Hinduism is Sanatana
Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami , 2009-08-21
Hinduism is eternal, comprehensive, complex and has a place for everyone. The truth is inside the soul. Mold and control the contents of the mind. Tat Tvam Asi -- That art Thou.
This is from Gurudeva's lesson of the day.
"Hinduism is the most dynamic religion on the planet, the most comprehensive and comprehending. The Hindu is completely filled with his religion all of the time. It is a religion of love. The common bonds uniting all Hindus into a singular spiritual body are the laws of karma and dharma, the belief in reincarnation, all-pervasive Divinity, the ageless traditions and our Gods. Our religion is a religion of closeness, one to another, because of the common bond of loving the same Gods. All Hindu people are a one family, for we cannot separate one God too far from another. Each in it's heavenly realm is also of a one family, a divine hierarchy which governs and has governed the Hindu religion from time immemorial, and will govern Sanatana Dharma on into the infinite."
So that's a useful word there, in the first sentence: "Hinduism is comprehensive." Covers a lot of different areas of life and sometimes, instead of saying comprehensive, we say complex. And sometimes that turns into a question. Why is Hinduism such a comprehensive religion? Why can't it be simpler? Well, one of the good answers is: Well, if it was simpler then it would leave certain people out. Because the simpler you get the narrower the teachings are and it'll drop people off. They won't be able to relate to what you are teaching. It'll be too simple or too advanced. So, because Hinduism is comprehensive it has a place for everyone. So, sometimes I've called complexity but comprehensive is a better word. There was a swami we met, I guess it was his teacher we met in South India. We heard his tape recording and it was explaining why Hinduism was such a complicated religion and that was his answer. He said: "Well, because it has a place for everyone." Doesn't leave anyone out.
"Hinduism was never created, never founded as a religion. Therefore, it can never end. Until the Persians attached the name Hindu to those people living east of the river Indus, and the name Hinduism later evolved to describe their religious practices, this ancient faith bore a different title--the Sanatana Dharma, the Eternal Truth. The understanding was that within every man the germ or cell of his total affinity with God exists as the perennial inspiration of his spiritual quest and wellspring of all revelation. This enduring sense of an ever-present Truth that is God within man is the essence of the Sanatana Dharma. Such an inherent reality wells up lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, unfolding the innate perfection of the soul as man comes more fully into the awakened state of seeing his total and complete oneness with God."
Well that's of course, the most mystical definition or look at Hinduism. That it's sanatana, it's eternal. And it's within us; it's not outside. You don't have to look around and find a book to find this truth. The truth is inside the soul. So Gurudeva explains it quite nicely: "Wells up lifetime after lifetime." Well why does it well up? Well it wells up when the soul reaches a certain maturity. Those of you who have raised a number of children, I'm sure, have had the experience that every thing's fine with the toys and then all of a sudden, the child outgrows the toy. It seems a childish toy. Too old. So it's the way it happens; you grow up and then you need a higher truth. So in the same sense the soul goes up and gets tired of just experiencing that which is outside of it and eventually wants something that is profounder. So then there's that search that just naturally clicks in. So the search is inherent in the soul itself. That's the idea. When the soul reaches a certain maturity it starts turning within and saying: "Well let's see. The outside world isn't quite what I thought it was. Maybe there's something more to life." And that's the search that Gurudeva's talking about.
"Such an inherent reality wells up lifetime after lifetime after lifetime, unfolding the innate perfection of the soul as man comes more into the awakened state of seeing his total and complete oneness with God."
So I was reading this on the web and you know how the web is you find one thing and you want to go find something else, right? It's terrible that way. So I said perennial. Ok. Perennial philosophy reminded me of Aldous Huxley's book called Perennial Philosophy. So there it was on Goggle Books. So I, Goggle Books is terrible, you can't print Goggle Books, you know. So I had to take a photograph -- what is, what's the name of it -- Grab. I had to use grab and photograph the page and save the page and print the page as a safe page. So, it makes you work hard and the type is just terrible, you know. They just really produce a product that makes you want to use another product.
So, it was interesting, I just grabbed a, you know, looked at the first two pages to remind myself what it was about. I remember reading it years ago. So, he starts out in Chapter One: "Studying the perennial philosophy we can begin either at the bottom with practice and morality or at the top with consideration of metaphysical truths or finally, in the middle at the focal point where mind and matter, action and thought, have their meeting place in human psychology." So, what a beautiful statement. But I related it more to the statement itself. It describes Gurudeva's teachings. And again we were looking at the word comprehensive. So Gurudeva doesn't present just one of these three viewpoints which some philosophers or religious teachers, they grab onto just one or maybe two, but not all three.
So Gurudeva in the Trilogy in particular, details all three aspects of the approach. So, starts out very simply. We have our yamas and niyamas, what's right and wrong, basic principles of life, don't get angry and so forth. You know we have all the practical matters. And as it points out here: Where mind and matter meet is the middle point. So that is understanding the mind, understanding the subconscious mind, using affirmations, clearing out the mind through vasana daha tantra, writing down the past and burning it up. We have all these techniques to work with and mold the contents of the mind and control the mind.
And then we have the high metaphysical truths that man is God and profound meditations that Gurudeva has mapped out in the Shum language. So we have all three areas within Gurudeva's teachings. So I thought that was nice to see that reflected in his way of looking at the great teachers of the world, religious teachers.
There's an example of Buddha. He says: "The lower gate is that preferred by strictly practical teachers. Men who, like Buddha, have no use for speculation and his primary concern is to put out in men's hearts the hideous fires of greed, resentment and infatuation." Nicely said.
Goes on to explain the search to realize one's Self. "Based upon the direct experience of those who have fulfilled the necessary conditions of such knowledge this teaching is expressed most succinctly in the Sanskrit formula: 'Tat Tvam Asi' -- That art Thou. The Atman or eminent eternal Self is one with Brahman. The absolute principle of all existence. And the last end of every human being is to discover the fact for himself. To find out who he really is."
So, nicely said. So that's the idea there that Hinduism is sanatana, it's eternal. Don't have to look for a scripture to find these truths, they're inside of us, always been there and eventually every person comes to the point in life where the soul starts getting interested in that aspect of life. It's just a natural process. Not everyone does it in the same lifetime. Otherwise we'd put Madison Avenue out of business. You know, we wouldn't buy anything anymore. Don't want to do that, they have to make a living too.
Thank you very much.
[End of transcript.]