SANATANA DHARMA

by Guardians of Darkness
Slayton, D.D.

Summary of the entire Dark Traditions by Tani Jantsang

Please note that the word SAT means Being.  It is the One Everpresent Reality. 

Sata Rupa is a title applied to Vach (similar to Binah) - it means Sata Form or Nature (Viraj is Vajra or Hochmah).  Vach-Viraj. 

Satya Yuga is the Golden Age, the Truth Age, the prior world age before this Kali Yuga. Some call that ages by different names. 

Sattya means Supreme Truth.

Sattva means Understanding.

See also Asat, Sat, and Tan on this website.  Sanat-Kumara is the oldest name of Brahma.  The Five Kumaras are the Five Dharmas, similar to the 5 Pythagorean Daimones shown on the Pentacle.  See also below "Here is Summary."

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Sanatana Dharma:

There is only One Divinity hidden in all beings, who pervades all, the Self of all beings. It is the overseer of all actions, who dwells in all beings, the witness, the sole consciousness beyond all attributes.

Svetasavatara Upanishad VI.11

The Self is the Divinity that exists in all directions, born in the beginning, it moves within the child. It alone has been born and it alone will be born. It faces all creatures whose face is to every side.

Svetasavatara Upanishad II.16

Sanatana Dharma as a universal tradition has room for all faiths and all religious and spiritual practices regardless of the time or country of their origin. Yet it places religious and spiritual teachings in their appropriate place relative to the ultimate goal of Self-realization, to which secondary practices are subordinated. Sanatana Dharma also recognizes that the greater portion of human religious aspiration has always been unknown, undefined, and outside of any institutionalized belief.

Sanatana Dharma thereby gives reverence to individual spiritual experience over any formal religious doctrine. Wherever the Universal Truth is manifest, there is Sanatana Dharma - whether it is in a field of religion, art or science, or in the life of a person or community. Wherever the Universal Truth is not recognized, or is scaled down and limited to a particular group, book or person, even if done so in the name of God, there Sanatana Dharma ceases to function, whatever the activity is called. Therefore, to say that some people in India alone know this, or can speak for this, is false and confused.

Question:  A single wheel revolves with a single rim, with an unlimited number of spokes moving both before and behind. With half of itself it generated the universe. Where has its other half gone?

Atharva Veda X.9.7

Answer:  Encompassing all beings, all worlds, and all directions of space, approaching the original being of Truth, with the Self it entered into the Self.

Going around Heaven and Earth in an instant, going around all the worlds, the directions, and the enlightened realms, breaking the extended line of karma, it saw That, it became That, it was That.

Shukla Yajur Veda XXXII.11-12

The infinite Mother is Heaven. The infinite Mother is the Earth. She is the Mother, the Father and the Son. The Infinite Mother is all the Gods and the five peoples of humanity. She is all that has been born and all that will be born.

Rig Veda I.89.10

The almighty power of the Supreme Divinities is only One.

Rig Veda III.55.1

May Heaven and the Atmosphere grant us peace. May the Earth give us peace along with the Waters. May the herbs and the forests be peaceful to us. May all the cosmic powers grant us peace. May the Divine Being grant us peace. May the entire universe be at peace. May there be the peace of peace. May that peace dwell within me.

Shukla Yajur Veda XXXVI.17

The Basis of the Eternal Tradition

A universal tradition integrates all valid ways of knowledge from ordinary sense perception to the highest samadhi or spiritual absorption. It cannot be limited to the partialities of any particular system or ideology, yet it must contain teachings for people of all levels and temperaments.

Deity

"God" is the term most often used in Western religious thought to describe the Supreme Being or spiritual reality behind the universe. The term God is originally a Germanic word and relates to the idea of the good, the summum bonum, what is supremely beneficial in life. God in the Jewish, Christian and Islamic sense stands for the Creator of the universe, who has a personal nature, and is generally conceived of as a father who resides in Heaven.

Sanatana Dharma teaches that there is an ultimate spiritual reality, which one can call God, but that this reality transcends all names, forms and actions. Its highest Truth is one of monism - not that there is only One Deity but that there is nothing but Deity, which includes all creatures within a greater Being. Such a Divine being is not merely creator:  It is the creation itself as well as the Uncreated which transcends time, space and causation as pure consciousness, called Brahman or the Absolute. All creatures and all the universe are in essence Deity. Our soul is one with The Absolute and can experience this in consciousness. (See Asat, Sat, and Tan on this website).  To avoid confusion, I'll use "The Absolute" instead of some other name or word. 

