Sanātana dharma meaning “eternal order” is the what underlies all Indian philosophy. It was the main cosmological explanation in the Indian subcontinent. The adherence to Sanātana dharma is what evolved into modern Hinduism. Many say that Hinduism is the new new name for Sanātana dharma – this is untrue as Sanātana dharma was never a religion but a way of life. In ancient India, there was no religion. Sanātana dharma was about understanding the fundamentals of the universe and living by those principals. Hence it was more science than religion.
The word Hindu was of Persian origin, it is what the Persians called the people who lived to the east of the River Sindh.
To understand Sanātana dharma – you need to understand three underlying concepts – Rta, Maya and Karma.
Rta is the principal which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything in it (including humans) – it is akin to the fundamental forces described by modern science. Sanatana Dharma involves honouring these fundamental forces.
However, as most humans cannot even perceive these natural forces – living this concept has historically come with detailed instructions and the need for a spiritual guide. This concept is what inspired many enlightened teachers – like Buddha.
It is also this concept that gave rise to the various meditation, yoga and tantric practices. These practices were used to develop your body and mind so you may perceive and live in accordance with Rta. Living in Rta means living your dharma.
However, if your perception or consciousness is unclear then you are prone to being led astray by misguided goals. These misguided goals may have short term benefits but are detrimental in the long term. Misguided goals are due to Maya. Maya means fraud, deception, illusion – it refers to anything that misleads and creates disorder.
The world as most of us perceive it, is often referred to as Maya. We know that if we looked through a giant microscope – we will see a very different picture. Yet, we decide to make the material world our reality.
Maya is contrary to Rta. And Maya conditions us to behave in a self-limiting manner. This self limiting behaviour results in karma.
The only way to overcome karma is to train your mind and body to live your Dharma. Live your truth!
Dharma is to do whatever you do practically, skilfully for the benefit of all beings. Dharma is purity of heart.
Response from a Nun to Bethany Hughes question “What is Dharma?”
Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.