Q. What is Dharma? What is the need for Religion? What is the difference between Dharma & Religion?
A. Srila Prabhupada who is founder-Acharya of ISKCON is a pure devotee who lived amongst us and preached message of Krishna Consciousness all over the world. In “Bhagavat Gita As It Is”, at “Introduction” Srila Prabhupada writes as below:
RELIGION conveys the idea of faith, and faith may change. One may have faith in a particular process, and he may change this faith and adopt another. Yet, man professes to belong to a particular type of faith with reference to particular time and circumstance and thus claims to be a Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Buddhist or any other sect. Such designations are non SANATANA DHARMA. A Hindu may change his faith to become a Muslim, or a Muslim may change his faith to become a Hindu, or a Christian may change his faith and so on.
DHARMA OR SANATANA DHARMA does not refer to any sectarian process of religion. It is the eternal function of the eternal living entities in relationship with the eternal Supreme Lord. SANATANA DHARMA refers to the eternal occupation of the living entity. RAMANUJACHARYA has explained the word SANATANA as “that which has neither beginning nor end,” so when we speak of SANATANA DHARMA, we must take it for granted on the authority of SRI RAMANUJACHARYA that it has neither beginning nor end.
In all circumstances, the change of religious faith does not effect the eternal occupation of rendering service to others. The Hindu, Muslim or Christian in all circumstances is a servant of someone. Thus, to profess a particular type of sect is not to profess one’s SANATANA DHARMA. The rendering of service is SANATANA DHARMA.
Also Dharma of every living entity is to go back home back to godhead to meet and serve the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna who is waiting for us. In every age (Satya, Dvapar, Treta and Kali), there are different Yuga-Dharmas for “Way to go back to Godhead”. So, Yuga Dharma (prescribed spiritual principle) for the age of Kali is “Congregational Chanting of the Holy Names:”Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare”