(In the context of Buddhism and Sanatan)
When we study the tradition in relation to Buddhism, it is clear that Buddha tried to reform the religious activities of his time. Thus Buddha appears before us as a religious reformer.
He was opposed to the form of Vedic sacrifice in which animals were sacrificed. Thus he emerges before us as an idol of compassion. He did not oppose Vedic religion but opposed Vedic Yagya; Only such yajna in which violence took place.
The reason why Buddha is then shown as an opponent of the Vedas and the Vedic brahmins, it is conceivable.
To make this clear, let us discuss a little about the nature of religion in the Vedic tradition.
Two categories of religion
In the Vedic tradition or broadly speaking Sanatan tradition, there are two forms of religion-
1. pāpanivṛttilakṣaṇo dharmaḥ (पापनिवृत्तिलक्षणो धर्मः) –
i.e. A religion that frees us from sin. To stay away from the actions, which are called sins, to do the opposite, so that they do not indulge in sins – is the first type of religion.
For example, committing violence is considered a sin. Then when we do not commit violence, we only do the work of getting away from sin. Therefore, we will keep non-violence as a religion of this category.
Similarly, lying is a sin, so truth became a religion of the first order.
Similarly, anger, theft, hurting others, disobeying one’s parents, being full of filth, indulging in rape, kidnapping, murder etc.- all these are sins according to Sanatan Dharma. The religion to stay away from them is this religion of the first order.
The 10 forms of religion which are said in Manusmati are of this category.
dhṛtiḥ kṣamā damo’steyaṃ śaucamindriyanigrahaḥ |
dhīvidyā satyamakrodho daśakaṃ dharmalakṣaṇam ||
i.e. patience, forgiveness, restraint, stealth, purity, control of the senses, Intelligence, knowledge, truthfulness and anger are the ten characteristics of religion. One who has these characteristics should be considered religious.
2. abhyudayakārako dharmaḥ– (अभ्युदयकारको धर्मः-)
That is, the one who gives us progress. Do the work of lifting us up from the position we are in, this is a religion of the second order.
For example, assuming the existence of God, praying, worship, havan, chanting, meditation, listening to the praises of God, chanting, helping the needy, donating, etc. These are such acts, what is not said to be a sin even by not doing, it is a religion of this category.
Let’s say you have a glass of water. A thirsty man comes in front of you and asks you for water and if you give it to him, then it will be religion of the first order. Because according to Sanatan Dharma, if you do not give water even after asking for it, then it is called a sin. Therefore, when you give him water, it will be only the religion of abstinence from sin.
But if you make arrangements for drinking water in front of your house so that any needy person can come here and drink water, then it will be an emerging religion.
Thus here the first type of religion mentioned above is called ‘morals’ in Sanatan Dharma. This is our first religion, the essential religion, the basic religion.
Without doing this form of dharma, we cannot be entitled to perform any other type of dharma that gives rise to prosperity.
Buddha has explained this religion in the ‘Dhammapada’. This religion is the ‘Mahayana’ branch of the Buddhist tradition, which is the first step. That is why it is called ‘Mahayana’ i.e. the ‘Greater Path’ of the religion.
This first religion is common in all the sects of the world. It is called the religion of humanity today. Without following the religion of humanity, we are not entitled to move forward.
There is no difference in any sect at this level of religion. We see the difference in the path only in the second type of religion.
If we say that we will get progress only by the first type of religion, then it is not possible.
For example, we are standing at a place, where there is a moat at the bottom and a mountain above. We have to climb the mountain. In such a condition, if we keep on saving ourselves only by rolling down, then we will not fall into the ditch, but we will not be able to achieve our goal either. That’s why we have to protect ourselves from rolling down and keep trying to climb up.
Thanks, that’s all today. We will explain the next day. Stay connected with us…