The Absolute is the very Self of all beings. It is neither male nor female. It is beyond emotion and expression. It has no only sons, favorite prophets or chosen people. It transcends time, space and person. All of creation consists of merely the surface waves on its infinite sea. It is a unity of Truth, not of belief, and a Truth that has many forms and functions in its manifestation.

The Absolute is not apart from the world. It is the very being and presence underlying all things. It is equally present in an ant as well as in a human being. There is nothing apart from it. Yet it is not tainted by anything. Like space it pervades everything but assumes no form. While one can call The Absolute "God," one should realize that The Absolute is a universal principle of Being (SAT) transcending both the Creator and the creation and is not the same as the God of monotheistic beliefs (which Hindus call Ishvara or the Lord).

Non-Duality (Advaita).

Non-duality is the understanding that there is only One Truth or Reality, and therefore only One Self in all beings. This One Truth is Being-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute.

It exists equally in the Creator, the soul and in creation and transcends all three. It is not merely a theory but is the experiential unity of the perceiver, the action of seeing, and the object perceived.  (See "The Darkness Is One" on this website). 

Without knowing the One, we remain trapped in duality, ignorance and sorrow. To know the One is to become it, which is to recognize its Self-existent reality.

Sanatana Dharma bases itself on non-duality. For this reason it cannot set up one religious identity against another. It recognizes the same Self in all beings. Its various practices help us merge into the One, which transcends all human limitations.  Here Self is being defined as Sat, the same Sat in all things, despite their individual personalities. 

Atheism?

Atheism, the idea that there is no God or Creator, is a conception of the human mind which occurs at various stages of mental and spiritual development. It appears in undeveloped minds who are unable to perceive any deeper reality than what is evident through the physical senses. Atheism also appears in more developed minds who see through the limitations of organized religion and its dogmas and can no longer accept them as true. In that sense, Atheism is an enlightened reaction to ignorance and dogma. 

Some Dharmic teachings, (e.g. the Esoteric Northern Traditions of the East) are atheistic in the sense that they do not regard God or a cosmic Lord as the ultimate reality. They may recognize the Creator or rather the Emanator as a secondary reality, however, and see Pure Consciousness as the ultimate truth of being. Such systems are atheistic only in the sense of not regarding theism as the ultimate truth. Such non-theists are not materialists but have a trans-theistic spiritual view of Reality.  This would be more in line with what we call the Dark Doctrines (see below, "Here is Summary").  The moment you put "the person of 'God'" into a doctrine, you run the risk of Theism and falling into errors. 

Deity:  Personal or Impersonal?

A universal tradition recognizes the full range of personalities of the Deity. Yet the Divine is impersonal as well as personal, the formless Absolute of Being-Consciousness-Bliss as well as the cosmic Lord and Creator (the Esoteric Tradition says Emanator, not Creator -  there is a profound difference). The impersonal is a higher reality because the personal implies limitation. Beyond creation there cannot be any person, even a Divine Person.  Again, the issue here is with the concept "person" for something that pre-existed the Cosmos. 

There is no contradiction between the personal and impersonal aspects of the Deity. The Impersonal Divine in its creative play assumes various personalities as the Creator, or Emanator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the universe.

These personalities (of one Personage) may be either male or female, through the great forms of the Divine Father and Divine Mother. Yet the Divine is beyond "self and other" as the sole and Self-existent Reality. That being true, the Esoteric Pure Doctrines don't bother making personalities for the Self-existent-Reality.  In that impersonal and uncreated Existence is true immortality and perfect peace.

What is the Relationship With Deity?

With Deity or the Universal Being is our only enduring (eternal) relationship. Deity is our true origin and goal, our ultimate friend and companion. Deity is our father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, and master. Whatever we are related to in essence is Deity or The Absolute as the true Being of all.

God is the Self, the Divine Presence which dwells in the hearts of all beings. We are not merely related to God: God or the Supreme Being is our true nature. In the highest truth (highest Dharma), we don't have a relationship with God, we are God. All that we experience is related to us, part of our own eternal and infinite consciousness and its creative capacity.

Why Do Religions Call God He?

God is both male and female, and beyond both male and female. One can call the Divine "He" relative to the masculine qualities of the Cosmic Being like strength, justice, will or discernment. One can call it "She" in reference to its feminine qualities like love, devotion and receptivity. One can call God "It" relative to its neutral qualities like infinity or pure existence. But this runs the risk of straying far from the actual Doctrine.  It is making divisions in something that Is One. 

