Sanatana Dharma, often referred to as Hinduism, is one of the world's oldest religions, rich in spiritual philosophy and diverse traditions. However, it is important to clarify that the religion itself does not promote casteism. Instead, casteism is a societal issue that has seeped into the practice of Sanatana Dharma over centuries, perpetuated by its followers.
To better understand this, we can draw parallels with other major religions. Consider Christianity, where Jesus Christ provided the teachings of love, compassion, and unity through the Bible. Yet, Christianity is divided into numerous denominations like Catholic, Protestant, and Pentecost. Should we blame Jesus or the Bible for this division? Clearly not. It's the followers who have interpreted and practiced the religion differently.
Similarly, Islam, founded by Ibrahim and guided by the Quran, faces divisions between Shia and Sunni sects among Muslims. Again, it is not the fault of the prophet or the holy text but differences in interpretation and practice among believers.
The same principle applies to Sanatana Dharma. Its foundational texts, like the Vedas and Upanishads, emphasize spiritual knowledge, righteousness, and unity. Casteism, however, is a social construct that has infiltrated the practice of Hinduism. The caste system was originally intended as a division of labor based on skills and aptitude, but it has been misused to create unjust hierarchies.
This article aims to shed light on the distinction between the core tenets of Sanatana Dharma and the societal issues, such as casteism, that have emerged from its practice. It encourages us to recognize that religious teachings should foster unity, not division. It is essential to acknowledge that it is the responsibility of the followers to interpret and practice their religion in a way that aligns with its core values of love, compassion, and spiritual growth.
By understanding this distinction, we can work towards dismantling caste-based discrimination within the Hindu community and promote a more inclusive and egalitarian interpretation of Sanatana Dharma.