Hindu Dharma Essay

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What is Hindu Dharma? One of the major living religious traditions of the world, Hinduism is also recognized as the most ancient. It is different from most others because it was not started by any single individual, seer or prophet, and its origins cannot be traced to a particular period of human history. It is not based on one single book or a set of dogmas; on the contrary, it allows a great deal of freedom of thought, faith and worship. Hinduism is not a single religious faith system because it does not insist on any fixed set of doctrines. There are a variety of religious sects or traditions in Hinduism. However, in spite of this diversity, there is a unity among all the doctrines and schools of thought because their basic principles are based on the 'eternal laws of nature' which can be rightly defined as Sanatana (eternal) Dharma (laws of nature). The knowledge of the universe and the laws contained in the Vedas and in the subsequent scriptures is considered to be applicable at all times and places. As these laws bind the universe and its components together, it is called 'Dharma', i.e. that which keeps all together. 'Dharma' is one of the most intractable terms used in the Hindu philosophy and is derived from the root 'dhru', meaning to uphold, sustain or support. Hindu Dharma comprises a medium, an instrument or an integrated scheme of life by which one is prevented from falling down and is uplifted spiritually. It is thus a way of life or a value system. The word 'Religion' is used for the lack of a better synonym for 'Dharma' in English language. Hinduism describes Dharma as the natural universal laws whose observance enables humans to be contented and happy, and to save himself from degradation and suffering. Dharma is the moral law combined with spiritual discipline that guides one's life. Hindus consider Dharma the very foundation of life. Atharva Veda
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