Sanathana is a Sanskrit word which means Anadi (beginning less). Sanathana further means timeless and beyond the time dimension.   It's suitable   meaning is something natural and  which  is eternal. It further  implies  that it was there, it is there and it will be there for ever.  It has no beginning or end.

Dharma is from sanskrit word  'dhri', means  to hold together, to sustain. It further  means truth based on righteous conduct, integrity and harmony in the Universe and about  the affairs of life. Dharma represents character, rights, duties,  religion,  customs, and all behavior considered righteous  and  morally reputable. It further means that Dharma  is in accordance with Nature, moral, ethical, pious, lawful etc.,

Thus Sanathana  Dharma  means "the natural, ancient and eternal way". Dharma  otherwise called Vaidika Dharma, which  is the original name of what is now we generally call  Hinduism or Hindu Dharma.  Hinduism is considered to be the oldest of the world's existing  religions.  One may get  Moksha(liberation) by following Dharma, the way of living which is  the symbol of ethics. It is the world's most ancient  culture and religious tradition.

Sanathana Dharma consists of duties which are usually  Spiritual in nature. It refers to Soul or Spirit and thus cannot vary from person to person. Swadharma is their own distinctive  role in life by way of discharging their prescribed duties set up by the great Sages according to  Vedas and Upanishads. 
Bhagavat Githa in Chapter 3 verse 35 classifies what Swadharma is:

Sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah
para - dharmat svanusthitat
sva -dharma -Nidhanam sreyah
para - dharmo bhayavahah

It is  better to discharge one's prescribed duties, even though there may be defects in following them than following  another's duties. Death in the course of performing one's own Dharma  is better than  to follow another's  path( Dharma) which  is dangerous.

In an Indian epic Ramayana, Sri Viswamithra( Kaushika) was a great Rishi.  He was a great saint and master in many arts and also in  archery. Once he wanted to conduct an Yagna, and for this, he wanted the help of Rama and Lakshmana, the sons of  Dasharadha, the king of Ayodhya. As a Rishi his Dharma is not to fight with anyone though he is well versed in  Archery because fighting is Paradharma for him.  As Rama and Lakshmana are Kshyatriyas,  Viswamithra taught them  the secrets of archery and about many terrible weapons and their use. While conducting Yagna, the demons Maricha and Subahu, created obstacles for the Yagna. Then Ram and Lakshmana killed them because their Dharma is to fight with Asuras(Demons) when they tried to create terror and kill the sages and other pious people. 

In the Mahabarath, Dhronacharya, who was a Brahmana,  and   the royal  preceptor to the Kauravas and Pandavas. He was a  master of  advanced military  arts, including the divine weapons or Astras. As a brahmana his Dharma is to teach the  arts to his disciples and not to take part in the war. But he  fought against Pandavas and killed thousands of Pandava soldiers and he was one of the persons who killed Abhimanyu, the son of Arjuna by back biting in the war. Participating in the war is the Dharma of Kshatriyas but not the Dharma of Dhrona as a Brahmana.  He adopted Paradharma knowing fully well that it is very dangerous  and as a result in due course of time, he was beheaded by Dhrishtadyumna, the Army General of Pandavas. 

Sanatana Dharma comprises of spiritual laws which govern the human existence. Dharma is also said to be the force which maintains the Universe.   Where there is Dharma, there is harmony and balance in life.   When Dharma is not followed, there will be  disharmony,  imbalance  along with fierce   quarrel and fighting between the people of different religions

Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagavath Githa in Chapter l6 verses 1 to 3 described Dharma  as follows:-

Fearlessness, purification of one's existence, developing spiritual knowledge, charity, self-control, sacrifice, study of Vedas, austerity, simplicity, non-violence, truthfulness, freedom from Anger, renunciation, tranquility, aversion to fault finding, compassion and freedom from covetousness, gentleness, modesty and steady determination, vigor, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, freedom from envy and the passion for honor, these qualities of spiritual nature belong to dharmic people  endowed with Divine Nature.

In a simple way we can know that:

If any act is performed without fear, without hiding, without  feeling shame and with valour, it is DHARMA and if any act is done by feeling shame, fear, hiding, hesitation  and with cowardliness, it is  ADHARMA.

"Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitaha"

If you protect Dharma, Dharma will protect you and  still it holds good  even now. Dharma and Karma are not separate and interrelated. They both support  each other. If you do good, good will be returned to you.  If you indulge in evil actions, you  have to reap  their consequences.  Dharma is God itself. If we wont follow Dharma, life becomes difficult and sorrowful.

Every soul's ultimate goal is to merge in God.  If  we want to attain liberation from illusion( Maya)  and reach the God, the Ultimate,  we must follow the path of Dharma, which  helps unite everyone and develop love and affection among the people  and universal brother hood. Following Dharma will bring both material well being as well as final liberation from material existence.

The  religions which  do not teach that we are  all children of the same God, who is not separate for each and every religion,   and all  are equal in the eyes of God, are Adharmic.  They may not have real spiritual knowledge, and true  awareness what God aspires from his devotees.    But until they follow the  Dharmic principles, they will continue to produce  terror, choas, restleness, and even hatred among the  people in the name of caste and  religion.  The reason is that they are not even ready and accept  to know about the truth.  When a group of people  break the laws, there will be  chaos and confusion in the society.  If a large number of people break the laws and  indulges  in terror activities in the name of  religion, the country in which we live becomes unsafe  to live. 

The land of Sanathana Dharma has always been targeted by invaders between  1193 AD to 1947AD.  They attacked, looted, committed atrocities on their  ladies and killed the followers of Sanatana Dharma, and their kith and kin  and ruled over Barath for several years.  They tried to  adulterate Sanathana Dharma, with their ideas forcefully or by luring the  people  during the said period. They could succeed in converting many people, yet some had stronger will power people  who supported  the ideals of  Dharma  fought against them and cherished the glory of Hindu Dharma. Even after getting Independence to our country, still attacks on Sanatana Dharma  are being continued now and then either by way of riots or by conversions from other religions. 

There is a strong  belief in the followers  of Sanathana Dharma that whenever there  will be  a severe threat to Dharma, the Savior(God)  will come in the form of an incarnation  and root out the evils,  and reinstates the Dharma. They further believe Bhagavathe Githa, wherein Lord Sri Krishna
In Chapter 4 verses 7 and 8 says that:

Yada yadahi dharmasya
glanir bhavathi bharatha
abhyutthanam adharmasya
tadatmanam srijamyaham.

Pavitranaya sadhunam
vinaasaya cha duskritam
dharma samstapa narthaya
Sambhavami yuge yuge.

Whenever and where there is decrease of Dharma, and a predominant  rise of Adharma, 'Oh Arjuna' at that time I descend Myself.  In  order to protect  the pious and to destroy  the adharmic, as well as to re-establish the Principles of Dharma, I advent myself millennium after millennium.

They further strongly believe that  some times God may descend personally, and some times He sends His bonafide representative in the form of His Son, or Servant, or Himself  as a great leader according to the prevailing circumstances in a disguised form.


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