If one only calls God "He" then such a God is not the Supreme Being but a personification of a male centered view of reality. As our culture is dominated by male energy, not of a higher but a lower order, naturally people project this idea upon God as well. If people keep projecting things into The Absolute, eventually it is no longer The Absolute, but something else that is not the Absolute.

Such a one-sided conception of God is reflected in exclusivist religions, which claim that they alone have the truth and thereby lead us to various extreme or even violent actions.

Therefore while we can call God "He" we should not limit how we can conceive his reality. He is all beings and all relationships. He-she-it, you-me-them, whatever entity we conceive is our very own Self.

What is the Importance of the Divine Mother?

In predominant Western religions the Divine is worshipped as Father but not as Mother. This heavenly Father is often portrayed as a stern, angry or jealous God - a strict judge and giver of punishment to those of his children who violate his seemingly arbitrary laws. Protestant Christianity and Islam have banished the Divine as Mother from their religions.

Catholic and Greek Orthodox Christianity have accepted the feminine only as the mother of Jesus, not as God in Her own right - even though it appears that devotion to the Madonna has been the strongest living mystical tradition within Christianity and its greatest sustaining force.

Sanatana Dharma as a universal tradition has always recognized the importance of the Divine Mother.

According to Hinduism the deepest relationship that we can have with God is that of the Mother. No human relationship is closer than that of the mother and child. It best mirrors our relationship with God. India itself is looked upon as the Mother. The Hindu religion itself is seen regarded a mother and its teachings are her milk.

In the modern world wherein we are recognizing the equality of the sexes we can no longer reject the feminine aspect of Divinity. The rejection of the feminine aspect of the Divine - which is loving kindness, tolerance and caring nurturence - and the promotion of the stern male-only father-sky God, has led to the religious animosity and holy wars which have devastated humanity over the last two thousand years.

What religion has aggressively promoted a belief in the Divine Mother? What form of religious fundamentalism or exclusivism has ever been made in the name of the Goddess? Who could ever kill people in the name of a God named Mother? What Mother would ever allow her children to be killed or hurt, no matter how much they may have fallen? What Mother would condemn her own children as sinners? Who could say "believe in the Divine Mother or you must be killed or go to an eternal hell?" Not surprisingly Hinduism, the world's major religion that has honored the Goddess, has seldom promoted religious hostility, and has never created such ideas as eternal damnation.

The female is the form side of the Divine. Woman represents the Divine embodied. Her worship requires the creation of appropriate forms in which to revere her. We must once again create images of the Divine Mother to allow her healing grace, which is essential for world peace, to descend. Without acknowledging the forms of the Divine Mother our religions must be imbalanced and lead to various excesses in human behavior.

What is the Relationship Between God and Nature?

Some religions place God and Nature apart or in conflict with one another. Others see Nature as God's creation, which he owns and rules from on high and for which the glory belongs only to him. The Hindu view is a little different. According to Hinduism Nature is the manifestation of God who is our very Self. Nature is our own body. This is also in the Esoteric Tradition: that Nature itself, the entire Cosmos, is what the Vajra Became; therefore it is the Vajra, ultimately.  It is emanated from the Vajra and is the Vajra ultimately. 

The entire universe is our manifestation, the reflection in form of the Truth of who we really are. We not only exist in Nature, Nature exists in us. We are the Cosmic Being that expresses itself through all the forms of creation. God has not merely created Nature, or emanated Nature (which makes it all Samsaric in the Esoteric Tradition), Nature exists in God. Nature is the expression of the Word of God. It is the Divine Message and teaching vehicle through which we can come to know our True Self.

What Hinduism teaches is not pantheism, the idea that Nature is God, but monism, the Truth that there is only One Reality which includes the world and is not apart from anything. Hindu saints and sages have always reveled in the world of Nature, communicating through her with the Divine Existence.

Nature is the Divine Mother who, if we are open to not only her beauty but her wisdom, will unfold all the mysteries of consciousness to us. Besides the outer Nature is her inner form, the power of yogic knowledge, the intelligence that directs the evolution of consciousness, which ultimately reveals all the universe within us.

What is the Name of the Deity?

There is only One Divine Reality or Supreme Being, which is both beyond all names and forms and has an unlimited number of names and forms. One can call it Shiva, Vishnu, Divine Mother, the Creator, Allah or whatever one likes. All the names and forms of the Divine which human beings have developed through time have their validity. But we must transcend names and form, even the name of God, to find That Reality which is beyond all material and mental limitation. Here this is identical to Taoism. 

