This is in continuation of the article Hindu Sanatana Dharma “Toolkit For World Peace”. Part 1 and Part2 were published on March 13, 2021, and March 18 2021 respectively.
Dharma is often translated as “Duty,” “Religion” or “Religious Duty” and yet its meaning is more profound, defying concise English translation. The word itself comes from the Sanskrit root “Dhri,” which means “to sustain.” Another related meaning is “that which is integral to something.” For example, the Dharma of sugar is to be sweet and the Dharma of fire to be hot. Therefore, a person’s Dharma consists of duties that sustain him, according to his innate characteristics. Such characteristics are both material and spiritual, generating two corresponding types of Dharma:
(a) Sanatana-Dharma – duties that take into account the person’s spiritual (constitutional) identity as atman and are thus the same for everyone.
(b) Varnashrama-Dharma – duties performed according to one’s material (conditional) nature and specific to the individual at that particular time (see Varnashrama Dharma).
According to the notion of Sanatana-Dharma, the eternal and intrinsic inclination of the living entity (atman) is to perform Seva (service). Sanatana-Dharma, being transcendental, refers to universal and axiomatic laws that are beyond our temporary belief systems. Most adherents prefer to call their tradition Sanatana-dharma rather than using the more recent term, “Hinduism,” which they consider has sectarian connotations.
Sometimes another category is added, called Sadharana–Dharma, general moral rules for everyone.
- Dharma – duties that sustain us according to our intrinsic nature.
- Two main types:
- Sanatana-dharma refers to “the eternal law” which is universal.
Basic moral codes are called Sadharana-Dharma.
Shree Krishna explains Dharma in Shree Bhagavad Geeta
By chanting Bhagwan / God’s name, one engages in the eternal dharma of the soul, and by doing that, one’s life becomes sublime regardless of whether one is rich or poor, ugly or handsome, clever or not. It doesn’t matter what material situation one may find oneself in, as soon as one calls out to Krishna one is immediately transported to the transcendental plane.
This truth can be realized by anyone irrespective of religious or cultural belongings. It is not even a question of giving up this or that or changing one’s lifestyle, all one needs to do is simply to add Krishna to one’s life, and this is done very easily by chanting His name. From that everything else will manifest and one will experience that satisfaction for which we are all hankering, and which furthermore is the topmost goal of life.
During the Mahabharata war, Arjuna was demented and in utter despair that how he can fight against Kauravas as in Kauravas camp are his own Gurus, Grand Parents, Uncles, Cousins, and nephews.
Bhagavad Gita was told by Lord Krishna to Arjuna as advice of what’s right and wrong when Arjuna was hesitant to go to war against his own cousins, the Kauravas. The events that led to this war are described in the Mahabharata, a 200 thousand verses long epic by sage Vyasa. Bhagavad Gita is a 700-verse epic divided into 18 chapters.
Bhagavad Gita talks about various paths to spirituality such as The Righteousness (Dharma), The Right Action (Karma Yoga), Devotion (Bhakti Yoga), and Knowledge (Jnana Yoga).
In chapter 1 of Shree Bhagavad Geeta, Arjuna was in a big dilemma and was completely imbibed in materialistic things and has no idea of the immortal soul.
