Faith

Dharma in daily life

The path of dharma continues to be elusive and, like Arjuna, each one faces a dilemma on many occasions. Though the sense of dharma is well ensconced in the inner core of every being, it is not very easy or explicit when it comes to practice.

Krishna stresses that pursuit of one’s Swadharma is equal to worship of God and the story of the butcher and the sanyasi in the Mahabharata illustrates how this is a natural and simple path applicable to all, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse.

In the story, a sanyasi, practising austerities, becomes aware of his yogic power when he finds that his anger has the power to burn a crane that had defiled his head when he was doing penance. He is proud of this.

Once when he goes to a house for alms, the lady attends on him after finishing many chores in the house that demanded her immediate attention. When she apologises for the delay, she senses that the sanyasi is angry and tells him that she is not a crane to be burnt by his anger. She advises the sanyasi to meet a butcher in Mithila who could advise him on the secret of duty and on the greatest enemy of man, anger.

The butcher guesses that the sanyasi has been directed to his house by the chaste lady. The sanyasi observes the butcher who earns his living by selling the flesh of animals, which he does with dedication. He begins to understand that no work is low or impure; it is the way the work is done that determines its worth. An individual is thus able to remain righteous in thought, word and deed while being true to his innate tendencies acquired from his samskaras through the cycle of birth.


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Printable version | Jul 28, 2021 1:55:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/Dharma-in-daily-life/article16667683.ece

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