The Following article by my friend Rajesh Girirajan
Now, immediately after going through a few lines of this post, people may start criticizing me as ‘yet another Hindutva extremist’, or ‘RSS guy’ or whatever. I mean, we are present in such a situation that anything which is written about Hinduism is taken in that spirit, of late. This post is to express how tolerant the Hindu religion is, and how it has escaped all the fight is has experienced from all the other religions, and how it remains to be one of the supreme religions, throughout the world, expressing the human community about the culture and heritage of the people of India, who follow the oldest of all religions.
To begin with, what is Hinduism?
Well, it’s basically a religion followed by the majority of people in India. The name, by which it should be called, is ‘Sanathana Dharma’, roughly meaning ‘The eternal law’. From way down the ancient times, this religion has prevailed, which has guided people towards eternity, or Moksha. It is interesting to know that Sanathana Dharma had no name whatsoever in the past. Since it was a way of life, more than a mere religion, and was the ONLY one of it’s kind, there was no name, until the other religions came in to existence and only at this time, it was referred as Sanathana Dharma, since it was very old and eternal.
Now, what does Sanathana Dharma say?
Well, if, shedding all inhibitions, one looks closely, he will know that Sanathana Dharma has the root principle of Advaitha. Now, one might protest that Sanathana Dharma preaches Vishistadwaitha or Dwaitha, the other two variants. That’s why I said, one has to look closely, shedding all inhibitions. The Sanathana Dharma has its base as the four Vedas, the Rig, Yajur, Sama and the Atharvana. These four Vedas have one Mahavaakya, or the powerful phrase. One phrase each for all the four Vedas. These Mahavaakyas are that powerful that they can liberate a mortal to the stage of immortality. It’s a common practice for a person when becoming a sage or a Sannyasi, that these are preached by his guru, to enable him to attain the goal. These Mahavaakyas are:
1. Rig Veda – ‘Prajnanam Brahma’ – the consciousness is Brahman
2. Yajur Veda – ‘Aham Brahmasmi’ – I am Brahman
3. Sama Veda - ‘ Tat Tvam Asi’ – That thou art
4. Atharvana Veda - ‘Ayam Atma Brahma’ – The (this) self is Brahman.
Now, ‘Brahman’ here is not Brahma, the creator. Brahman is the eternal element, which created everything, and which prevails in everything it created, and without which nothing will function. In short, ‘GOD’.
These four Mahavaakyas are the key to a person becoming a Sannyasi and achieving Moksha. If one recites them again and again, he will, one day realize practically that the one who resides outside, is the one residing inside the person. Once this is practically realized, the Moksha is attained. That means, the person continues to live till his allotted time becomes complete in the world, but now after attaining Moksha, he realizes that the creator and the creation are the same. With this practical knowledge, he serves the human kind, as Ramana maharshi, the Paramacharya of kanchi, Ananthamayee ma, the mother and Arobindo Gosh of Pondycherry, Ramakrishna paramahamsa, served humanity.
This philosophy, which clearly explains that Moksha is not anywhere in the outer world, but which can be attained, at the very instant the truth of the creator and the creation are the same, unfolds. This philosophy is stated well in those 4 Mahavaakyas.
The root meaning of these Mahavaakyas themselves, without any prejudice, clearly states this fact. There are many other proofs as well, which clearly explain that the Advaitha is the root philosophy of Sanathana Dharma.
Now, we know about the religion and the root principle of it. Let’s take a look at another aspect, without which the Sanathana Dharma would have been nearly extinguished.