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Monday, January 24, 2011

Synonyms of Dharma

Synonyms of Dharma

Table of Contents

1. Synonyms of Dharma

1.1 The Sanaatan religion (Sanatana Dharma)

1.2 The Vedic code of Righteousness (Veda Dharma)

1.3 The Aryan code of Righteousness (Aarya Dharma)

1.4 The Hindu religion

1.5 The divine religion

1.6 The human religion

1. Synonyms of Dharma
1.1 The Sanaatan religion (Sanatana Dharma)

A. Origin: In 'सना आतनोति इति सनातन: ।' sanaa (सना) means eternal and aatanoti (आतनोति) means that which helps in acquiring; hence sanaatan (सनातन) is that which bestows the eternal.

B. Meaning: 'सनातनो नित्य नूतन: ।' means that which remains ever new despite being permanent, eternal and timeless is sanaatan. Only that which always manifests in a new form, will last, e.g. one expects a tree to die when no new shoots spring from it. In the Bhavarthadipika (Dnyaneshvari 1.71) Saint Dnyaneshvar says -
हें नित्य नूतन देखिजे । गीतातत्त्व ।।

Meaning: If one contemplates (on the Gita) then each time one does so, this principle of the Gita appears new. (In other words, each time one realises a different meaning.)
The 's' in the word 'sanaatan' is the bija of the sun (Surya) principle which symbolises the absolute fire (tej) element.
1.2 The Vedic code of Righteousness (Veda Dharma)

The word veda (वेद) has been derived from vid (विद्) which means to know. Veda means knowledge, the concept of knowledge or the means to acquire it. Knowledge in this context refers to the knowledge of the soul, the realisation of God or spiritual experiences.
1.3 The Aryan code of Righteousness (Arya Dharma)

This religion is called Arya Dharma because it was professed by the Aryans.
1.4 The Hindu religion

A. Origin and meaning

The holy text the Merutantra defines the word Hindu (हिंदु) as 'हीनानि गुणानि दूषयति इति हिंदु । (hinaani gunaani dushyati iti hindu)'. 'हीनानि गुणानि दूषयति' means that which destroys (dushyati) the base and inferior (hin) raja and tama components (gun). Thus Hinduism is an attitude. It means being a seeker. If one is a seeker enriched with the sattva component which destroys the raja and tama components then one is certainly a Hindu. By this definition, a seeker belonging to any religion, can be considered a Hindu. Hence the Hindu religion, in a real sense, views all religions with equality.

The Arabs began to call the Aryans residing in the regions alongside the river Sindhu as Hindus.

B. Who can be called a Hindu?

The one who accepts the Vedas, Vedaangs (sciences related to the Vedas), the Puraans and their corresponding sects and who is born in a traditional Hindu family is a Hindu.

The one who wholeheartedly accepts the above definition as the authority is called a 'Hindu by initiation' (dikshaahindu).

The one to who both of the above are not acceptable but who is born of Hindu parents is a 'Janmaarth,' meaning a Hindu by birth (Janmahindu).

The first is certainly superior but in its absence a Hindu by initiation (dikshaartha) is deemed to be superior from the point of view of worship. However in matters of marriage a Hindu by birth (Janmaarth) should be chosen.

C. Special feature

'The sole eternal goal of Spirituality in Hinduism is to realise the God principle in man, rather to bring about the manifestation of God in man. Whether it be the struggle to restructure the Indian economy or the great struggles for independence of the enslaved Indians, Indian Spirituality strives to achieve its eternal goal in both these struggles.' - Shri Aurobindo (Vandemataram, 24th June 1908)

Freedom of thought was present in the Hindu religion from the very beginning. Charvaak, the atheist who had no faith in rebirth and God, was not harassed at all, on the contrary he was accorded the position of a sage! Siddhaarth Gautam who denied the very existence of God and severely criticised the prevailing custom of performing sacrificial fires (yadnya, yag) was considered to be God and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu! Mahavir who advocated a philosophy that there was no God, was also glorified as God.
1.5 The divine religion

Since Righteousness (Dharma) was created by God it is called the divine religion.
1.6 The human religion

Man is eternal; hence Righteousness (Dharma) is also called the human religion. However, rather than the well-being of man alone, that of the entire creation is envisaged.

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