Sadhguru: Sanatana Dharma is a commonly misused word today. Dharma does not mean a religion or moral code. Dharma means “law.” If you want to handle material transactions, there are certain laws. The law may be institutional or otherwise, but if you do not follow those laws, your material transactions will not continue for long. You may manage to rip someone off once but you cannot sustain it. Similarly, there are certain laws for your emotions. If you do not follow them, your emotions will become destructive, both to yourself and everyone around you. If you apply your intellect, there are certain laws. If you do not follow them, your intellect will destroy you in so many different ways.
Sanatana Dharma – Law for Inner Nature
As there are physical laws, there are eternal laws. Physical laws change according to the times you are in. The eternal laws are always. Sanatana Dharma is the eternal law.
The law for transactions cannot be eternal. Only for that which is not physical, there can be eternal laws. For the physical realm, if we do not upgrade the laws as situations evolve, people will do terrible things but still think they are following the law. This is a serious debate in the world right now. Someone is going by a law written in their scripture and the most horrendous things are being done, but they say, “This is our law. This is written in our book.” Your book is of another time. For these times, we need new laws for transactions.
Rules of the Road
This happened. Shankaran Pillai went to California to visit his son. There was acrimony – he had not seen his son for many years because he was very angry that his son had married without his permission. But now, because his son had a son, he went to visit them. When he saw that his son had a Corvette, he said, “I would like to drive this car.”
He took it out and “boom” he went off. His daughter-in-law, worried about his wellbeing, was watching the traffic news. In the news, something came up and immediately she called him. She said, “There is some madman driving on the wrong side of the road at a high speed. Please watch out!” He said, “What are you talking about ‘one madman’? Hundreds of madmen are driving on the wrong side of the road!”
In India at least, if you drive on the left side of the street, there is a better chance of you reaching your destination. But if you drive on the right side of the street constantly, we know where we’ll see you! So the laws of transaction have to evolve with the times. But for the inner nature, there is a Sanatana Dharma, an eternal law. That does not change. A lot of people are beginning to think Sanatana Dharma is their religion. Sanatana Dharma is not a religion. It is the law that governs your inner nature. If you are in tune with it, you will find a way. If you are not in tune with it, you will collide with something.
The eternal law is not something you learn from someone. If you look inward and begin to explore, you will naturally adhere to Sanatana Dharma – the eternal law. Sanatana Dharma is not a commandment or an ethical code. This is understanding the laws of the universe as to how it functions. Universal laws cannot be imposed. They are there. If you are not in tune with it, there will be friction. If you are in tune with it, life will go smoothly.