Dharma and the Modern World

Necessity to Maintain Dharma

Eternal natural order is natural beauty enjoyable at good times and tolerable at bad times, which is called as dharma everyone has to follow in order to live a justified life in the world. Of all the world religions the uniqueness of Hinduism or Hindu Culture or age old Indian Culture, which is handed down to us generation after generation, lies in Dharma, which is righteousness, eternal order, beauty, discipline, natural justice and all in one. It reveals the truth that man can escape from the loopholes of man made worldly laws and bend justice according to his will but not escape from God made or Natural Laws and bend Dharma. Why?

Man made laws are there to render justice to human body only, but God made laws, Natural Laws or Dharma are there to render justice not only for human mind but also for human spirit. Not knowing the cause or reason world men suffer in the present birth for the mistakes or sins they have committed against dharma in the previous birth or births, and which is interpreted as the fate of man in the world. Also, it is fate that men have to repent or undergo punishments in the next birth for the mistakes they make in the present birth. So, it is better to know what dharma is and follow what is one's dharma in the world, if one wants to upgrade oneself in life and fulfill the destiny of one's life at last.

Dharma for Success

In the modern world carried away by the mechanical way of living people don't think about dharma, understand dharma and live according to dharma just as they don't care for Nature, Culture and Art, which is the root cause for all the problems they are facing and suffering today. Dharma is not an old fashioned religious tradition or blind belief based on caste just as human culture is also believed to be. But on the contrary, it is a reality that people who live according to dharma, never fail in anything in the world. Person of dharma realizes the Self, understands one's nature, develops it with education and trainings to the best one can, does all works as perfectly as possible with a broad ambition and lives a full life with success in the world. That is why dharma is very important and necessary for everyone to follow one's dharma in life.

Caste cannot decide one's Dharma

The great Hindu religion, which was supposed to have spread itself into number one world religion, lost luster because of casteism and Brahmin caste domination over other castes in India. After the Vedic period mainly due to that drawback, Hinduism did not become popular among the mass in the Brahmanic period. As a result, Buddhism grew up popular among the people because of its democratic nature and developed into a world religion. Then Hinduism revived when Adi Sankara came into the picture and was responsible for beginning the building activity of Hindu Temples with the idols of God all over India on the model of Buddhist Temples allowing the participation of people in the common worship and in the festivals in large numbers.

Afterwards reformers like Raja Mohan Ray, Dayanadha Sarasvathi, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vivekananda introduced spiritualized form or new version of Hinduism for the development of casteless and strong society of India, which would be spiritually cap- able of uniting and leading the world people to peace, prosperity and total liberation. In spite of reforms, foreign dominations over India for centuries, casteism survived and after independence of India politicians are exploiting it for their advantages. However due to secular reformists, democracy, spread of education, modernization and developments, the effect of casteism is minimized though not yet completely eliminated, the process of which would take some two or three more generations to bring it to the desired logical end. So, because of freedom, rights, democracy and education, people have the choice to choose the type of dharmic life suitable for them and live accordingly without fear of exploitation and domination by any higher caste men.

Epics of India

The two oldest and immortal epics of India, Ramayana by poet Valmiki and Mahabharata by poet Vyasa say in the story form what Dharma is, what is the power of Dharma and how the life of dharma can be lived for the common man to understand and follow the Principles of Dharma in the life of the world. As the highest philosophic ideas, best thoughts of human beings and the solutions for difficult human problems in life and after life were literarily, morally and spiritually explored and expressed by the nuances of finely developed Sanskrit language through those epics, Sanskrit had become a divine language. Then the moral and spiritual ideas of Hinduism in various versions were expressed in various languages of India and the world and their interpretations are still being expressed in various languages today, because they are all still applicable in life and far ahead of time.

Dharma in Four Yugas

It is said that dharma was prevailing over everywhere in all walks of life in the Kreta Yuga lasting for a period of 17,28,000 years, which was described as the Golden Age. Next, in the Treta Yuga lasting for 12 ,96,000 years, dharma was governing the affairs of men for 75% and adharma was 25% when actually the incidences of Ramayana, it is believed, had taken place. The places like Ayodhya and Lanka have conformingly made Ramayana a historical truth. So, Treta Yuga was described as Copper Age. Then at the end of Dwabara Yuga, which had lasted for 8, 64,000 years and was described as Bronze Age, Mahabharata War came to an end.

In the Dwabara Yuga it is said that dharma was controlling the people only by 50% but Bhagavad-Gita of Lord Krishna coming in the Mahabharata Epic has become an eternal book of Hindu religion, which guides the life of the people as to how to face the problems and solve them in the world, provided one follows the life of yoga suitable to one's nature so that happiness and sorrow in life can be balanced in the same way. Now the world is moving somewhere in the 5,035th year or so of the Kali Yuga, which is supposed to last for a period of 4,32,000 years, described as the Iron Age, when dharma will be 25% and adharma will be 75% activating the affairs of men in all walks of life leading to anarchy, chaos, wars and destruction resulting in the victory to Dharma at the end.

Model Man of Dharma

The great poet Valmiki has wonderfully depicted the main Character Rama, the hero of Ramayana as God in the form of man living the life of dharma undergoing all possible ordeals from the birth to death as an example for mankind, which is why it is being read yesterday, today and tomorrow. Just a day before taking up the throne, Rama simply relinquishes all of his courtly things and goes to the forest as a simple man for 14 years in order to fulfill the vow of his father without any grudge. When his wife Sita is abducted, Rama goes from the forest to Lanka, fights against Ravana successfully, returns again to Ayodhya with his wife and crowns himself as the emperor after 14 years. After becoming the emperor, Rama leaves Sita again in the forest and rules the people with good governance for the sake of the people in the same vein.