We don't think that the English word for grapes is the only legitimate word for grapes and those who call grapes by any other name know nothing about this particular fruit. Yet in religion some groups may insist that the name for God belonging to their particular community is the only true name and should other people call upon that spiritual reality by another name, they must be calling upon something else or even worshipping something undivine.

The name is not the thing. Even a person cannot be reduced to a single name. How much less so the Infinite Being? God has all names and transcends all names. What is important is to know that Reality not to try to impose one name or one idea about it on all humanity. A name for God enables us to establish a relationship with that transcendent Reality. Generally the name reflects various Divine qualities - like love, peace, or truth - which allow us a means of access to that higher Truth.

Repetition of Divine names is perhaps the easiest method of directing the mind to Truth. But when we limit that transcendent Reality to a mere name, which is a collection of letters, then the name itself becomes the factor of illusion and separation. We must use the name as a messenger to contact the Being, not merely worship the name itself. Ultimately we are that Being and Its name is our name, which our every breath and heartbeat proclaims.

What is the Origin of Sanatana Dharma?

Sanatana Dharma as a formulation of the eternal tradition has no specific origin in time. Its origin coincides with the beginning of creation itself. Sanatana Dharma as the universal religion arises anew with each cycle of creation, being inherent in the very laws of the universe.

Because it has been formulated in terms of Sanatana Dharma there is no specific point in history when we can say that Hinduism began. Nor can we rigidly delineate the forms of Hinduism from those of other religions, which being products of time must rest on the eternal. As not having an origin, it has no end.

Sanatana Dharma is based upon universal principles, like the law of karma, which are true in all worlds and all cycles of creation. Though its names and forms may vary, its principles or dharmas are unchanging and must be rediscovered by all creatures in every world. The origin of the True Dharma is within us. It is the very root of our deepest thoughts.

What is the Goal of Sanatana Dharma?

The goal of the universal tradition is Self-realization, the realization that the universe exists within us - that the universe is the embodiment of our deepest consciousness which transcends time and space. The goal of Universal Truth is to become one with it, which is to become one with all. This is liberation from all bondage based upon fear and craving need and the various dualities of attraction and repulsion. For indeed, if we are all, what else could exist for us to fear or to crave or need?

Actually the goal of Sanatana Dharma is ever realized because the universe is inherently one with consciousness. To reach this goal is to recognize its Self-Existent Reality. This is to merge in the ocean of unlimited Being-Consciousness-Bliss. It is liberation from all bondage and sorrow.

Yet beside its ultimate goal Sanatana Dharma recognizes all the other goals of the universal manifestation, which is the organic unfoldment of all the levels, layers and different types of worlds and creatures. While this leads to the ultimate goal, each stage has its appropriate secondary goals, manifesting the full beauty and glory of creation.

Is Evolution Endless?

Evolution is a process of development in time. Time has no end. Therefore there must always be an evolution within the field of time. Though one universe may come to an end, another must come into being. Evolution of form, life and mind is eternal, though no particular thing that evolves is itself unending.  In the Esoteric Tradition:  Being is always Becoming. 

However there is a part of our nature that is unchanging, which has never been limited to the field of time. This Timeless Being can never evolve because it does not exist within the domain of action.  (See "The Darkness Is One" on this website.)  Pure Consciousness is not a material thing or a product of time that can grow or decline. What evolves is the mind and its ability to reflect consciousness.

What is necessary is to know our true Self - the immutable constant of our being. Then we transcend time and circumstance. Then evolution, on whatever level it may occur, cannot limit us, though the forms of our outer expression may change and develop in ways that we may not be able to presently conceive. We must learn to view the unending changes of evolution from the standpoint of the Immutable Self. This is Divine delight.

Karma

The law of karma is very scientific. The effects of our actions must be of the same nature and extent as the original actions themselves. It is not a question of reward and punishment but a law of energetics. Our actions set in motion a subtle or occult force that pushes us along in life. If we act in a violent way towards others, for example, that violence becomes embedded in our psyche and reflects upon us, causing us to act and to be acted upon in a similar way.

If we act in a loving and compassionate manner that energy carries us along the stream of love and brings the forces of love into our life to the same degree and manner as the love we have put forth. Whatever we set in motion through action, even if that action is directed toward others, we must come to experience within ourselves. When we die we take with us the essence of our actions and the will that has caused them, which becomes the basis of our next life.

