Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma?

Hinduism is the Western name for traditional Indian religion. The Indian name is Sanatana Dharma, or “Universal Religion.” The word Hindu is probably a Persian mispronunciation of “Sindhu,” another name for the Indus River. This name was first used for traditional Indian religion in the early 1800s. Since then, it has become the accepted English term.

Think about other instances where ideas from one culture are given a different name by another culture. How would you react if an idea that is important to you were referred to by a different name? Do you think it is appropriate to use our own words for ideas from other cultures, or should we use the original culture’s terms?

The Bhagavad Gita: The Eternal “This”

This is a quote from the Bhagavad Gita, one of the most influential Hindu religious texts.

Know that to be imperishable whereby all this is pervaded. No one can destroy that immutable being…. This is never born nor ever dies, nor having been will ever not be any more; unborn, eternal, everlasting, ancient, this is not slain when the body is slain…. As a man casts off worn-out garments and takes others that are new, even so the embodied one casts off worn-out bodies and passes on to others new. This no weapons wound, this no fire burns, this no waters wet, this no wind doth dry. Beyond all cutting, burning, wetting and drying is this – eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable, everlasting. Perceivable neither by the senses nor by the mind, this is called unchangeable; therefore knowing this as such thou shouldst not grieve.

Use your knowledge of Hinduism to explain what the text is saying.