TOP ========UNDERSTANDING HINDUISM=========
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Vivekananda wrote about:
Dharma - From Virtue Arises Happiness
Hinduism is the religion and philosophy of Vedanta. Vedanta is established on eternal and universal principles which never become obsolete. These principles have an appeal to the human mind and are applicable to human life under all conditions. The original Vedic texts collected and classified under four distinct headings constitute the four Vedas, from which the religio-philosophical system known as hinduism is derived. The four Vedas are Rigveda,Samveda, Yajurveda and Atharvaveda.
The Vedic texts are divided by subject matter into two distinct parts: the work section and the knowledge section (karma kanda and gnana kanda).
The work section of the Vedas is devoted to man`s active life, to his search for temporal values, and dwells on the development of life in different stages. In the secular approach to life, one cannot get beyond the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Anything that is done for temporal purposes in this world comes under the work section, which is preparatory to the knowledge section.
The purpose of the knowledge section is to take man out of this temporary order and establish him in eternal life, absolute peace and blessedness; to take him away from the cycle of birth and death.
There is a unity of purpose between the two sections, for both intend to lead man from the search for the transitory to the search for the eternal. In the Vedantic view, there is no inherent contradiction, no unbridgeable gulf, between the secular life devoted to temporal values, and the spiritual life devoted to eternal truths. Being rightly directed, the one leads to the other. According to Vedanta, wordly desires well regulated by ethical principles invariably lead to spiritual awakening.
As laid down in the Vedic social codes, the one universal duty of all human beings, irrespective of religious views, social rank, cultural standing, or political status, is the observance of virtue, or Dharma. The word Dharma means "that which upholds." It denotes particularly the "Law or Principle that upholds the world."
Dharma is that which leads to the attainment
of happiness and prosperity in this world. It is through Dharma that man can have progress
in the true sense, development in the true sense, and achievement and well-being in all
The following quotations are from the Mahabharata: (The Mahabharata is perhaps the world`s longest epic poem with over 90 000 couplets.)
"Virtue protects him who protects her. From virtue arises happiness.Virtue is the only friend that accompanies man beyond death."
Virtue is the stable basis of every aspect of individual and collective life. A man`s physical, intellectual, aesthetic, as well as spiritual well-being rests on the observance of virtue.
Moral conduct sustains man`s inner nature.
Unless you observe moral principles - truthfulness, sincerity, charity, modesty etc.- you
cannot maintain soundness of mind.
You may gain anything you desire, any
transitory pleasure in this world, but you will never be satisfied completely. One cannot
have youth only and not old age, light only and no darkness, good only and no evil. We
cannot get out of this world of dual experience. In this world there will always be
Eventually one becomes convinced that the Supreme Being alone is eternal, all-free, all-perfect; while all else is short lived, bound and imperfect. Vedanta says there is one Supreme Being who alone is beyond all sorrows, beyond all sufferings, who alone is ever pure, free, immortal - the very perfection of existence.
And that Supreme being is not far away from us. He is the all pervading Self of the universe, and dwells within us as the inmost Self of all. To recognise and achieve one`s essential unity with the Supreme Being is the ultimate goal of life.
As Swami Vivekananda says,"Religion is the constitutional necessity of mankind. Dharma is that which ultimately leads man to his real nature and the Supreme Goal.
Vedanta says the basic truth of all religion
is to hold firmly to virtue, to moral life. Then regardless of what path you choose, it
will inevitably lead you to spiritual life and the Supreme Goal.
The Lord created the universe, and wishing to
secure order therein, He first created the Prajapatis (Lords of creatures) such as Marichi
and caused them to adopt the Pravritti Dharma, the Religion of Works. He then created
others such as Sanaka and Sanandana, and caused them to adopt Nivritti Dharma, the
Religion of Renunciation, characterised by knowledge and indifference to worldly objects.
It is the twofold Vedic Religion of Works and Renunciation that maintains order in the
universe. This Religion which directly leads to liberation and worldly prosperity has long
been practised by all castes and religious orders (varna ashramas) - from the Brahmins
downwards- who sought welfare.
Though the Religion of Works, which, as a means of attaining worldly prosperity, is enjoined on the several castes and religious orders, leads the devotee to the religion of the Devas and the like, when practised in a spirit of complete devotion to the Lord and without regard to the (immediate) results, it conduces to the purity of the mind (sattva-suddhi). The man whose mind is pure is competent to tread the path of knowledge, and to him comes knowledge; and thus (indirectly) the religion of Works forms also a means to the Supreme Bliss. Accordingly, with this very idea in mind, the Lord says:
"He who does actions, placing them in Brahman" (the Supreme Reality)
actions, without attachment, for the purification of the self."
The discoverers of these laws are called
Rishis, and we honour them as perfected beings. I am glad to tell this audience that some
of the very greatest of them were women. Here it may be
Pythagoras and Kapila
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