Saturday, November 14, 2020

New Article Series - What is Dharma | Happy Diwali 2020

Wishing You all a Very Happy Deepavali and Dhanteras 2020 

Deepavali Ki Hardik Subhechcha 

Shubh Dhanteras


On the occasion of Diwali, I am happy to share that I have updated the article on Dharma. In future, I wish to include this intro to the article series on Dharma. Updated versions of Website  in word or pdf or ebook format are also available for download. Article is updated on Google drive from where one can download the word and ebook format. In case one is not able to down PDF file, a link on home page and downloads page is given.   

In earlier post, I had shared the information that an article on dharma has been uploaded. 

Since then, there were lots of changes in the article. Now the articles is divided into 5 parts with each part having a dedicated page. 

Page dedicated to Dharma

Topics include 

Explanation of the uses of word 'dharma'
Varna and Ashram Dharma
Gunas are the heart of Dharma
Why do Shastras give importance to dharma

Then comes the three depths Rna-traya and how one can be free from them. Importance of performance of Shradha is also explained.

Since Gunas are at the heart of dharma, a separate page is dedicated to explain daivi and asuri sampitti (divine and demonic i.e lower animal) qualities. as explained in Adhyaya 16 of Bhagavad Gita

Then comes articles on svadharma and why following svadharma is always a better choice than following paradharma is explained.

Following svadharma, one can rise above gunas and dharma (and adharma). Beyond dharma is moksha. Such a person who has risen beyond dharma is known as Jivan Mukta or the liberated one. He or she is already established in the supreme Truth, The Brahman, even while still living in physical body. Such great jivas are very rare, but are worthy of our respect and gratitude. 

Last page is dedicated to explaining the difference between 'Dharma and Mazhab or Religion' and difference between 'Guru and Prophet or Nabi'. Articles explains why it is unwise to use these words interchangeably. 

Reason for Compiling an Article on Dharma

Dharma holds an important place in any society. Dharma is a collection of divine qualities within oneself and it's application. By application, we mean how a person acts. The choices one makes depends upon ones mental makeup and emotional state. It is the gunas which makes our mental, emotional and spiritual makeup. They decide our thinking and so karma. Gunas are the heart of dharma.   

Though one may have been born in a particular varna by birth, but it is the varna by karma that defines the person who he or she is. It is our behaviour within our family, society and nation as a whole that contributes to the well being, maintaining harmony and creating positive environment, open to new ways of thinking. 

Even in medieval period, well known personalities and even communities were known due to their contribution to society and their achievement. Our surnames are the best examples of it. The surnames define the work one does or has achieved.

For example, a surname 'mistry' indicates that ancestors must have been known by community as good carpenters. Another surname is that of honorific title like 'Shastri'. It is the title that is given by scholars or the community. In Puranas and Itihasas, we can see that the names of prominent characters are also given as per their character. In one discourse, I recall from my memory an example of 'name by karma' was given. 'Dushashana' is actually 'Sushasana' meaning good governance. Dushashana means 'bad governance'. No parent will give demonic name to their child as each one of them is precious to the parents. However, they are known by their karmas which are based on gunas that they or their parents or mentors have instilled and nurtured within them. Their karma is not on moral high grounds. Even Ishvara is not spared. Krishna is also known as 'Ranchod', meaning 'one who flees the battleground'. Of course Bhagavad in Gita says that 'Janma karma cha me divyam' meaning 'Mu birth and karma are of divine nature'. It means that his birth is not due to dissatisfied desires, nor does the karmas done by him are due to the triggering of any Gunas as Ishvara is beyond Gunas. However, in order to teach us something good, they act in a particular way. 

Dharma is the Gauge or Weighing Balance of Critics and Rival Sects

The importance of dharma, which is the collection of divine qualities, is so high that even the critics and atheists, fact finders, historians, scholars of rival sampradayas or religion, and those who have lost interest in the religion of their birth and have either turned atheist or embraced a new religion - all of them while finding faults in characters in puranas, historical figures like Kings of Medieval period like Guptas, etc always find moral or ethical wrong doing. 

Many individuals see the rigidity and hypocrisy in the people who claim to practice dharma. It is the double standards which are responsible for a genuine seeker to loose interest in dharma and either ignore it or become and atheist. 

Thus any fault that we see in others is either due to absence of divine positive qualities within ourselves or within others. We all have both positive and negative qualities. However, what matters is which ones do we nurture, give fuel to and which ones are ignored. Just like a fire is neither good or bad. It's goodness i.e. life saving or destructiveness depends upon it's use. Fire can be used to cook food or it can be used to burn a person or property resulting in death or destruction. Same is the case with water. It can quench our thirst or drawn us. 

Faith in God does not Earn you Respect nor does it make you a Good Person 

Faith in God does not make one superior or worthy of respect. Faith in God almighty is just one divine quality. It does not earn you respect in society. Even criminals have faith in God, in fact much stronger than we have, as if they manage to escape casing police, their life and saved, but for police it is just another case. It is our karma that earns respect of others. A believer in God may be a miser and will not donate a single paisa to anybody, while an atheist may build a school or hospital giving free education or treatment to poor people. 

Negative qualities have to be controlled and overcome with nurturing of Good Qualities and performing good karmas. It is a path of dharma which each one of us has to walk.

Importance of Dharma in Today's World - Upholding the Moral Values

In today's fast changing materialistic world, where dharma is dying, and corruption, dis-honestly, selfishness and cheating are the new acceptable norms in the corporate world, it is the dire need that dharma is practiced by all of us be it theists or atheists. It is necessary for the good of entire eco system, not just us, humans. A positive mind with high conscience will not try to harm nature to earn profit and get rich. Karma done with positive intention is beneficial to the whole of society, whole eco system and for our future generations. 

