Hinduism Practically

Around 8000 years ago, one of the first religions on Earth appeared. It is traditionally called “Sanatana Dharma” which means “The Eternal Truth” or “The Eternal Principle”. Currently, it has more than 900 million followers worldwide. Alas, many believe that Hinduism (the international name of Sanatana Dharma) isn’t a practical religion judging by the huge number of divinities mentioned in its scriptures.

Hindus see divinity in everything. Humans and God aren’t two; they are one. Once this veil of duality is pierced, the seeker becomes an enlightened being and realizes his divinity, which is the same truth pointed at differently according to every sage. What Hinduism calls liberation is the ultimate release from human sorrow and suffering. There is no insistence on there being only one way to attain this goal. That’s why, in Hinduism, no one is required to change his/her religion. Actually, it is considered unrighteous for someone to destroy the faith he was born to, because all religions are different pathways to the same goal. It is advised that, no matter what religion you’re in, you delve deeper in it, for, you will find there the real essence of all religions.

Temple wall panel relief sculpture at the Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu, representing the Trimurti: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu

Temple wall panel relief sculpture at the Hoysaleswara temple in Halebidu, representing the Trimurti: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu

Within Hinduism, there are different pathways leading to the same goal, such as the path of selfless action (karma yoga), the path of devotion (bhakti yoga), the path of self-inquiry (jnana yoga) or the path of meditation (raja yoga). Ultimately, there is no difference between spirituality and worldly life. There is no need to renounce one for the other because Hinduism isn’t a religion; it’s a way of life. Through spirituality, life in all its aspects becomes more meaningful. See Yoga

In Sanatana Dharma, no one is ‘unworthy’ forever. That would be like deciding, after building a hospital, that no patients are allowed. Devotion, faith, and attentive awareness in every action – this is what Sanatana Dharma teaches. It doesn’t ask you to blindly believe in anything. Reading the texts of Hinduism such as the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Brahmasutra, Ramayana, and Mahabharata will provide eternal truths and principles that people of all ages and religions can grasp and practice effectively without really needing to adopt Hinduism.

The main aim of Sanatana Dharma is to realize that all being are an extension of our own selves. So, what we do to the people around us, we are directly or indirectly doing it to ourselves. As Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

By Charbel Tadros

Reference: Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, The Eternal Truth, Mata Amritanandamayi Mission Trust, Amritapuri, 2006

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