I was born to a Hindu family but was never taught the basic principles of Hinduism. Everything I have learned about the Hindu religion comes from reading about the language and through attending talks and discussions.
About 10 years ago, I came to know that Hinduism was a name given to the practices of the people around the Indus valley thousands of years ago. I now know that Hinduism is actually called ‘Sanatana Dharma’ by its practitioners. Sanatana Dharma means the eternal truth. As time went on I began to understand (at least in my mind) what Sanatana Dharma actually meant.
One of the main principles of this philosophy is the Law of Karma or Law of Cause and Effect.
I now totally believe this to be an absolute law just like the Law of Gravity. It works every time, every moment and it never fails or slips. There is never a moment this Law of Cause and Effect stops to work. For every action, there will be a reaction. However, the labeling of the action as good or bad depends on the doer and the circumstances and of course the effect it creates on the doer. ‘What one sows one reaps’ is another way of putting it simply. I do not wish to delve really deep into the Law of Karma as this can easily be found somewhere else. My intention is to highlight some of the basic principles that govern Sanatana Dharma.
Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is the only religion that teaches and promotes self-realization.
The second and most probably more attractive aspect of Sanatana Dharma to me is the concept of self-realization. Life is a journey of discovery. One is born into this world for a purpose and the events and experiences in this life are a step towards discovering your true self. This realization can be different for different people at different stages of one’s spiritual evolution but the ultimate goal is to realize the oneness with the Divine Energy that pervades this existence.
Therefore, you will find that Hindus practice their religion in numerous ways. Each doing what they think is their dharma (their purpose in life). It is for this reason that non-Hindus find this religion confusing and feel that it has no standard guiding principles. You need to be immersed in the very core of the religion to really understand the principles underlying the Hindu belief. It is only through experience can one actually begin to understand what Sanatan Dharma really means.
There are other aspects of this great religion that would need a lengthy discussion but I guess I have highlighted the two most important principles of Sanatana Dharma. I hope this short discussion about Sanatana Dharma creates a realization in many that there is more to Hinduism than just rituals and gods and goddesses. Aum.