The Sanatan Dharma: The Hindu Vision Of Life


The Hindu Ideal: To interpret the Hindu ideal, one must vindicate its place and purpose in the environment of modern life. Religion is an inner experience. This is the truth emphasised by the Rishis of the Upanishads. But the vindication of the inner, mystical experience is at once rational and practical.
Once India was great. Once scholars came from China to India as to a Holy Land. Once thinkers and mystics from ancient Greece came here to pay homage to India as the Guru among the nations. Once India stood upon heights of culture and civilisation. The Pythagorean Brotherhood was regulated by the discipline of Brahminical and Buddhist orders. India was great for India stood for supremacy of the soul.
Hindu seers from the Vedic days and the epoch of the Upanishads and the Gita down to the period of saints have sung of the soul, The Atman as One Reality of Life. How to come out of the realm of the finite, the realm of maya, into the kingdom of Eternity, the Realm of the Infinite- is the supreme task of the Yogis and Rishis of the Hindu Religion.
It is wrong to label Hinduism as fetichism or polytheism or idolatry. The jact is the Hindu Faith is full of symbols. For the Great Mystery is Nameless. God defined is God denied! The Nameless One may only be named by symbols. India’s philosophy, literature, educational systems and political organisations were built on a basis of the intuition of the One Life in all. The value of this for modern life cannot be exaggerated. One Life in all! Therefore, away with hate. Hate must disintegrate into anarchy. The very struggle for Swaraj becomes vital only when we feel that we are out for freedom as servants of the One whose joy is in creating Beauty and Freedom. The nations are at strife with one another. Europe is a house of hate. The antagonisms of the nations will not vanish until the idea has grown into us of the One Divine Life in all nations. How to incorporate this idea in appointments and institutions of life is the problem of New politics.
On the practical side religion emphasises Shakti. In shakti must we build a new social order. The Hindu Faith does not deny evil. Life on the plane of maya, the plane of the manifestation seems so oft to be a tragedy. This broken world of separation and strife, the soul gives out: Where is the image of God? We may see the image of God through the image of saints and seers, the avataras and light-bringers of the human race. And the great ones of history come to rescue the image of God from the Chaos and Wreckage of history. The greatest in Hindu History have been those who loved and served the poor. Rama the barriers of Shabri. Krishna loved to be called “Friend of the poor.” Buddha renounced the palace and joined the Brotherhood of the poor.
We live in difficult days. The darkness around us is deepening. The true Hindu ideal, alas! Is much neglected in practice. I have heard many say: We are proud of the Rishis! I am tempted to ask: Are the Rishis proud of us? Young people are therefore, appealed to rescue the image of the Lord of Love and place it in a new purified social setting! Hindu youths are requested to purge with faith and fire and try their best to give the message of the Rishis to a world stript of kindness, loveliness and spiritual life! It is imperative on their part to reword the message to an Age that has yet to know that the way of the soul is the only way!
We know that we stand on the threshold of a New Age- an Age destined to witness important reconstructions in world relations. In these reconstructions East and West should make their presence and power felt. The East should turn to the West to learn arts and sciences, to study the spirit of her culture, to assimilate the message of her poets and prophets of Freedom. The West should turn to the hoary-headed East to learn her ancient wisdom, to develop the mystic sense, to recognise nature not alone the laboratory of the scientists but as a sanctuary of the spirit, to receive training in the school of meditation, to grow in the spirit of idealism, to know what Sanatan Dharma praches and what is its Vision of Life and to practise the presence of God in practical life.
The message of Sanatan Dharma is the message of the Future. It must reconcile the World of empiric reality, the world of thought and the world of ideal values. It must unify experience.
It must satisfy the mystical need, calling man to direct communion with the Atman. It must satisfy the rational need, recognising the claims of culture, accepting the scientific method and the deliverances of reflective consciousness.
It must satisfy the moral need, vindicating the veracity of moral consciousness and the moral obligatoriness of dharma, the Law of Right Living.
It must satisfy the social need, recognising the vital value of the great secular movements of the age aiming at social and political progress.
It must satisfy the deep spiritual need, giving a new synthesis of nature, man and God.
It must satisfy the aesthetic sense of harmony, reconciling science and faith, work and worship, communion and action, the spiritual and the secular and all religions and all races and all scriptures and all prophets in the one whose vision is Beauty, Truth and Love.
In many ways the Hindu vision of Life has been expressed by Hindu poets and sages, as we read in the Vedas and Upanishads, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, the Puranas and the song Immortal of Sri Krishna. It diverse forms is the vision of Life reflected in many coloured dome of Maya. The centre-point round which these different forms revolve is indicated by the world: Shakti. Life is Shakti. Dharma is Shakti. There we have one of the greatest utterances of the Hindu soul as voiced in literature and art.
The “Superman” of Hindu history is Sri Rama. He is regarded as Avatara of Shakti. He is an ideal knight of Aryavarta. Sri Rama’s is a story which thrills with action. And still we read in India’s villages the thrilling story of old. But we know not that the message of Sri Rama is essentially a message of selfless Action-a message of sacrifice.
Foolish it is to say that the ancient Hindus were a nation of “dreamers.” Why the very name of “India,” as we may read in the ancient books, was Karambhumi, “the Land of Action.”
And He whom Hindu India adores as the very picture of God-life enacted upon this earth-plane, as the Purna Avatara of Hidden Splendour, Sri Krishna says in the Gita: “I also, Act!” And action flowers in sacrifice.
The Sanatan Dharma, understood aright, the Religion of the Ages, the Eternal Dharma, is the Dharma of Action offered as sacrifice. The call of the Sanatan Dharma is a call of self-realisation through sacrifice. We know of no nobler message for the youth of India at this hour of India’s piteous need. Sacrifice is the seed of true national life. And they are deathless who die offering daily sacrifice to the Mystery that is God.
The purpose of “Life” is to serve and sacrifice. Sacrifice and service of humanity go hand in hand in Sanatan Dharma. It is the only Dharma which tells us to infuse all our actions with an idea of service and sacrifice. It imbibes in us the spirit of surrendering all our actions to the Lord. They are flowers; they are means to carry us heaven ward; offer them to the image of the Lord. With action on one side and devotion on the other, combining both karma and bhakti, make our life more and more beautiful.
Let us, therefore, pray to the Lord for the spirit of service and sacrifice. Prayer will help us experience peace, health and plenty, because Sanatan Dharma pleads that prayer is man’s stead effort to know God, and God is the source of all man’s good.
(The writer is President Home of Aged & Infirm, Ambphalla, Jammu)

Editorial editorial article