Sanatana Dharma

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. 

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My Life: Renunciation vs The World

Having recently returned from a journey of ascetic solitude in the Himalayas, disciplined practice at a monastery and delightful wandering in the Buddha’s footsteps – I face the challenge of having to re-integrate into daily life in the United Kingdom.

I am grateful for the opportunity to engage in my annual sojourn of solitude. At the end of said journey, without fail, every year – I am plagued by a desire to renounce the world and return to what feels like my real home. Many fail to understand why?

Let me explain – My journey of solitude is not one of luxury. It usually involves trekking in challenging environmental conditions and with very few amenities. It means early mornings (3am), disciplined practice, diet of rice and veg, one meal per day and long hours of labour or walking. Nights are spent in ashrams, lodgings or tents where a thin cotton mattress is the ultimate luxury and relief from the icy wind fills you with gratitude.

These journeys can be emotionally challenging as well. For as you trek through the mountains, you meet people – you experience their lives, their hopes, their pain. You hear stories that form knots in your throat that no amount of tears can undo. And you form bonds with the little people, those innocent, love-personified, children of the mountains. And no matter how much it breaks your heart, you have to leave them – for there is always more work to be done elsewhere. These mountains are huge.

And although I come to a comfortable home, warm bed, abundance of food – a life of relative luxury – all I crave is to go back.

Last year, while in the mountains – I had decided to break convention, renounce the world and just stay on. A dear friend and teacher, Vivek, convinced me otherwise. “You have too much work to do,” he said. “You are in a privileged position to be able to make a difference in the world. Live your dharma. If we all escaped to our “homes in the mountain”, who is going to do the work that needs doing?”

So, I came back to earn the funds, that enable me to support the people and projects that need support. I came back because I am told that its my duty to do so. I came back because of the bonds created in trying to earn those funds and perform those duties. Life is a web of entanglement. When you are unaware of this – it fills you with desire. When you become aware – it fills you with despair.

Hence renunciation is the easier path – for it allows you to escape this web. Living in the world is the real challenge. For even when the mind is untangled – duty keeps you bound.

Promise to Self: For as long as I am duty-bound, I will fight the good fight.

Suggestions and guidance – most appreciated!

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What is Dharma?

Dharma is an ancient Indian concept. Over the centuries it has been integrated into various eastern religious and spiritual doctrines. Due to its long and varied history, it is often mis-understood.

There is no single word for dharma in English. A few authors have attempted to translate dharma and have come up with over 20 different translations including “law, order, duty, custom, nature, practice, purpose, quality, statute”. However each of these words is incomplete. Even a combination of these concepts do not convey a complete sense of dharma. Hence the word dharma has become a widely accepted loanword in English. In common parlance – dharma is taken to mean “right way of living” or “path of righteousness”.

In ancient Indian philosophy, dharma includes two aspects –

  1. Yuga Dharma which refers to laws that apply to a particular age.
  2. Sanatana Dharma refers to eternal law or the unchanging cosmic principals.

Yuga Dharma

Yuga Dharma is somewhat simpler to understand – it involves adhering to the rules that govern a particular period in history. There was however an inherent understanding that these rules would be transient and may change in the future. Yuga Dharma is the legal or social rules that we currently agree.

Sanatana Dharma

To understand Sanatana 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.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.