The lie of an eternal way of life

Another day, another Hindu claiming to belong to a sanatan dharma, or an eternal religion. And what's sadder is that most of us allow this claim to pass unquestioned.

The phrase "eternal religion" has no meaning. What we describe as human being is not eternal. The planet itself is not eternal. The "way of life" Hindus describe their religion as being is not eternal either. This business of labeling things as eternal is only a way to legitimise hegemony.

Once you claim something as eternal, you put it out of everyone's reach. After all, how can something temporary criticise that which has always existed and is a fundamental cosmic truth? So under the garb of eternity, what is sold to us is patriarchy, caste, and superstition.

Human beings didn't always have much of a concrete understanding of where the universe came from. When they looked at the hills, they didn't know how they could be formed. When they looked at the stars, their imaginations failed to account for them. All these things appeared to have existed forever. So the human imagination began to have a concept of eternity. Eventually, the origin of humankind also came to be described in the same terms.

Every religion has myths about the origin of people. Many religions are actually founded on those myths. In present times, the myth of anything mortal being eternal is also a way to maintain social power structures favouring those who do not wish to be questioned.

This claim of "eternity" should not be treated as a self-evident truth. Because it's not. The next time someone inserts a claim of their religion being eternal, do not let them get away with it without a question. Ask them to explain what they mean by it and perhaps you will find they don't know either. It's just one of those things we say without thinking about it.

The claim of an eternal way of life cannot be sustained without denying a scientific understanding of the world. This is why religious outlooks often conflict with scientific ones. Human history and culture is much older than any religion and even that is not eternal. Nothing except time is "as old as time". All else is propaganda and projection.

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