Hindu, Hinduism and Hindustan: Part XXVIII by Jaipal Singh SignUp
Boloji.com

Channels

In Focus

 
Analysis
Cartoons
Education
Environment
Opinion
Photo Essays
 
 

Columns

 
Business
Random Thoughts
 
 

Our Heritage

 
Architecture
Astrology
Ayurveda
Buddhism
Cinema
Culture
Festivals
Hinduism
History
People
Places
Sikhism
Spirituality
 
 

Society & Lifestyle

 
Health
Parenting
Perspective
Recipes
Society
Teens
Women
 
 

Creative Writings

 
Book Reviews
Computing
Humor
Individuality
Literary Shelf
Memoirs
Quotes
Stories
Travelogues
Workshop
 
 
Hinduism Share This Page
Hindu, Hinduism and Hindustan: Part XXVIII
by Dr. Jaipal Singh Bookmark and Share

Dharma: Religion and Righteousness

Continued from Part XXVII

Literal meaning of Dharma is ordinarily taken as religion by the common people but it carries much more than simple meaning of religion. In fact, there is no corresponding English or Latin term truly explaining or encompassing the complete sense and essence of Dharma. It comprehensively signifies the nature and behaviour which is considered to be in accordance with the principles of the highest order regulating and coordinating the operation of the universe and everything that it encompasses within it. Broadly, it includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ethical ways of living. In essence, the Hindu way of life accords the highest value for an individual to conduct according to Dharma, the universal righteousness or moral duties encompassing all aspects of human life.

The origin of the term Dharma is from the Sanskrit root "dhri" which refers to preserve or hold together. It includes social laws, duties, rights, virtues, conduct and right way of living as necessary for a stable society taking into account all religious, temporal and moral duties of the human beings. In a way, Dhrama represents an all-encompassing and divine force that secures and safeguards the mankind from all kinds of mundane threats and dangers. According to Hindu texts and philosophy, Dharma is an obligatory and pious duty of every human being mandated by the Vedas with the prescribed rules according to the Varna or category that every individual belongs to.

Dharma as Object of Human Life


The Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism), as we call it, lays high emphasis on Purushartha (Object of human pursuit) that talks about four objects or goals of human life viz. Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha; in this order, Dharma gets a precedence over the other three, meaning thereby that it is the first and most crucial requisite of human beings in the chain of pursuing the chief goal of human life i.e. Moksha. While all the four objects of human life are considered important but where there is conflict of interests, Dharma is given precedence over Artha (prosperity or economic values) and Kama (pleasure, love or inherent psychological values). In one of the earlier parts, Dharma was briefly mentioned under the broad topic of Purushartha but this is one aspect of Hinduism which is worth addressal and understanding at length.

In a wider perspective, Dharma is the binding force that regulates and upholds the entire creation in universe. It defines human roles and responsibilities, social and moral order, purpose and goals of life including the rewards and punishments commensurate with people's actions. Dharma is like the law of God which is sacred, inviolable, all-pervasive and at the same time responsible for universal order, regularity, harmony, control, predictability and accountability in the society. According to one definition "Dharma exists in all planes, in all aspects and at all levels of creation." At the individual level, "Dharma consists of all that a human being undertakes in harmony with divine injunctions and his own sense of morality and justice."

The pursuit of Dharma begins in the early life itself when the person starts understanding things and is initiated to studies, while the remaining three components of Purushartha come into force in the later life when one is ready to perform the responsibilities as Grihastha. Only few people are able to skip it and directly opt to live as Sanyasi (Ascetic) to seek liberation depending upon their inclination and attitude towards the life. In Vedas, Dharmashastras and Bhagavad Gita, a lot of emphasis has been accorded to Dharma in guiding the people to determine what is righteous in their pursuit of temporal and spiritual duties. In other words, it provides a code of conduct for the people in their day-to-day life and a harmony between the worldly accomplishments and spiritual liberation.

Dharma as Religion


In the context of religion, Hinduism is the modern adoption for the ancient nomenclature "Sanatana Dharma" which represented the culture and religion of the land since ancient age. The literal meaning of the Sanatana Dharma is "righteousness forever". The language of both shruti and smriti Hindu scriptures is Sanskrit and the word Hindu has been derived from the Sanskrit "Sindhu", a local name for the modern Indus river. Many medieval and modern historians believe that the terms Hindu and Hinduism was given by the Persians/Arabs, another school of thought suggests that term Hindu or Indu were originally used by the Greeks. Apparently the term "Hindustan" for the land was in common use by 13th century by the Westerners merchants/colonizers and Islamic invaders as well. The term Hinduism came in common use since the early 19th century by the English writers to denote the culture and religion of the upper class Hindus in the Indian sub-continent and gradually it received general acceptance globally including the among the Hindus themselves.

In Hinduism, the term Dharma is used to denote 'religion' as also in the context of "righteous duty." Hinduism has been largely accepted as the world's oldest existing religion nearly for about four thousand years. Unlike Abrahamic religions and later evolved indigenous religions like Buddhism, Jainism or Sikhism, the Hinduism does not have any single founder, holy reference book or central doctrine. This religion is a synthesis and admixture of religious, cultural and philosophical ideas and practices that originated and evolved in the ancient land thousands of years ago. As the oldest surviving religion, the Hinduism is currently the third largest with over one billion adherents comprising of about 15 percent of the world?s population. Considering the numerous sects and denominations and liberty to choose, the Hinduism is a religion more cultural than creedal.

Also Hinduism is perhaps the only major religion that traces its origin in monotheism during the Vedic period but following its diversified nature, philosophy and doctrines, it assumed the characteristics and impression of a polytheistic religion while still retaining its ingrained philosophy of monotheism through monism. This is evident from the fact that the most educated Hindu devotees agree that multiple Hindu Gods are manifestations of the same universal Isvara or Parmeswara (Brahman). Unlike Abrahamic religions, no evidence exists that Hinduism ever had a single founder or source of knowledge and many scholars actually hold Hinduism as a way of life. Hinduism as on date is indeed a fusion or synthesis of different Indian cultures and traditions with diverse roots since the Vedic age conservatively estimated dated from about 1900 BC to 1400 BC. This suggests that the Hinduism, as a religion and culture, is at least 4,000 years old.

To illustrate the multiple culture and traditions of India, many scholars are of view that the Indo-Aryans from the Central Asia, Indus Valley Civilization of Harappa, Mohenjo-daro and other contemporary smaller settlements, Dravidian culture and many others, are collectively responsible for the Hinduism as it exists today. Much before the arrival of Abrahamic religions that professed the existence of one God or Allah, Vedic and Sanatana Dharma had a mature understanding of the highest Universal Truth which is referred to as "Brahman" in Hindu scriptures and texts. Brahman is neither personal to a particular human race nor a superhuman entity, and nor a gender specific male or female; instead, He is the most divine, subtle, invisible, conscious and one basis of all. Kena Upnishad so scholarly explained the Brahman where it narrates "Brahman is not what the eyes can see, but That whereby the eyes can see. Brahman is not what the mind can think but That whereby the mind can think".

Dharma in Vedas and Upanishads

According to some Vedic scholars and Indologists, the word Dharma appears more than fifty-six times in the hymns of the Rig Veda alone. In the mythological verses, a root 'dhar-' (word Dharma) has been used in the context of holding, supporting and stabilizing of the celestial objects in universe. Beyond the hymns of the mythological verses, the word Dharma appears in several verses with expanded meaning as a cosmic principle. In Atharva Veda, the terminology evolves into a dynamic functional sense assuming the form of the cosmic law that links cause and effect through a subject. In these ancient scriptures, Dharma also takes a ritual meaning where "dharmani" is equated to ceremonial devotion to the principles that gods used to create order from disorder, the world from chaos, and so on. Beyond the ritual and cosmic implications of Dharma, in the latter texts its relevance grew more in ethical-social sense that links human beings to each other and to different life forms and thus emerging as a concept of law in Hinduism.

Dharma and associated words find frequent use in the later Vedic literature viz. Upanishads, Puranas and Epics where the concept of Dharma developed as a universal principle of truth, law, order and harmony. Some illustrations from the two great epics Mahabharata and Ramayana has been dealt with in the following paragraphs. In Hinduism, the Dharma has ultimately evolved as the regulatory moral principle of the universe. The word Dharma also appears and plays key role in the literature of other Indian religions like Buddhism and Jainism. An illustration is cited here from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (hymn 1.4.14) wherein it is explained as the law of righteousness and equated to truth.

Dharmah tasmadharmat param nastya atho abliyan
baliyamsamashanste dharmen yatha ragyavam.
Yo vai sa dharmah satyam vai tat tasmatsatyam
vadantmahur dharmam vadtite
dharmam va vadantam satyam
vadtitya aitdhyevaitdubhyam bhavati.


(Nothing is higher than Dharma. The weak one overcomes the stronger by Dharma, as over a king. Truly that Dharma is the Truth (Satya); therefore, when a man speaks the Truth, they say, "He speaks the Dharma"; and if he speaks Dharma, they say, "He speaks the Truth!", for both are one and same.)

Dharma in Bhagavad-Gita (Mahabharata)

The Bhagavad Gita is considered the most ideal instrument in understanding and glorifying Dharma because this is an epitome of all the scriptures. To put it differently, the essence of all Hindu scriptures can be found in the Gita and it may not be exaggeration to call it the warehouse of all scriptural knowledge. Lord Krishna did not try to bind Dharma in a definition or moral principle; instead, he referred and made Arjuna understand it progressively in deeper ways, highlighting the meaning of the term and its significance in personal spiritual growth. Like what moral dilemma Prince Arjuna experienced in the Kurushetra, the most of human beings encounter similar ethical conflicts in various forms in life though possibly much less dramatic than Arjuna. The teachings of the Bhagavad Gita are indeed useful in enlightening and guiding people beyond space, time and age.

Dharma is the very first word with which the Bhagavad Gita begins. The first chapter unfolds with the episode where the blind King Dhritarashtra inquires from his advisor Sanjaya about the current status of the battle which was to begin at the dharma-kshetra (the field of dharma) Kuru-shetra. Very much aware of the evil doings and intents of his sons, the king was apparently worried that the spiritual influence of the dharma-field might work in favour of the righteous Pandavas. On the other hand, Arjuna also appeared wary of the influence of Dharma and feared that their (Pandavas) participation in the battle might violate the principles of Dharma. This internal conflict of thoughts and consequent dilemma is effectively reflected in many verses of the first chapter of the great text. A few illustrations are given here:

Dhritarashtra uvacha
Dharma-kshetre kuru-kshetre samaveta yuyutsavah.
Mamakah pandavashchaiva kimakurvata sanjaya.

(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1.1)

(Dhritarashtra said: O Sanjay, after gathering on the sacred field of Kurukshetra, with an earnest desire to fight, what did my sons and the sons of Pandu do?)

King Dhritarashtra was not only blind from birth but also deviated from the path of moral ethics being too much attached and insecure about the interests of his sons. At the same time, he was well aware of the injustice inflicted upon Pandavas and suffered with consequent guilt. Thus feeling guilty and wavering between righteous path (Dharma) and sinful acts (Adharma), he was worried about the outcome of the battle, therefore inquiring about the events on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. In this opening verse, he questions Sanjay about what his sons and sons of Pandu did, though consciously aware that people assemble in a battle-field for war. Here the use of the term ?Dharma-shetre? is significant. The Kurushetra being a sacred land signifying Dharma, the King had apprehensions that under its influence his sons might settle for a truce and in that case the Pandavas would continue to pose threat for them. Though the size of the troops and many celebrated warriors were on the side of Kauravas but the fact that Krishna, an icon of Dharma, was on the side of Pandavas was a cause of the worry for the blind king.

In the same chapter, when confronted with own elders and blood-relatives, Arjuna gets shaky and confused in his duty to fight for the righteous cause, he is counseled by Krishna to perform his Kshatriya duty as a warrior under the established Dharma. On the request of Arjuna, Krishna drives his chariot in the middle of the battle ground and in front of Bhishma, Drona and other kings. Arjuna finds that stationed there are his uncles, grand-uncles, maternal uncles, brothers and cousins, sons and nephews, friends and well-wishers as well. Pondering over all the relations and their nemesis in war, Arjuna is overwhelmed with deep compassion, hurt and sorrow. With Perceived unavoidable loss of the near and dear ones in an imminent war, Arjuna?s mind reeled under faint-heartedness, tenderness and grief. Unwilling to fight war, thus grief-stricken prince Arjuna casts aside his bow and arrows and sinks into the hinder part of his chariot and babbles as follows:

Yady apy ete na pashyanti lobhopahata-chetasah.
Kula-kshaya-kritam dosham mitra-drohe cha patakam.

Katham na jneyam asmabhi? papad asman nivartitum.
Kula-kshaya-kritam dosham prapashyadbhir janardana.