Arjuna in Chapter 1 said to Arjuna :
कुलक्षये प्रणश्यन्ति कुलधर्माः सनातनाः ।
धर्मे नष्टे कुलं कृत्स्नमधर्मोऽभिभवत्युत ॥1.39॥
kula-kṣaye praṇaśyanti kula-dharmāḥ sanātanāḥ
dharme naṣṭe kulaṁ kṛtsnam adharmo ’bhibhavaty uta
अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः ।
स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः ॥1.40॥
adharmābhibhavāt kṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kula-striyaḥ
strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇa-saṅkaraḥ
सङ्करो नरकायैव कुलघ्नानां कुलस्य च ।
पतन्ति पितरो ह्येषां लुप्तपिण्डोदकक्रियाः ॥1.41॥
saṅkaro narakāyaiva kula-ghnānāṁ kulasya ca
patanti pitaro hy eṣāṁ lupta-piṇḍodaka-kriyāḥ
दोषैरेतैः कुलघ्नानां वर्णसङ्करकारकैः ।
उत्साद्यन्ते जातिधर्माः कुलधर्माश्च शाश्वताः ॥1.42॥
doṣair etaiḥ kula-ghnānāṁ varṇa-saṅkara-kārakaiḥ
utsādyante jāti-dharmāḥ kula-dharmāś ca śāśvatāḥ
उत्सन्नकुलधर्माणां मनुष्याणां जनार्दन ।
नरके नियतं वासो भवतीत्यनुशुश्रुम ॥1.43॥
utsanna-kula-dharmāṇāṁ manuṣyāṇāṁ janārdana
narake niyataṁ vāso bhavatīty anuśuśruma
In 39 to 43 verses of Chapter 1, Arjuna argues that because of violence complete society will be destructed by saying that “On the destruction of the family, the perennial family dharmas perish. When dharma perishes, adharma [the opposite of dharma] overwhelms the entire family. From the predominance of adharma, O Krishna, the family women are polluted. When the women are polluted, O Varshneya, a confusion of social orders arises. This confusion leads only to hell both for the destroyers of families and for the family. Certainly, the forefathers fall from heaven since the ritual offerings of food and water are suspended. By these crimes of the family killers, who propagate a confusion of social classes, community dharmas, and the everlasting family dharmas are devastated. We have always heard, O Janardana, that those men who devastate family dharmas have their residence fixed in hell.
Seeing Arjuna completely drowned in materialist world of illusion, Shree Krishna designated Arjuna as Partha /friend and start explaining him in Chapter 2 of Shree Bhagavad Geeta, and in Verses 2,3 he said:-
कुतस्त्वा कश्मलमिदं विषमे समुपस्थितम् ।
kutas tvā kaśmalam idaṁ viṣame samupasthitam
anārya-juṣṭam asvargyam akīrti-karam arjuna
क्लैब्यं मा स्म गमः पार्थ नैतत्त्वय्युपपद्यते ।
क्षुद्रं हृदयदौर्बल्यं त्यक्त्वोत्तिष्ठ परन्तप ॥2.3॥
klaibyaṁ mā sma gamaḥ pārtha naitat tvayy upapadyate
kṣudraṁ hṛdaya-daurbalyaṁ tyaktvottiṣṭha paran-tapa
The Bhagavan said: My dear Arjun, how has this delusion overcome you in this hour of peril? It is not befitting an honorable person. It leads not to the higher abodes, but to disgrace. O Parth (Arjuna), it does not befit you to yield to this unmanliness. Give up such petty weakness of heart and arise, O vanquisher of enemies.
After a long discourse on righteous duty (Dharma), Lord Krishna rejects Arjuna’s view as s mere “weakness of heart” (hridaya-daurbalyam) and “impotence” (klaibyam) and urges Arjuna to fight. Krishna asked Arjuna to stand up and perform his Dharma to fight.
After some lessons on soul in chapter 2, Lord Krishna states in Verse 33
अथ चेत्त्वमिमं धर्म्यं सङ्ग्रामं न करिष्यसि ।
ततः स्वधर्मं कीर्तिं च हित्वा पापमवाप्स्यसि ॥2.33॥
atha cet tvam imaṁ dharmyaṁ saṅgrāmaṁ na kariṣyasi
tataḥ sva-dharmaṁ kīrtiṁ ca hitvā pāpam avāpsyasi
Arjuna, if you do not execute this battle, then having given up your personal Dharma and reputation, you shall incur sin.
आपूर्यमाणमचलप्रतिष्ठं समुद्रमापः प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् ।
तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी ॥2.70 ॥
āpūryamāṇam acala-pratiṣṭhaṁ samudram āpaḥ praviśanti yadvat
tadvat kāmā yaṁ praviśanti sarve sa śāntim āpnoti na kāma-kāmī
Further in Verse 70, Krishna mentioned that, just as the ocean remains undisturbed by the incessant flow of waters from rivers merging into it, likewise the sage who is unmoved despite the flow of desirable objects all around him attains peace and not the person who strives to satisfy desires. So, Arjuna clearly states that one needs to perform his Dharma and not satisfy his bodily necessities, or being bereft of them. And such a sage by performing Dharma can attain “Shanti”, or true peace.
