Get to know religion or dharma in short
Religion or Dharma is a word that has no direct translation or explanation. Yet it implies ‘religion,’ ‘duty,’ and
‘righteousness.’ It derives from a Sanskrit root word.
Explanation about dharma and its related natural laws
Dharma is an important term especially in Indian religions. In Hinduism it means ‘duty’, ‘virtue’, ‘morality’, even ‘religion’. It refers to the power which upholds the universe and society. Hindus generally believe that dharma has its mention in the Vedas. Dharma has the power to maintain balance in the society. It makes the grass
grow, the sun shine, and makes us moral people. Besides that it gives humans the opportunity to act virtuously.
In another words dharma is a general conduct that upholds universal natural laws. If any form of humankind
follows these laws, it allows them to be happy and prevent suffering. It’s a combination of morality and spiritual
discipline that guides one in living one’s life.
Dharma and its multiple meanings
Dharma is a concept with multiple meanings within Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Buddhism. Dharma in Hinduism revolves around various elements. Such as laws, virtues, duties, rights, and the proper way of living. Buddhism connects Dharma with Buddha’s teachings of cosmic law and order. Jainism views it as the moral transformation and purification of humans. Sikhism sees Dharma as correct religious practices. For them it is also a duty towards God, and the road to virtue.
Dharma is not the same for everyone. Different people have different obligations and duties. It all depends upon their age, gender, and social position. Dharma is universal but it is also particular and operates within concrete circumstances. Each person thus has it’s own dharma known as sva-dharma. What is
correct for a woman might not be for a man or what is correct for an adult might not be for a child.
The term “religion” has remained either a source of great inspiration for some. This has helped in bringing peace and harmony in society. On contrary it has been a source of great anxiety for others. As a result it brings disunity and disparity among individuals, communities and nations. This is largely because of man-made religious systems which are rampant in the present Age of Kali.
It is the age of quarrel and misunderstanding. For most people, religion remains somewhat abstract, nebulous and difficult to define. However, religion can best be understood and defined when we consider the Sanskrit term “dharma”. This is an essential word in the Vedic literatures. Indeed, without understanding what is dharma in its deepest sense, even practicing devotees will tend to misjudge what is religion and what is not religion.
Religion as Dharma
Religion is generally defined and understood as some spiritual belief which is based on faith. We have observed that people sometimes change their faith. From a Christian they become a Muslim, or from being a Hindu they turn to Christianity, etc. Dharma, on the other hand, refers to something which does not change or cannot be changed.
As it is based on facts and reality which is further supported by philosophy and confirmed by scriptures. Dharma refers to the original nature or character of something or someone. We can easily understand that all things have their natural characteristics which cannot be changed. Therefore, service is the common and universal dharma of all human beings; either service to the family, community or nation, but generally service to our own self. Dharma is thus known to be something common and universal to all living entities.
A final say on Religion or Dharma
Therefore, religion refers to the natural identity and character of all spirit souls. Hence is meant to be a common concept for all concerned. When we have that understanding, we can more easily accept that religion, iis one and universal. Due to lack of this understanding, we have created artificial differences between religious beliefs.
We keep calling one group Christian, another Hindu, another Buddhist, etc. The spirit soul is of the same nature in all forms of life and at all times. Therefore, the religion is also meant to be the same. Understanding and acting on the platform of our eternal identify as eternal spirit souls is the real religion. Correct action under dharma is also understood as service to humanity and to God. This idea has become known as sanatana dharma in the puranas – texts of antiquity.
Want to explore and understand beyond religion and dharma you can have a look at Shiva and Parvati: Symbol of Love, Devotion, and Faithfulness