About Sanatana Dharma/Hindusim

“NEELACHALA-NIVASAYA-NITYAYA-PARAMATMANE  BALABHADRA-SUBHADRABHYAM JAGANNATHAYA TE NAMAH.”

Sanatana Dharma

Sanatana Dharma is the original name of what is now popularly called Hinduism or Hindu Dharma. The terms Hindu and Hinduism are said to be a more recent development, while the more accurate term is Sanatana Dharma. It is a code of ethics, a way of living through which one may achieve moksha (enlightenment, liberation). It is the world’s most ancient culture and the socio, spiritual, and religious tradition of almost one billion of the earth’s inhabitants. Sanatana Dharma represents much more than just a religion; rather, it provides its followers with an entire worldview, way of life, and with a coherent and rational view of reality.

Sanatana Dharma is by its very essence a term that is devoid of sectarian leanings or ideological divisions. This is evident by the very term itself. The two words, “Sanatana Dharma”, come from the ancient Sanskrit language. “Sanatana” is a Sanskrit word that denotes that which which is Anadi (beginning less), Anantha (endless) and does not cease to be, that which is eternal and everlasting. With its rich connotations, Dharma is not translatable to any other language. Dharma is from dhri, meaning to hold together, to sustain. Its approximate meaning is “Natural Law,” or those principles of reality which are inherent in the very nature and design of the universe. Thus the term Sanatana Dharma can be roughly translated to mean “the natural, ancient and eternal way.” 

When translated to English, Sanatana refer to Eternal, Perennial, Never Beginning nor Ending, Abiding, Universal, Ever-present, Unceasing, Natural, and Enduring while Dharma refers to Harmony, The Way, Righteousness, Compassion, Natural Law, Truth, Teachings, Tradition, Philosophy, Order, Universal, Flow, Religion, Wisdom, Divine Conformity, Cosmic Norm, Blueprint, Inherent Nature, Law of Being, and Duty. 

Sanatana Dharma do not denote to a creed like Christianity or Islam, but represents a code of conduct and a value system that has spiritual freedom as its core. Any pathway or spiritual vision that accepts the spiritual freedom of others may be considered part of Sanatana Dharma. 

 First and foremost, Sanatana Dharma is anadi (without beginning) and also a-paurusheya (without a human founder). It is defined by the quest for cosmic truth, just as the quest for physical truth defines science. Its earliest record is the Rig-Veda, which is the record of ancient sages who by whatever means tried to learn the truth about the universe, in relations to Man’s place in relation to the cosmos. They saw nature — including all living and non-living things — as part of the same cosmic equation, and as pervaded by a higher consciousness. This search has no historical beginning; nor does it have a historical founder. This is not to say that the Rig-Veda always existed as a literary work. It means that we cannot point to a particular time or person in history and say: “Before this man spoke, what is in the Rig-Veda did not exist.” 

HINDUISM: 

Most scholars believe Hinduism started somewhere between 2300 B.C. and 1500 B.C. in the Indus Valley, near modern-day Pakistan. But many Hindus argue that their faith is timeless and has always existed. 

Unlike other religions, Hinduism has no one founder but is instead a fusion of various beliefs. 

Around 1500 B.C., the Indo-Aryan people migrated to the Indus Valley, and their language and culture blended with that of the indigenous people living in the region. There’s some debate over who influenced who more during this time. 

The period when the Vedas were composed became known as the “Vedic Period” and lasted from about 1500 B.C. to 500 B.C. Rituals, such as sacrifices and chanting, were common in the Vedic Period. 

The Epic, Puranic and Classic Periods took place between 500 B.C. and 500 A.D. Hindus began to emphasize the worship of deities, especially Vishnu, Shiva and Devi. 

The concept of dharma was introduced in new texts, and other faiths, such as Buddhism and Jainism, spread rapidly. 

Hinduism is the world’s oldest religion, according to many scholars, with roots and customs dating back more than 4,000 years. Today, with about 900 million followers, Hinduism is the third-largest religion behind Christianity and Islam. Roughly 95 percent of the world’s Hindus live in India. Because the religion has no specific founder, it’s difficult to trace its origins and history. Hinduism is unique in that it’s not a single religion but a compilation of many traditions and philosophies. 

