Keynote address by Naatyaacharya V.P.Dhananjayan  on 7th October 2017

SanaaThana Dharma or Hinduism:  Points to ponder:

!! Sree gurubhyo namah:!!

My dear sisters and brothers gathered here today and the illustrious & reverential dignitaries on the dais,

Both my wife Shanta and myself deem it an honour to have been invited to present this keynote address pertaining to the conference subject  “Celebrating Sanatana dharma” . Being a Naatyaacharya steeped in the traditional performing arts of Bharatanatyam- theatrical art forms of Bhaarat desh, you would rather expect me and Shanta to perform Bharatanaatya rather than our  lecturing. Yes,  we will not disappoint you  and assure you a short performance at the end of the keynote address emphasizing the essence of Sanaathana Dharma or otherwise rechristened as Hindu religion.  Like in our constitution the name INDIA is used as a translation of our original name BHAARAT  and I would like  my brothers and sisters to understand that all those who have the lineage of Bhaaratdesh should be addressed as Bhaarateeya  and not Indians, probably the first known Indians are historically,  the native Americans.  The name of our country Bhaarat has a profound meaning imbedded in the tenets of ‘chaturvedas’ – rig, ejur,sama & adharva-  which says  ‘ a land that eradicates or expel the ignorance of the world. “BHaaram tarayati iti Bhaarataha.”   The name INDIA stuck on us by the invaders  has no meaning as far as our language is concerned, but probably the historians may have their own reasons to attribute to that name India. In any case the The term Hindu is synonymous with Sanaathana Dharma.

We shall not delve into that matter  now  but just realize and understand that  it is high time we change back to Bhaarat and call ourselves Bhaarateeya  once again to regain the past glory of a peaceful, ease full and useful Samskaara steeped in a way of life called ‘Sanaathana dharma’.

Language has no religion:

At the outset I would like all of you and the world citizens to know that a language has no religion, but it communicates human feelings. So, should we  understand that the great language ‘Samskritam’  is not pertaining to any religion or region  and this language is universal and quotes in this beautifully constructed idiom of  communication should not be construed as religious language.  Why I emphasize on this moot point is because,  many a times people misquoted  this language being the language of Hinduism.  The word Hindu itself is  misnomer  and not found in any of our ancient scriptures.  People who invaded Bhaaratam crossed the great Sindhu river which stands testimony to our civilization- unfortunately Sindhu was pronounced as Hindu, that became more prevalent and ultimately forced our way of life &  civilization  known Aarsha-samskaar or Sanaathana dharma as a religion called ‘Hindu matham’.  

At this juncture I would also like to point out  that the pronoun SAMSKRITAM should not be pronounced as ‘sanskrit’ making it ‘anglicized’ – samyak kurtam samskrutham’  a language well done is the meaning.

The ideals & philosophy of Sanaathana dharma:

To the best of my knowledge and understanding  there is no other so called religions  promulgating  an   ideology or philosophy  encompassing a universal  theory of  oneness and relating to whole  living things as one family  and the life  in all being the ultimate power that generate, organize  & distribute  the nature’s bounty  equal to one & all.  ( vasudaiva kutumbakam- the whole world is one family) … this concept of  whole jeeva rasi – or living beings as one family is unique  and in the scriptures  as a prayer we offer  “ tachamyoraavrini mahe , gaatum yagnaya  , gaatum yagnyapathaye, daivee swasthirastunaha, swasthir maanushebhyaha, oordthwam jigadubheshajam shanno-asthu dwipade shanchatushpadhe-oom shanti shaanti shantihi!!.  This quote from Veda says  ‘pray for the welfare of the two legged humans and four legged – multi legged animals and life around us.”   Have you find such universal prayers in other so   called religions?

ONE GOD -  G (generator) O ( organizer) D ( (distributor) :

Sanaathana dharna - duties of eternal values  has no forced religious dogma whatsoever  and not attributed to  a particular god  or religious head.  “ eakam tat vipraaha bahudha vadanthi”   that ultimate soul power is called in differently  - and says “ aakaashaat pathitham toyam yadhaa gachhanthi saagaram , sarvadevanamaskaaraha keshavam prathi gacchathi’ , meaning all prayers reaches to the ONE ultimate , like all rain waters flows towards the ocean .  Many philosophers believed in this theory and the Sanaathanees promulgated the great ideology  “oru jaathi, oru matham oru deivam” ( one cast , one religion and one god) – as said by Naaraayana guru of Kerala.

Nature is our Guru or preceptor:

Sanaathana dharma ask us to practice worship of nature and respect the Prakruthi and purusha who are our  preceptors. We learn everything from the nature or prakriti-purusha- without which there is no creation. Respect for all five elements – prithvi (earth) ap (water) thejas or agni (fire) akasha (ether) and vaayu( air) - Panchabhutas,   without which we cannot exist. This philosophy of Aarsha samskaara is often misinterpreted  as pagan theory by western religious philosophers . Protection of nature and ecology is an integral part of Sanaathana Dharma  and the samskaara or culture we inherited from the greatest of scientists called Rishis ( Aarsha samskara) has no  parallels anywhere in the world.  125 years ago, Swami Vivekananda - the modern age philosopher  forcefully addressed the entire world religious  conference and shook the world of religious idiocy to gain recognition to Sanaathana Dharma and its perpetrators as true believers of peace and  coexistence of humanity at large. Our Bhaarat got a new identity as a country of intelligence and intellectuals. From then on, we did not look back  and new dawn enlightened the entire religious groups.

