Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is there anything like "absolute dharma"?

Some basic questions people following dharmic rules, rooting for a dharmic state and having problems with our present state of affairs should engage in are:

Q 1.: How do we define dharma?

Q 2.: Is Dharma something that is radically different from the natural state of the world?

Q 3.: If that is the case, why do we strive for it, when we know that things have a tendency to revert to their natural state sooner or later?

My concept of dharma, perhaps still in its infancy, is something called righteousness. For me, among other things, it should prompt the powerful to not only let the meek survive, but to also assist them in their survival.

A system in which the powerful allow a way for the weak? Is that feasible? Because, nature does not allow such a system. It is vicious competition in nature, one species besting another. The weak have no place out there. Ours seems meant to be a place where the bigger fish eats the medium fish, the medium fish eats the smaller fish and so on.

So, is a system feasible, which staples the ability of the strong, while allows the weak to grow? Isn't it natural for the strong to gobble the weak? For how long can man made to resist his natural animal instincts? Perhaps just as long as the nation has a powerful triumvirate of legislative, executive and judiciary forces. With the absence of these three, how long can people remain dharmic?

The one argument that is laid against the above question is that in nature, one species always supports its own kind. There is never violence in one species, which is what we see in Homo Sapiens. But on a closer look, we might be proved wrong.

If this is a temporary endeavour, why should we put so much of effort into it as writing miles and miles of scriptures and spending more time teaching and even more time spreading it? Why not let the rules of nature prevail?

And say, even if we achieve such a system, how far should we go? Do the forces of dharma have to be on a constant vigil for adharma in the society? Finally:

Q 4.:Is there anything like "absolute dharma"? When can we sit down and relax, that we have created the best society? Is life a constant war?

I would appreciate your reply to the above questions.


Gandaragolaka said...

Good post.

Very interesting questions, and honestly, I dont know the complete answers myself. But still, lets try to extract something out of our learnings and experience:

1) Of the four purushaarthas of life-- Dharma, Artha, Kaama, and Moksha, Dharma is the first and prerequisite for the other three.

2) Dharma is the root, artha is the stem, Kaama is represented by the leaves and flowers and the moksha is the fruit.

3) As we can see, the ultimate goal of human existence is Moksha. But the fruit of Moksha doesnt just grow in the void. It needs the photosynthesis from the leaves, support from the stem and nourishment from the root.

4) Hence, its the dharma, that provides the necessary prerequisite conditions in the society for the attainment of Moksha. Cut at the roots and the whole tree would just whither away.

5) We do not constrain people by saying--do this, dont do that. But we rather apply a basic equation-- "what needs to be done so that people would want to attain moksha" and then extract the answer rgarding whats to be done.

6) This would include--
a) Becoming knowledgeable in the Veda-vedangas and spreading the knowledge of the Ultimate
b) Writing poems, books, treatises, commentaries or just singing about the greatness of the Ultimate.
c) Becoming a role-model to others by walking the path of moksha, etc.

Karmasura said...

What are your views on making the rule of Dharma permanent?

Or does the rule of 'nothing is permanent in the universe' also apply here?

Dirt Digger said...

Interesting debate on dharma in a time where people think it as the name of an old movie actor.
Not sure we can accomplish "absolute dharma" for a long period of time.
the only period when this happened was during Ram-rajya.

Gandaragolaka said...

I dont understand what you mean by "making the rule of Dharma permanent"...

consider these well known sentences:

1) Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha!

He who protects dharma shall be saved by dharma.

2) yato dharmah tato jayaha

because (there is) dharma, therefore (there is) victory.

Dharma is not a law to be imposed on public. It is the cosmic order which, when abided by, unleashes forces that finally bring about harmony and peace.

Karmasura said...

That helped to some extent.

But, what I meant to ask was that once that path is established, why at one particular time in the history of a nation do people eventually deviate from it?

Gandaragolaka said...

"why at one particular time in the history of a nation do people eventually deviate from it?"

Haha! well.. now thats maya for you.

The system needs a constant input--of Brahmanas being role models to the entire kingdom and providing guidance to the other varnas , KshatrIyas provinding protection (while not affected by the lust of power), vaishyas building up the economical backbone (while not falling to greed and unfair practices) and helping the poor, shUdras providing dedication in the projects and innovation in technology (while not becoming lazy and stagnant)

Now, what happens when the Brahmanas fall prey to the maya, forget the eternal truth and become enslaved to the six internal enemies?

The whole chain just collapses in a heap--Kshtriyas fight each other and many smaller and weaker kingdoms arise, Vaishyas hoard wealth and the smaller and weaker kingdoms go poorer as well, shudras become lazy and the smaller,weaker, and poorer kingdoms become technologically deficient as well... which is exactly where we are now...

godrealized said...

What is Dharma...? "Your right to do what is just and right and not what was destined"! The concept of Hindu dharma as detailed in sacred Bhagavad Gita is integral to all teachings of Hinduism! In absence of Dharma... the whole world simply could not exist! It is this inherent dharma (righteousness) that makes the world go round!

Dharma exists from times immemorial. Even before any religion existed in world... dharma existed! Dharma exists from times life came into existence on mother earth. Following our inner dictates... human beings controlled their life! Dharma is elixir vitae... sap of cosmic system! It is presence of dharma that makes journey of life worthwhile!