It is the unique and all-encompassing nature of Hinduism that one devotee may be worshiping Ganesha while his friend worships Subramaniam or Vishnu, and yet both honor the other’s choice and feel no sense of conflict. The profound understanding and universal acceptance that are unique in Hinduism are reflected in this faculty for accommodating different approaches to the Divine, allowing for different names and forms of God to be worshiped side by side within the temple walls.
Hinduism is the Sanatana Dharma,
or “eternal religion.” It is the innate, perennial philosophy. This
bears no founder. It has neither a beginning nor an end. It is coexistent with
man himself. It is not one man’s teaching or interpretation. Nor is it limited
to a single facet of religion. It consists of the entire prism. It is a
The center of it is God. All
other religions are prophet-centric. Here is a quote from my Gurudeva, Sivaya
Subramuniyaswami, on this: “The search for Truth, for God, is called the
Sanatana Dharma, or the Eternal Path, because it is inherent in the soul
itself, where religion begins. This path, this return to his Source, is ever
existent in man, and is at work whether he is aware of the processes or not.
There is not this man’s search and that man’s search. And where does the
impetus come from? It comes from the inside of man himself. Thus, Hinduism is
ever vibrant and alive, for it depends on this original source of inspiration,
this first impulse of the spirit within, giving it an energy and a vibrancy
that is renewable eternally in the now.”
Hinduism resides within each of
us, in our soul. Hinduism resides in all seeking hearts and whenever man’s
seeking for God becomes spiritual, Hinduism, or the tradition of Sanatana
Dharma, naturally comes in. In what way and how long could man’s innermost
truth be kept away from him?
When a soul reaches sufficient
spiritual maturity, it naturally awakens a conscious desire to know God as its
inmost essence, to experience Truth personally. This spiritual longing then
leads the soul to take up the practices and study the philosophy of knowing
itself. Thus it is quite clear, from the Hindu point of view, that you cannot
keep Sanatana Dharma out of a country when it already resides within the soul
of every person in that country, waiting to be expressed at some point in the
We can compare the inherent
search for Truth that exists within the soul to an underlying seed hidden in
the soil waiting for the right conditions to bloom and grow.
Every Hindu devotee can sense the
presence of Gods, even if he cannot yet inwardly see them. This is possible
through the subtle feeling nature. He can feel the presence of the Gods within
the temple, and he can indirectly see their influence in his life.
The Gods can be and are seen by
mature souls through an inner perception they have awakened. This psychic
awakening is the first initiation into religion. Hinduism Is the eternal faith.