The world of Nature is
looked upon not as part of our own being but as a hostile reality to
be controlled or conquered, or as a realm of temptation. Second
are the dharmic traditions of the Eastern world which emphasize
natural law, meditation and Yoga leading to Self-realization.
Dharmic traditions seek to know the truth of things and do not set
any dogma over our own inquiry. Most indigenous and tribal
religions, with their connection to natural law, could be considered
as dharmic type of teachings, though they are not always articulated
to the same degree as the systems of India.
Yet among the mystics of
Western religious traditions we find a respect for life and a
practice of meditation similar to the dharmic traditions of the
East. Among these have been various Jewish and Christian mystics,
Sufis, and numerous mystical groups outside of organized religions,
like the Rosicrucians and Theosophists, many of which recognize
karma and rebirth that characterizes dharmic traditions. One
could argue that Dharma is the real impetus behind Western religions
as well but that it was distorted by various vested interests into
dogma and authority.
While other religions
are specific formulations relating to a particular founder, Hinduism
as Sanatana Dharma remains generic. It is not a particular dharma
but the Dharma as such, which is its concern. For this reason,
Hinduism is not a particular religion but encompasses all that could
be called religion. Sanatana Dharma is an attempt to be open to and
embrace all dharmas, not to set up one against another. So too, our
concern in religious study should be with religion as whole, not
with one religion or another. We should ask not what is the truth of
this or that religion but what is the truth of religion? Then alone
can we find the Universal Truth.