There is great conflict in the world today, not only due to racial reasons, race or nationalities, one country, one nation versus another country, another nation, one race versus another race, but also one religion versus another religion. This has led to many people saying that religion is the source of war or religion is the source of conflict. And there is some truth to this but the English word 'religion' is different than the Sanskrit word 'sanatana-dharma'. When we talk about religion generally in society, we are talking about something that you can change. The external religion that a person belongs to can change; a person can change, for example, from being a Christian to Hinduism or Buddhism.

In the Vedic system there is no such thing as religion in that sense.  Sanatana-dharma means one's eternal religion. Sanatana means eternal. Dharma means truth.  Sanatana-dharma means something you can't change. So sanatana-dharma means what is the eternal truth of my identity. Who are you and where will you find happiness?  Where is your purpose? Who you are – your eternal identity – that does not change.

So spiritual life or real religion in the truest sense, sanatana-dharma, means a process of discovery of who you really are.  It's not a process of joining something or putting a new label on myself or becoming something that I'm not.  It is important to understand the difference here.  Religion is something you join. Self-discovery is a process which is different than that. Yoga means a process of self-discovery - discovering what already is. "Who am I and where can I find real happiness?  What is my spiritual essence and what is my relationship with the Supreme?"


So real spiritual life means you, as an individual, you undergo the process of self-discovery.  It doesn't have anything to do with me or you or your neighbour or anybody else.


Sanatana-dharma is that personal relationship that you have with God, that loving relationship where you see God as your best friend, as your refuge, as the source of your happiness, your purpose, the foundation of your existence - that is your religion. Sanatana-dharma is discovering and cultivating your personal relationship with God. That's different than religion. This is important to understand.