What does Sanatan Dharma mean?
British colonial rule is credited for the country called India. There were several kingdoms which were ruled over by several kings or queens. When the Moghuls came, most of these kingdoms became inseparable part of the Moghul empire as they were conquered by the invaders. When the British gradually spread their rule throughout the subcontinent, all these scattered kingdoms became part of British India and thus India got its shape, form and identity.
The long and fierce struggle for independence from the British rule united the people of these various kingdoms as one and inculcated a sense of belongingness and nationalism. Therefore, at the time of independence the different kingdoms decided to leave sovereignty and join together to form the Indian nation.
The people who had been living in these different kingdoms for centuries showed striking similarities in their beliefs and lifestyle pattern. They emphasized over spirituality above everything else and believed in ‘ahimsa’ (non violence) and hence vegetarianism was their prime focus.
The religion of these ancient people later came to be known as Hinduism which became the way of life, the righteous way which is referred to as the ‘Sanatan Dharma’. It is the way these people lived. There was emphasis on spiritual aspects and at the same time, they took care of their health through moderation in everything.
Various outsiders came in contact with these people and started following them. When Swami Vivekananda went to the West at the end of the 19th century, he established Vedanta Centres in America and Europe which helped westerners to know about the Sanatan Dharma.
‘Sanatan’ means Eternal, and ‘Dharma’ means Religion. The belief is that this religion has existed from the beginning of time and will exist forever. Therefore, this religion is called Sanatan Dharma and has evolved from Hinduism.
Sanatan Dharma extensively follows various principles out of which there are five main principles each beginning with the letter P. These are as follows:
- Parmeshvar – (God)
- Prarthna – (Prayer)
- Punarjanma – (Reincarnation)
- Purushartha – (Law of action)
- Prani-Daya – (Compassion for all living things)
Our scriptures are known by the name of Shastra which are in abundance in Sanatan Dharma. The scriptures tell what should be done and should not be done. By reading the scriptures, the mind becomes purified and is infused with positive and vibrant thoughts. The pleasure of sheer existence is simply ecstatic and turns life into a grand celebration. Lot of seriousness in the life makes us forget to smile. We should smile and serve, meditate and celebrate. Nature is a form of celebration; sun rises and celebrate, rivers flow and celebrate, tree flowers and celebrate then why not man evolve himself and celebrate life. The most celebrated Sanatan Dharma says that spirituality is not seriousness but cheerfulness.
We should learn from every moment of life and we should fight the battle of life to undertake the journey from humanness to divinity, from compassion to eternity. Any time and in any way, if we succeed in elevating the quality of our lives in some way, celebration is in order. Celebrating is one of the ways when we give ourselves approval. Whenever you find yourself reflecting on your accomplishments, it’s time to stop and celebrate life. Doing so will funnel massive amounts of approval into your neurological feedback loop.
Celebrating is an effective way to anchor your efforts in positive emotions and channelize the energy. More approval leads to an enhanced form of motivation. Increased action creates even more reasons for giving you approval and better series of action in return. It’s a beautiful arrangement. While doing so we should listen to the advice of Lord Krishna. He gave to Arjuna in Bhagavad Gita that we should live life in spirit of Yajna or Sacrifice doing our best to look after the welfare of others. The real happiness comes after serving others. Life is not to be measured in the number of years but by inner completion and happiness. We understand the value of life, the magic of life and all what life gives us.
Life is about contributing and not just about achieving. Life is to be lived purposefully which means that one should live in present and in the current moment and that is where the very idea of celebration comes into. The moment which has passed will never come back. Therefore, every moment should be celebrated but in moderation.
Sanatan Dharma lays its prime focus on moderation.