Archive | March, 2012

Dharm

3 Mar

Before we start our journey in understanding and establishing Dharm in us, I humbly request all readers to read the Statement of my beliefs and disclaimer on my website Melbourne Arya. There is not a slightest intention to dishonour or discredit anyone with the below article. The article is an attempt by me to promote a general understanding of Dharm. Any offence caused by the article is regretted.

Q: What is Dharm?

A:  I consider Dharma to be the way of living by promoting the wellbeing, intellect, Satya (absolute truth) Knowledge, equality, righteousness and all other benevolent qualities for the benefit of the humanity and opposing the destructive and bad qualities.

Let us see definition of Dharm as per Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati:

  • “Whatever is devoid of prejudice, and displays just conduct, consists of vocal and mental truth (Satya), is as per the directive of Ishwar (God) and is in line with the teachings of the Vedas is accepted as Dharm by me and whatever is prejudiced, unjust, consisting of lies and not in line with the teachings of Vedas is considered as Adharm by me” – Taken from Maharishi Dayanand’s statement of belief.
  • “Whose appearance is to follow the instruction of God and promote unprejudiced justice for the benefit of the entire mankind, has been tested as per Pratyaksha or direct cognizance (please see Karma section of my website to get the meaning of Pratyaksha) and is in line with the teachings of the Vedas; is suitable for all humans to consider it as Dharm.”- Taken from Maharishi Dayanand’s Aryodeshyaratnamala.
  • “Ye men! Let the end of your deliberations (Mantra) be true knowledge and the good of all beings and may they be harmonious, free from dissensions and characterised by impartiality and fairness. Mantra means deliberation in which by means of mutual consultation, conversation and instruction men investigate all things, of known or unknown qualities and virtues, from God to material objects and acquire a knowledge of them…….” – Taken from Maharishi Dayanand’s Rig Ved Adi Bhashya Bhumika, Vedokt Dharm Vishaya – Rig Ved(Sukta 191, Mantra 2 of the 10th Mandal).

Maharishi Kanaad in Vaisheshik Darshan (1:2) describes Dharm as “Through which Abhudev (prosperity) and Nishrayas (highest good – Moksha) are achieved is called Dharm”.

Maharishi Jaimini in Mimansa Darshan (1/1/2) describes Dharm as “Whose knowledge is the symbol and mark of inspiration is called Dharm”.

Before we proceed further let us try and answer a question that springs in many people’s mind.

Q: What religion am I referring to?

A: What I am referring to is Dharm and not religion. We have seen the definition of Dharm above, now let us define religion.

Definition of Religion as per Oxford Dictionary is:

Human recognition of superhuman controlling power and of a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship, effect of such recognition on conduct or mental attitude; particular system of faith and worship”.

Comparing the definitions of Dharm and Religion, it can be seen that they are close but not the same. The word Religion is commonly used by many people to represent Dharm. However, the word Religion cannot be used to completely define Dharm, as Dharm is the unprejudiced teachings/work for the elevation of humanity and is not confined to a particular location, race, creed, colour of people etc. In fact it is for the entire humanity. Dharm is what is preached by the Rishis (please see point 4 of My Beliefs section in my website for the definition of Rishi); from Maharishi Brahma onwards to Maharishi Dayanand. There is no contradiction in the preaching of the Rishis unless we refer to the incorrect translations by scholars like Acharya Sayana, Mahidhar, Professor Max Muller, Ralph T.H. Griffith and many more likeminded people. Below is a quote by Maharishi Dayanand:

Whatever is believed in by those who are steeped in ignorance or have been led astray by sectaries is not worthy of being accepted by the wise. That faith alone is really true (Satya) and worthy of acceptance which is followed by Aptas i.e., those who are true in word, deed and thought, promote public good and are impartial and learned; but all that is discarded by such men must be considered as unworthy of belief and false”.

Now a big question springs up as:

Q: Why should we follow Dharm?

A: The answer is simple; Dharm promotes prosperity, bliss, happiness, equality etc. for the entire humanity. Dharm frees its follower from the defects of his/her soul, mind and senses; of tendency to sin by removing ill-will against all creatures and makes him/her an ardent practiser of promoting and doing well towards the entire humanity by increasing Saatvik (pure) intellect.

There are few questions that pop up in many people’s mind regarding the practice of Dharm. I will attempt to explain the answers to those below:

Q: How can we prosper without cheating; as we might not be able to earn enough money to enjoy a lavish and luxurious life?

A: Before we answer this question, let us ask ourselves what is the purpose of lavish and luxurious life? If we answer that we want to achieve happiness then we should ask ourselves whether that happiness is short term or long lasting. Definitely it is not long lasting as we humans are very competitive by nature and that gives rise to jealousy, hatred and other negative emotions causing us stress and unhappiness; while following the Dharm gives rise to positive emotions even though one might not be as wealthy. Example of positive emotion is the emotion one feels after donating or helping another person to reduce that persons suffering. Please do not get me wrong as I’m not stopping anyone from increasing their wealth. I’m only requesting people to earn/acquire wealth without harming others and without getting sucked up by the greed in other words I’m encouraging people not to succumb to improper means.

Q: It is seen that one who follows Dharm suffers a lot.

