Faith

Dharma in practice

Prakriti and the three gunas are the source of the variety of modes and forms in the universe. It is important to understand the extent to which these rule over the complex pattern of the life of all beings, the devas, the humans and the asuras. A story quoted in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad exemplifies this truth in a very striking way, pointed out Sri K. Srinivasan in a discourse.

Once, the devas, the asuras and the human beings seek instruction from Prajapati for their suffering. Prajapati merely utters the syllable “Da” thrice as instruction to all the three of them. Each of them gets the message intended for them. This is because they are self introspective and each of them is able to derive the meaning of the instruction with reference to the inherent defects in their individual natures. The devas understand their weakness as desire and when it is manifest they are led astray. They should learn to curb their own desires. The asuras being by nature powerful lack compassion and so they have to cultivate the quality of mercy. The human beings learn that they should be willing to give to others in charity. They should consciously nurture the habit of being generous to all and not be selfish about their possessions. These are qualities that make up one’s worth. The wise speak of Dharma as a bull resting on four legs, namely Truth, Purity, Compassion and Charity. Brahman is synonymous with Satyam and when we swerve from truth we come under the control of Maya, symbolic of untruth.

The second leg stands for purity in all aspects, material, dravya, place, stala and time, kala. Compassion, the third leg motivates the practice of the highest dharma, ahimsa. The fourth pada is charity, Dana, which reinforces the principle that the world has got to feed the need of everybody and not the greed of few.


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Printable version | Dec 1, 2021 9:54:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/dharma-in-practice/article37012271.ece

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