1960 Back to Godhead vol 3 part 23 - Sanatan Dharma is the Religion of All Living Entities
Sanatan Dharma is the Religion of All Living Entities
At a time when material science is predominating over all subjects including the tenets of religiosity, it will be a great enlivening matter if we can see the principles of Sanatan Dharma from the point of view of the modern scientist. Even Dr. S. Radhakrishnan admitted it in the world religion conference held sometime before in Delhi that religion will not be acceptable in the modern civilization if it is not accepted from the scientific point of view. And in reply to all these different proposition we are very glad to announce in this article for the lovers of Sanatan Dharma that Sanatan Dharma is the only religion of the world which is meant for all the living beings eternally related with the Supreme Lord.
Sanatan means eternal. Sripad Ramanujacharya has explained the word Sanatan as the thing which has neither any beginning nor any end. And when we speak of Sanatan Dharma we must take it for granted on the authority of Sripad Ramanujacharya that it has no beginning nor any end. The thing which has no beginning nor any end must not be any sectarian thing or limited by any boundary. When we hold on the conference on the Sanatan Dharma people belonging to some of the non-eternal religious faith may wrongly consider it that we are dealing in some sectarian thing but if we go deep into the matter and take everything in the light of modern science it will be possible for us to see Sanatan Dharma as the business of all the people of the world nay all the living entities of the universe. Non-Sanatan religious faith may have some beginning in the annals of the human society but there cannot be any history of the Sanatan Dharma because it continues to remain with the history of the living entities.
So far living entities are concerned we find it from the authority of the Shastras that the living entities have also no birth or death. In the Bhagwat Geeta it is clearly stated that the living entity is never born nor does it ever die. He is eternal indestructible and continues to live after the destruction of his temporary material body.
With reference to the above concept of the Sanatan Dharma we may try to understand the concept of religion. From the Sanskrit root meaning of the word Dharma it means that which is constantly with a particular object. When we speak of fire it is concluded at the same time that there is heat and light along with the fire. Without heat and light there is no meaning of the word fire. Similarly we must find out the essential part of a living being which is always companion with him. That part of constant companion of the living being is his eternal quality and that eternal part of the living being's quality is his eternal religion.
When Sanatan Goswami asked Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu about the Swarup or real constitution of the living being, the Lord replied that the constitutional position of the living being is to render service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And if we analyse this part of the statement of Lord Chaitanya we can very well see that every living being is constantly engaged in the business of rendering service to another living being. A living being serves another living being in different capacities and by doing so, the living entity enjoys life. A lower animal serves a human being as servant serves his master. A serves B master, B serves C master and C serves D master and so on. Under the circumstances we can see that a friend serves another friend and the mother serves the son or the wife serves the husband or husband serves the wife. If we go on searching in that spirit it will be seen that there is no exception in the society of the living being where we do not find the activity of service. The politicians present his manifesto before the public and convince his voters about his service capacity. The voter also gives the politician his valuable vote on expectation that the politician will give service to the society. The shopkeeper serves the customer and the artisan serves the capitalist. The capitalist serves his family and the family serve the headman in terms of the eternal capacity of the eternal being. In this way we can see no living being is exempted from the practice of rendering service to other living being and therefore we can conclude that service is a thing which is the constant companion of the living being and therefore it may be safely concluded that rendering of service by a living being is the eternal religion of the living being.
When a man professes to belong to a particular type of faith with reference to the particular time and circumstances of birth and thus one claims to be a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or any other sect and subsect such designations are Non-Sanatan-Dharma. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Muslim or Muslim may change his faith to become a Hindu or a Christian etc. but in all circumstances such change of religious faiths does not allow a person to change his eternal engagement of rendering service to other. A Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian in all circumstances he is servant of somebody and thus to profess a particular type of faith is not to be considered as Sanatan Dharma but the constant companion of the living being that is rendering of service is the Sanatan Dharma.
