Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Glory of Ancient India

Where does the Glory of Ancient India lie? It can be easily answered “Sanathana dharma”. What is so special about Sanathana Dharma? When there are other dharma’s too.

It’s unfortunate that when ever I read any book on sanathana dharma, author make sure to mention Chaturvarna and varnashrama. These are just the social norms as Swami Vivekananda puts it across and nothing to do with sanathana dharma.
No doubt they were followed in Ancient India in true sense, let me not deviate. Just question yourselves if there is no varnashrama and chaturvarana [Bramhana, Kshatriya, shudra and vaishya] can our dharma exist? Surely it will exist and continue to exist and will make its statement stronger, because they are not the foundations of dharma. May I ask the reader where is the varnashrama followed to its fullest and what is the state of chaturvarna.

Depending on information one possesses he visualizes Sanathana dharma, for one it may be the different stages in life like anna prashana, namakarana, upanayana, vivaha etc. But these are social customs and also exist in other religions in one are the other forms. Then you might say the mantras, the prayers. Ah again I say there are sacred poems, lines and prayers in other religions too.

Then another might say, yes it’s the Vedas and Bhagawad geetha. Ah again you lost it, might be true partially, I have read some lines in quran and Bible, they are equally brilliant if not all of the lines comparable to our scriptures. Just read Gandhi and Vivekananda, Rama Krishna paramahamsa you will come to know how thrilled they were with teachings of Jesus.

Then what is it that makes our dharma stand apart, embraced by people across the globe.

Why did the Great sages and Acharyas fall back to Sanathana dharma, just with their will power they could have created a different dharma. But they did not dare to do that.
But other religions went on getting amended but same time forgetting its roots, some did not change at all. But sanathana dharma did not have to suffer this. Yes you are right the distinctiveness i.e. present in sanathana dharma is
a) Freedom.
b) Thought process.


It’s this Freedom that lacks in other Dharmas which made them forget their roots and they stuck, sang and praised few set of rules. Thus they lost the visualization of the entirety and hence they could not appreciate the world as a whole, hence some could not respect other men and looked down upon others. Yes it’s this lack of freedom that increased their appetite to conquer the world . It’s this lack of freedom made the thoughts of their followers narrow and narrow.

I would like to quote Sri Aurobindo here; he says the three major beautiful interpretations about relation of GOD and Man the Dvaitha, vishistadvaita and Advaitha are the result of this freedom. Hence with this freedom sprang different form of devotions ranging from Karma to Bhakti to Jnana. With this freedom we worship idols and also the formless. You will also witness charvakha in our history, the atheist philosophy. It’s the freedom nothing else. Now no doubt you can understand the meaning of this English Quote “Eternal vigilance is the price for the freedom”.

Though process:-
Yes, some say Zeus when you say Indra. When you say Vyasa , they can counter with Homer. You say Mount Meru they say Olympus. It will never end. It seems clear when we witness what Vivekananda says about two thinking civilization of the world

They discovered that there was no limit to the power of mind; they therefore sought to master that. Their activity turned outwards, and they developed the external arts and outward liberty

The Hindu has always sought spiritual liberty.

One would appreciate the thought process of Ancient India very well when you read the below words of Sri Rabindranath Tagore

Once, seeking perfection. Man engaged in external forms, in rituals and ceremonies. At last, in the language of the Gita, he declared that the sacrifice which is comprehended in the inner culture [jyan yajna] is superior to material sacrifices [dravhyamaya yajna] i.e. outward culture

So Both Greeks and Indians started something similar praying fire and mountains finding truth outside but Indians were able to find a path that turned inwards. The journey towards the self i.e. the soul. No doubt the biggest contribution to the world by Ancient India is the declaration of the Upanishad “tatvam asi” to mean “you are already enlightened” or “every being has potential to become the infinite”.
The Journey that started with Rig Veda performing dravyamaya yajna i.e. material sacrifices ended with Upanishad saying “Ekam sath vipra bahuda vadanti”. [One Truth, Many Paths]


  1. Very nice write up on Sanathana Dharma. This write up educated me on various aspects of this amazing Dharma.

    As you put it very rightly, the freedom it provides along with a list of guidelines to start one's way of life is a key to it being eternal (Sanathana). The possible interpretations of this "anaadi anantha" dharma tends to infinity.

    The other aspect that I like about this Dharma is the recursive and inclusive nature in every step.

    || Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitaha ||

    Not to forget the inward journey that is emphasized (the essence of the mahavakyas) which should solve all the riddles related to existence and the unknown.

    Am very thankful for you for writing on these invaluable topics and educating us.

    || पिबन्ति नद्य: स्वयम् एव न अम्भ: स्वयं न खादन्ति फलानि वॄक्षा: |
    न अदन्ति सस्यं खलु वारिवाहा परोपकाराय सतां विभूतय: ||

  2. Thanks for you comment Sriram. With this i enhanced my understanding of the vakya || Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitaha ||.