To listen to a pravachan by Dr. Devabala Ramanathan at Arya Samaj Sthapana Divas, please click here .

No Word for Religion/Dharma

by Acharya Harish Chandra

October 2015

A community coins a word for something that matters to it. Sanskrit has no word for religion - a faith-based sectarian organization. Its essential elements include: 1) a founder, 2) a place of worship, and 3) a holy book. Dharma is a moral code of conduct for the entire humanity and if not followed then there will be a chaos. This is a Sanskrit word and the western languages don’t quite have a word for it. India was a land of Dharma and nothing to do with religion and the western world has no idea of Dharma. India went through a massive spiritual decline resulting into the MahaBharata War, coinciding with decline of Dharma. Interestingly, all religions took birth afterwards – the oldest being Zoroastrianism and Judaism, about 4500 years ago. Now we find ourselves in the midst of a plethora of religions, sects and sub-sects. Most of the wars are in the name of religion. A typical Hindu is utterly confused and believes Hinduism is a religion as opposed to Satya Sanatana Vedic Dharma. He is rushing towards shaping his religion in the three-fold box: 1) Founder: he doesn’t know it but then has cooked up a concept that God reincarnates such as Rama and Krishna, 2) Place of Worship: he is building newer and grander temples, and 3) Holy Book: he is confused and names Gita, or Ramayana or whatever comes handy and could even be Hanuman-Chalisa.

Arya Samaj should assert that we belong to Dharma. If forced upon to reveal the three-fold parameters then, we should say: God- the Dharma-Raj, Heart (not the pumping heart that circulates blood) but deep in skull where the soul resides, called Hrit in Sanskrit – the only place where one can meet God, and the Vedas. Arya Samaj Bhavan (also referred to as temples by some people) is merely a place of assembly and learning.