The Back - ground The Vedic Religion popularly known as Hinduism stands on a pedestal of its own. This pedestal is equated with the Neumann. The eternal verity is its basis. Further this religion has characteristics peculiar to itself. They are based on Universalism. The other religions of the world are all named after their founders. Whereas this ancient religion has no name of its own. For the sake of distinction it is called the Santana Dharma. It means the Eternal Law. This Law again is not manmade. The Law and the Source of the Law are identical. In other words the Law and the Law-maker are one and the same. The grandeur of the working of Nature comes to be known through this Law. It permeates the whole of creation. This way the Vedic Religion is both eternal and universal. The other religions of the world have their origin in time.
History bears evidence to the periods of their inception. In con-trast with them Sanatana Dharma stands untouched by time. History and tradition dare not peep into the source of this religion. The other religions formulated by man have their limitations. They have their in-doctrinated creeds. The creeds again come into conflict with one another. In contrast with them the Sanatana Dharma invites investigation into its verity. It ever stands on I, The Gods of the formulated religions have their! Partialities, prejudices, likes and dislikes. But the Cosmic Reality of Hinduism is the infallible Principle. It is not a Person. It is the all powerful and all pervasive Intelligence that governs the universe. These are some of the differences between the formulated religions and the Sanatana Dharma.
A fully evolved religion to be vibrant, universal, purposeful and productive, must have four indispen-sable limbs - the philosophy, the epics, the mythology and the rituals. The structure of Sanatana Dharma is perfect in this respect. It serves in detail all the requirements of human life at all levels. The mundane, the ethical, the emotional and the spiritual needs of man are all abundantly and meticulously provided for.
Among the four limbs absolutely essential to an active religion, the Philosophy stands first and foremost. Generalized science is philosophy. It ex-pounds the truths pertaining to life. They are all axioms. The more man translates them into life the more man evolves. Darsana is the apt Sanskrit word for philosophy. It means the insight into the fundamentals pertaining to life. The Indian system of philosophy is divided into six schools one evolving into the other. All of them, arranged in order, epitomize the human progress into perfection.
The Vaiseshika darsana disciplines man in his capacity to think clearly. The Nyaya darsana trains him to communicate his ideas accurate Purva Mimamsa darsana educate self-reliant and to acquire all heavenly by doing karma on right darsana enlightens him in regard t own place in it. The Yoga dars evolve in Divinity. The Vedanta lumines the Jivatman in Brahma acme of the embodied life. This in this in brief is the plan and purpose of Darsana - the first limb of Religion.
The Epics or the Itihasas function as the second limb of the Hinduism. Ramayana and Mahabharata are the two great national epics that have shaped the civilization of the country. These two sacred and ex-haustive lores expound the intricacies of dharma for the benefit of people at all levels. These Itihasas are forever the source of inspiration to the nation. They hold a guiding grip on the lives of people.
The third limb of this universal religion is the Mythology, or the Puranas. The major Puranas are eighteen in number. Abstract ideas are herein made concrete. Fictitious personalities embody ideas and they enact like human beings. They prove that fiction is more real than fact. Subtle ideas are driven home through stories into the mind of the ordinary. Philosophical truths are dramatized for the benefit of the common man.
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