream Hindu usage

Compassion and charity

CharityCite error: Closing </ref> missing for <ref> tag It is one of the 10 niyamas.[4] Both Dāna and dayā are expounded by Patanjali to the asuras[5] to civilize them. Kama is to be conquered by dama or self-control, krodha is to be overcome by dayā or compassion and lobha or greed by dāna or gifts.</ref> In the "Pativratya-mahatmya Parva" of the Mahābharata, in the "Vara Parva, "Savitri is following deva Yama into the beyond and he is taking away Satyavan. Yama asks her to stay back. She says: Where my husband is being taken, or where he goes, I should follow him. This is the Sanātan Dharma. A little later when she pursues her path and Yama asks her to return, she says, "Compassion and charity are the Sanātan Dharma."[6]

Compassion for others goes to the extent of respecting the proper burial of adversaries. In Ramāyaṇa[7] of Valmiki, the rakṣasa[8] Virādha says to Rama to give his body a proper burial because it is the Sanātana Dharma to give a rakṣasa such.[9]

Truthfulness

Truthfulness is one of the Panchavratas or Five Vows prescribed in religion, and its importance is reiterated by the scriptures connecting truth with religion. The Manu Smṛti[10] declares, "Speak truth that is pleasant. Never speak truth that is not pleasant. Don't speak a lie, even if it is pleasant to hear. This is the Sanātan Dharma."[11] The "Shanti Parva" of the Mahabharata declares, "It is good to speak truthfully; better still to speak truthfully; better still to speak what may benefit others. This is the Sanātan Dharma."

Marital faithfulness

According to the the Bṛhaspati, a husband and wife should remain faithful to each other from the time of their agnihotra[12] to death.[13]

Parent-Child relations

Rāma in the Ramāyaṇa[14] declares, that obedience to his father[15] is the Sanātan Dharma.[16]

Kausalya in the Rāmāyaṇa[17] tells King Dasharatha that instead of banishing his son to the forest,[18] he should have followed the "Sanātan Dharma" rules laid down in scriptures.[19]

Rāma declares[20] that he could not bear to live where he has to disobey his father's command and he will act just as his father has instructed him because that is the Sanātan Dharma.[21]

Buddhism

Although Buddha usually spoke of the Sanātan Dharma, he sometimes used other synonymous terms for "Sanātan Dharma," such as "Akaliko Dharma," and "Poranako Dharma."

Against hatred

Buddha declared, "Hatred is never pacified by hatred in return, rather by love and goodwill only. This is the Sanātan Dharma."[22]

Truthfulness

Actually Lord Buddha said, "Truth is Nirvana's speech. This is the Sanātan Dharma."[23]

See also

References

  1. P. 336 Hymns of the Atharva Veda, by Ralph T.H. Griffith, [1895]
  2. Bhagavad Gitā 11.18
  3. Sutrakritanga, Book 2, Lecture 1; P. 351 The Sacred Books of the East, Volume 45 edited by Friedrich Max Müller
  4. Niyamas means essential customs for human mokśa.
  5. Asuras means demons.
  6. P. 271 The Vedanta Kesari, Volume 83, Issue 2, By Sri Ramakrishna Math
  7. Ramāyaṇa 3.2
  8. Rakṣasa means demon.
  9. P. 49 Rāmāyaṇa: The forest. Book three By Vālmīki
  10. Manu Smṛti 4.138
  11. "Satyam bruyat priyam bruyan/na bruyat satyam priyam/priyan ca nanrtam bruyad:/esa dharmah sanatanah,"
  12. Agnihotra means marriage ceremony.
  13. P. 308 Essays in Classical and Modern Hindu Law: consequences of the intellectual exchange with the foreign powers By John Duncan Martin Derrett
  14. Ramāyaṇa 21.10
  15. His father was King Dasharatha.
  16. P. 151 Rāmāyaṇa: Ayodhyā. Book two By Valmiki
  17. Ramāyaṇa 55.15
  18. He would banish his son due to the promised favor to Kaikeyi.
  19. P. 321 Rāmāyaṇa: Ayodhyā. Book two By Valmiki
  20. Rāmāyaṇa 27.30
  21. P. 181 Rāmāyaṇa: Ayodhyā. Book two By Valmiki
  22. "Na hi varena verani, sammantidha kudacanari/ Averena ca sammanti, esa dhammo sanantano," P. 50 Rediscovering Gandhi By Anil Dutta Mishra
  23. Sutta Nipata, Vagga 3, Sutta 3 [453], P. 106 Buddha`S Teachings Being The Sutta-Nipata Or Discourse Collection edited by Lord Chalmers