DHARMA – What is dharma?
Hinduism describes dharma as the natural universal laws, following which one finds happiness and peace…..
Hindus consider dharma the very foundation of life. Offering right action and consistent spiritual practices help one to lead a dharmic life.
Dharma comes from the word dhr which means- ‘to uphold, to maintain, and to sustain’
During a discussion it came up that – how can one guarantee that the conceived ‘right action’ shall uphold? It was also argued that- “As such, nothing called right or wrong exists in this existence, right and wrong are simply the creation of mind, hence are illusory. One must not call anything right or wrong; rather call them ‘different’. And that goes with the existence.”
On contemplating these ideas, one discovers that Dharma has a strong co-relation with truth. One can explore the subtle truths of existence through spiritual practices. The Atharva Veda describes dharma symbolically: Prithivim dharmana dhritam, That is, “this world is upheld by dharma“.
So one can understand dharma as- Anything that helps human being to know the truth- is dharma.
Similarly actions/thoughts that hinders human being from knowing the truth is adharma.
According to the Bhagavat Purana, righteous living or leading a life on a dharmic path has four aspects: They are austerity (tap), purity (shauch), compassion (daya) and truthfulness (satya); Thus an adharmic path may be described as a life driven by vices like- pride (ahankar), Jelousy or Envy (Irsha), Lust or Desire (Kama).
The essence of dharma lies in possessing a certain ability, power and spiritual strength that helps one to imbibe virtues and take one nearer to experiencing the truth.
The Mahabharata exposes the vanity of earthly glories and prompts one to strive to attain truth, dharma, righteousness, renunciation and eternal peace and finally salvation. As explicitly stated in the Gita, the root cause for all sin and evil arises from desire and anger. When these begin to thrive in an individual, it spells disaster Hindus therefore perceive dharma as specific behaviors, which includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and a right way of living. Buddhists consider Dharma as cosmic laws and orders and also follow teachings of Buddha, for a righteous living. Jainism interpret dharma as a doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Shikhs, Dharma means path of righteousness.
The path of Dharma is therefore the ideal proposition that is available before a human being to discover the truth of one’s existence and the creation. Observing the path of Dharma saves one from degradation and suffering. Dharma is the moral law combined with spiritual discipline that guides one’s life, and takes one from imperfection to perfection… impurity to purity, from ignorance to knowledge, from darkness to light.
What do you say dear friend?