What does the term Dharma signify?
Hinduism explains Dharma as the order that makes life and universe possible. It includes duties, rights, laws of conduct, virtues and the “right way of living”. In Buddhism it means “cosmic law and order”. In Jainism it refers to the teachings of Tirthankara (Jina) and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings.
Dharma is the foundation on which the righteous life of this universe is established. The whole nature, all living things and non-living things work as per universal laws and rhythm of this creation. This includes the entire cosmos, planets, animals, nature, and the human beings. Examples of Dharma are: Sun rises and sets everyday no matter what. Fire burns whatever it touches, it is Fire’s Dharma to do so.
Our ancestors have studied these universal laws for hundreds of years and defined the precise laws for human-beings. These are preserved in various scriptures and are being interpreted in many ways now.
Dharma is the cosmic balance on which the whole existence sustains. The whole creation works in such a way that it allows everything to sustain and grow harmoniously. This is the wonderful work of the Creator and He makes no mistakes.
Applicability of Dharma in daily life
Except for human beings nothing in this universe applies its interpretation of universal laws but simply follows it. Forests, mountains, animals, land, water, sky, rain, wind all follow their nature without manipulation.
Human-beings are the only species on this planet who due to their intelligent minds manipulate everything for their own comfort and convenience and so has happened in the case of Dharma. There are as many interpretations of Dharma as people.
Dharma defines how human beings are required to behave and lead their life harmoniously without disturbing the rest of the creation on this earth. Human beings have visited this planet for their internal growth and will drop their gross body one day. During this visit each one is required to work on their own short comings and attain spiritual perfection. This is the only goal and the rest is the waste created by human mind.
In the spree to accumulate wealth and power, all good is compromised. Cheating, looting, corruption, hatred, selfishness, double standards, hypocrisy everything is made acceptable in this world now by twisting the truth to convenience. Everyone knows that these things prevail all around us and each one is participating in some way or other, yet no one does anything about it thinking it is not their business.
When you tell small lies for your own benefit, when you make that small profit by cheating others, when you hurt or deceive others in relationships to establish your goodness, when you offer bribes for your business and when you hold something in your heart and project something else by being a hypocrite, you go against Dharma. Deep in heart one knows it is wrong, but everyone goes on with their ego game and the games never end.
What happens when balance is lost?
When you go into the forest or mountains you must follow its rules, otherwise it kills you. It does not see your reasoning or how big you are in the outside world. It is its Dharma to do so. That is what often happens in Uttarakhand. So the simple rule is – “follow the laws” and by not doing so one is only acting stupid and is inviting trouble. There are no exceptions to the rule. Even when something is done for the good of a smaller section, if it does not resonate with the larger good, it is of no good. If one does not understand the bigger picture, it is for him to understand first as innocence is no excuse.
Dharma is ruthless and it balances itself. It does not need anyone’s support. It is clearly not about religious practices and rituals. It is not about feelings and emotions. It is not about social service and charities. It is the core intent which needs to be in harmony with the entire nature and the core nature of the creation is unconditional love.
It is the innate quality of every human being that one knows what his true nature is. When one aligns to the human true nature without manipulation and external conditioning, one exactly knows the path of Dharma. There is no guidance required, like animals who follow their Dharma without a guru, human beings can also do so.
When the human mind tries to go against the nature, tries to control the outside world with selfish motto with its limited understanding and when the damage is beyond the tolerance, nature takes over to press the reset button to establish Dharma in this world. This happens again and again in small or big events depending on the size of the damage.
Dharma is accurate in its action. When one follows his Dharma honestly in his life, it safeguards that person even in midst of complete destruction phase. A small child surviving in debris of a building for several days, sauna mi survivors are all examples of this. However, the larger good that it does is many times beyond the conception of the human mind.
How does Dharma benefit?
If happiness is most important for you, if your loved ones are important for you - Follow Dharma, even if it destroys you temporarily because of past doings. “Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha” – means if you protect Dharma, Dharma will protect you. When you act as per Dharma naturally and effortless without having a need to get recognition, you are protected. There is no need to prove to anyone nor are there any approvals required when you are in order.
When the collective effort of many human beings to establish Dharma comes together and when it evens out the negativity, whole humanity wins. It is because of these handful people’s righteous action that the universal balance sustains. These few people are equal to millions of damagers. And that is the power of Dharma.
Hence, everyone’s immediate responsibility is to protect Dharma and act as per the universal laws. One who does not follow the norm will be eliminated ruthlessly and one who follows Dharma is protected and this is the truth told to us again and again by all The Avatars and God-Men coming to this earth.