Whether it is kingdom or forest, Rama pays full justice to his accepted mission without bothering about his happiness, emotion and benefits. Though God, nowhere he uses his divine power or position for his personal gains, but simply executes his duties as a man according to one's dharma. Even after Sita's end, Rama patiently bears all his emotional pangs, crowns his twin sons to rule the kingdom and ends his life while taking bath in the Sarayu River, as his mission has come to an end in the world. Rama is a model character, though too difficult to follow, it is the best way to live in order to overcome all the sufferings of the world. That is why Rama is ever great and immortal as long as the world is there. Also, that was the reason even Mahatma Gandhi too dreamed of forming Rama Rajya in India after it got independence.

Importance of Dharma in Literature

Though the path of Dharma is difficult, yet it is the best way to live in this world, because dharma only can save one at difficult times in life. This was the reason a Tamil poet Kambar of great talent took as a challenge to write Ramayana in Tamil language and as a result, Kamba-Ramayana also has become immortal in the world of literature. Hence the great poet Bharathi has showered great praise for him by openly saying to the world that of all the poets we are aware of, it is rare to see poets like Kambar, Valluvar and Elango. So in that way, Kambar is ranked first in the list of best Tamil poets.

Not only Kambar but also Valluvar wrote about the Life of Dharma in 1330 verses following the poetic form of couplet in his Thirukkural some 2000 years ago based on the essence of Bhagavad-Gita, i.e. Existence, Knowledge, Bliss and Absolute giving importance to the first three items only in a classified way as they are what most needed for mankind to live dharmic life in the world. Also, like the character Rama that gives importance to monogamy in life, Elango, another great poet of Tamil language wrote Silappathikaram, in which the woman character, Kannagi like Draupati of Mahabharata gives importance to chastity of woman, which is praised by everyone in the world.

Unity and Brotherhood

Millions of years ago it was realized that only by peace, unity and brotherhood the world as one family (Vasudevaya Kudumbakam) can be formed for the well being of humanity as a whole. For that first of all unity among brothers is very important and essential; otherwise, wars will be a common thing in the world. The great poet Vyasa mainly wrote Mahabharata to stress the point, unity among brothers by taking brotherhood as its theme. Thereby he wrote Bhagavad-Gita as an advice given by the incarnation of God, Lord Krishna to Arjuna as to how life of dharma can be lived in the world following the path of yoga to achieve perfection in life.

Nature of Men and their Professions

In Bhagavad-Gita it is said that the nature of men are mainly of three types that are 1. Calm type, 2. Arrogant type and 3. Careless type. Ideally the calm and unassuming types of people representing the top layer of the society are suitable to be sages, priests, advisers, intellectuals, writers, etc. for giving advice, comments, criticism and suggestions for problems to men in high places. The arrogant and dominating types of persons are suitable for functioning as leaders, kings, presidents, ministers, administrators, executives and army commanders for defending and building up the nation in all respects. Men, naturally having the combination of these two types in one are suitable for doing business, agricultural, industrial and entrepreneurial activities and various professional works for enriching the economy of the nation. Finally, the careless, callous and carefree types of people cannot be capable of doing independent jobs of their own and so, they can be just workers and employees of public and private enterprises of the nation.

So, people can do these jobs actually by nature, qualification and ability only but certainly not by caste, which cannot truly guarantee anyone for any job in the world. Hence caste or class system, which is spoiling the progress of the nation, has to be disbanded by all means by the realization of all concerned in any society in the world. However for all types of people, life means existence, knowledge, bliss and absolute, the four fold path, which has to be followed to have fulfillment or completion in life. If the four fold path of life is known and understood well, there will be clarity and determination in the progress of one's life in the world. That would be the best way of life suited for anyone to avoid clashes and create remarkable things for the betterment of the world.

Evolution of Spirit in Bhagavad-Gita

Finally, Bhagavad-Gita distinguishes itself over other ethics of the world as far as evolution of human soul is concerned, which is not addressed convincingly and authentically in other holy scriptures. Scientific discoveries of truth in Nature or Universe have shattered religious authority, superstitions and blind belief or faith except its moral ideas. In the modern world Darwinian Theory of the evolution of man has been widely accepted everywhere and further researches are going on in that respect. Darwinian evolution addresses only about the physical evolution of man but does not say anything about the mental and spiritual evolution of man.

This is where the essence of Bhagavad-Gita helps much by its spiritual ideas of progress from manhood to divine hood, which is possible by the life of yoga that gives importance to meditation and mysticism in Nature, which is enjoyable to follow in order to make this world a paradise. In this regard the interpretation of Sri Aurobindo on Indian philosophy says that after the physical evolution of man, evolution of Nature does not stop but continues in the development of man's mind and will continue in the development of human spirit, which only can give real freedom in all respects to everyone in the world. To achieve that kind of development towards the creation of One Human World as envisaged by many intellectuals which is possible only by peace, unity and international brotherhood.      


More by :  T. A. Ramesh

Top | Perspective

Views: 3828      Comments: 0

Name *

Email ID

Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.