The prevalence of Dharma, under a variety of different names, has been demonstrated to exist in almost every pre-Christian civilization and culture in the world. It is thus the common heritage of a large majority of the earth’s inhabitants. As expressed in the specific tradition of “Hinduism” (properly known as “Sanatana Dharma”), the metaphysical concept of Dharma is both a spiritual path, as well as a comprehensive ideology and world-view that directly informs the realms of politics, social theory, economics, culture theory, architecture, medicine, religion, aesthetics, martial warfare, philosophy, ethics, mathematics, and every other aspect of human concern.
The dramatically stirring philosophical landscape of the Bhagavad Gita has inspired the imaginations of thinkers, poets, philosophers, and spiritual seekers across the spans of both history and cultures. For over 5,000 years, the Bhagavad Gita has been considered by most scholars of religion and philosophy to be one of the most important philosophical/religious dialogues ever written in world history.
Modern America is a land of many interesting, and often painfully ironic, contradictions. On the one hand, we supposedly enjoy more prosperity, longevity, comforts, and conveniences in the United States than any other civilization has even dreamed of in previous history. Supposedly.
On the other hand, however, America is currently going through one of the biggest mental health crises that any nation in history has ever experienced. Various forms of depression, anxiety disorders and neuroses are affecting millions of Americans. Depressive disorders affect approximately 25.8 million American adults, or about 9% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in any given year. For those cases of depression that are reported, many more remain unreported, and thus unknown. This current mental health crisis includes such ailments as major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
Yoga, and meditation are terms that the vast majority of us are familiar with. What most people are not quite as familiar with, however, are the ancient, rich and profoundly spiritual dimensions of these terms. Yoga and meditation are infinitely more that just a series of calming and effective physical and mental exercises. Rather, Yoga and meditation are an ancient and rich spiritual tradition, philosophy and lifestyle designed to help human beings realize the highest degree of excellence in all they do, and ultimately to know themselves and God.
Sanatana Dharma is another, lesser known, name for the path of Yoga Spirituality. In fact, it can be truthfully said that the practical techniques of Yoga are nothing less than the philosophy of Sanatana Dharma in practice.
Sanatana Dharma welcomes all sincere seekers who wish to adopt Sanatana Dharma as their spiritual path. These are a few things you can do to get started in your practice of a Dharmic lifestyle. By protecting Dharma and supporting your spiritual teacher, you can become a great example for your community.
Step 1. Beginning a Dharmic Lifestyle
- Consider becoming vegetarian.
- Begin reading the Bhagavad-Gita, the most important Dharma scripture.
- Learn how to practice spiritual meditation.
- Understand and accept the principles of karma/reincarnation.
- Join the International Sanatana Dharma Society.
Step 2. Becoming a Practicing Dharmi (follower of Dharma)
Q. What is the difference between Yoga and Sanatana Dharma?
A. There is no difference between them. These are just two terms for the same spiritual tradition. Sanatana Dharma is the world-view and philosophy. While Yoga is Sanatana Dharma in actual practice.
Sadly, when most people hear the word "Yoga", they tend to think only in terms of the physical disciplines of Yoga. Yoga is much more than just an effective way to become more flexible, healthy and fit. Yoga is a philosophy, a spiritual path, and an ancient world-view. Yoga is a tradition with thousands of years of history, a vast canon of sacred literature, and a lineage of teachers who have guided its development and preserved its teachings for the benefit of modern humanity. Yoga and Sanatana Dharma are one.
In the same way that followers of Yoga are called Yogis, followers of Sanatana Dharma are called Dharmis. If you practice Sanatana Dharma, then you are a Dharmi.
No living being exists in complete isolation. No one is an island. We share the cosmos with a multitude of other beings with whom we live in interdependence. This interdependent myriad of beings exists in a vertical, hierarchical relationship with one another, from the lowest amoeba to the highest demigod. Living beings also exist in temporal, historical and genetic relationship with one another.