Karma is the residue of past actions that follows the soul along its journey until it is able to transcend action which, based on desire, is always limited. The goal for Dharmic traditions is liberation or union with Truth, the Self. This arises from knowledge, not action, because action which occurs in the realm of time cannot bring us to that which transcends time. We must learn to look beyond action and give up the sense of being the doer. Then the fluctuations of action and its result cannot disturb us, and whatever we do, being detached, will be inherently good (according to Sanatana Dharma - it may not be seen as good by others). 

Are We Punished for Wrong Actions?

Reward and punishment are concepts of an undeveloped mind. The Divine Being is not some great parent or judge in Heaven dealing out rewards and punishments. There is a natural law (dharma) and its consequences according to the law of cause and effect (karma).

If you put your hand into a fire you get burned. God is not punishing you for the sin of putting your hand in a fire by burning you. It is not a sin but a matter of ignorance of natural law and consequent experience of pain or limitation. Just as there are physical laws, like fire's capacity to burn, so there are mental and spiritual laws. Violence, for example, brings eventual destruction upon its perpetrator. But one is not punished for violence, violence as a negative state of mind with negative consequences creates its own punishment.

The problem is that the long term effects of our actions are not as obvious as their immediate results. For example, if we eat food, like too much sugar, which tastes good but is bad for us in excess, its negative effect will not manifest immediately, like fire burning us, but will take time, causing eventual disease through poor digestion which may manifest as arthritis, heart disease or any number of problems. Because of the time lap involved between the cause and effect of our actions we may not recognize the connection between the wrong food and the disease.

On the level of behavior, anger is destructive to our finer sensitivities and prevents us from developing higher consciousness. It disturbs the Inner Peace.  However, if our minds are not properly evolved we may not recognize this pain, we may indulge in anger and find pleasure in it. But eventually we must experience the consequences of the forces we set in motion, both on a short term and a long term level. Our anger, fear and attachment must lead us into situations that make us suffer. Wrong action itself is its own punishment because it causes the constriction of our consciousness into the outer realm of life, which always results in unhappiness.

Do Heaven and Hell Exist?

Sanatana Dharma recognizes that the soul or reincarnating consciousness is one with the Divine and Eternal Reality. The soul is immortal and by its very nature ever blissful, free and happy. However, veiled by ignorance, it falls into confusion and through misconceptions about the nature of Reality makes various mistakes about life which lead to suffering in different incarnations.

Souls by their karma, the power of their own actions, create their own destiny, which leads to various happy or unhappy states of existence. A very happy state could be called heaven and a very unhappy state, hell. Yet there is no eternal or absolute heaven or hell. Any embodied state being bound by time must be transient and come to an end after a certain period of time. Nor does any realm contain such extremes of pleasure and pain that the ordinary idea of heaven and hell portrays. All embodied states must bring some degree of both pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow.

Moreover an unlimited result cannot arise from a limited action, any more than a limited seed can produce an unlimited plant. Therefore an unlimited or eternal heaven or hell can never result from limited creaturely actions, such as occur in an ordinary human life, which must lead to repeated incarnations, not to any final heaven or hell. The actions that we do in one life do not have eternal ramifications but only those into a corresponding field of time. Wrong actions lead to suffering but such suffering is equal to the nature of the action. There cannot be an eternal result through transient action.

The idea of an eternal heaven or hell is irrational and shows an ignorance of the basic nature and laws of the universe. Hindus believe in a loving God who would never condemn any creature to an everlasting hell. To them, such a God would be the worst of tyrants and unworthy of worship.

Heaven and hell have been used by various priests to entice or frighten people into certain beliefs. Such heavens and hells do not exist.

This heaven and hell idea appeals to the basic reward-punishment conditioning mechanism of the undeveloped mind. It does not promote real ethical behavior so much as creating emotional imbalance and sometimes religious fanaticism. It is important to recognize that our actions have their consequences in both this and future lives, but to hang the specter of an eternal heaven or hell over people is only to promote fear and ignorance.

Does Evil Exist?

There is an Absolute Good (which is what these Traditions are choosing to call The Absolute) but there cannot be any absolute evil. Evil being a form of ignorance and limitation can never be absolute, though it can be a powerful force in this realm of the ignorance. All souls are inherently good and can only temporarily become evil owing to ignorance. This evil consists in doing actions which harm other creatures and thereby also harm oneself.

Various negative forces exist in the universe which could be called, in some sense, evil. Just as there are toxins and pollutants in the physical environment, which can be called bad (but which may not be bad to non-human life at all), so there are negative forces in our psychic and mental environment. Wrong actions create a negative force, which like mob action, can appear almost demonic. Yet however strong evil appears it can never win in the realm of Truth and Eternity. Only in the outer realm of appearances can evil appear to have any real power. Inwardly in consciousness it does not really exist.

