What is the basis of Sanatana Dharma? Is it Manu or the Trimurti? The above question was posed by Navajyoti Sri Karunakara Guru to the Hindu leadership. Navajyothi Sri Karunakara Guru was a well-known spiritual reformer who lived in Kerala in the twentieth century (1927-1999). He dedicated his life to restoring those eternal spiritual values India stood for, which have been distorted over the ages. Born in Kerala, the Guru left home at the age of fourteen opting for an ascetic life. He began to receive ‘words’ from the ‘Light’ at an important juncture in his life. He came to know about the unknown history of Manu and the system of spiritual evolution through those revelations. The Guru states that the Trimurti system originated in the seventh Chaturyuga of the present Manvantara. A Manvantara has 71 Chaturyugas or Age-quartets consisting of Satya, Treta, Dwapara and Kali Yugas. What is running now is the 28th Chaturyuga. Many people wrongly identify Manu with the author of Manu Smriti, the Hindu Codes of conduct.
The ancient sages linked the concept of space and time to Manvantaras, after the name of Manu. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad mentions thus: ‘In the beginning, this was but the Self in a form like that of a Man.’ (B. U.1:4:1). Manu Smriti, the treatise on Dharma too mentions Manu in a similar way (Manusmriti, 1:9). The Rigveda mentions that ‘whatever exists here, that which is, and yet to be, is all verily the Purusha, the Supreme Being. (Rigveda, 10:90:2). The Puranas also mention the Purusha. ‘There was neither day nor night neither sky nor earth; neither darkness nor light nor anything else other than that only One Purusha, the Brahman, comprehending in Himself matter and its modification.’ (Vishnu Puranam, 1:2:23)The various worlds together with their guardian deities were formerly conceived in the limbs of the Supreme Purusha (Bhagavatam 2: 9:11). Brahman, the Supreme Being made Virat, which served as a city (Puram) for Him and He, reposing there, received the epithet of Purusha, says Bhagavatam. Thus, the Purusha alias Manu becomes the creator of the solar system and life in it.
Then why do the Puranas glorify Brahma as the Creator instead of Manu? If Brahma is the Lord of creation, then the scales of time should have been in the name of Brahma instead of Manu. Here lies, the long-forgotten history of Manu, and a great deviation occurred in Indian spirituality. Though Hindu religion is essentially based on monotheism, since the modification of Puranas and interpolations by the scribes of different sects, much of its original character has been lost. The records containing the history of Manu Parampara have also been lost to humanity.
The concept of Manu originated in India much before the Western religions adopted this idea through the concept of Adam. All major religions have adopted the Indian concept of creation with minor modifications. Islamic leaders such as Asaduddin Owaisi often preach that Adam was born in India with an intention, altogether different. Madame Blavatsky, one of the founders of the Theosophy movement says that the word Adam is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Adi’. But Christianity and Islam do not speak of Manu’s creation, the chronology of Manu, or the evolution of life through age cycles and reincarnations.
Sri Karunakara Guru states that the story of Brahma was a subsequent addition to the Puranas. The Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Vedanta Sutras, the authoritative texts of Sanatana Dharma do not say that creation began with the Trimurti. The spiritual regime of Manu is guided by epochal Gurus (Kalanthara Gurus) who form part of the Manu Lineage or Manu Parampara. Sanatana Dharma is the culture of such epochal gurus, who can unite mankind by transcending caste, color, and creed.
There are two distinct paths in Sanatana Dharma. Although Hindu culture is commonly referred to as Sanatana Dharma, there are significant ideological and ritual differences between the two. Sanatana Dharma is based on the theory of creation by Manus, and it relies on the spiritual guidance of epochal gurus, who venerate only Brahman, the One Supreme Light. In contrast, Hinduism is a free spiritual system, in which divinities such as Shiva, Vishnu, Sun, Ganapati, or Goddess are hailed as creator gods, instead of Manu. The followers please the gods through Yaga, Yajna, Tantra, and Mantra, and obtain the desired results. While Sanatana Dharma is Ashram and Guru-centric, Hinduism is Temple and Priest-centric. Sanatana Dharma or Manu Dharma is the science of spiritual evolution that India has gifted to the world. Santhigiri Ashram, founded by Navajyothi Sri Karunakara Guru, is an organization dedicated to the restoration of the universality of Sanatana Dharma.
The book ”The Modi-God Dialogues delves into these questions in a dialogue form.