(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 1.38-39)

{Their (Kauravas) thoughts are overpowered by greed and they see no wrong in annihilating their relatives or wreaking treachery upon friends. Yet, O Janardan (Krishna), we (Pandava), who can clearly see the crime in killing our kindred, why should not turn away from this sin}

For the sake of righteousness , Arjuna argues against war assuming that it will kill so many leading men, nearly all of whom are close relatives and friends, fathers and husbands, responsible for their families and the community at large. Arjuna argues that such a war crime will be against the community and family dharmas and that the men who commit sin against such Dharma are doomed to be hell bound. Arjuna faces the dilemma that he would be killing those kings in the battlefield who were all associated in some way in safeguarding the basic principles of Dharma in the form of social ethics and order as also traditional religious rites. Finding Arjuna weak and delusional, Krishna reminds him that he is Kshatriya and fighting his enemies in Kurushetra was his righteous duty. In the process, Krishna dismisses Arjuna?s arguments as just weakness of heart and impotence.

Shri bhagavan uvacha
Kutastva kashmalamidam vishame samupasthitam.
Anarya-jushtamaswargyam akirti-karam arjuna.

Klaibyam ma sma gamah partha naitat tvayyupapadyate.
Kshudram hridaya-daurbalyam tyaktvottishtha parantapa.

(Bhadavad Gita Chapter 2.2-3)

{The Bhagavan said: My dear Arjun, how has this delusion overcome you in this hour of peril? It is not befitting an honorable person. It leads not to the higher abodes, but to disgrace. O Parth (Arjuna), it does not befit you to yield to this unmanliness. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.}

After a long discourse on righteous duty (Dharma) in chapter 2, Krishna concludes as under:

Atha chet tvam imam dharmyam sa?gramam na karishyasi.
Tatah sva-dharmam kirtim cha hitva papam avapsyasi.

(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2.33)

{However, if you refuse to fight this righteous war, abandoning your social duty and reputation, you will certainly incur sin.)

Thus Lord Krishna goes on reminding the Kshatriya's duty (Dharma) to engage in the war for the right cause and that the state of shakiness and confusion is dishonourable and inappropriate for virtuous person like Arjuna. Such delusion shall only lead to infamy, failure, pain and degradation of soul. Now Arjuna surrenders to Lord Krishna in total submission that leads to a long discourse of teaching the marvels of Gita that apart from man?s righteous duty (Dharma) includes pearls of wisdom such as the yoga of knowledge (Jnana Yoga), yoga of action (Karma Yoga), yoga of devotion (Bhakti Yoga), glory of soul, manifest and unmanifest Brahman, goal of life, interplay of gunas and other divine virtues. Blessed with the divine knowledge and understanding of Dharma in right perspective, Arjuna gives up his weakness and readies to perform his righteous duty in the war. In many chapters of Gita, Lord Krishna explains Dharma in the context of greater spiritual knowledge besides as an ordinary religious and moral practice in the context of Arjuna's delusion.

At one place, Lord Krishna reveals to Arjuna that He appears in this world to protect the principles of dharma whenever there is significant decline in moral and social order due to the sinful influence of the evil forces that percolate and proliferate Adharma in this world. In such case, Lord Krishna (God) Himself assumes responsibility to reestablish Aharma, as a savior of those who are with Dharma and destroyer of those who oppose it.

Yada yada hi dharmasya glanirbhavati bharata.
Abhythanamadharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham.

Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam.
Dharmasangsthapanarthay sambhabami yuge yuge.

(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 4.7&8)

{Whenever there is decay of Dharma (righteousness), O Arjuna, and there is exaltation of unrighteousness, then I Myself come forth; for the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of evil-doers, and for the sake of firmly establishing Dharma (righteousness), I am born from age to age.}

Dharma finds a reference in many verses of different chapters of the Bhagavad Gita in various context of the human roles and responsibilities, social and moral order, purpose and goals of life including the rewards and punishments commensurate with our actions. In the eighteenth and last chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna once again reaffirms his earlier teaching and significance of one?s own Dharma (righteous duty).

Shreyan swa-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat sv-anushthitat.
Svabhava-niyatam karma kurvan napnoti kilbisham.

(Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18.47)

{It is better to do one's own dharma, even though imperfectly, than to do another's dharma, even though perfectly. By doing one's innate duties, a person does not incur sin.}

Apart from the Bhagavad Gita, Dharma finds a reference at several places in different context in Mahabharata. A few citations are given below as quick reference.

Dharnadharmmityahu dharmo dharyati prajah. (Dharma is that which nurtures the subjects and, in turn, the society)
(Mahabharata, Karnaparva, Adhyaya 49, Shloka 50)

Prabhvarthaya bhutanam dharmpravachnam kritam.
Yah syatprabhvasanyuktah sa dharm eti nishchayah.