Some basic Hindu concepts include: 

  • Hinduism embraces many religious ideas. For this reason, it’s sometimes referred to as a “way of life” or a “family of religions,” as opposed to a single, organized religion. 
  • Most forms of Hinduism are henotheistic, which means they worship a single deity, known as “Brahman,” but still recognize other gods and goddesses. Followers believe there are multiple paths to reaching their god. 
  • Hindus believe in the doctrines of samsara (the continuous cycle of life, death, and reincarnation) and karma (the universal law of cause and effect). 
  • One of the key thoughts of Hinduism is “atman,” or the belief in soul. This philosophy holds that living creatures have a soul, and they’re all part of the supreme soul. The goal is to achieve “moksha,” or salvation, which ends the cycle of rebirths to become part of the absolute soul. 
  • One fundamental principle of the religion is the idea that people’s actions and thoughts directly determine their current life and future lives. 
  • Hindus strive to achieve dharma, which is a code of living that emphasizes good conduct and morality. 
  • Hindus revere all living creatures and consider the cow a sacred animal. 
  • Food is an important part of life for Hindus. Most don’t eat beef or pork, and many are vegetarians. 
  • Hinduism is closely related to other Indian religions, including Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. 

Shree Jagannatha Temple Plan : 

Temple is a place where the devotee can meet a representation of the Lord, pray, and ask for blessings. A devotee may also celebrate music and dance and festivals in the temple. It is also a place for meditation and spiritual connection. Temples are places where Puja is performed. Hindu temples depict Good, Evil, and Man. 

A temple is normally built near a body of water such as streams and rivers, lakes and the sea. If water was not naturally present, then normally a well or a temple tank was built. We are planning a water fountain/ a small pond. 

Vastu Shastra 

Our temple will be designed as per Vastu. These ancient texts describe how temples and homes are to be built with proper positioning of doors, windows, hallways, kitchens and sanctum sanctorum. 

The temple plan 

This Hindu temple will be constructed as a perfect square, the square representing the divine. The circle that circumscribes this perfect square represents the earthly. Large temples are often built on an 8X8 square grid consisting of 64 squares. These sub-squares are called Padas.  

Padas 

The central squares are dedicated to Brahman. The first concentric square surrounding the Brahma Pada is called Devika Pada, dedicated to good or Devas. The concentric square surrounding the Devika Pada is the Manusha Pada dedicated to man. The last concentric square surrounding the Manusha Pada is the Paisachika Pada representing evil or the Asuras. In large Indian temples the three Padas are decorated with murals, paintings and carvings. 

Garbhagriha

At the centre of the Brahma Padas is the Garbhagriha, a small windowless enclosed space in a square shape which represents the universal spirit or Purusha. This is the sanctum sanctorum (पवित्र स्थान मंदिर) wherein an idol or Murthi may be placed. This is the main deity of the temple. 

Shikara or Vimanam 

Directly above and rising above the Garbhagriha or Brahma Padas is the spire or tower structure called Shikara in the north and Vimanam in the South. This is the defining structure in a Hindu temple and is normally the most visible part of the temple. 

Antarala 

Antarala is a vestibule or an antechamber between the Garbhagriha and the Mandap. It is more commonly found in northern Indian temples. 

Mandapa 

Mandapa refers to the pillared outer hall or pavilion. These could serve as waiting and assembly rooms for devotees(Asthana Mandapa ). Some Mandapas are called Kalyana Mandapas which symbolize the marriage of God with Goddess. Some were used for music, dance and prayer meetings. 

Amalaka 

An Amalaka is the stone disk that sits on top of the Shikara or Vimanam. It may represent a lotus or the sun. On top of this is normally the temple banner or flag. 

Gopuram 

The Gopuram refers to elaborate gate-towers commonly seen in South Indian and Dravidian temples. These are often larger than the Shikara or Vimanam. 

Sthala Vruksham 

The sacred tree of the temple. Many temples in India would have an associated sacred tree which is also worshipped. Sometimes idols of Nagas or serpent gods are placed near the tree. 

Thirtham 

This refers to the temple tank or well which is also associated with the temple. Devotees can wash themselves as a symbolic cleansing. Temple Flag post – Many temples , especially in the South have a flag post at the entrance where the festival flags are unfurled at the time of temple festivals. 

Vahana 

Temples also have a temple chariot or Vahana, on which the idols of the deity are taken out on procession. 

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Shree Jagannatha Temple in United Kingdom is a Religious, Charitable, Non-profit and Community Interest Company registered in England & Wales ( Number12730462 ) 

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