In the Bhagwat Geeta there are several references in the matter of Sanatanam. Let us see one by one some of the statements of the Geeta and try to take the import of Sanatan Dharma from the authority.
There is a reference of the word Sanatanam in the 10th sloka of the seventh chapter in which the Lord says that He is the eternal fountain head of everything and therefore He is Sanatanam. The Fountain Head of everything is described in the Upanishad as the Complete Whole. All emanations from the Fountain Head is also complete in itself and in spite of many such complete units have emanated from the Sanatan Complete the Sanatan head does not diminish in quality or quantity. That is the nature of Sanatanam unchanged. Anything that wears or tears under the influence of time and circumstances is not Sanatan. Therefore anything which has a circumstantial change in whatsoever form or quality cannot be accepted as Sanatan. The sun is disseminating the rays for hundreds and crores of years and yet there is no change in the formation or radiation of the sun. That is a materially created object and the Substance which is never created cannot have therefore any change in formation and quality even though He is the seedling source of everything.
There is also reference of the word Sanatan in the eighth chapter of the Bhagwat Geeta and it is said that there is another cosmic nature which is completely different from the one of which we have got some experience at present. The material nature is so to say a Jad or dead nature and just opposite to this nature there is another one which is completely different from it. That cosmic nature is full of life, bliss and knowledge and that is called eternal nature or Sanatan nature. As there is no wear and tear or change in the Formation of the Supreme Being so there is no change in the formation of the Sanatan nature. And as the Supreme Being is the Supreme living Being so also the cosmic nature where the Supreme Being dominates is also as much living as the Lord is. There is no difference in quality of the two Sanatan entities and there, in the opinion of the Vaisnavas, the Lord and His Dhama are identical i.e. of the same nature of Sanatan. Like the cosmic material universe the Sanatan cosmic nature is never created and never does it annihilate. And it is also said in the Bhagwat Geeta that the nonperishable place is the permanent home of every living being and whoever goes back to the Kingdom of God does never come again in this mortal world. This mortal world even up to the region of the Brahmaloka is always a nonsanatan place and one has to return back to this mortal world even though one is able to rise up so high as to the Brahmaloka the topmost planet of this material universe.
It may be taken from the above statements that the Lord is Sanatan and the place where the Lord resides is also Sanatan. And let us see what is the position of the living entities. In the 15th chapter of the Bhagwat Geeta the living entities are mentioned as the Sanatan. The living entities are in fact parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord. And because the Lord is Sanatan His parts and parcels also must be Sanatan. But one thing we must always remember that the living being are eternally parts and parcels of the Supreme Being without any change. Attempt therefore to become one with the Lord is also an unnatural attempt against the principle of Sanatanam and therefore culture of such monistic philosophy is a non-sanatan attempt detrimental to the interest of Sanatan Dharma. The monists, or those who aspire to become one with the Supreme Lord, are not Sanatanists.
In the eleventh chapter of the Bhagwat Geeta the Lord is addressed as Sanatanam by Shri Arjuna. He says there that the Supreme Lord is the Original Sanatan Purusha. He is abya Purusha which is confirmed in the Upanishad as Purnatama. In spite of unfathomed emanations from the Purana Purusha He is always Sanatan Purusha without diminish.
From the above extracts from various authoritative scriptures it is clear that the word Sanatan is not a nomenclature of a particular sect of religious faith as it is created by the speculative mind of a mundaner but the Sanatan word is derived from the Vedic literatures to apply it in the matter of the Supreme Lord and the living entities who are parts and parcel of the Supreme Lord.
The living entities as it appears from the 15th chapter of the Bhagwat Geeta are qualitatively equal with the supreme Lord on account of their being the parts and parcel of the Lord. Somehow or other such parts and parcels of the Lord have fallen in the material atmosphere and are encaged by the material covering of mind and the senses. With this mind and the senses such living entities are struggling very hard for existence but as part and parcel of the Lord they are not the least happy in a material atmosphere which is temporary and in opposition of the Sanatan cult. Everything here is temporary, full of ignorance and leading to darkness.