In Chapter 2, Lord Krishna has connected the idealistic philosophy (like complete nonviolence) to the practical teachings. Arjuna was in Moha or Illusion, thinking that his teachers, relatives all were the ultimate reality. But Lord Krishna cleared his confusion by giving lessons on the soul that the soul is eternal not the body.
In Chapter 3, Krishna mentions that performing Dharma must be utmost duty and also an offering to me.
मयि सर्वाणि कर्माणि संन्यस्याध्यात्मचेतसा |
निराशीर्निर्ममो भूत्वा युध्यस्व विगतज्वर: ||3.30||
mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-chetasā
nirāśhīr nirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ
Performing all works as an offering unto me, constantly meditate on me as the Supreme. Become free from desire and selfishness, and with your mental grief departed, fight! As a Kshatriya, it was Arjuna’s duty to fight. By not fighting, Arjuna would be rejecting Dharma—in fact, his personal dharma—and thus incurring sin.
श्रेयान्स्वधर्मो विगुण: परधर्मात्स्वनुष्ठितात् |
स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह: ||3.35||
śhreyān swa-dharmo viguṇaḥ para-dharmāt sv-anuṣhṭhitāt
swa-dharme nidhanaṁ śhreyaḥ para-dharmo bhayāvahaḥ
Lord Krishna says It is far better to perform one’s natural prescribed duty, though tinged with faults than to perform another’s prescribed duty, though perfectly. In fact, it is preferable to die in the discharge of one’s duty, than to follow the path of another, which is fraught with danger.
Further in Chapter 4, Shree Krishna clearly mentions that for the society to flourish, Dharma has to prevail. Those who abstain from performing Dharma will never get peace either in this world or the next world.
यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत |
अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदात्मानं सृजाम्यहम् ||4.7||
yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata
abhyutthānam adharmasya tadātmānaṁ sṛijāmyaham
Lord Krishna has made very clear that “Whenever there is decay of Dharma (righteousness), O Arjuna, and there is the exaltation of unrighteousness, then I Myself come forth; for the protection of the virtuous, for the destruction of evil-doers, and for the sake of firmly establishing Dharma (righteousness), I am born from age to age.
परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् |
धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे ||4.8||
Paritranaya sadhunang vinashay cha dushkritam.
Dharmasangsthapanarthay sambhabami yuge yuge.
Krishna clearly mentions that to protect the Dharma (righteous), to annihilate the wicked, and to reestablish the principles of Dharma, he will appear on this earth, age after age.
यस्य सर्वे समारम्भा: कामसङ्कल्पवर्जिता: |
ज्ञानाग्निदग्धकर्माणं तमाहु: पण्डितं बुधा: ||4.19||
yasya sarve samārambhāḥ kāma-saṅkalpa-varjitāḥ jñānāgni-dagdha-karmāṇaṁ tam āhuḥ paṇḍitaṁ budhāḥ
Shree Krishna states that the enlightened sages call those persons wise, whose every action is free from the desire for material pleasures and who have burnt the reactions of work in the fire of divine knowledge. And, this makes the foundation of Dharma.
श्रद्धावान् लभते ज्ञानं तत्पर: संयतेन्द्रिय: |
ज्ञानं लब्ध्वा परां शान्तिमचिरेणाधिगच्छति ||4.39||
śhraddhāvān labhate jñānaṁ tat-paraḥ sanyatendriyaḥ
jñānaṁ labdhvā parāṁ śhāntim achireṇādhigachchhati
Krishna teaches here that those whose faith is deep and who have practiced controlling their mind and senses attain divine knowledge. Through such transcendental knowledge, they quickly attain everlasting supreme peace And, this is the utmost Dharma.
अज्ञश्चाश्रद्दधानश्च संशयात्मा विनश्यति |
नायं लोकोऽस्ति न परो न सुखं संशयात्मन: ||4.40||
ajñaśh chāśhraddadhānaśh cha sanśhayātmā vinaśhyati
nāyaṁ loko ’sti na paro na sukhaṁ sanśhayātmanaḥ
Krishna explains here that ignorant and faithless persons who have doubting nature will never attain God-consciousness; And they will surely fall down. For the skeptical soul, there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.
Shree Krishna teaching on Dharma to be continued in the next article…Till then please meditate …
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare.
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