Dharma Sasthras and Religious Ethics as a Discipline
Hindu Scriptures gave us the prayers, the rituals, the mythology,
the philosophy and the science to guide our conduct and reasoning.
They teach us about every aspect of our life from birth to the
end of our life and beyond. We have a special duty to learn our
religion and its practice in the modern times to keep it growing
for our future generations. If we do not let it grow in these
adopted lands for our Children, after two or three generations
the large treasures of our religious practice will be lost forever
just like the major portions of our scriptures. Our hearts cry
that this great tradition should not disappear from the face of
earth like the many endangered species.
Acharyas have given us the guidance and philosophy based on the
Vedas and Dharsanas, changing the way we practiced Hinduism. This
was the most important renaissance movement of the religion in
the past 800 years. The most important are the Advaitha by Sri
Sankara, Visishtadhvaitha by Sri Ramanuja, Dhvaitha by Sri Madhva
and Saiva Siddhantha Schools of Southern India.
also have several Bhakthi schools of Baghavathas and Vaishnavas
and several other forms of Suddha Adhvaitha and Dvaitha-adhvaitha
and many other systems of Saiva, Vaishnava and Saktha philosophy
and Agamas. Advaitha School and Vedantha Dharsana along with Vyasa
Maharishi's Dharma Sasthra were the foundation of the ritualistic
practice of the Smartha Sampradaya. They followed Vedic rituals
also prayed to various forms of God, including Siva, Vishnu, Sakthi,
and Surya. Saiva Siddhantha followers had ritualistic practice
of prayers to Siva as the creator and protector and followed some
teachings of Advaitha and a qualified form of monism. Sakthism
or Devi worshippers were similar to Saivites.
of them also followed Thanthra traditions. Vaishnavites follow
the Bhakthi schools of Visishta-adhvaitham and Dvaitham with elaborate
prayer rituals. Some of the Vaishnavites, like followers of Sri
Chaithanya, performed prayers and music with devotion and love
for God as Sri Krishna.