On social activism:
May you earn as if by a hundred hands
And disburse by a thousand!
When you are involved in benevolent work,
your capacity to earn multiplies,
increasing a hundredfold;
Those who give in a good cause
Are surely blessed by the divine
O man, work with vigour and vitality
Drive away the demons of poverty and disease.
May your honest earnings support the people,
Engaged in benevolent deeds
For the welfare of society
Those who give charity
And look after the welfare of others
Are ever happy
May you, o man!
Realise the virtues of self-reliance
While giving charity, may I not be a miser,
May benevolence awaken my spirit of generosity
Through thy nobility and noble deeds
Earn happiness and make others happy
May thy body be an unfailing instrument
Engaged in beneficial pursuits
Awaken and enhance the progress
of noble actions
Now enrich your life
With constant hard work
And virtuous deeds
And live in the spirit of sacrifice
Following the path self-sacrifice
May you render service to humanity
On overcoming adversities
Cast of anger from your hearts
Like an arrow from the bow,
So that you may again be friends
And live together in harmony
An idle mind is easy prey to evil thoughts
Neither think nor act maliciously
Tread always the righteous path
Cultivate the strength of will power
To conquer the passionate urges of
the sense organs
Let not the wicked impulses defile our
character; let them die a natural death
Human life is like a turbulent stream, strewn with
rocks and pebbles; the brave step into it; for by sitting
on the shore and enumerating hurdles, you will never get across.
Leave behind the burden of your fears, guilts, weaknesses and
attachments. Thus freed from all negative forces, may you cross
Destroy the voracious instinct of greed
For verily, it is a wolf!
I resolve to elevate my soul to the highest peaks of spiritual joy
The supreme lord abides within the self of all beings
Thus we can clearly see that the Sanatana dharma that the Vedas outline is non-denominational, favours no particular caste, creed, sect, gender or book, and not specific to any time or place. It is humanitarian, egalitarian, progressive, ethical, ecological and spiritual. It promotes scientific knowledge(know the invisible string within the string, understand the cosmos, know the truth, know the ultimate reality) It promotes personal development(develop thy intellect, know the inner reality, refine ones character) It promotes social cohesion and equality(not one is small, all are divine, may all live in harmony and be united in thought, speech and action) It promotes social activism(do noble deeds, help the downtrodden, share ones wealth)
This is why Sanatana dharma is called Aryan, meaning noble. It is about developing noble character and doing noble deeds. It is purely about spirituality - spiritual development by conquering ones base nature(greed, anger, lust) and developing ones intellect to awaken their higher capacities like intuition. It is about transmuting the human to a sage.
This Sanatana dharma has informed the evolution of Hinduism. Hinduism has remained closer to the spirit and ideal of Sanatana dharma during the Vedic age, where Hinduism was predominantly abstract and the main practice was the original Vedic practice of contemplation, meditation and self inquiry, but then became corrupted over time declining into the primitive and superstitious form of Puranic Hinduism(where the traditions of Vaishnavism, Shiavism and Shaktism emerged) characterized by the rise in idol worship and fragmentation into various sects and denominations, and further deteriorated into barbaric and backwards practices. It was during these times that India was ravaged by invasions, which ironically were by people who were against such practices.
Sanatana dharma does not say shave your head, learn Sanskrit, go around the temple idol n number of times, accept either Vishnu or Shiva as your lord, hang yourself upside down from a tree in tadasanas; stick needles into your private parts; live your live slavishly according to the caste you have born in; perform bizarre rituals to drive away evil forces; go out on the street and beg for alms; go on pilgrimages to temples barefoot and rub and lie down on the floor and crawl your way up 300 steps to the temple; Sanatana dharma has no place for the superstitions, dogmas and dead traditions that Hinduism is steeped in today.
Sanatana Dharma has more affinity with modern humanism and global spirituality - which has rejected religion, supersititions, dogmas and dead traditions. Thus I am more closer to the mark if I say my religion is spiritual humanism, than if I say I am ‘Hindu’ It sums up my beliefs and convictions very well:
- I believe in the primacy of consciousness or spirit. In that I believe that the universe is pervaded by a divine power and this power is present within everything, everybody, including me.
- I believe in the law of karama and dharma. In that I believe that there are eternal laws that govern this universe and that they operate via cause and effect. Every action I do will have an effect.
- I believe that the highest purpose of life is to cultivate ones character and develop ones intellect to attain the divine self. Personal development, ones health is the most important value in life.
It this kind of spiritual and humanistic religion that needs to inform out 21st century world and it is this kind of religion that would be our religion in the future. Definitely not what is Hinduism today. It does not belong in a 21st century world.