(Mahabharata, Shantiparva, Adhyaya 109, Shloka 10)

(The sole aim with which Dharma is advocated is to bring about the evolution of individuals. As per a doctrine, "that which is able to bring about evolution is Dharma".)

Dharm eve hato hanti dharmo rakchhati rakchhitah. (Those who do not follow Dharma are destroyed; those follow it meticulously are protected by Dharma.)
(Mahabharata, Vanaparva, Adhyaya 314, Shloka 128)

When a person abides by Dharma during his life, his spiritual evolution is assured. Also Dharma is a unique source of being helpful in liberating man from the illusory world (ignorance) in which he is ordinarily trapped in life.

Dharma in Ramayana


While Bhagavad Gita itself is part of the world's greatest epic Mahabharata, another Hindu great epic Ramayana depicting the life of Maryada-purushottama Rama is yet another icon and epitome of Dharma in the ancient Hindu culture. In fact, numerous events from the life of Rama could be cited as the paradigms of righteous duty based action (Dharma). This epic truly establishes Dharma as an adherence to a person?s social and moral duty in accordance with righteous and ethical cause. The entire storyline and events of Ramayana revolve around the righteous duties and actions to prevail upon the Adharma and evil causes. This is illustrated in the following few instances.

In Ayodhya Kanda, King Dasarath decides in consultation with his ministers and peers in the kingdom that Rama, the elder son and crown prince, shall succeed him to the throne. The ministers make preparations for Rama's coronation and Guru Vashistha takes responsibility to prepare Rama for the responsibility of the kingdom. However, the scheming Manthara ill-advises and provokes Queen Kaikeyi to invoke two boons promised by the king to her long back: one, her own son Bharata to be crowned as king; and the other, the step-son Rama be sent to exile for fourteen years. King Dasarath faints, Ayodhya falls into gloom but Rama gracefully accepts the decision as his righteous duty (Dharma) in compliance of the parents? wishes and command.

Let's consider what could have been other options before Rama. He could have argued with father Dasarath about his legitimate right to throne being eldest and worthy son; he could have requested mother Kaushalya to take up his cause with her husband or Rajguru Vashishtha to remind Dasarath of the king's Dharma (righteousness) and moral duty; he might have invoked Royal Assembly to persuade Dasarath and Kaikeyi to reconsider their decision; he could have resorted to the ministers and peers of king's court to intervene on his behalf; and he could have gone to Ayodhya people as wronged heir to encash his popularity or even led a rebellion to secure his bonafide claim to the throne.

Rama did not consider any of these options and immediately started preparations to leaving for the forests because he considered it his Dharma to abide by the command of his father. Any other option would have led to fibrosis of tension, machination, intrigue, unrest and conflict in the royal family causing Adharma and weakening of the kingdom. Sita was not under obligation to face the hardships of exile but she opted to go to forest with Rama because as wife it was her moral duty to support her husband at all time - yet another high paradigm of moral duty and ethics in the context of upholding Dharma. In fact, the Ramayana is one epic that constantly dwells in umpteen paradigms of Dharma or righteous duty whether it was Rama's encounter with Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana, or liquidation of Rakshashas as Kshatriya warrior or keeping Dharma as a friend of Sugriva by killing Bali, and so on.

Dharma in Sri Bhagavata Purana


Puranas are yet another category of Hindu texts which essentially glorify Bhakti-yoga through mythological stories and tales while briefly citing other aspects of Hindu philosophies. There are a total of eighteen main Puranas and equal number of Upa Puranas as also numerous such other smaller texts. Out of them, the Sri Bhagavata Purana is among the most followed and widely acknowledged text particularly among the Hindu Vaishnavas and Smartas. Some scholars also refer it as the "Fifth Veda? because of its emphasis on the practice of devotion and religious philosophy in glorification of the God in its manifested form. Apart from the tales and legends glorifying the Bhakti-yoga, the Bhagavat Purana is high on the philosophical and spiritual contents too. The Purana talks of the Hindu darshanas in a larger perspective rather than focusing on just one philosophy. Therefore, for the sake of brevity the author has taken just this one Purana to highlight the concept of Dharma in Puranas.

