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  • Writer's pictureShrikant Soman

Bharat - a nation based on Dharma

Updated: Nov 24, 2020

Bharat - a nation based on Dharma

Bharat - a nation based on Dharma

Bharat that is India has its own unique identity on the world scene. We have the concept of Dharma. It is not the same as ‘religion’. The concept of religion is a subset of the cultural and social identity. Dharma is eternal. It is like the eternal physical law of gravity. The Law of Gravity transcends political and ethinic boundaries. It is eternal as well as universal. In the similar way, Dharma is based on spiritual truths which are eternal. It does not depend on your acceptance of it in the same way as the law of gravity does not depend upon your understanding or acceptance of the law.

We are not secular. The word secular is alien to Indian mindset. It is superimposed on us under western influence. Secularism is commonly defined as ‘the principle of separation of the state from religious institutions.’ We can see that this definition presupposes its opposite as ‘the principle of integration of state and religious institutions.’ It means that there are only two ‘types’ of state governance - one secular and the other its opposite - religious. This necessarily excludes the state which is based on Dharma. This state is neither secular nor religious, because as we have stated earlier Dharma is not the same thing as religion. Bharat that is India is neither based on secularism nor on any specific religious identity. It is based on Dharma. We can call it Bharat Dharma because this concept of Dharma originated in India, though the Dharma itself existed since eternity.

We call it ‘sanatan’ dharma. Commonly sanatan implies very old on a time scale. But Sanatan Dharma does not imply ‘very old or ancient’ on a time scale. Sanatan Dharma means eternal rule of the essential nature of things which is based on the fundamental spiritual truths. If it were just an ancient Dharma, then it naturally implies that there was something more ancient than it on a time scale of history. This is not so. Bharat Dharma is eternal and universal. The thought process started in Bharat. But it equally applies to the whole of the universe.

Let us see what Bharat Dharma is

One of the founding principles of Bharat Dharma is a firm belief in the maxim एकम सत विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति. (Rg Veda Samhita, 1.164.46) It essentially means that the Truth is one and only, but it is called by different names by different pundits. No single person or philosophy has monopoly over the Truth. There is no system of ‘intellectual property rights’ in matters spiritual. It is like languages and cultures. The same object can be called by different names in different languages and expressed in different ways by different cultures. But whatever way we may call that object, its essential identity and nature remains unchanged.

Another core concept of Bharat Dharma is a firm belief in the maxim “अहं ब्रह्मास्मीति” It literally means I am Brahma. Brahma means infinite reality.

There are following instances of this or similar maxim in our scriptures :

  • अहं ब्रह्मास्मि - "मैं ब्रह्म हूँ" ( बृहदारण्यक उपनिषद १/४/१० - यजुर्वेद), I am Brahma (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1/4/10 - Yajurveda

  • तत्त्वमसि - "वह ब्रह्म तू है" ( छान्दोग्य उपनिषद ६/८/७- सामवेद ), That Brahma is You (Chandogya Upanishad 6/8/7 - Samved)

  • अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म - "यह आत्मा ब्रह्म है" ( माण्डूक्य उपनिषद १/२ - अथर्ववेद ), This soul is Brahma (Mandukya Upanishad ½ - Atharvaveda)

  • प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म - "वह प्रज्ञानं ही ब्रह्म है" ( ऐतरेय उपनिषद १/२ - ऋग्वेद), Wisdom or the right understanding itself is Brahma (Aitareya Upanishad ½, Rugved)

  • सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्मम् - "सर्वत्र ब्रह्म ही है" ( छान्दोग्य उपनिषद ३/१४/१- सामवेद ), Brahma is everywhere (Chandogya Upanishad 3/14/1 - Samved)

The key concept in this maxim is that there is no separation between the Brahma or the eternal reality, the ultimate Truth and Me. Both are one. This is a great uplifting thought for the soul. Instead of condemning ourselves as the sinner and feeling guilty about it and seeking redemption, this maxim emphasizes that you are not sinner but an ultimate reality or the Truth itself. This is a very radical thought indeed. It shifts the whole focus from some god outside to ourselves to our own inner reality.

One more maxim says

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किञ्च जगत्यां जगत् ।

तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ।।

(ईशोपनिषद्, मन्त्र 1)

It means : In this whole Universe all the material or living objects are full of the Divine. Keeping this in mind enjoy them. But do not crave for them and lay your exclusive claim on them. Because these are not owned by anybody.

Again this thought projects a Dharma with universal vision and not restricted to any particular religion, nation or ethnicity.

Dharma connects and binds the society together hence Dharma is defined as “one that beholds, binds everybody together and makes them prosper”.

धारणात् धर्म इत्याहुः धर्मों धारयति प्रजाः।

यः स्यात् धारणसंयुक्तः स धर्म इति निश्चयः।।

Bharat Dharma holds the philosophy of giving as embodied in following shloka of Vivekananada Kendra

जीवने यावदादानं स्यात् प्रदानं ततोऽधिकम्।

इत्येषा प्रार्थनास्माकं भगवन् परिपूर्यताम्॥

It means “My Lord, I pray that I should be able to give back to the Society more than what I have received in my life”

The motto of the Supreme Court of India is “'यतो धर्मस्ततो जय:'” There is victory where there is Dharma. Obviously the word Dharma here does is not restricted just to Hindu Dharma. It is part of the Bharat Dharma.

If India is to prosper it has to recover her lost identity of Bharat Dharma. It is her soul. Secularism is like a nation without a soul.

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