Religion is not necessarily dharma: Scholar David Frawley

PTI | New Delhi | Updated: 27-02-2024 10:38 IST | Created: 27-02-2024 10:38 IST
Religion is not necessarily dharma: Scholar David Frawley
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A religion is not necessarily a dharma, noted scholar David Frawley has said, asserting that dharma means honouring one's duties the whole life and respecting the sacred in all.

Asked about the Ram temple in Ayodhya during an interaction with PTI Videos on the sidelines of an event here on Monday, he said that in today's world with so much conflicts, ''we should welcome building a temple, rather than fighting with other people''.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU), aimed at fostering a collaborative effort to advance the teachings and vision of philosopher and spiritual leader Sri Aurobindo, was signed between the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) and the Auroville Foundation here in the presence of Frawley, member secretary of IGNCA Sachchidanand Joshi, and the Auroville Foundation's secretary Jayanti S Ravi, the IGNCA said in a statement.

Frawley discussed the idea of 'Ram Rajya' as not just a political ideology but as an awakening of spiritual and cultural consciousness, the statement said.

At the event, Frawley delivered a keynote address, expressing his insights on India's cultures and traditions.

''India is in a state of cultural, economic, and spiritual awakening under (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi,'' he was quoted as saying in the statement.

He also emphasised India's rich artistic and spiritual heritage, highlighting the importance of nurturing and sharing these traditions globally, the IGNCA said.

In his interaction with PTI, he also spoke on Hinduism and dharma.

''Hindus never invaded any country, they never tried to convert the world according to their beliefs,'' he said.

He also said there is a difference between a religion and a dharma.

''First of all, a religion is not necessarily a dharma. Religion in the western world, had a different meaning, and it was basically arising from their understanding of monotheism,'' he added.

It wasn't based upon this universal 'dharmic' principles. For example, dharma is not something like a commandment, Frawley said, and cited the concept of 'ahimsa' (non-violence), which has a universal message of not harming any living being.

''We misinterpret these terms when we bring in ideas, where we simply equate dharma and religion, or dharma and other factors,'' he added.

He also posted on X about his idea of dharma.

''Dharma is true spiritual democracy. Dharma means honouring our duties to the whole of life and respecting the sacred in all. It gives us the right to worship the Divine in any name or form we wish and teaches us to recognise the same Self in all beings as Upanishads state,'' he posted.

On construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya, he said, ''First of all, we need to understand that you are talking about building a temple. You are not talking about invading a country. You are not talking about going after other people's beliefs. You are not talking about anything negative. You are talking about honouring a temple, and a temple that has a tradition of thousands of years... ''In the world today, there is so much conflict, we should welcome building a temple, rather than fighting with other people.'' The consecration ceremony at the temple took place on January 22 with Prime Minister Modi participating in the rituals.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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