The Lord Shri Krishna who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His causeless mercy upon His part and parcels the living entities specially the human being and more specifically upon the Indians—descends Himself once during the daytime of Brahmaji that is after every 432 crores of solar years and in order to deliver the fallen souls teaches them the principles of Sanatan cult in the lessons of the Bhagwat Geeta.
The Bhagwat Geeta was formerly taught to the Sun god and the Sun god taught the subject to his son Manu who again taught the subject to his son Ikshaku and thus from the father to the son or from the spiritual master to disciple the message of Sanatan Dharma came down in chain of disciplic succession. When the chain was broken somehow or other the same lessons were once more taught to Arjuna at the battlefield of Kurukshetra and a clear conception of the Sanatan Dharma is explained there.
The Lord claims to be the father of all species of life. He claims that all living being never mind what he is as the part and parcel of Him. And the Bhagwat Geeta is meant for them. In the Bhagwat Geeta there is information of the Sanatan nature of the Supreme Lord His abode which is far and far away from the material sky and the sanatan nature of the living beings.
He also gives the information that this material world is full of miseries in the shape of birth, death, old age and diseases and even up to the topmost planet of the universe that is to say in the Brahmaloka the same miseries are current in some or other forms. Only in His own abode there is no misery at all. In that abode there is no need of light either from the Sun, from the moon or from the fire. And the life there is perpetual with full knowledge and bliss. That is called the Sanatan Dham. It is quite natural therefore to conclude that the living entities must go back to home back to Godhead to enjoy life in the Sanatan Dham along with the Sanatan Purusha or the Purusottam Lord Shri Krishna and must not rot in this miserable land of material existence. There is no happiness in the material sphere even up to the Brahmaloka and the plans and activities to elevate oneself to higher planes within the material universe are done by those who are less intelligent. The less intelligent men also take shelter of other demigods other the Lord Himself and derive benefit which is to stand for a limited period. In this way all such religious principles are only temporary measures for temporary benefit for the less intelligent persons. The intelligent person shall give up all such engagement in the name of religiosity and must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and there is absolute assurance of immunity from the side of the almighty father. Sanatan Dharma is therefore the process of Bhaktiyoga by which one can know the Sanatan Lord and His Sanatan abode and by that process only one can go back to the Sanatan Dham to take part of the Sanatan enjoyment prevailing there.
Those who are followers of the Sanatan Dharma may from hence forward take up the principles of Sanatan Dharma in the spirit of the Bhagwat Geeta. There is no bar for anyone to take up the eternal principles and persons who are lowborn even they can also go back to Godhead. That is the version of Srimad Bhagwat as well as of the Supreme Lord Himself. People should be given chance to take advantage of this opportunity. Because the Bhagwat Geeta was spoken in the land of Bharatvarsha every Indian has the responsibility to broadcast the message of real Sanatan Dharma in the other parts of the world. The misguided men of the world specially at the present moment are suffering too much in the darkness of material atmosphere and the result is that the so called advancement of learning has helped the foolish men to discover a lethal weapon called by the name of Atomic Bomb. They are practically on the verge of ruination. Because as soon as there is a declaration of war nobody knows what will happen to the human race on the earth. The Sanatan Dharma will teach them about the real thing of life and they benefit by such propagation of Sanatan Dharma. The Lord says in the Bhagwat Geeta that persons who take up the preaching work of the Sanatan Dharma principles are the dearest of all to the Lord. The Lord gives them assurance of going back to Godhead. If a man can do good to a fellow man it is to awake him to the importance of self realisation in human form of life. The highest stage of perfection in human life is to surrender oneself in the service of the Supreme Lord and by doing so one becomes the real Mahatma. The definition of Mahatma is there in the Bhagwat Geeta.