All saints and acharyas, be it Lord Buddha or Sri Mahavir Tirthankara, Adi Sankaracharya or Ramanujacharya or Madhvacharya or Mahasiddha Matsyendranath and Gorakshanath (Gorakhnath), all of them stressed on the 'sadachara' meaning good conduct and practice dharma and not just argue over philosophy. An logic or philosophy is dry an shallow without practice, no matter how much impressive it might feel. The evils in the society are all bad conducts and are often reminded in the puranas and itihasas quite often. Bhagavad gita, which is an essence of Upanishads (vedanta) and Upanishads are the essence of Vedas, which are the mother of all Hindu Philosophy, has dedicated two chapters chapter 16 and 17 only Gunas and the types of karmas performed based on divine or demonic qualities. What more needs to be said upon the importance of dharma. 

On the occasion of Diwali, which symbolizes the victory of Light (knowledge) over Darkness (ignorance and bondage) or Victory or dharma over adharma or victory of Ishvara over Ego and symbolizes the destruction of Ego teaches us that a person is not to be continued to be hated after the ego is destroyed. A person with high ego may make wrong decisions, but such a person may have vast knowledge and can become a worthy guru. This is because after the ego is destroyed, one gets the knowledge of true Self and one is immersed in Bliss. Hence Deepavali or  Diwali, which is popularly known as festival of light expresses this state of destruction of ego, followed by the flame of knowledge as fire or light represents knowledge. Ego represent darkness. After light is light in dark room, one feel comfortable, is free from fear and sees things clearly 'as they are'. After destruction of ego there is completeness, there is peace, there is bliss. 

An Episode from Ramayana teaching us dharma

In case of Ramayana, Bhagavad Rama asked Lakshamana to approach King Ravana who was dying and learn 'Raj Niti' or 'art of Governance' from Him. Lakshmana, who has negative views for Ravana didn't expect this instruction , but couldn't disobey orders of his Elder Brother who was also his Ishta Devata. So with biased, pre opiniated mind, he approached to Ravana asked him to teach him. Knowing the mental state of Lakshamana, Ravan Ignored him and Lakshama returned back Rama Explained him that one should approach a guru with all humblness and not stand over his head and ask for knowledge. Go and stand near his feet and humbly request your guru to teach you Niti Shastra. Lakshamana, realised his mistake, changed his heart and now approached Ravana with a proper way a guru should be apporached. Dying Ravana, then taught him the art of Governance. So Ravana was free from Bias, but Lakshamana wasn't. So such instruction like 'be a good guru', 'act like an acharya' etc, was not needed for Ranava. He was already free of Ego. 

Though there is a popular custom that the effigy of ten-headed Ravana is burned, which symbolically represents victory of Knowledge over Ego, has to be though upon second time. The dying person was not the same egoistic Ravana. He was a Guru. He was a great scholar who sung Sama Veda and was profecient in many arts like Governance, Ayurveda, Astrology, Art of Warfare and was a great devotee of Bhagavad Shiva. Even Bhagavan Shiva has accepted his composition 'Shiva Tandava Stotra' and so it has survived centuries. An important lesson is, if a person has an inner Transformation, then one must not keep judging that person based on his or her past deeds, but treat the person upon merit and his or her current mental status.  

Dharma leads to Health and Manifestation of God of Medicine Bhagavan Dhanvantari

I would like to add one more thing. when the mind is positive and the divine qualities or sattvika gunas are predominant, then the mind is peaceful. Such a mind experiences less stress. Less stress means relaxed body. When mind is peaceful, body is relaxed. Immunity increases naturally. When under stress or fear, especially in the current scenario of pandemic,  it is always good to be positive, then to be in fear of uncertainty and reduce our immunity. Be always positive, but not careless, as carelessness is a negative quality. Take necessary precautions and act responsibly, but do not keep fear in mind, it immediately reduces immunity. Scientists agree that mind has great influence on health. 

It is truly said by the wise -

'Health is (the real) Wealth' 

'Be Happy Be Wealthy'

On the day before Diwali, Bhagavan Dhanvantari manifested with a pot of medicines. May we all get his blessings and remain healthy in mind and body. May he heal us of all negativity at all levels physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

On the Occasion of Deepavali, I pray to Maa Sita or Good health of all and for her grace and guidance. 

With the Grace of Maa Sita, who is Maya herself, may we all walk on the path of dharma and finally rise beyond dharma and attain moksha.

जानकि त्वां नमस्यामि सर्वपापप्रणाशिनीम् 

Hanumanji said: 1.1: O Devi Janaki, I salute You; You are the destroyer of all Sins

दारिद्र्यरणसंहर्त्रीं भक्तानाभिष्टदायिनीम् ।
विदेहराजतनयां राघवानन्दकारिणीम् ॥२॥

2.2: (I Salute You) You are the daughter of Videha Raja (King Janaka), and cause of Joy of Raghava (Sri Rama),

May Bhagavan Hanuman Bless us with Faith, Surrender, with Courage, with one-pointed devotion and steadiness of monkey mind. 

May the grace of Bhagavad Rama always be upon us. May we all Experience Rama-Tatva.

Hari OM

Shri Hanumate Namah
Shri Rama Ramaya Namah

No comments:

Featured Post

Introduction of Madhusūdana Sarasvatī’s Gūḍārtha Dīpikā, a unique commentary on Bhagavad Gītā

Update: 01/08/2016. Verses 8 a nd 9 are corrected. 'Thou' is correctly translated to 'tvam' and 't hat...