How Have the Great Teachers of Hinduism Related to Religion?
The many great sages of India - the ancient Vedic seers from Manu to Krishna, the teachers
of classical India like Patanjali or Shankara, and modern yogis like
Vivekananda, Ramana Maharshi, Sri Aurobindo or Anandamayi Ma to
mention a few - speak of themselves as part of a great universal
tradition of Truth relevant to all beings. They have not promoted
themselves as Hindus opposed to some other group, nor have they
failed to honor the Hindu tradition in its depth and diversity.
However they have been
conscious of themselves as part of a tradition. They have not seen
themselves as unique or entirely new in their knowledge, but
expressions of an eternal tradition and its stream of sages that we
can call Hindu, Sanatana Dharma or whatever we wish, if we
understand its timeless nature.
If we want to see what
Hinduism is really like we should look to the lives and teachings of
the great sages, men and women, who have arisen from its background.
In them we see the essence of universal spirituality, fully
developed in form and expression through a particular tradition and
manifold teachings, which yet has no limiting boundaries. Their only
link is to God and eternity and they have not set up any religion as
a factor of division within the realm of time and space.