The term “Sanatana Dharma,” which means eternal dharma, denotes the religious and moral principles that have been practiced for thousands of years. Since it is not a revealed religion like the Semitic religions, Sanatana Dharma is not doctrinal, dogmatic, and fundamentalist.
Derived from the cosmic vision of ancient rishis, the principles of Sanatana Dharma are naturalistic, philosophical, spiritual, and practical. The false dichotomy between monotheism and polytheism is rejected in Sanatana Dharma—its theology and practice constitute a unique blend of monotheism and polytheism. The principles of Sanatana Dharma are not changeless; they are subject to evolution—the Rig Veda emphatically states that change is the law of life. Since the principles change with time and space, often there is diversity in the social and religious beliefs of different Sanatani (Hindu) communities. The dharma (moral principles) and the religious rituals that a Sanatani practices are based (loosely) on the ancient traditions but their practice is also a personal responsibility.
In the last 1500 years, the Semitic religions have grown on the ruins of ancient religions and have constrained a large section of mankind with their unchangeable and strictly codified religious and political doctrine. Sanatana Dharma does not accept the coercive religious and political strategies of the Semitic religions because it is a civilizational system, which propagates itself through civilizational means—from the activities of sages, educationists, rulers, and traders who, through their teachings and personal example, inspire others to adopt a Sanatani way of life.