From: Dr Ranjeet Singh < >
What is Dharma, and what is Religion
Dear Shree Nitin Mehta jee,
We were glad to know that you were invited to address Inter-Faith Group of East-Bourne. But some points in the gist of your talk posted by you do not seem true and in accord with facts. They therefore ask for elucidation and substantiation.
You described Hindu Dharma as a religion; could we know how?
Are these two words synonyms? Do they mean and denote the same? We think not.
So far as we know and our knowledge and understanding goes, they have, they carry and denote separate and different meanings, message and signification.
The word Religion according to the Chambers Dictionary is:
“belief in, acceptance of, or non-rational sense of, a superhuman unseen controlling power or powers, with the emotion and morality connected therewith: rites or worship: any system of such belief or worship.”
But Dharma on the other hand is and has been defined in the Hindu scriptures as:
· यतोऽभ्युदय निःश्रेयससिद्धिः स धर्मः। (वैशेशिक द० १:१)
· जगतः स्थितिकारणं,
प्राणिनां साक्षात् अभ्युदयनिःश्रेयसहेतुः यः,
स धर्मो ब्रह्मणाद्यैर्वर्णिभिराश्रमिभिश्च,
श्रेयोर्थिभिरनुष्ठीयमानः। (शां० गी० भा०)
· धर्मेण पाममपनुदति। धर्मे सर्वं प्रतिष्ठितम्।
तस्माद् धर्मं परमं वदन्ति। (तैत्ति० आर०)
· धर्मेण गमनमूर्धवं गमनमधस्तात् भवत्यधर्मेण। (सांख्य कारिका)
· धारणाद् धर्ममित्याहुः धर्मो धारयते प्रजाः।
यत् स्याद् धारणसंयुक्तं स धर्म इति निश्चयः॥ (महा कर्ण प ६९:५८)
· धर्मो विश्वस्य जगतः प्रतिष्ठा। (तैत्ति० आर०)
· धारको धर्मः। (व्यास:)
· ध्रियतेऽनेन इति धर्मः। (व्यास:)
· धार्यते लोकम् इति धर्मः।
· ध्रियते लोकोऽनेन इति धर्मः।
· धरति लोकम् इति वा धर्मः।
· धर्मेण धार्यते लोक:। (चा० सू० अ १)
· धारणाद् धृतिरित्यर्थाद् धातोर्धर्मः प्रकीर्तितः।
अधारणेऽमहत्त्वे च अधर्मं इति उच्यते॥ ( वायु पु० ५७:५८)
· धनानि स्रौतिः इति धर्मः।
· वर्षति अभीष्टान् कामान् इति वृषः = धर्मः।
· या विभर्ति जगत्सर्वं ईश्वरेच्छा ह्यलौकिकी।
सैव धर्मो हि सुभगे! नेह कश्चन संशयः॥
· विहित कर्म जन्यो धर्मः। अविहित कर्मजन्योऽधर्मः। (न्याय द०)
· कर्मजन्योऽभ्युदयनिःश्रेयसहेतुः, अपूर्वाख्य आत्मगुणो धर्म:। (गौ०ध०सू०, मिताक्षरावृत्ति)
· सुखस्य मूलम् धर्मम्। (चा० सू० १:१)
· निरालम्बा निराधारा विश्वाधारो वसुन्धरा।
यच्चावतिष्टते तत्र धर्मादन्यन्न कारणम्॥ (यो०शा० ४:८०)
· श्रुत्युक्त-लिङ्ग-लोट-तव्य-प्रत्यय लक्षण-लक्षिता।
चोदना सैव नान्या सा पुराण श्रुतिचोदिता॥ (आङ्गिरस स्मृ १:४)
· प्राप्नुवन्ति यतः स्वर्गमोक्षौ धर्मपरायणे!।
मानवा मुनिभिर्नूनं स धर्म इति कथ्यते॥
In short, it is the power/ the force/ the Shakti that preserves/ holds/ maintains and sustains the entire creation and produces the feeling of Sukha, Aatma Sukha and ultimately leading to Liberation/ Moksha or Mukti.