A: Maharishi Dayanand has quoted (from Gita 18:37) in the preface of the Satyarth Prakash that “whatever is conducive to the spread of enlightenment and achievement of virtue, is poison in the beginning and nectar in the end”. The opposite is true for Adharm i.e. practice of Adharm may seem like Rose petals in the beginning but always end with thorns. A good example is the lives of the slayers of humanity. They might have held on to power for some time but have ended with humiliation, disgrace and suffering. One should always practice Dharm even though one might have to face hardships. This is called Tapa.

Q: What is tapa?

A: Let us try and understand from the below:

“Water purifies the outer part of the body, righteousness purifies the mind, study and tapa(austerity) purify the soul; here, tapa means the quality of adhering to righteous conduct (Shuddh Achaaran) in spite of bearing all kinds of troubles. Knowledge……”—taken from Maharishi Dayanand’s Satyarth Prakash 3rd Samullas – Manu Smriti 5/109

“Tapa – To bear the pairs of cold, hot, enjoyment, misery etc………” ——taken from Maharishi Patanjali’s Yog Darshan 2:1

Q: The path of Dharm might cause ill-feelings for us among our relatives and friends. Is it worth following the Dharma at the expense of our relations and friendship?

A: It becomes the duty of every person to advise his/her friends and relatives to follow the path of Dharm as it is the only way towards true prosperity and happiness. However, it might happen that those friends and relatives take your suggestion/advice incorrectly and bear malice towards you irrespective of whatever/however you try to explain; then the only option that remains for you is to keep an attitude of indifference towards them without keeping antipathy or ill feelings.

Q: What are the qualities of Dharm?

A: The following are the qualities of Dharm as explained by Maharishi Dayanand and also by Manu Smriti(from Dhriti to Akrodh):ndence of senses. Detaching senses from Adharm and always attaching senses in the practice of Dharm.

  1. Ahinsa – Harmlessness – completely shunning enmity.
  2. Dhriti – Ability and strength to have patience or in simple perseverance.
  3. Kshama – The condition of being unperturbed on the occasions of condemnation or eulogy, respect or disrespect, profit or loss and other troubles.
  4. Dum – To supress the desire for wrong doings. To check the mind from the evil and set it firm in virtuous deeds, i.e. to so control it that no vicious desires rise in it.
  5.  Asteyam – abandonment of theft. Theft is acquisition of anything without permission, through fraud or betrayl of confidence, or through any means or by anti-Vedic teachings. The reverse of it is honesty.
  6. Shauch – Internal purity by avoiding attachment, aversion, partiality etc., and external purity by washing with water and rubbing the parts of the body with earth.
  7. Indriya Nigrah – Checking the senses from vice and setting them to virtue – Freedom from the dependence of senses. Detaching senses from Adharm and always attaching senses in the practice of Dharm.
  8. Dhi – The improvement of intellect by the avoidance of intoxicants or other harmful substances, evil company idleness, vanity etc. and by the use of wholesome articles, good society and yog.
  9.  Vidhya – Acquiring the accurate knowledge of all things from the earth right up to God, and applying it in life. Knowledge means that soul, mind, tongue and action (thought, word & deed) should be in consonance with each other. (We should do as we say and as we think). Contrary to this is ignorance.
  10. Satyam – Believing and practicing truth (Satya) in every thought and deed – strict devotion to veracity – i.e. our belief about a thing should be according to the real character of that thing and so our speech and deed.
  11. Akrodh – The abandonment of anger and such other evils, and imbibing peace and other qualities – Always refrain from getting angry (Manyu is an exception).

The above qualities might be better to explain further as a different topic. Hence we leave it here.

To conclude, we can say that without Dharm there is no improvement of the humanity and hence no happiness. That is the reason why everyone should follow Dharm without fear of a little bit of suffering. Every person should have the aim to further the advancement and well – being of humans. A very good suggestion is given below in the words of Maharishi Swami Dayanand Saraswati:

“There are undoubtedly many learned persons among the followers of every religion. Should they free themselves from prejudice, accept the universal truths (Satya) – that is those truths that are to be found alike in all religions and are of universal application, reject all things in which the various religions differ and treat each other lovingly, it will be greatly to the advantage of the world, for it can-not be denied that differences among the learned create bad blood among the learned masses. This leads to the multiplication of all sorts of sorrows and sufferings and destroy human happiness. This evil, which is so dear to the heart of the selfish, has hurled mankind into the deepest depths of misery. Whoever tries to do anything with the object of benefitting humanity is opposed by the selfish people and various kinds of obstacles are thrown in his way. But finding solace in the belief that ultimately truth must conquer and not error and that it is the path of rectitude alone that men of learning and piety have always trodden, true teachers never become indifferent to the promotion of public good and never give up the promulgation of truth (Satya)”—Taken from the preface of Maharishi Dayanand’s “Satyarth Prakash”

It is the duty of every human to work towards the betterment of humanity without displaying Adharm. Every human should apply reasoning in his/her life to promote humanity and not to believe in the teachings of the so called learned people who swindle common man for their own benefit. A teacher/preacher who changes the teachings towards incorrectness to please his/her listeners is a corrupted (Bhrastha) person and a parasite on the society who is up to no good for humanity.

In simple, one should always practice and treat others as he/she would like others to treat you e.g. one should not cheat others as you yourself would not appreciate being cheated.

—Pt. Prashant.

Advertisements