Certain people are living in this world who participate in all other religious celebrations like Christmas and Ramadan. They eat Christmas cake, Ramadan kheer, and biryani offered by their Christian and Muslim friends, respectively. Also, they never get offended when Christian and Muslim friends reject their prasadam during their festivals. They accept that every religion is different and live with it. They are called Hindus.
The world’s oldest religion with 1.2-1.35 billion followers is the third largest of all religions in terms of numbers and constitutes around 15-16% of the world’s population. Any person who follows Hinduism is called a Hindu.
What is Hinduism?
It is a religion that shares a range of philosophies & rituals and with hundreds of Gods. A Hindu can choose to be monotheistic or polytheistic. Also, there is no hard and fast rule that everyone should worship a specific god in the family. Hindus even pray to trees and water.
Hinduism is so diverse- inclusive and value-based that Hindus must perform some duties (Dharma), and Sanatana Dharma is an important one. Hinduism originated somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C. much earlier than Islam and Christianity came to this world.
This religion itself looks like a mini world where people with diverse cultures, traditions, and attires live together under the umbrella of Hinduism.
Arey Thambi, Understand Sanatana Dharma
Sanatana Dharma means eternal law or eternal way (duties) which Hindus must try to follow. The duties include virtues such as honesty, refraining from injuring living beings, purity, goodwill, mercy, patience, forbearance, self-restraint, generosity and a lifestyle characterized by abstinence from sensual pleasures, (for pursuing spiritual goals.)
Every Hindu tries to follow the basic duties. After all, the duties are there for the improvement of one character. What Hinduism Sanatan Dharma can do is so valuable that, now people try to learn these characteristics in a personality development class, after paying coaches. Practices like Yoga that Hindus follow to develop patience, self-restraint, and good mental and physical health are now global. We now see the United Nations (UN) follows the International Day of Yoga on 21st June every year.
That is the impact of Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma on the global world.
Hinduism asks Hindus to focus on their duties and do justice to them like how Christianity has ministries. Hinduism says everyone must abide by their duties, like a King must rule the kingdom, and a Soldier must fight war. Varna is mentioned to explain people’s appearance, and duties at that time.
All the literature written in Hinduism by Hindu scholars was their attempt to create models for better ruling and administration, also describing people’s characters. The duties accorded based on their job role were eventually given a caste colour. But, nowhere is Hinduism caste mentioned. The models explained then must be applied for administrative convenience but Hindus were divided based on caste by some selfish individuals.
There is mention of Gunas (characters) which now in this modern world we genes (characters or traits) which have a huge role in administering medicines to patients based on their Gunas and the disease they are suffering. We know that medical treatment for persons with the same disease is not the same. Dosage differs. This is where Guna can help in giving a precise dosage of medicine in Ayurveda. Even modern medicine can try to use this knowledge.
Hinduism also never says there is one God. The only thing it says it follow Sanatana Dharma which is the core of Hinduism.
Hope you now understand what is Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma.
So, whatever Hinduism has, must be interpreted properly, and can’t be spoken with half-baked knowledge like how donkeys are braying on the street.