Talk:Citations for Sanātana Dharma

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
Revision as of 15:53, 10 May 2019 by Jammalamadaka Suryanarayana (Talk | contribs)

(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)

By Jammalamadaka Suryanarayana

Sometimes transliterated as: Sanatana Dharma, Sanatan Dharm

The word Sanātana Dharma[1] is normally used to refer to the way of life that originated and existed for many ages in the Bhārata varṣa. There is no particular word to refer to the religion or the way the life was lead in these lands between the mighty Himalayas and the Indian Ocean. But the word Sanātana Dharma is seen in works like Manu Smriti, Mahābhārata, etc.

The word ‘Sanātana Dharma’ is used in the context of duties prescribed or instructed by the scriptures rather than in the sense of religion. At some instances the words ‘sanātana’ and ‘dharma’ are also used separately in the same sense. The word ‘Sanātana’ means ‘One which exists from ages without the knowledge of its origin'. The word ‘Dharma’, with ‘Sanātana’ serves as it’s adjective which means ‘duty to be done’. The word sanātana dharma is seen in Manusmṛti

References of Sanātana Dharma in Manusmṛti

The duties of Kṣatriya warriors is explained as follows:

एषोनुपस्कृतो योध धर्मः सनातनः| अस्माद्धर्मान्नच्यवेतघ्नन्रणेरिपून्|| eṣonupaskṛtoyodhadharmaḥsanātanaḥ| asmāddharmānnacyavetaghnanraṇeripūn||[2]

The duties of a Kshatriya warrior in the war are instructed in the Manusmṛti.[3] After winning a war the warriors who fought the war has the right to claim any kind of riches like horses, cattle, food grains etc. other than gold, silver and precious stones. It is the duty of the warriors to hand over the gold, silver and precious stones to the king under whom the army won the battle. These are the duties of a Kṣatriya warrior from ages.[4]

References of Sanātana Dharma in Mahābhārata

Another citation of the word ‘Sanātana Dharma’ can be found in the epic Mahābhārata. Lord Śiva explains varṇāśrama dharma to Parvati.[5] In that context while explaining the duties of a yati[6] he states:

भैक्षचर्याग्निकार्यं च सदाजलनिषेवणम्।स्वाध्यायःसततंतस्य एष धर्मःसनातनः|| Bhaikṣacaryāgnikāryaṃ ca sadājalaniṣevaṇaṃ| svādhyāyaṃsatatṃtasyaeṣadharmaḥsanātanaḥ||13-208-53||

It is the duty of a yati/sanyāsin to have food that is donated and not cooked by self. One should perform the rituals of the god Agni and most importantly continue his study of the vedas without fail. So these are the duties of a yati from the unknown times.

References of Sanātana Dharma in Bhagavadgitā

The words ‘Sanātana’ and ‘Dharma’ are seen in one śloka in the Bhagavadgitā:

‘त्वमव्ययः शाश्वतधर्मगोप्ता सनातनस्त्वम् पुरुषो मतो मे। Tvamavyayaḥ śāśvatadharmagōptā sanātanastvaṃ puruṣō matō mē . 11:18

Here the word ‘Sanātana’ is used as an adjective of the word ‘Puruṣa’. The essence of the two stanzas is “The creator of everything[7] is not perishable and also has no beginning. Such Puruśa is the caretaker of Śāsvata dharma[8].


By examining these citations, one can conclude that the word Sanātana Dharma is not mentioned in the context of religion directly. But on further examination of the structure of hindu philosophy the duties of various varṇas and āshramas have an important role in the structure of the religion. Hence the word ‘Sanātana Dharma’ can be used in a broader sense for Hindu philosophy.

Related citations from Scriptures

Citations for the word 'Svadharma'

  1. स्वदर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य 2-31
  2. स्वदर्मे निदनं श्रेयः 3-35

Citations for the word 'Dharma'

  1. दर्म इति, दर्मेण सर्वमिदं परिगृहीतम् , दर्मान्नाति दुष्करम् तस्मात् दर्मे रमन्ते ।
  2. दर्मसंस्तापनार्ताय 4-8
  3. दर्मं चर, स्वाद्यायान्मा प्रमदः


  1. It is Sva dharma, Veda dharma, Veda matam.
  2. Manusmṛti-7-98
  3. 7nth adhyāya 96, 97 and 98 Manusmṛti
  4. Sanātana Dharma of the warriors
  5. Anuśāsanaparva’s 208 th adhyāya
  6. Yati is a type of vānaprastha.
  7. It refers to Puruśa.
  8. It means continuous religion.