The idea of a Devil or that of an entirely evil being is wrong. No creature exists who is inherently evil or who can act in an entirely evil manner. However, the evil or harmful actions of people can create a negative force that appears to have an existence of its own and can be almost overwhelming. Such negative powers and entities do exist and must be reckoned with but can be transcended.

These negative forces are not the product of religious unbelief but of willful egoism. The way to transcend evil is to transcend the ego, which is to go beyond the barriers of belief and identity. Unfortunately, the specter of evil has been used to dominate or destroy people who think differently than a particular group.

Such an idea of evil is itself one of the most evil things the human mind has ever invented, as the violence perpetrated in its wake throughout history has demonstrated. It turns other human beings, who are also God, into demons who have to be destroyed and who are not even worthy of human consideration.

What is Sanatana Dharma's View of Civilization?

According to Sanatana Dharma, or the universal tradition, civilization should be the progressive unfoldment of the capacities of the soul toward the ultimate goal of Self-realization. The soul through evolution gradually develops the powers of the senses, emotion, mind and intelligence until discovering its nature as Pure Consciousness. All of the universe is thereby a development of civilization, which should be the culture of consciousness.

Plants and animals also have their societies and their communication. Civilization is not unique to human beings or to this planet but occurs everywhere in the universe. Yet human civilization has its particular role. Human civilization should be the culture of spiritual aspiration whereby we seek to embody the universal consciousness in creaturely existence.

This is neither the culture of religious belief nor that of materialistic science. It is the seeking of the Infinite in a rational, sensitive and experiential manner, not the promotion of an institution, nor the cultivation of the finite. True civilization begins with the spiritual life and it is based upon honoring the sages, those who have realized truth, and looking to them as our social role models and ideals. There are obvious pitfalls in doing this, dependent on which "sage" one chooses to admire.

What is Vedanta?

Vedanta is the portion of the Vedas or the scriptures of Hinduism that deals with the ultimate truth of Self-realization, which is the true goal of life. It teaches the great truth that the Self is God, that our inner being is one with the supreme reality. (See "Asat, Sat and Tan" on this website.)  There are several schools of Vedanta but all seek realization of God or Truth.

Vedantic schools discuss the nature of the Absolute (Brahman), the Creator (God), the soul (Atman) and Nature, as well as the nature of karma, rebirth, bondage and liberation. Vedanta contains philosophy, theology and various yogic approaches. It is a vast treasure house of wisdom which explains all the mysteries of life and comprehends all worlds and all states of consciousness.

Yoga is the practical side of Vedanta. Without yogic practices Vedanta remains a mere theory. Without Vedantic knowledge yogic practices remain superficial. Vedanta is the real essence of Hinduism and Yoga is its practice. It has been said that Vedanta is to Hinduism what Kaballa is to Judaism. The great teachings of Yoga-Vedanta are the core of Sanatana Dharma or the Eternal Tradition and should be spread all over the world.

What is Tantra?

Tantra is a set of Hindu teachings generally giving various rituals and techniques to achieve the various goals of life, including liberation. Buddhist and Jain Tantras of a similar nature also exist.

The highest Tantras are spiritual texts providing worship of deities, mantras, and meditation to achieve union with Deity and Self-realization. They are great yogic teachings and imbued with the higher truths of Vedanta. Tantras of an intermediate level use rituals and mantras to gain personal goals like health, prosperity, marital happiness or children. Inferior Tantras use similar methods to gain control over the minds of other people or even inflict harm. These are not to be viewed as superior or inferior in terms of morality.  They are Greater and Lesser in terms of Magic. 

In the West Tantra has mainly become known through various sexual Tantric practices. In fact to most Westerners Tantra means sex. Such sexual Tantras were usually part of the intermediate or inferior Tantras, not the higher Tantras. They make up only a small portion of Tantric teachings and should not be made to represent Tantra as a whole.

As the Goddess represents the Divine Word and the force of Nature, Tantric approaches are based on worshipping Her. She controls all energies and gives mastery over all techniques. She is the power of Yoga, the Yoga Shakti, that leads us to our true Self.

Isn't This a Different View Than Yoga in the West?

Yoga in the West has come to emphasize asana or yogic postures, which is just a small and preliminary part of the yogic system as the Western world is very physically oriented. As such it is Hatha Yoga or the Yoga of physical culture that has become most popular. But even traditional Hatha Yoga includes pranayama and meditation.

