you are now: HOME > Authentic Hinduism > Sanatan Dharm

The Vedic Foundation - Re-establishing the Greatness of Hinduism
Authentic Hinduism Bhartiya History "The True History and the Religion of India" Valuable Resources Educational Programs News and Events About Us Contact Us
Authentic Hinduism
Bhartiya Scriptures
Is India Really Independent?
The Path to God
  Divine Forms and Abodes of One God  

Sanatan Dharm - Part I of III
What is Sanatan Dharm?

Click here to read Part II - God and His Path of Attainment are Both Eternal
Click here to read Part III - The Divine Forms and Abodes of One God

Sanatan Dharm is the universal religion of the Upnishads, Gita and the
Bhagwatam which Bharatvarsh has introduced for the whole world.

The religion which eternally exists in God, which is revealed by God, which describes the names, forms, virtues and the abodes of God, and which reveals the true path of God realization for all the souls is called Sanatan Dharm, the universal religion for the whole world.
The word dharm is formed from the root word dhryan (dhryan dharne); it means such actions and such spiritual or religious practices that finally result in all-good for a soul. A general description of dharm is:

It means that such actions, thoughts and practices that promote physical and mental happiness in the world (abhyudaya) and ensure God realization (nishreyas) in the end, are called dharm.

There are two kinds of dharmas: (a) Apar dharm, or varnashram dharm, or seemit dharm, or general dharm, and (b) par dharm or bhagwat dharm.

(a) Apar dharm, or varnashram dharm, or seemit dharm, or general dharm.
The word dharm means the religious practices and thoughts that are aimed to fulfill a pious goal in life. Accordingly the apar or varnashram dharm is the religious discipline and injunctions of do’s and don’ts that are explained in the scriptures for uplifting the sattvic qualities of a human being in general. Varnashram word refers to all kinds and classes of people of this world living various orders of life (like a family man, a priest, a monk or a sanyasi), and apar word means ‘secondary’ or ‘general’ or ‘preliminary’ because it is not the absolute or prime dharm, it is the preliminary dharm for everyone in the world.
The discipline and rules of apar dharm vary according to the state of the spiritual consciousness of a person, and its rigidness also varies from age to age, that is, from satyug to kaliyug. In short you can understand that (for the existing age) all kinds of good deeds and philanthropic works that are beneficial to the society, and sincere observance of the religious discipline of the ‘order of life’ (religious student, family man, or a renounced person) you are following, come in this category, provided, that they are done with sattvic motivation. Sattvic motivation means having faith in God and then doing all the good karmas only to please God and not for any kind of personal gain. Even if you think of receiving compliments for your good karmas or the religious practices which you observe, it will not be classified as sattvic, it will become rajas, because you desired for the compliments and you have received them. Thus you have already availed the outcome of your so-called good deeds. According to the Gita:

There is hardly any further good outcome of such good looking karmas in the next lifetime.

So, apar dharm means good karmas with sattvic motivation where a person is devoted to God in a conventional manner, which means a general faith in all the forms of God. Such good karmas pacify the mind of the doer in the existing life, and in the next lifetime they create a good destiny which is called ‘abhyudaya’ that brings physical and mental well-being in a person’s life.

(b) Par dharm or bhagwat dharm.
This is the main dharm which brings the absolute good (the nishreyas) of a soul, and the absolute good of a soul is only God realization which happens through the direct devotion to God in His personal form. It is called bhakti. It gives both, peace and happiness in life as well as God realization. Apar dharm is the general dharm for all and is only a preliminary dharm, which is like the preparatory practice for entering into bhakti for those who cannot accept it in their life right away. Bhakti is above all the religious formalities, rituals and intellectual practices of meditation. In one sentence you can say that bhakti is the true ‘love’ for your soul-beloved God. It could be observed by any person of the world. It is universal; it is for every age; it is said and revealed by God Himself; and it is sanatan which means eternal. Thus, the dharm which is based on such bhakti, which is eternally established in bhakti, and which establishes bhakti for God as a universal religion of the world, is called Sanatan Dharm.

God is: “dharmadhishthan.” It means that the Sanatan (eternal) Dharm is established in God and resides in God as a Divine power. It is revealed by God through Brahma before the human civilization and is represented through the Upnishads and the Puranas.

Click here to read Part II - God and His Path of Attainment are Both Eternal
Click here to read Part III - The Divine Forms and Abodes of One God

© 2003 - 2006, The Vedic Foundation