Scriptures and Epics in India such as Ramayana and Mahabharata discusses a lot about Dharma. Rama and Arjuna are warriors who lived to protect Dharma. The Kurukshetra war of Mahabharata is called a Dharma War. A fundamental question arises here. What exactly is Dharma?
(Image Credit: Jaskirat Singh Bawa)
What is Dharma
That is which is worth sustaining is Dharma. Good cultures, right practices and great ideas that will do good to people can be called Dharma. So, in that case even good cinema and great paintings are part of our Dharma. Creating great music is Dharma. Protecting the land and taking care of people’s welfare is Dharma. That which hurts people and sentiments of a generation as a whole is Adharma. We can easily see that drugs and violence against women is not Dharma. In fact unrightful violence of any kind is not Dharma. This includes violence towards men, women, children and animals. This also includes violence of physical, mental, psychological and ideological nature as well.
In case of a person in public life, protecting the interests of people is part of her/ his Dharma. We can easily how Dharma decides the actions of Police Officers and Defence Personnel. Upholding the law is part of their Dharma. Making sure that negative elements do not arise within society and corrupt the people through drugs and propaganda is part of their Dharma.
It would be good to discuss if Internet and Media has its Dharma. Pornography is not something that must be sustained. So, it can be clearly called Adharmic. But, questions of personal freedom and choice seems to hang around this question. If our personal choice is dependent on promoting lust and unrightful sexual tendencies, it is clear violation of Dharma. It is the lack of clarity on what needs to be sustained that causes trouble in society.
Honouring the Vasanas
Vasanas are our latent inner tendencies. These tendencies are present in us across lifetimes and are constantly created in this lifetime as well. A look at Mahabharata shows that Arjun has Vasanas of adventure and bravado. Just before the war, he decides to renounce life and take up Sanyas thinking it is Adharma to fight the Kauravas. But, Krishna convinces Arjuna that he will be a bad renunciate as being a Sanyasi is not his essential nature. He is naturally drawn to fighting injustice. So, his duty lies in fighting.
In the present world, we see a lot of people who do not completely honour their vasanas. People who are drawn to Art is practising Business, those who are drawn to Sports is engaged in Investment Banking and many Musicians are working in IT industry. The chasing of money and big opportunities are resulting in the creation of a very depressed generation.
Dharma (that is worth sustaining) is important here. It is not just businesses and investments of High Net Worth individuals that is worth sustaining in this world. Good art, music, practices and ideas need to be encouraged as well. This requires people to understand their tendencies and life purpose. Often due to peer pressure and pressure from home, many people are deviated from their life purpose due to fear of failure. But, such pressure results in failed life with minds full of depression and dejection. This is the curse of the present day.
A fair understanding and discussion on Dharma is necessary in education today. Often words like “Dharma” and “Vasana” is seen in a religious light. But, that need not be the case. If production of substances such as tobacco, liquor and junk food that yields great money today is not seen as Adharmic, such industries and their spread is bound to grow. But, these places have very brilliant minds working with them. Nobody sees these industries or actions as dangerous to the society. However, an inspection with our Dharmic Eyes reveal what is at stake here.
Dharma and Life Purpose
There is Dharma of the land, Dharma of the person and Dharma of the time. Preserving our rich tradition and killing off the bad rituals is part of Dharma. Eradication of evils such as Sati and Child Marriage was Dharma of 19th Century. Lavish Marriages and Birthday functions of the present day where money is wasted to showcase our wealth in spite of people being hungry right outside our home is something that is against Dharma. Understanding what needs to be preserved in our personal lives points to our Life Purpose.
This blog has touched upon how to know your Life Purpose. Sometimes our life purposes are centred around certain ideas, certain art or certain practice. Some do have a life purpose of following Business or Engineering as well. Following the B.Tech, MBA route may be their life purpose. Such people are happy in their roles and contributing positively to the society.
Have you identified your Dharma?