Sanatan Dharam is the world’s most ancient culture and the spiritual path of almost one billion of the earth’s inhabitants. Followers of Sanatan Dharam are known a Dharmis (“followers of Dharam”). Though the majority of followers today are Indian( south Asian), Sanatan Dharam is a global spiritual path that has adherents from almost every nationality, race and ethnic group in the world, including an ever increasing number of Americas. There are approximately 5 million followers in America, of which roughly are third are from India and the majority (3.5 million) are non-Indians Americans (whites, Hispanics, African-Americans, etc.). Statistics aside, Sanatan Dharam represents much more than just a religion in the normative sense of the term; rather, it provides its followers an entire way of life and with a coherent and rational view of reality.
Sanatan Dharam Is by its very essence a term that is devoid of sectarian leanings, denominational prejudices or ideological divisions. This is the evident by the meaning of the very term itself. The two words, “Sanatan Dharam”, come from the ancient Sanskrit word. “Sanatan” is a Sanskrit word that denotes “that which does not cease to be”,“that which is eternal”.
The word “Dharam”, on the other hand, is a term that is only properly rendered into the English language with a bit of difficulty. This is the case because the word “Dharam” is describing, not an object, but rather a profound philosophical concept. Its approximate meaning is “Natural Law” or “The Natural Way” or those principles of reality which are inherent in the very nature and design of the universe. Thus the term “Sanatan Dharam” can be roughly translated to mean “The Eternal Way of Life”.
Dharam – Natural Law – is Universal. Dharam is eternal. Dharam is nothing less than God’s law as they are manifest in the nature world around us. Sanatan Dharam is referring to those natural principles and ways of being that in concert with the Absolute. Being a direct reflection of God’s will in this world, such principles are therefore axiomatic, unalterable, laws oh the cosmos. The term Sanatan Dharam is not referring to something that is open to alternation, speculation or human manipulation. Neither is Sanatan Dharam referring merely to some denominational faith or sectarian belief system. The principles of Dharam are transcendent and eternal laws, and thus applicable to all people for all time.
Sanatan Dharam is the original name of what is now properly called Hinduism or Hindu Dharam. The term Hindu or Hinduism is said to be a more recent development, while the more accurate term is Sanatan Dharam. It is a code of ethics, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha (enlightenment, liberation). It is the world’s most ancient culture, socio, spiritual and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth’s inhabitants.
Sanatan Dharam represents much more than just a religion; rather, it provides its followers with an entire worldview, way of life and which a coherent and rational view of reality.
The world is made up of three tendencies called gunas: sattvic, rajsic and tamasic. Sattvic are those that are pure, clean, good, wholesome, calming and peaceful. Rajasic tendencies are those that are active, moving, indecisive and forceful. Tamasic tendencies are those that are inert, lazy, dull and dark. If it were not for these three tendencies, we would not exist. Everything is a mixture of them. Even a saint, who is primarily sattvic, has some level of rajas and tamas in him/her, however small.