It is a part of Sadhana or spiritual practice and is meant to lead one to Raja Yoga or the deeper meditational practices. However the deeper aspects of Yoga are recognized by many people, even in the West, particularly those who want to go deeper into the tradition.

How Does Hinduism View Western Civilization?

Western civilization is a comparatively recent phenomenon compared to older spiritual cultures like the Hindu which go back over five thousand years and recognize previous world ages going back far into what Western historical accounts describe as the pre-historic era. Hindus view Christianity and Islam as new religions also, which have therefore yet to develop the proper depth and tolerance that experience teaches.

According to Hindu thinkers Western civilization is still immature and at an adolescent phase wherein personal pleasure and sensory indulgence (Kama) are the most important values. Western civilization, except in areas dominated by fundamentalist religions, has advanced beyond the childhood phase, represented by the Middle Ages, when people were like frightened children dominated by religious authority (externally projected parental images).

But it has not developed any real spiritual tradition. It produced a few mystics in the Middle Ages but no enduring science of Self-realization and yogic practices. Western art has also floundered without any spiritual roots and become mere personal expression leading either to anarchy or nihilism but not at all connecting us up with the cosmic powers which true art is meant to.

To the Hindu mind Western civilization and its adolescent values is destroying the planet and its deeper cultural traditions. However Western civilization at least has a freedom of inquiry and curiosity about the world that must lead it toward deeper knowledge in time, but as a cultural phenomenon on any large scale, this may take decades, if not centuries to develop, which is not surprising as the life of civilization is measured in thousands of years, not centuries. Western thinkers should remain humble and not get trapped in the arrogance of the intellect, then this development can occur quicker and with less suffering.

Isn't this View of Western Civilization Insensitive?

Actually it is the Western account of history that is insensitive. Look at any book on world history coming from the West and you will see that it is mainly a history of modern Europe with spiritual cultures like the Hindu dismissed as of little importance, and ancient spiritual cultures like the Egyptians regarded as merely primitive.

Similarly Western books on the history of philosophy give little credit to the great experiential spiritual systems of the Hindus and Buddhists. Their history of art has little regard for the monumental spiritual traditions of countries like India, Egypt or Mexico but is mainly concerned with the personal style art of modern Europe and America which is lacking in any sense of the Eternal and the Infinite.

Western civilization itself is arrogant and does not understand the rest of civilization, which has been its largest portion historically, or the great spiritual traditions of humanity, which are the essence of civilization. Western civilization pretends that it represents civilization as a whole, when it only represents one very recent trend.

Please note:

Here is a summary, a lot more specific, from Tani Jantsang:

Unity in the Adamantine Esoteric Tradition of the Boundless Darkness, what we call the Dark Tradition. 

This is an Adamantine Doctrine said to have been The Doctrine of the prior world age, the 4th age, the Satya Yuga (called by some, the Tritayuga).  Pesh Hun transmitted it to the people in the Kali Yuga.  (Blavatsky was told some of this, for sure, but she horribly garbled it up and even changed the Doctrine of the Five Dharmas by personalizing the Five pictograms of Dhyanni Buddhas and clearly not understanding any of it.  She horribly Christianized it.)

What absolutely legitimizes the entire Esoteric Tradition and all the related cultures (plural) that had it and still have it, as a whole, is their EMANATION doctrine about the Boundless Darkness, No Name, Aditi, Ain Soph, Apeiron, etc. and the Flame, Viraj, Vajra, etc.  that is in that All Pervading Darkness - and the resulting doctrine of Being and Becoming. This Tradition is not exclusively in the Eastern lands since  the "western civilization" Hellenic pre-Socratic thought is universally agreed upon to be very Eastern in tone and intent - and that is where Pythagoreanism comes from.  Pythagoras, however, identified himself as a Pelasgian - and these are people of the prior Fourth World Age, in oral teachings. The Pythagoreans also had the Apeiron, the Five Daimones and the same Doctrine.

THAT is the unifying concept. It is very much unlike a creation doctrine; it is very much unlike paganism with many gods and goddess and half-godling "children of" the gods/goddesses. It is not dualistic at all. It is NOT for everyone. Repeat, it is not dualistic - so if you find some later dualism tacked onto any tradition that has some of the Esoteric (Dark) Tradition in it, it is a later addition.

