The term Sanatana Dharma and Hinduism are often used interchangeably.
I have also been using he same way.
I am using this to enable people to find the information as many are familiar with the term Hinduism.
But are they really the same?
There are the same but with a minute difference.
Sanatana Dharma denotes oldest dharma, Dharma being translated as Righteousness.
On what Dharma is I shall be writing in detail.
The essentials of the Sanatana Dharma are.
- Reality-centered rather than prophet-centered.
- Experience based rather than belief based.
- Beyond any historical date of founding.
- The process of growth, which comes from the seed.
- Inherent in, and inclusive of all.
- In the world, while above the world.
- Both immanent and transcendent.
- The whole and the parts.
- Loving of all and excluding of none.
- The primary worship is for Agni.
- Various Deities have been mentioned. each being worshiped for a specific purpose.
- Two levels of Knowledge, one Apara which deals with the Higher Knowledge of Brahman, Apara, the other one being what we use now, for practical life,Para Vidya.
- Two specific areas mentioned one by performance of Duties and another Path of Knowledge.(Gnana and karma Kandas)
- It encompassed all Living beings.
- It emphasizes self-realization .
- Reality is Attributeless,Nirguna, though the Gods described in the Vedas attribute qualities to Gods, they are to be considered as stepping sones to Self Realization and they are not an end in themselves.
- Yagas and Yagnyas were performed.
- Sanatana Dharma is intensely personal.
- No collective/community worship is recommended.
- No mention of temples and temple worship.
- They do not talk of Hell for not following The Vedas.
- Santana Dharma encompassed the world.
- Prayer or one’s self is not encouraged.
A name given by the west to denote people who were living on the Banks of the River Sindhu, Punjab.
The practices followed by these people, which was a corrupt form of Sanatana Dharma was called Hinduism.
Many Gods are worshiped.
Fire worship is more or less extinct.
Community worship is in vogue.
Worship In temples.
Many rules as Sampardayas or More are being practised, which do not have the sanction of the Vedas.
Following of Self styled Gurus, rather than a qualified Guru is being followed.
Prayer for Self aggrandisement is in practice..
Vedic Karmas are not being followed as much as they should be.
Sanatana Dharma, over years of practice deteriorated into becoming a belief of worshiping many Gods and indiscriminate performance of yagas and yagnyas without referring to Gnana Kanda.
This resulted in the erosion of the Sanatan Dharma.
It took a Buddha to found Buddhism, which revolted against Sanatana Dharma, but that was absorbed by Sanatna Dharma later is a different issue.
To restore Sanatana Dharma Adi Shankaracharya established the Shanmathas and systematized all the Yogas, Bhakthi, Karma, Gnana Yogas.