Why is Hinduism Called Sanatana Dharma?


Traditionally, Hinduism is known as Sanatana Dharma, meaning eternal duty.

Many people do not really know what dharma means and why Hinduism is called Sanatana Dharma.

Dharma actually means duty. Sanatana Dharma means the eternal duty of God. This Duty of God is shared, not just by Hindus, but by all beings in creation, including gods and the rest of the humanity. Dharma is also used in reference to any set of moral and religious laws and principles that govern religious duty and human conduct upon earth. Hence, in popular usage dharma is often interpreted as morality or religion rather than duty. The essential purpose of dharma is to protect the order and regularity of the world through specific obligatory duties (or actions) in which morality and religion are the means or the guiding factors.

Every living being, and for that matter, every object in the diversity of God's creation, has a role and a specific duty in God's manifested universe, without which creation will be incomplete. Thus, Sanatana Dharma, which we popularly understand as Hinduism, is God's eternal duty shared by all from the highest to the lowest, hear and hereafter.

Who is a Hindu and why we do not favor conversions?
In truth, Hinduism is not just about those who practice it. Everyone who participates in creation and who shares a part of God's eternal and continuous duties and owes his or her life and allegiance to Him is a Hindu.

If you are living selflessly and performing your actions selflessly, you are a Hindu. If you are helping others, you are a Hindu. If you are living for God, in the service of God and offering your actions, you are Hindu. If you participate in any manner in God's eternal sacrifice called creation, you are a Hindu.

This is the secret not many people know. It is why we do not actively go out seeking followers and conversions. We believe that knowingly or unknowingly, willingly or unwillingly, everyone is part of God eternal Duties and therefore do not require to be converted.

However, wise people may tell others that since their duties come from God, they should not claim ownership of such actions or live selfishly. Our religious scriptures are not meant to convert people but to remind them of the need to live dutifully and responsibly and avoid karma that arises from selfish actions.

In Hindu conception of the world, there are only two religions. The religion of the good (daiva) and the religion of the evil (asura). Living selflessly in the service of others is godly. Living selfishly for oneself is evil. In the following discussion we will elaborate upon this concept.

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