Sunday, April 4, 2010

DHARM and RELIGION

As and when I, or for that matter anyone else have entered into a discussion, the PURISTS would often try to push the person on the back foot by declaring that what Hindus follow is Dharm and religion is not at all relevant when it comes to Hindu Dharm. Religion is something foreign, we are told, and this has destroyed Hindu Dharm and society. When one asks the simple understandable meaning of Dharm, they will start quoting from various scriptures, making it more complicated and confusing.
I can assure you that no matter in which part of the world you are living in, what language you follow and accept, as long as you are a Hindu and believe in principles enshrined in Hindu scriptures, it does not matter whether you call those principles Dharm or religion. However people, who still want to know the difference between Dharm and religion, may continue reading this. It is not required in real practical terms, and in following your faith, but should in case you still want to know the difference in simple language, you can read on.

The Confusion is because :
  1. Dharm is used as short form for Sanatan Dharm , the religion which we as Hindus believe in.
  2. Dharm also means Physical Performing part of a Religion.
The confusion exists because just like Christanity is the religion of Christians and Islam the religion of Muslims, Sanatan Dharm is the religion for Hindus. Sanatan Dharm is often called Dharm in normal speach. Unfortunayely Hindu Dharm Gurus are the most Ill informed and least educated and the only time they use brains is to find out how to exploit Hindu Society. So a person may be CRITISIZED for using the word religion, instead of Dharm, though the person critisizing you may also do not know why. 

Now regarding the other Dharm, the Physical Performing part of Religion which too, some UNSCRUPULOUS Dharm Guru are trying to replace with Pooja and Bhakti. Every religion essentially has three performing parts:
1. Pooja or worship. 2. Rituals e.g. Havan, breaking of coconut, marriage rituals, etc.. 3. Physical performing part of the religion, or one can say Religious Duties and Responsibilities, to be performed PHYSICALLY.
Now POOJA and RITUALS are part of your religious belief. Everyone has the option of following them in a manner they deem fit. You have a personal choice as to how to perform them.

The physical performing part of the religion is DHARM. There is nothing personal about it. As a person living in a family and society, it is your religious obligation (DHARM), which has to be followed to improve the condition of an individual, his family and the society in which one is living. No religion allows you any choice in it.

Here is the difference between RELIGION and DHARM:

RELIGION(Sanatan Dharm too, is a Religion, and in short, is often called Dharm) essentially requires a group of people or society having belief in a faith. This faith invariably propagates how the followers of the faith can get the blessing of the Almighty or God for the growth of the individual, his family, and the society in which the individual is living. For this the individual, the family and the society performs POOJA or worship, RITUALS and strictly perform the physical performing part of the religion or faith, i.e. the duties, responsibilities and obligations for the growth of the individual, family and the society.
DHARM is the physical performing part of the religion or faith, i.e. the duties, responsibilities and obligations for the growth of the individual, family and the society. 
I will give you some examples: 
  1. Cutting green trees is PAAP. Now this is a simple Dharm, everyone knows about it. 
  2. Helping the old and physically disabled is a Dharm. 
  3. Taking care of one’s family is a Dharm And so you can go on and on.
The thing to remember is that physical performing party of the religion is Dharm.

These religious beliefs or Dharm can be explained away, DIFFERENTLY, by religious persons or pundits, depending on his proficiency in specific branch of religious text. As such a simple definition of Dharm would be :

“RELIGIOUS BELIEF, OR OBLIGATION, WHICH HAS TO BE PERFORMED PHYSICALLY, and where the faithful does not have a choice or option. 
In other words this religious belief has to be performed with commitment”.

The other important thing which every faithful must understand is that ITIHAAS i.e. Ramayan and Mahabharat are historical narrations, in which Lord Vishnu, takes birth in human form, as human incarnation and performs LEELA in human form. And the purpose was to establish Dharm. As such every important event in the life of Shri Ram and Lord Krishna would constitute a Dharm.

This important fact should not be ignored. One fails to understand why our religious leaders and PURISTS are deliberately trying to ignore this important aspect of Hindu Religion and Dharm. Once they accept Shri Ram and Lord Krishna as human incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who’s LEELA was to establish Dharm, lot of problem plaguing and tormenting the society would go.

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ABOUT ME:

A Consulting Engineer, operating from Mumbai, involved in financial and project consultancy; also involved in revival of sick establishments.

ABOUT MY BLOG: One has to accept that Hindus, though, highly religious, are not getting desired result as a society. Female feticide, lack of education for girls, dowry deaths, suicides among farmers, increase in court cases among relatives, corruption, mistrust and discontent, are all physical parameters to measure the effectiveness or success/failure of RELIGION, in a society. And all this, despite the fact, that spending on religion, by Hindus, has increased drastically after the advent of multiple TV channels. There is serious problem of attitude of every individual which need to be corrected. Revival of Hindu religion, perhaps, is the only way forward.

I am writing how problems, faced by Indian people can be sorted out by revival of Hindu Religion.