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Dharma deciphered

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Dharma is the most corrupted and misused word in the world. This article will make it clear once and for all regarding what Dharma is all about; what conforms to Dharma and what does not – and how it is relevant to each and every individual on earth for the well-being and evolution of mankind.

Dharma comprises of the following two components:

  1. respecting, serving, upholding humanity, justice and nature;
  2. thought process, ideology, principles, actions (karma) required for adhering to or holding on to Dharma->1

It is pertinent to note that the above definition of Dharma is something akin to how we describe the smallest substance, i.e. an atom consisting of inner core nucleus and outer electrons revolving around the nucleus. Similar perspective can be taken on larger manifestations of solar system with revolution of planets and their natural satellites around their core objects that are relatively far bigger in size.

In essence, Dharma is all about being sensitive towards life (all lives) and towards nature.

The Core of Dharma

Let’s analyze the definition further. If you closely observe the three entities mentioned as the core of Dharma – humanity, justice and nature – are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are the ones which are tightly coupled, the most valued entities of life by all of mankind, always talked about whenever any of these is disregarded. Over a period of time, societies across the world have evolved with respect to these three core entities by way of implementing and continuously improving upon their education, law and order systems.

In spite of systems in place, societies fail to uphold the core of Dharma. For instance actions against humanity that are committed even due to loopholes in the rule-book of society are still considered as crimes and justice is seeked as the actions committed violated humanity and/or justice was not served. If the set of law/rules itself is unjust, then a social pressure is created by wise people to amend the laws so as to uphold judiciary system and on serving justice humanity is upheld. Similarly, with regards to nature, man has started to realize the importance of trees, identified issues like global warming due to his exploitation of nature and natural resources in the past resulting in world leaders coming together – to uphold nature. This is how mankind evolved and continues to evolve.


Any entity that disregards Dharma->1 in it’s principles and ideologies is adharma. Religions of the worlds, companies or organisations with their documented ideologies/vision and history can easily be evaluated for any dharmic violations or if they are adharmic in nature.

Dharma absolutely involves violence against adharmic forces for protecting mankind/humanity when all options of non-violence exhaust.

Salient features of Dharma

Dharma =>:
a) is inclusive (वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् – world is one family), i.e. it’s not limited to any geographical boundaries – covers the world (loka) and bats for ‘loka kalyana’, i.e. wellbeing of mankind;
b) is performing duties towards self, family, friends, society and gradually expanding to nation and world – larger the expansion more Dharmic is the person;
c) is to oppose, fight and destroy adharma, i.e. any entity or ideology that violates or disregards Dharma->1;
d) encourages ‘live and let live’ policy, with due respect to Dharma;
e) focuses on karma (deeds/action/inaction in various situations) and not on beliefs or lack of it;

Holding onto Dharma

When the core of Dharma is so clear, why there is a need to make it sound incomplete without part 2, i.e. Dharma->2? The answer lies in the details – details of how to set up ways so uphold Dharma->1.

Bharatiya ancient civilization is all about Dharma (vs adharma) described and prescribed in its huge library of scriptures called Dharma shastras (scriptures). These Dharma shastras explain and provide prescriptions for upholding Dharma->1, i.e. how to set up Dharma->2. The Vedas are a vast set of scriptures containing the details of nature, universe, it’s creation and guidelines to uphold the core of Dharma. It takes years to master these scriptures, under a (Dharma) guru.

Ithihaas, i.e. historical epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata, highlights real life scenarios in the form of stories about Dharma vs adharma.

However, a very short comprehensive famous FAQ document about life and Dharma as a conversation between a confused Arjuna and Lord Krishna just before the famous Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata known as Shrimad Bhagawad Geeta (or simply The Gita) – is strongly recommended.

The Gita – containing questions and answers – is a proof that Dharma encourages questions for clarity; because without clarity taking any step could be fatal. So continuous awareness and assessment of situations of life (consciousness) is essential to decide and take the dynamic decision of action (or inaction) towards Dharma. That is wisdom!

In the Gita itself, Lord Krishna explains that a self-realized yogi (person who experientially is in union with divinity) is already a conscious being and vice versa – in which contains all the Dharmic scriptures. That is why the content of Dharma->2 can vary as long as Dharma-> 1 is upheld.

Dharmic Paths

There have been many enlightened beings who devised their own ways or paths to uphold Dharma, the followers of whom have documented in their respective scriptures. These paths or ways are called as ‘sampradayas’ or ‘panths’ the famous three of which are:

  • Sikhism – founded by Guru Nanak Dev
  • Jainism – founded by Vardhamana Mahavira
  • Buddhism – founded by Gautama Buddha

The scriptures authored by these self-realized enlightened beings revolve around Dharma – none of these violate Dharma, but indeed protect it, uphold it and also prescribe guidelines for self-realization.

Dharma is also about discouraging, resisting and fighting adharmic forces/ideologies in a gradual manner (using the strategy of ‘saama/daana/bheda/danda’). Because if Dharma is not saved, i.e if the ratio of Dharmic to Adharmic dwindles, then the probability of living in peace and getting justice in that society drops proportionately.

Failure of Hindus in upholding Dharma!

Once a society moves away from Dharma, it starts gradually becoming weaker and hence victim of Adharmic forces; and eventually becomes Adharmic society (e.g. Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc).

Had the people of Bharatvarsh (ancient India comprising of Afghanistan, Pakistan upto Bangladesh and beyond) followed Krishna’s advise (mentioned in the Gita) to Arjuna to ‘go and fight adharma’, Islam wouldn’t have entered or remained in India. Nor the East India Company could have succeeded in cheating with eventual colonial rule. There were great warrior Kings like Chhatrapati Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Guru Govind Singh who bravely fought and resisted the atrocities done by the islamic invaders; however there were Hindu traitors who betrayed the Hindu emperors thereby strenghthening the base of adharma those times. Because of which adharmic forces took over Bharatvarsh and did huge damage, the suffering of which is clearly visible even today. Hindus not only lost a huge chunk of land and population to these adharmic cults, but wrongly called these totalitarian, exclusive adharmic ideologies as Dharma!

It should be noted that:
Not every Hindu is Dharmic;
Not every Dharmic is Hindu

Finally, being dharmic is what matters. For that one doesn’t need to convert. Consciousness is the key and ignorance will again lead to giving into adharma.

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