Scripture, epics and mythologies:

Sanaathana Dharma promulgated, preached and popularized among generations that education without character is body without head. Good character and conduct became the base behavior of our so called Hindu religion – of course otherwise steeped in the tenets of Sanatana dharma  and the gamut of scriptures , great epics like Ramayana & Mahabharata  and mesmerizing mythological stories became tools for education, enlightenment and entertainments to all generations to come. ( bhavishya tascha lokas cha  sarva karma as saadhakam).  The venerated and worshipful dogma in the world-renowned book of everlasting principles of life known as BHAGAVAD GITA”  became the sacred book for all humanities. Earlier to this book in Sanskrit we have yet another great scripture in the language of Tamizh called “THIRUKKURAL” is a predecessor to all scriptures truly encompasses the philosophy of secularism  for the entire world community.  This great Tamizh literature is probably one and only scripture translated in all most all languages of the world. Thiruvalluvar a saint poet lived in Dakshin Bharat  (Tamizhnadu) almost 2000 years ago  envisaged a world of  one community of humanity sharing and caring  for the entire living things and their welfare  and secured life of purity, divinity  and integrity.  This is the kind of philosophy our intellectuals -called Rishis – taught to the entire world. Hence western intellectuals, scientists  philosophers and historians,   off and  on visited and traversed through  the land interacting with those great souls  who liberally shared their knowledge with them. Here I would like to stress that our country Bharat had no need to invade any neighboring countries and loot their material  wealth and intellectual wealth.  We have always been a rich country  in all aspects of life.  But now poorly administered by  democratic way of   functioning. Excuse me for saying so !!

Naatya the essence of Vedas – or Sanaathaadharma:

Many may not know or realized that all our art forms are integrated with our life and philosophy  inscribed in ancient scriptures, especially the theatrical performing arts -known as Naatya is yet another Veda known as  ‘panchamaveda’ or fifth veda  ( naatyaakhyam panchamam vedam sethi hassam karomy aham  bhavishyathaschalokasya sarva karmaausaadhakam , says Bharata’s Natyashastra.  ……….

Taking important aspects of chatur veda (4 vedas)  a fifth text is created for the welfare and prosperity of the generations to come.  People mistakenly call our arts as Hindu arts or temple arts,  especially  Naatya traditions.  One must realize that the temples have been not only a place of worship, but also a place of learning , interacting and entertainments. So, does the performing arts were nurtured in the precincts of temple  (vidyalayam)  truly secular  in its contents with no so called religious sentiments attached to it.  Naatya  became  part of rituals that essentially meant for educational , enlightening , and entertaining media , also known as ‘drishya-kaavya’ or visual educational media.

Starting from the great Guru Natyacharya Bharatamuni  several Bharatas -sons of the soil became custodians of Sanaathana dharma later named as Hindu religion. We should know that a religious concept to our secular  way of life came  only after many foreign invasions  that changed  Bharatiya samskriti.

Before  we conclude this keynote address with a short item of  Bharatanaatyam  -a song composed by Parama Guru Sankaracharya of Kaanchi  sung by the nightingale of Bhaarat Desh Bhaarat Ratna late smt M.S.Subbulakshmi  in UN assembly couple of decades ago  we would request all of you to chant the beautiful vedic prayer.  Though this is in the universal language of Sanskrit  the meaning is applicable to all humans.  No man-made religion is part of its text  and the same idea is delineated in the song  interpreted in idiom of Bharatanatyam.

Shanta will lead you through and you may please repeat the chant closing your physical eye , but opening the third eye of wisdom or jnana drishti.

Oom sahana vavatu     saha nau bhunaktu    saha veeryam karavaavahei

Thejaswi Naavadheetamastu  maa vidwishaavahei , Om shaanti shaanti shaanti hai !!!

Performance to the song sung by MSS.   

Maithreem Bhajatha Akila Hrithik Jeththreem - to Cultivate Friendship and Humility, which will conquer the Hearts of Everyone.

Atma Vat Eva Paraan api pashyata - Look upon others similar to yourself.

Yuddham Tyaja - Renounce War

Spardha Tyaja - forsake Competition

Tyajata Parshwa akrama aakramanam - Give up Aggression don't be aggressive

Jananee Prthivee Kaamadughaastey - Mother Earth yields all that we desire,'Kama Dugha Stay'-she gives that all the things we desire (cloths,food etc)

 JanakO Deva: Sakala Dayaalu: - There is only one father in common,god he is Our Father, most compassionate of one and all

Damyata - practice Restraint

Datta - So, Donate your wealth to others

Dayadhvam - So, Be Kind to others

Janathaa: - Oh People of the World

Sreyo Bhoothnath Sakala Jana Anaam - May All People of this World be Happy and Prosperous.

With that universal prayer in Naatya form I conclude my keynote address and thank profusely the Om Kriya Foundation and its pillars such as smt. Rajya Laxmi Ji for inviting and giving me this wonderful opportunity to address this large gathering of Sanaathanis in the this great land of America.

Jai Bhaarat  Bhaarat  jai !!!!