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Sanatana Dharma:Hinduism's Timeless Legacy&Ongoing Evolution



  Sep 28, 2023

What is 'Sanatana Dharma'?



'Sanatana Dharma' is a term often used to describe Hinduism. It signifies an ancient and enduring way of life and belief system. It is not bound by a single founder, creed, or holy book but is characterized by a continuous search for truth based on evolving experiences.

'Sanatana Dharma' encompasses a vast array of beliefs, practices, and philosophies within the Hindu tradition.

Arguments Surrounding 'Sanatana Dharma'

Progressive vs. Conservative: In contemporary discussions, there is an ongoing debate between those who identify as progressive within Hinduism
and those who align themselves with a more conservative or orthodox interpretation. The term 'Sanatana Dharma' has been at the center of this debate.

Critique of Orthodoxy: Critics of orthodoxy argue that the prefix 'Sanatana' has been used by certain factions to emphasize the permanence of ancient textual doctrines,
resisting change and reform within Hinduism. They see this as hindering progress and inclusivity.

Reform Movements: Throughout history, various reform movements within Hinduism, such as Arya Samaj and the Ramakrishna Mission, have sought to challenge traditional practices, including untouchability and idol worship. These reformers did not disown 'Sanatana Dharma' but aimed to reform and evolve it.

Reform Movements and 'Sanatana Dharma'

Swami Dayananda Saraswati referred to 'Vedic Dharma' as 'Sanatana Nityadharma,' emphasizing the eternal and timeless nature of the religion while advocating for reforms.

Mahatma Gandhi, a proud 'Sanatani,' played a significant role in bringing women into the mainstream of Indian society, demonstrating that reform can be a part of 'Sanatana Dharma.'

Swami Vivekananda, before Sree Narayana Guru's movement, criticized the state of Hinduism in Kerala but did so from a perspective deeply rooted in 'Sanatana Dharma.' He advocated for dynamism and reform within the religion.

Conclusion

'Sanatana Dharma' represents the enduring and evolving nature of Hinduism, open to interpretation and reform. While debates may continue over its meaning and application, it remains a fundamental aspect of the rich tapestry of Hindu belief and practice.
Icons like Swami Vivekananda and Subramania Bharati have demonstrated that 'Sanatana Dharma' can accommodate reform and progress within its timeless framework.


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