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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What is Karma?

As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil deeds of another. The outcome of any action is of the same quality as the action.

— Mahabharata, xii.291.22

The Indian concept of karma developed and evolved over centuries. The earliest Upanishads (Indian Classical Texts) began with questions about how and why man is born, and what happens after death. This led to theories of cause and effect. These theories then evolved into the diverse concepts of karma

Over time, various ideas developed as did many different definitions of karma. Central to all these definitions was the relationship between karma and causality. Karma – was described as action, deeds, intention as well as the outcome of ones action. Hence karma was both cause and effect.

Some Indian schools of philosophy described karma as deterministic – which meant that you were bound to past actions with no ability to change the outcome. These schools seem to claim that you are determined by your DNA with no option to improve your circumstances.

Others, made room for free will, moral agency and human effort in enabling you to mitigate the effects of past deeds. These schools of Indian thought seem to have pre-empted the modern concept of epigenetics.

The Yoga school of Indian philosophy was one such school – it claimed that human effort could overcome biological and physiological constraints. In Yoga, karma from past lives (akin to modern concepts of Genetics – DNA or conditioning) is of secondary value. The Yoga system proposes that it is one’s current actions and practices that alter behaviour, physiology, and psychology. Regular actions or practices may lead one to entanglement or enlightenment.

There is more to your downward dog or Vriksasana than you think. Body reconditioning is the motivating force. And reconditioning can alter karma.

An important point to understand is that there is no essentially good or bad karma. It is about acting appropriately in every given moment.

For more information about responding appropriately to life – read the article on 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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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.