In addition, there are elaborations that are identical: how that One Darkness or The Absolute (be that Ain Soph or Aditi or Apeiron) is always categorized in 5 distinct ways as it acts on "the nature" around us and how the Flame is within us as kundalini, Vajra, chi, Logos, etc., how the Nature itself IS this Absolute as it Became All Things. How the Flame comes into living beings from the All Pervading Darkness, goes through living things as a Flame or kind of "Light" and then returns to that One Darkness/Being. How the All Pervading Boundless Darkness itself never increases or decreases all the time this goes on. There are also very similar doctrines about what lacks this Flame within, in all these traditions. There is no judgement on such people. It is just that the Tradition is not told to them - hence it is esoteric. (Times have changed). I could say it this way: Aditi, Vach, Viraj. Kether, Binah, Hochmah.  Same thing. Recognizable to anyone that knows this.

This is one solid tradition amongst MANY whole cultures, parts of cultures and peoples. It is universally said to have been The Adamantine Doctrine during the Satya Yuga (or Trita Yuga), which is a prior world age, or Golden Age.  It is distinct from the trinity traditions, distinct from the dualistic traditions, which oppose light and dark. It is distinct from paganism. It is distinct from the solar cults. It has nothing to do with rebelliousness or the mundane world of the "herd" and hypocrisy. It has nothing to do with that pro or con - all of that is irrelevant. If you want rules, make them up. If you follow rules, then someone else made them up. That's how societies work. How societies work has nothing to do with the Doctrine, per se. The need "in itself" for rules is contrary to the Dharmas. But rules are needed in SOCIETIES and if you are talking about societies, behaviors in these societies, then you are NOT talking about The Doctrine. There is a qualified difference. A Ngagspa can behave one way in some remote area of Etsen Gol. That is, you would see the outer behavior of this person, you'd see him doing things. Let him come to the USA and live in the city. The Ngaspa ADAPTS easily enough. You'd see him doing other behaviors outwardly. Inwardly, he is the same Ngagspa. Outer behavior has nothing to do with the Inner Being, per se; INTENT has to do with Inner Being.  . Following speeding laws on interstates, which the Ngagspa would do if he came here, has nothing to do with The Doctrine.

This is perfectly clear in the Esoteric Tradition whether you get it from the Dark Tradition we present or which is presented here or from a university or from an Adapt or whether one might tell you some of this. It does NOT MATTER if confused persons, overly cerebral people or anyone else doesn't get it. Glaring and screaming out is the EMANATION doctrine and the BOUNDLESS DARKNESS concept - the Flame that is in that Darkness - from there comes Being and Becoming. Those things are OUTSIDE of Judeo-Christianity-Islam for the most part. These are the three MAIN things that bind these traditions into one Esoteric Tradition: Boundless Darkness, Flame in Darkness , Being/Becoming. These THREE things unify it into one Esoteric Tradition, in addition to the actual teachings of the 7 and the 5 and The One.  There is no duality of LHP or RHP even if we ourselves are calling something LHP - we do so due to the very recent meanings of these words (distortions). We have unified what belongs together as a core doctrine. I don't expect a very cerebral person stuck in the Judeo-Christian paradigm to hear a single "note" of what I said. I'm not into explaining harmony to tone deaf people. It's a waste of time. The LHP or The Esoteric does not work that way. It is not like conversion doctrines. It is not like what has come to be thought of as RHP, though that in itself is very confused and misnamed.  If (IF) you define RHP as the Exoteric, then one could say that the RHP does work that way:  e.g., teaches music to tone deaf people - a pure act of futility.  You either hear the tune, or you don't.

If you hear it, it the Doctrine calls out and reaches your inner Being, then it definitely CALLS to you, you can't even resist it. If you don't hear it, I suggest you don't concern yourself with it and continue to PURSUE YOUR OWN things and be happy with what you have. To not do that is to participate further in non-being.  To try to gang up on and insult those who do understand it, is an act of non-being. 

Obviously, in history, pieces of this One Doctrine have been absconded with, merged with things it was never a part of, such as the Logos cults - and then the Sun Cults of old. SAT and Sanatana both got confused with Saturn the planet - and then confused with the Sun. Some of the Doctrine got merged into the Dark Goddess concept - dualized - as what I'd imagine to be a reaction to the Solar cults of patriarchal peoples ruling those areas. No matter. None of that is relevant. We present The Esoteric Tradition in a very unadorned and pure form. That is relevant.  In the Kali Yuga, this is bound to happen to anything from the Satya Yuga.

[Many of the basic notes for this article on Sanatana Dharma, the information that precedes the "Summary," were taken from Dr. David Frawley because he states it all in an extremely simple manner, using primarily English words in a clear, non-abstract-as-possible, manner. This article is not an attempt to elaborate on what is otherwise an extremely complex system of Teachings.]

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