• Ashu Bisht

Introduction of Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma

What are the different names of Hinduism?

"Sanatana Dharm"​, now commonly referred to as "Hinduism" It has also been described as Vaidik Dharma(religion rooted in the Vedas), Arya Dharma(Dharma of Aryans) and Manav Dharma(Religion of Humanity).

Hindu traditionalists prefer to call it "Sanatana Dharma". Sanatana Dharma means both eternal and also ancient. Dharma in this case means religion, however, it has much more deeper meaning than religion. So, It means the religion or the tradition of spiritual beliefs, disciplines and practices that are not only ancient but also eternal.

Throughout the course of history, Hinduism has been like a great river that tenaciously moves forward, retaining the ancient while dynamically evolving to meet the present.

Story of its Name

Hinduism derives its name from the ancient Persians who called the River Sindhu, that flows through modern day Pakistan, as Hindu, because 'S' was pronounced as 'H' in their language. Subsequently, as a result of this linguistic practice, the people lives in eastern banks of Sindhu came to be known as "Hindus", and much later the British developed the term "Hinduism" to describe the various religious traditions they encountered across the Country. Thus the name Hindu had a geographical significance. After the Persian, the Greeks called the river Hindu(i.e. Sindhu), "Indos", and the people, 'Indoi'. In the English the word 'Indos' and 'Indoi' become Indus and Indians.

What is the definition Hinduism?

Hinduism is a tradition of spiritual, cultural and social disciplines and practices of great antiquity, with its main roots in the Vedas and continuing relevance to our times. Hinduism is a mosaic of fascinating rituals, festivals, sacred texts, beliefs, mandirs and practices.

Who is the Founder of Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism?

Sanatana Dharma evolved over a period of several centuries and that is why it is also renowned as one of the most Ancient Civilization, thanks to hundreds of enlighten Rishis and Sages. So, it does not have one founder and philosophy. It is referred to as a family of religious traditions because of its many deities, sacred texts, philosophies, Sampradayas and religious leaders. This makes Sanatana Dharma fascinating and rich, yet at the same time difficult for outsiders to grasp.

Hinduism extends the boundaries of the term "religion" beyond that which is described in Western faiths. Dr S. Radhakrishnan, the former President of India and renowned Oxford Professor of Eastern Religions and Ethics, has famously suggested that Hinduism is more than a religion, it is a way of life.

Kim Knott, Head of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at the University of Leeds, writes, "By doing so [that is by saying that Hinduism is a way of life], he [Radhakrishnan] made the point that it was not something separate from society and politics, from making money... and getting an education. And, like other modern Hindus, he suggested that the closest term to be found within Indian thought and practice was Hindu dharma, the law, order, truth, and duties of the Hindu people."

What are the Ultimate Goals in Hinduism?

Hindu Dharma makes an individual into a civilized person, and teaches the person to attain the path of "Moksha"(liberation, Salvation). The basic practice of morality prescribed by the Hindu sacred texts (Shastras), namely, Satya(Truth), Daya(compassion), Ahimsa(nonviolence), Brahmacharya(continence), Asteya(non-stealing), aparigraha(non-possession), and other many more, transforms an individual into a civilized or noble person. The idea Moksha matches with he ultimate of the four goals(Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha) of human life prescribed by Hinduism.

Hinduism pervades every dimension of the social, cultural and spiritual lives of the Hindus. It is alive and vibrant today in millions of homes and mandirs in India and abroad through its festivals, rituals, spiritual gurus and traditions called sampradayas. If this article added value to your knowledge then please like and share this article and comment us for any suggestions. If you have interest in Hinduism/Sanatana Dharma than please visit Spirituality section of Whatsup Guru. Namastay