Hindu dharm is Sanatan but not Hindu Religion

Deccan Chronicle published some news on February 4, 2024, entitled Tirumala Spiritual Summit Wants Hindu Dharm Spread Globally.  Are we ready to answer a very fundamental and practical question: Why a Christian would adopt Hindu Dharma?  Why would a Muslim think of quitting Islam?  There had been wars in the past, in the name of religion that took millions of lives. People are very sensitive about their faith and are ready to sacrifice life for it, then how can one think of Hindu Dharma spreading globally.  During my 25 years long research and practice of Yog that led me to attain Samadhi,  vpg.samadhi I got an opportunity to study Brahma Sutra Bhashya by Adi Shankaracharya and books of Swami Vivekanand in detail and I found that there is lot of confusion amongst people regarding Hindu Dharm and Hindu Religion. Most people do not even differentiate between Spirituality and Religion and use them interchangeably. I present here a deep dive exploration of Hindu Dharm that explains how Hindu Dharm is different from Hindu Religion.

The confusion stems from the English translation of the word Dharm into Religion that does not convey full import of the word Dharm. The word Dharm exists in Hindu scriptures since thousands of years while the word Religion is relatively new and was introduced to the English dictionary only about 300 years ago. The word Religion is used for an institution of worship and all existing religions are only the institutions of worship that have their own ways of worship and rituals. The word Dharm has nothing to do with worship. In order to understand the real import of the word Dharm, let us look at the usage of the word Dharm in different sentences: Ram carried out his Dharm by obeying the order of Dusharatha. Harishchandra performed his Dharm in taking care of his old parents. Mahabharat was a Dharam Yudh, a war for justice. Dharmatma means a great soul, who always does justice and stands for the truth. The incarnation of Ram and Krishn took place for the destruction of Adharm and for the establishment of Dharm. Accordingly, Dharm essentially means to carry out duties truthfully and with justice and it has nothing to do with Religion. Hindu Dharm essentially is a path of Dharm, a way of life that has the potential of eradicating the miseries of life in terms of stress, anxiety, kleshas and incurable diseases and leads to attaining the peace of mind. 

Indian Rishis, whom I consider as the ancient scientists, had realised that the miseries of life are going to be major problems of mankind and they began searching for a solution to eradicate the miseries. They found a solution in Vedic Philosophy which forms the basis of Vedic Dharm, now known as the Hindu Dharm. According to the teachings of Hindu scripture Veds, there are five pillars or the five components of Hindu Dharm: (1) A belief in the doctrine of Advait Vedant: According to which Atman and Brahman or not two. Atman in the form Brahman, is present in all human beings, therefore mankind cannot be divided on the basis of religion, race, caste, creed or social status. This leads to a concept of Vasudhaivkutumbkam, that is, the entire earth is a family, where the downtrodden and underprivileged  need to be treated with love and justice. (2) Acquisition of Atmagyan: Aquiringing true knowledge about ourself makes us realise five Vikrati of Mann (Mental Distortions) of a person. These are: Kaam ( unethical and reasonable desires), Krodh (anger), Lobh (greediness), Moh (unreasonable attachment), and Ahankar (egoism, a mindset that I am only right). These have been described in Veds as the enemies of a person, because they are the obstructions in the process of physical and spiritual upliftment and therefore need to be conquered. (3) Performing Nishkam Karm: Performing duties without expecting fruition, which makes it possible to live a worldly life without stress and to concentrate fully on our work. (4) Doing Purusharth: Making full efforts to attain the goals of life. According to teachings of Veds, a  human birth is very precious and we should not waste it. We should acquire monetary wealth and wealth of knowledge and do something for those who are not blessed with all means of life. (5) Practicing Yog. Yog makes it possible to execute all above four components of Hindu Dharm in our life and makes the hard looking teachings of Veds easy.

 Hinduism has two interwoven components: An apparently, hard to follow spiritual component, known as the Hindu Dharm and an easy to follow, religious component, that most Hindus follow and is also referred to as the Hindu Religion, a polytheistic religion, where people worship different gods according to their system of worship. In this respect Hindu Religion is not much different from other religions because Astha, a belief in a thing without knowing it, is a common component in all the religions, and is responsible for the dogma present in religions. Hindu Dharm is much different because the Atmagyan component of Hindu Dharm teaches us to believe in a thing only after knowing it. Hindu Dharm teaches not to believe in God blindly. One should first know God by the practice of Yog and then believe in Him. From this perspective, Hindu Dharm is a secular system but the religions are not. Today, the religions have become the tags that have divided mankind into groups and created hatred in society that has resulted in large scale unrest and violence. The monks have been found to involve in crime, unethical and immoral acts. Religious places have become centres for organised crime. A Christian does not follow the teachings of Jesus and attends the church to offer prayer as social obligation only. Same thing holds for a Hindu and a Muslim. In fact, the religions were established for the peace and for the betterment of mankind but they failed in their endeavors and Hindu Dharm is the only way out. 

 Hindu Dharm teaches us to do Karm and Purusharth while Hindu Religion teaches us to worship, which is  basically a self-centered act. Hindu Dharm teaches us to pray Sarve Bhavantu Sukhi Nh which means Let there be welfare of whole mankind. According to Bhagwan Shri Krishn, every person has to face the consequences of the Karma, good or bad. But religions suggest the loopholes and tell people how to evade the consequences of bad Karma by performing special rituals. Most religions foster superstitions. Hindu Dharm teaches to acquire Gyan and strive to know truth by the practice of Yog. A Hindu cannot attain Samadhi and Moksh by worshiping gods. Only a spiritual path of  Hindu Dharm can lead to Samadhi and later to Moksh. Since the teachings of Hindu Dharm is secular and lead to a path of truth and justice, it can make a Christian, true Christian, a Muslim, true Muslim and a Hindu, true Hindu and also prepare them to follow the teachings of their respective holy books: Bible, Quran and Bhagavad Gita. The teachings of Hindu Dharma are universal that apply to every person on earth for transforming into a good human being. Its teachings are based on absolute Truth and Truth is Eternal. Therefore Hindu Dharm is also referred to as Sanatan, meaning Universal and Eternal, a continuum in space and time, that can only establish everlasting peace, prosperity and harmony across the globe. At present, the world is suffering from agony caused by stress, anxiety, and incurable diseases that can be addressed only by the practice of Yog and by following the path shown by Hindu Dharm and not by Hindu Religion. Hindu Religion is not Sanatan because it is not a Dharm.