If we are questioned as to which is our reilgion, we reply it is Hindu religion. It is not incorrect to say like that, but, there is a lot for us to know about it. In fact “Hindu” is not a religion and it is not born as a religion. In the process of evolution, it is accepted as religion.
Ours it the Hindu dharma. There is a lot of difference between dharma and religion. ‘Dharma means one which holds the world – “Dharati viswamiti dharmah”. It is also said to be the one which is the base or support – “Dhaaranaath dharma ityahuhu”. For what, it is the support? For every thing dharma is the base. This entire world can withstand only when there is dharma. Just as it is natural for any thing which has no support to fall down, this world also falls down, if the dharma is destroyed.
Today, we are witnessing every moment, heart-rending incidents. The only reason for this is the absense of dharma. “Dharma yeva hatohanti” – if dharma is killed, it kills us. All those incidents are the examples for this saying. The reason for this downfall is that this Hindu dharma is falling into a critical situation – This Hindu dharma is the only one for the entire world. If it is said that religions are growing let it be but they cannot save us from this grave situation. So the only one way to remove this critical situation is the protection of dharma. “Dharmatma” means one who does not give up dharma even in the trouble some circumstances. So dharma is to be protected, by hearing any number of difficulties.
A question arises as to what we have to do to protect the dharma. By making efforts of five kinds, we can save our dharma by i) knowing about dharma, ii) practicing dharma, iii) telling dharma to those who do not know it, iv) understanding the critical conditions faced by dharma and taking remedial measures and v) encouraging the members in our family and colleagues to practise dharma.
The first duty is to become aware of the danger to which today this dharma is critically exposed. We cannot give treatment without knowing about the nature of the disease. So we have to first identify the problems faced by dharma. These are of two types – from the side of our people and from others. If observed carefully, the second problem is being faced at every stage. Before knowing all about them, let us see about the first one among the five action points identified above. Let us know about dharma in detail:
i) What dharma means: “Dhrin dharane” – the word dharma was born from the root “dhrin”. ‘Dharanat dharma itayhuhu’ – “dharmo dharayate prajaah”, “Yatsyat dharana samyuktaha – sa dharma iti nischiyaha” – Dharma is one which supports, which supports people. So it is called dharma. this dharma has ten features. “Dhritihi kshamaa damo asteyam – soucham indriya nigrahah – dheer vidya, satyam akrodhaha – dasakam dharma lakshanam”. Lok Manya Tilak told us that accepting the vedas as the standard ones, following the different practices which are coming down as traditional ones and having devotion towards worshipful gods and godesses are the features of Hindu dharma. A combination of all these definitions also cannot give a comprehensive definition for the Hindu dharma. Such a magaminous one is the Hindu dharma.
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by Dr Annadanam Chidambara Sastry