It’s remarkable that in a vast country like India, with tens of languages and hundreds of dialects, a country with extraordinary cultural and historical diversity, where states were eternally fighting territorial and political wars, there had never been any persecution in the name of religion.
Just take a look into India’s ancient or medieval history, and you won’t find any episode of two kings or states going to battle just because they prayed to a different form of God. That’s because Sanatana Dharma allowed peaceful co-existence of contradictions.
An advanced text published on Sanatana Dharma in 1904 in Benares, elucidates beautifully. I quote,
“The Religion based on the Vedas, the Sanatana Dharma, is the oldest of living Religions, and stands unrivalled in the depth and splendour of its philosophy, while it yields to none in the purity of its ethical teachings and in the flexibility and varied adaptation of its rites and ceremonies.
It is like a river, which has shallows that a child may play in, and depths which the strongest diver cannot fathom.
It is thus adapted to every human need, and there is nothing which any religion can supply to add to its rounded perfection.”
धारणात् धर्म इत्याहुः धर्मों धारयति प्रजाः ।
The Māhabhārata – Karna Parva. (69.58)
“That which supports,
that which holds together
the people of the Universe,
that is Dharma.”
It’s worth mentioning here, that the root of the word religion essentially means the same thing, “that which binds together”. An irony isn’t it, considering our world is so split up over it? The whole point of dharma to begin with, was peaceful coexistence.
Even though Sanatana Dharma has been referred to as a religion here – commonly known as Hinduism – it is actually not a religion or sect. It is a manner of thinking, a way of life.
The deeper philosophy they represent, spiritually anchored the people of the Vedic civilization and infused peace, strength and harmony into the cultural roots of this beautiful land.
“How fortunate am I to be born on this holy land,
Where countless sages and Gods have trod,
Where the very air is fragrant
with the perfume of their holy feet,
Where sacred rivers and streams gush
in ecstasy to reach the ocean,
Where every stone is a linga in disguise,
Where every cow is a holy animal,
Where one can lie on the earth and say,
This is my land,
the holy land.”
The Gau (cow) may have been caught by its horns, unawares as a hot topic of political controversy these days, however the story behind worshipping the ‘Gau Mata’ came from humble beginnings!
In ancient India, practically every family in the country had a cow at home and they looked upon it as a Mother that nourishes and provides for her children, for everyday life was dependent on them for milk, dung for fuel and tilling the agricultural land for food. It came to be seen as a symbol of selfless service, patience and sacrifice.
The love we shower on our pets today, is the kind of love people showered on cows and horses during the Vedic times.
They attained a holier status around five hundred years ago, when the bhakti-lahar swept across the country. Many great Vaishnava saints like Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and Meera Bai, became powerful proponents of devotional service. They worshipped cows because they were loved ardently by their beloved Krishna, the divine cow-herder of Gokula!
The sentiment behind this act was to never hurt what or who your beloved loves, for that would be akin to hurting him as well! ‘Gopala Krishna’, literally means ‘the protector of cows.’
Srimad Bhāgavad Gītā
When Maharishi Ved Vyasa wrote the greatest epic of all times, ‘The Mahabharata’, it was at a turning point on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, when Lord Sri Krishna revealed his Divine form to Arjuna and imparted sacred knowledge to him, which came to be known as ‘The Srimad Bhāgavad Gītā’. It is Bhāgavad- ‘like the Lord’ and Gītā- ‘the song’; The blessed song of the Lord!
गीता सुगीता कर्तव्या किमन्यैः शास्त्रविस्तरैः।
या स्वयं पद्मनाभस्य मुखपद्माद्विनिःसृता।।
Maharishi Ved Vyasa says, “where are you wandering, oh lost one? The Bhāgavad Gītā that has emerged most melodiously from the holy lips of our Lotus-Eyed Lord, is the only song that is meant to be sung. There is no need to read any other scripture. This has come straight from the source, from the glorious Lord Padmanabha Himself – every word of it!”
The divine wisdom contained in every word of the Srimad Bhāgavad Gītā, is as lustrous, relevant and true as it was then 5000 years ago, as it is now, by an equal measure, if not more.
The Ganges is a sacred river that starts from the top of the Himalayas in India, from Gangotri and continues all the way down to Ganga Sagar. From times immemorial, it connected the diverse cultures, and varied ideologies across India. It was also the chief source of water on the northern side for irrigation and to sustain the livelihood of people.
According to the scriptures, Devi Ganga emerged from Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet and then she flowed full force, as Lord Shiva captured her in his matted locks. Humbled by His divine touch, she then proceeded to gently flow down to earth, for the benefit of humanity.
It was Suryavanshi King Dilipa’s son Bhagiratha who first undertook intense penance of Lord Shiva to bring Ma Ganga to Earth from the heavens, for only she had the power to bring salvation to his forefathers who had been cursed by Sage Kapila.
She freed and took them to the heavens above and since then has held great significance for Hindus, in the worship of ancestors. Ma Ganga is considered to be the portal that leads the souls of the deceased, into a liberated afterlife.
The Gayatri mantra is fascinatingly the quintessential mantra of Sanatana Dharma, even with its countless sects. It has been recognised unanimously, as the one which is the essence of the Vedas.
Found in the Rig Veda, which is the oldest of the four Vedas, Gayatri is one of the most powerful Vedic mantras. She is the radiant, effulgent Savitri or Vedmata, the Mother of the Vedas.
The verses in Vedas are organized in meters, called chanda in Sanskrit, and Lord Sri Krishna says,
The Srimad Bhāgavad Gītā (10.35)
‘Of all the Vedic meters, I am Gayatri.’
It is the power of the Gayatri mantra that transformed the arrogant King Kaushika into the enlightened sage Vishwamitra.
With his inner eye he had seen the one mantra, the cause of creation, the one mantra that had the power to pull anyone out of any adversity, and help one realize one’s wildest dreams. He was the first to invoke and unleash its power for the benefit of humanity.
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्
We are now meditating upon the one who alone is fit to be worshipped. May that divine radiance, that divine energy which is full of light, guide our intellects. May it put our intellects in motion, so we have a certain wealth of wisdom to put to use. This is the basis of the Gayatri Mantra.
If a sādhak wants to walk the path of sadhana properly, then invoking the energy of Goddess Gayatri is non-negotiable. It is the very foundation of mantra sadhana.
The pillars of Sanatana Dharma form the bedrock of a prayerful, meaningful existence, with the awareness of the Divine inter-connectedness of absolutely everything in nature: So that we speak our words carefully, use our resources judiciously to help ourselves and others, and be grateful for the infinite blessings in our lives!
Lord Sri Krishna says,
यो मां पश्यति सर्वत्र सर्वं च मयि पश्यति ।
तस्याहं न प्रणश्यामि स च मे न प्रणश्यति ॥
Srimad Bhāgavad Gītā (6.30)
“See me in everybody and see everybody in me. I no longer remain invisible to that person and that person is no longer invisible to me.”
Let’s go back to the roots of Sanatana Dharma and experience the life-transforming power of the Vedic way of life, on the Sadhana App.