Sunday, November 20, 2022

Facets of Sanatana Dharma

The Seven Sages Depicted as the 

Seven Stars of the Big Dipper

In the eyes of the ancient sages, there were no boundaries or physical and spiritual limits to Sanatana Dharma in any direction. They preached that space and time divide, but the divine unites—the universe is divided by infinite space and time, but human beings are united by their oneness with the divine.

They saw the universe as an infinite expansion of time, space, mass, and energy. In the Vedic and Puranic texts that are more than 3000 years old, they have used extremely large numbers to express the distances of the universe and the length of the yugas and mahayugas. 

The seven sages (Saptarishi) of Sanatana Dharma are: Atri, Bharadvaja, Gautama, Jamadagni, Kashyapa, Vasistha, and Vishvamitra. These seven names are from the Shatapatha Brahmana and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Other ancient texts give slightly different names of the seven sages. In Hindu astronomy, the seven stars of the Big Dipper (constellation of Ursa Major) have been identified as the seven sages. 

Bharatavarṣa (the land of Sanatana Dharma) has seven chains of mountains: Mahendra, Malaya, Sahya, Śuktimat, Rikṣa, Vindhya, and Paripatra. 

The seven holiest rivers of Bharatavarṣa are: Ganga, Yamuna, Godaveri, Sarasvati, Narmada, Sindhu, and Cauvery.

The habitable world is divided into seven dvipas: Jambu dvipa, Plaksha dvipa, Shalmali dvipa, Kusha dvipa, Kraunca dvipa, Shaka dvipa, and Pushkara dvipa. 

Some historians and theologians have identified the ancient conception of seven dvipas with the seven continents discovered in the modern age—they posit that Jambu dvipa means Asia; Kusha dvipa is Oceania (including Indonesia and Philippines); Plaksha dvipa is South America; Pushkara dvipa is Africa; Shalmali dvipa is Australia; Krauncha dvipa is North America; and Shaka dvipa is Greater Europe. 

According to Santana Dharma, all parts of the universe are sacred and entitled to homage, but the seven holy spots where moksha can be attained are: Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya (Mayapuri or Haridwar), Kashi (Varanasi), Kanchi (Kanchipuram), Avantika (Ujjain) and Dwaravati (Dwaraka).

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