Faith

Keeping to dharma

The whole subject of dharma is difficult to comprehend. First of all, one needs to know what dharma is. Secondly, even if one happens to be aware of one’s dharma to some extent, keeping to it is difficult, elaborated Kidambi Narayanan, in a discourse.

Vibhishana, knowing that Ravana’s sin of abducting Sita is grievous, leaves him and goes to Rama. Kumbhakarna applauds Vibhishana’s decision. He says Vibhishana knows dharma, and such a one should be the king of Lanka. In the Mahabharata, we find Yudhishtira initially reluctant to wage war against his cousins. But once war becomes inevitable, he is unwavering in his commitment to securing victory. Arjuna, on the other hand, is eager for war, but when he gets to the battlefield, he begins to waver.

Yudhishtira, among the five Pandavas, is the one who knows dharma the best. And yet, even he has some questions regarding dharma, for which he seeks answers from Bhishma. Bhishma says that dharma is subtle. It is like an ocean, about whose depth you know nothing. Nor can you guess in which part of the ocean pearls can be obtained. Dharma is like the tip of a sharp sword. Can you stand on the tip of a sword comfortably? The answer, obviously, is in the negative. Likewise, keeping to dharma is not easy. It can shake us out of our comfort zone. Dharma is defined thus — chodanaa lakshanaartho dharmah. That is, dharma is that which tells us what to do and what not to do. Another definition of dharma is: dhreeyate anena iti dharmah. This means that that which supports and sustains the world is called dharma. A society can function only within a framework of rules. Without rules, there will be chaos. These guidelines are found in our scriptures, and these constitute dharma.


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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 8:16:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/keeping-to-dharma/article37152287.ece

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