The Eternal Religion of Mankind : Vedic Dharma
( by Arya Sanyasi M Gopal Swami Saraswati )
PART - 1
RELIGION AND 'DHARMA'
Two of the most misunderstood words in common parlannce are the Latin word 'Religion' and Sanskrit word 'Dharma' which though considered synonym of each other, are not altogather the same.
Even then, if we have used both the words in caption, it is only with the objective of making known to the English knowing people world over , that if there could be a true eternal religion of the mankind , it could only be the Vedic Dharma based on VEDAS.
The fact is that the VEDAS do not advocate any religion, in the sense, the word 'religion' is generally understood. Today , Religion basically ows its allegiance to certain beliefs leading to the performance of certain rituals, some sort of worship, and faith in certain dogmas , to which some kind of significance is taken for granted. This way, a religion may be an acceptable equivalent for the word 'sect' , but not for the term ' Dharma'. 'Dharma is not a matter of performance of rituals, but of performance of duties. It has to be practiced in everyday life for the purpose of (i) achieving success in one's noble wordly persuits, and(ii) in attainment of total spiritual bliss.
यतो अभ्युदयनि: श्रेयस सिद्धि स धर्म: | Vaisheshik Darshan1/1/2
'Dharma' means the functions and essential characteristics, without which a thing can not retain its very existance.
धारणादधर्म इत्याहू, धर्मो धारते प्रजा |
यत्सस्याद् धारण संयुक्तं स धर्म इति निश्चय || Manusmriti 6/92
'Dharma' is the 'sustaining principal' or the art of being. In essence, the 'Dharma is the name given not to any set of dogmatic beliefs but to all noble qualities that save the human soul from sinking to the depths of spiritual fallenness and destitution. The noble qualities, like truth, justice, love, friendship, liberality, compassion, non-violece, sacrifice, forgiveness, uprightness, honesty, sincerity, humility, self restraint, etc, which collectively constitute 'Dharma ' add up to a progmatic and dynamic way of life, rather than a dogmatic approach to life.
धृति: क्षमा दमो स्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रिय निग्रह: |
धी: विद्या सत्यम् अक्रोधो दशकं धर्म लक्षणम् || Manusmriti 6/92
VEDAS expect every human being to be a true humane in true sense and thus advocate 'humanism' as the 'Dharma' of the entire humanity. VEDIC DHARMA is for the betterment and welfare of all human beings on this earth, irrespective of the places of their birth, nationality, race, etc.
(to be continued)