Now how is this known what dharma is? The answer is: from the Vedaadi Shaastras. We substantiate:
· शास्त्र योनित्वात्। (Braah. Soo. 1:1:3)
· वेद प्रणिहितो धर्मो ह्यधर्मस्तद्विपर्ययः। (Bhaag 6:1:40)
· श्रुतिस्मृति विहितो धर्मः। (Vasisht Dh. Soo. 1:4:6)
· चोदना लक्षणोऽर्थो धर्मः। (Poo. Mima. 1:1:2)
· वेदोऽइख्लो धर्ममूलम् स्मृतिशीले च तत्विदाम्। (Manu 2:6)
· वेदप्रणिहितं कर्म धर्मस्तन्मङ्गलं परम्।
प्रतिषिद्धक्रियासाध्यः स गुणोऽधर्म उच्यते॥
· धर्मं जिज्ञास्मानानां प्रमाणं परमं श्रुतिः॥ (मनु:२:१३)
चोदना चैव नान्या सा पुराणश्रुतिचोदिता॥ (अङ्गिरस स्मृ १:४)
वेदाः स्थानानि विद्यानां धर्मस्य च चतुर्दश॥ याज्ञ०१:३
An important point and feature disclosed by the Shaastras is that it is Aachaara Prabhava – born out of conduct – and said to be Param/ supreme/ or highest Dharma:
· आचार: परमो धर्मः श्रुत्युक्तः स्मार्त एव च। मनु: १:१०८
· आचाराद्विच्युतो विप्रो न वेद फलमश्नुते।
आचारेण तु संयुक्तः सम्पूर्णफलभाग्भवेत्॥ १०९
· आचारः परमोधर्म: सर्वेषामिति निश्चयः।
हीनाचार परितात्मा प्रेत्य चेह च नश्यति॥ वसि० ध० सू० ६:१
· आचार प्रभवो धर्म:।
· अनाचारद् धर्म हानिः। शु० नी० ३:२१४
When that is so how could religion be or said to be a synonym of Dharma, and Hindu or Sanaatana Dharma could be called and designated as religion? How could it be included in that category and dealt with, compartmented and classified with them?
You have written next:
“Known as the Aryan people they had settled in many parts of the world.”
That would mean you are still sticking, subscribing and clinging to the long discarded, refuted, dismissed and rejected so called Aryan Invasion theory of the sly Westerners and their agent musketeers: Christian Missionaries.
Could we know Nitin jee how the word ‘Arya’ has – and can have – a racial connotation so that one could claim: “they had settled in many parts of the world”?
Were we aliens/ foreigners in our own land, this holy land we address as ‘Mother’, were born in and inherited from our ancestors and had lived and died for? Does that and would that not mean we had migrated into it from outside and settled here and were therefore not its original indigenous inhabitants?
The theory put forward by them is that the Aryans came into this land systematically in bands and batches from 1500 B.C. onwards – in other words, some 3,500 years from now.
But how could that be – and how could it at all be possible – because Bhagavaana Shree Krishna, a Chandra Vanshi Kshatriya, had taken Avataara and tread this very land some 3,700 years prior to even that – and this been duly confirmed and proved by the archaeological findings of Dr. SR Rao with his discovery of the city of Dwarika on the sea bed near Kutch, Gujarat?
How could He have been one of our ancestors and lived here had we come from outside in 1500 B.C.?
Or is it that He was not an ‘Aryan’ and our ancestor but one of the pre-Aryan people dwelling this land?
But that is not the only dilemma. There is the question of Bhagavaana Shree Rama, who had incarnated and ruled this land from Ayodhya some 9 Lac years prior even to Bhagavaana Shree Krishna. How would the Aryan Invasion theorists explain and account for this?
One shall also have to explain how this land came to have/ acquire the names Bhaarata and Hindustan, if we were outsiders and had come and settled here only about 3500 years before. We say this because Mahaaraj Bharat, after whom this country acquired the name Bhaarata, was even an ancestor of Bhagavaana Shree Rama and the time of his rule is millenniums before Him?
We are afraid you shall have to explain and account for all these and prove and validate what you had stated.
You have next claimed and written:
“Hindus believe that all paths are valid”.
But how did you and how could you say that? Should you not have corroborated your statement?
Do they believe then that the paths of the Abrahamic religions of the dessert are also valid – and equally valid as ours? If yes; could we know how and on what basis and pramaanas? Have the scriptures, source and authorities of Hindu Dharma, say that? Any Acharyas/ any Avataaras has preached that paths of the non-Vedics are also equally valid?
We ask: do the paths propounded by the dessert religions also lead to the same destination: Moksha/ Nirvana/ complete liberation?
We do not and cannot agree and so believe.
In fact, as far as our knowledge goes, they do not have even a concept of Moksha/ Nirvaana or Liberation in their religions/ faiths. How can all paths be valid then and lead to the same destination?
You are right “we should accept diversity and welcome it”, but should you not have elucidated which diversity and diversity in what and of what? – of Jehovah, his only son Jesus and Satan; Allah, his final prophet and Shaitan; inability of their ‘Gods’ to take Saakaara form and Avataara and the teaching of iconoclasm – ‘smash their temples, break their alters’, ‘destroy the idols’, and convert or slaughter?
When all others – other religions – do not believe in and accept the Law of Karma, Punarjanma, Incarnation and personification of the Supreme Being; how could it be said that they accept the diversity as true and an established fact and a law?
Hoping to hear,
And with best regards,
Dr. Ranjeet Singh