While Vedas and Upanishads lay focus on knowledge and rituals, the Puranas conceptualize the Bhakti (devotion) as the ultimately source of accomplishing Self-knowledge, Moksha (salvation) and bliss. Most scholars agree that the Bhakti-yoga evolved as a post-Vedic movement essentially during the Epics and Puranas era of Indian history. Instead of relying on the context less notions of morality and justice, the Purana relates Dharma with context that the reality of the world is divided and constantly challenged by the struggle between the good and evil thereby the harmony threatened by a few. This Purana has summarized the negative and chaotic attributes as Adharma categorizing them in Upa-dharma (non-conformist vitriolic), Vi-dharma (obstruction and disruption), Abhasa-dharma (semblance or pretension) and Chala-dharma (deceit). On the other hand the positive and harmonious attributes represent Dharma insisting on the adherence to the ethical and moral duties and actions defined in other sections earlier. In the contextual sense, when the humanity and world is persecuted by the evil forces, anything that weakens or reduces the impact of evil is considered as good and positive. In this process, Puranas tend to establish Bhakti as standard measure of Dharma.

Dharma versus Rta and Maya


In Hinduism, Dharma reflects duties and actions which are in accordance with Rta. In Vedic scriptures, Rta is equated with Satya (Truth) which is described in the Vedic hymns as the principle ultimately responsible for the proper functioning of the natural, moral and sacrificial orders. It represents the principle of natural order that regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything it encompasses including the laws, virtues, rights, conduct and duties which are collectively also referred to as Dharma as also actions collectively referred to as Karma. In the early Vedic religion, Dharma was taken as a sub-component of the metaphysical concept of Rta but in the later period, in combination with Karma. it evolved as a prominent and overriding moral principle in Hinduism.

According to some Vedic scholars and Indologists, ?ta and Dharma are parallel concepts, the former being a cosmic principle, the latter with its moral and social sphere and implication. Maya is yet another concept that competes and influences Dharma. According to scriptures, Maya literally means illusion where things appear to exist but are not what they seem to be. Maya is also equated with deception or fraud that creates disorder and chaos; therefore, it is opposite to the reality, established order and harmony. In that sense, Maya and Dharma are analogous concept as the former works against the established laws and moral virtues while the latter represents universal laws and moral principles.

Denouement

In the present piece, several instances from the Bhagavad Gita (Mahabharata) and Ramayana have been consciously quoted not only to illustrate Dharma but also to dispel erroneous understanding and interpretation of Dharma. The Bhagavad Gita is considered to be an epitome of all Hindu scriptures representing the essence of the true knowledge and wisdom (truth), and in that sense the Gita itself is a Dharmakshetra, a sphere or pasture of Dharma. In Bhagavad Gita, Dharma is not restricted to any one particular creed or code; instead, it represents each person?s nature and behavior in a positive sense. It is explained and glorified through the illustration of the Dharma of Kshatriya or warrior who has a moral and lawful duty to fight for the protection of the rights of society and people imperiled. When a contingency arises, he cannot shirk his duty (Dharma) simply for the sake of non-violence or feared bloodshed.

So the principles of Dharma insist on complying to one?s righteous duty; and in fact, avoiding one?s responsibility, running away for the fear of violence or renouncing the world would tantamount to Adharma. The position has amply been explained when these words comes from none other than Lord Krishna Himself: ?Whenever there is a decline in Dharma, there is a confusion and chaos about what Dharma is and whenever there is a decline in Dharmic duties and actions, I come to re-establish what Dharma is.? In a way, the battle of Kurushetra goes on inside all human beings as a struggle or conflict between the nature and behaviour of the true Self and the corrupted mind (Self) under the illusion of fanciful desires and philosophies that go against the person?s innate nature.

What has been summed up in the aforesaid two paragraphs also represents the main difference between Hinduism and other dominant religions of the world mainly Abrahamic religions. The Abrahamic religions are essentially creedal in nature where the term religion carries a specific belief system keeping the God in centrality, Who delivered His message to adherents through a special messenger(s). On the other hand, Dharma in Hinduism is not restricted to such limited discipline; instead, it is much beyond that, encompassing all righteous duties and actions of mankind in its sphere. This is also the reason why the Sanatana Dharma, instead being simply called a religion, is treated more as a culture and eternal way of living.

Continued to Part XXIX 
  

Share This:
16-Feb-2019
More by :  Dr. Jaipal Singh
 
Views: 774      Comments: 0




Name *
Email ID
 (will not be published)
Comment *
Characters
Verification Code*
Can't read? Reload
Please fill the above code for verification.
 
Top | Hinduism



 
 
 
 
 
 
 
1999-2019 All Rights Reserved
 
No part of this Internet site may be reproduced without prior written permission of the copyright holder
.