What is Dharma

What is Dharma? This is a very generic question having no certain answer. Dharma can be defined in many ways. In clear and crisp words we can say, Dharma describes a way of living with principles. Dharma defines what is a good or bad way of doing things.

People don’t follow Dharma completely because we don't know Dharma exactly, however we follow the people or their actions who defined or followed Dharma & set examples by their deeds. In this article I am going to discuss a few names from indian mythology which are remembered by their deeds and how they raised the flag of Dharma. Main question here is, legends who defined dharma, Did they actually follow Dharma?

Let’s start to dig into it more & try to understand Dharma more closely.

Ram – Lord Rama is considered to be the incarnation (avtar) of Lord Vishnu. Lord Ram is called Maryada Purushottam means a perfect man. Rama was so poilite with his words as well as actions. Ram was the son of king Dashratha and was borned in Raghuvansh. Raghuvanshis were known to be great warriors and for their words as well as they never broke promises. Dashratha had to name his younger son Bharat (from queen Kaikeyi) as a king instead of the elder son Ram who was most eligible. Because he had to keep his words/promise which he gave to his queen Kaikeyi in the past. In the end Dashratha lost his life mourning for the same. A famous quatrain about Raghuvansh is as below:

"रघुकुल रीत सदा चल आई, प्राण जाई पर वचन न जाई"
Means:- making to fulfil any promise we can give our life but will not let our promise fail.

Well that is Dharma indeed, to keep your words. 

  • Before Rama, Kings from Raghuvansh used to have multiple wives but Lord Rama changed this tradition and he promised Sita that you will be the only woman in my life. I’ll not marry again. My love will only be for you. This is another postulate of Dharma, One Love, One marriage.

  • Ram kept his father's words and accepted exile for 14 years. Rams was supposed to be angry with step mother Kaikeyi as she cursed him with 14 years exile. But instead Ram was so polite with her and he touched her feet even before mother kaushalya before leaving for Jungle & told her that he is not at all angry with her. His words made her feel embarrassed “A mother can not think wrong for her sons”. This is an important lesson of Dharma, Forgiveness, Keep your words, never be angry in any situation, Be polite and keep smiling.

  • Another great action by Ram, which challenged misconduct in the society in the name of casts. Shabari was considered to be Dalit or lower cast but Ram ate fruits from her hand. This was a clear message to the society and another rule of Dharma, All creatures are same, no cast/ position makes them smaller or big. All are equal in god’s eye only Love is supreme.

As we discussed some great actions of Lord Rama now let’s talk about certain actions of lord Rama, which raise questions on his ways of doing things. Not sure whether they can be considered as Dharma or not.

  • Sita saw a golden deer in the jungle in front of her hut and forced Ram to get that golden deer dead or live. Being a god’s avtar Rama shouldn’t have never killed an animal just to impress his wife. Killing a creature doesn’t give a good message in society and that's definitely not dharma.

  •  Sugreev was not able to defeat his brother Bali. So Killing Baali from behind to help Sugreev was not ethical behaviour indeed. He was supposed to empower Baali to fight with Sugreev instead of killing him by hiding himself, the way Krishna helped Bhima against Duryodhana. For me this action doesn’t fall under Dharma’s category.

Yudhisthira- Is called DharmRaj (King of Dharma) who always speaks of Dharma, who always acts as per Dharma. Yudhisthira was known for his intelligence and his wise words. He never spoke a lie in his whole life. He was called Ajatshatru (One without enemies). He had a great quality of forgiving anyone. Once Duryodhana tried to poison Bhim and Yudhisthira asked Bhim to forgive him, that was the first time Yudhisthira taught the lesson of forgiveness. That’s Dharma for sure “forgiving everyone for their sins”.

But again Yudhisthira also did a lot of things which can not be found in the law book of Dharma. The biggest mistake Yudhisthira did was betting his brothers and wife in gambling with Shakuni & Duryodhana. We can gamble assets not people. That too your wife. That was a sin. Your wife is definitely not an asset, That shows a poor mentality of Yudhisthira. Another mistake was letting Duryodhana misbehave with his wife. Betting your brothers and wife in gambling is clearly not Dharma. An unforgettable incident in indian mythology.

Parshuram- is called the sixth incarnation (avtar) of Lord Vishnu. He was a brahmin and had a great knowledge of vedas & puranas. He was a legendary dharma guru & had training in war from Lord Shiva. He was also considered to be “Brahmin-Kshatriya”. When khatriya’s were doing unlawful acts he killed all the kshatriyas on earth & that is Dharma for sure to stop unlawful activities.

However his one of the actions puts me in doubt where he denied teachings to all non-brahmins. As per him only Brahmins were eligible for his teachings although there was an exception of Bhishma. Deciding Education on the basis of only caste is definitely not Dharma. Also he cursed Karna when he got to know he was not a brahmin.

So we discussed Dharma with some historical examples. That’s why in the very beginning of the article i mentioned Dharma does not have any certain definition. It’s hard to find someone who actually followed Dharma in actual means.

Read Why Lord Krishna was black?

Source : NewsOnFloor

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