Subscribe for Newsletters and Discounts
Be the first to receive our thoughtfully written
religious articles and product discounts.
By registering, you may receive account related information, our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
.
Share
Share our website with your friends.
Email this page to a friend
By subscribing, you will receive our email newsletters and product updates, no more than twice a month. All emails will be sent by Exotic India using the email address info@exoticindia.com.

Please read our Privacy Policy for details.
|6
Your Cart (0)

Dharma: The Only Remedy for Modern Man

Article of the Month - November 2011
Viewed 19072 times since 15th Nov, 2011


Except when in sleep, we are always in ceaseless activity. No one spends even a single moment without doing some action or the other (Gita 3.5). This action may be physical or mental. Why do we act like this even without a moment’s respite? If we closely watch ourselves, we can see our purpose: we are seeking happiness. We sit erect for happiness, change our posture for happiness, we eat for happiness, we fast for happiness, we marry or we are celibate, we seek company or solitude, all for happiness. In this way, happiness is the general goal of all activity and inactivity.

Nevertheless, our activities towards this goal can be classified into three types:

1). To Avoid Grief (Taapah).

Griefs are of three types:

a). Adhyatmika: Within ourselves

b). Adhibhoutika: Grief caused by others

c). Adhidaivika: Due to natural causes like hot summers or cold winters.

 

Manah Shanti – The Peace We Seek (Shanti Mantras From the Upanishads) (MP3)

 

The peace obtained by eliminating these three griefs is known as ‘Shanti’. That is why we say Shanti Shanti Shanti three times.

 

 

 

2). The second type of activity is done to acquire what is good for us, like health and affluence. This is called Yoga.


Foundations of Dharma3). The third type of activity is to retain what we already have. This is called as Kshema. This third aspect should never be missed sight of. We generally notice in history that almost all civilizations acquire a lot of material affluence in the beginning and after sometime they go into oblivion. This is because affluence begets vices like profane sensuousness, arrogance and laziness and eventually the balance in life is lost. It is easier to retain equanimity in poverty than prosperity. Therefore one should know how to retain the good things after acquiring them once. Success in this needs the practice of spiritual moral and ethical values in the midst of affluence. In other words, Dharma is the only way to retain all that is good in our lives.


Doubt: “I am scrupulously practicing all Dharmic Values. I also worship God in total faith exactly in the way taught to me by pious Brahmins. However, I am not getting success. I am worried. Why so? Is it my fate?"

Reply: Always remember that the Vedic philosophy is not fatalistic. The reason for not getting success is that our own previous Karma is stronger. Our present meritorious Karma should first annul our previous Karma (Prarabdha), and then exceed it quantitatively for getting success. Therefore, we should not despair; only improve the quality and quantity of our present Karma. There is no use in worrying.

Query: “I am finding it difficult to avoid worry and work efficiently."

Resolution: In order to give up worry, we should know its origin. Consider for example a lawyer or a doctor we employ to solve our problem. See the difference between us and him. While he works to solve our problem without worrying, we on the other hand only worry without working to solve the problem. This is the situation even if you are yourself a doctor. You employ a doctor to solve your problem and just sit only to worry about the problem. Why? You have an infatuated attachment to the people involved in the problem; but he does not have. So attachment is the cause of worry, which in turn disturbs our thinking. We very well know that it is only the work based on well thought plan that solves problems and not our worry. So, we should check and temper our attachment to our kith and kin with effort. Faith in rebirth alone can help us in this. (See Exotic India Article of the Month July 2011)

Question: “My difficulty is different. I am not able to decide what is right or wrong. Only later, the success or the failure in my action shows what was right or wrong. How can I know it beforehand to avoid failure?"

Answer: This is a most serious issue in life. Actually, human intelligence can never decide what is right or wrong. Notice that the success of any action depends not only on visible parameters but also invisible ones like previous Karma and God. While the latter ones are totally out of reach of human intelligence because of being invisible, the former ones too are partly out of our reach because they are generally too many. Normally people are skeptical or often even derisive about the invisible aspects. They look at some of the visible secular aspects and decide that something is right or wrong by inferential logic (Anumana). However, they too can never be sure enough to predict the outcome of any particular Karma with surety.

Why Do We Get Into Jams?

The fundamental requirement is to actually understand the conditions under which right and wrong get defined. Let’s start this with an analysis. Suppose you are asked the following:

“What is it that you want to do today?"

You may reply: ‘I have to go to pay the electricity bill; otherwise the power will be disconnected tomorrow.’

Of course paying the electricity bill is not the only job you will do today. You will do many other things also. But you will adjust everything else to this main purpose. You will say that anything that helps you pay the bill is right and anything that hinders it is wrong. Suppose you are then asked:

“What is it that you want to do in the next five years?"

To this you may reply:

‘I am disgusted of living in rented houses for the last 30 years. I want to build my own house.’

With this resolve, you cut down your expenses wherever possible. You work overtime in your office to earn more. For you, anything that helps you in building the house is right and anything that hinders it is wrong. This means that right and wrong are decided only relative to a desideratum. This can also be established from the reverse direction. Suppose you are asked:

“What is that you want to do in your life?"

Has anyone an answer? No. Why? Because people seldom have any specific goal for the life as a whole. That is why there is no direction in our activities. We do not have anything specifically good or bad. We go on doing whatever occurs to our mind without thinking either of the future or of the past. We are carried by the slogans of the times and move in the turbulent waters of life in a rudderless boat. Sooner or later, we get caught in a whirlpool or stranded in a quagmire. We do not know how to escape from there. We only end up cursing what we think is the reason for our predicament.

Who Can Help Us Out

Who can get us out of that jam? Obviously not ourselves; had we known how to get out of it, we would have known why we got into it and therefore we would not have got into it at all. So, who can bail us out? Those who can bail us out should have the following qualifications:

1). They should know the whirlpools, the high currents and quagmires of life, but be above them.

2). They should know why people get into them and how they can get out of them.

3). They should have sympathy and concern for people like us caught in the whirlpool of life.

 

A Glimpse on 101 Ancient Rishis

Who are such people who can help us? They are the Rishis (ancient sages) such as Manu, Yajnavalkya etc. They suggest the methods of escape. They give different instructions for different people caught in different situations. They are broad-minded and melt with compassion as soon as they see someone in distress. They have the panoramic vision of life which we lack. Therefore, only they can say what is right or wrong for each one of us stuck in different situations.

 

The Criterion for Deciding Right and Wrong

 

Anand UllasHere we discuss the criterion on which the Rishis delineate an individual’s Dharma. As noted above, we do not have a specified goal for our life. The Rishis first prescribe such a goal for our life as a whole, which is to keep a constant bliss of happiness (Ananda) flowing to us. This unintermittent flow of happiness is known as Moksha. It is important to notice that Moksha is not something different from what we are already struggling for every moment of our life, namely happiness. However, compared to this temporary short-lived happiness, the ancient sages want to give us a state of pleasure which is constant and never ending.


The Unambiguous and Infallible Definition of Dharma

Since Moksha is the ultimate goal of life, we now have the criterion for deciding what is right and wrong, i.e. Dharma and Adharma. An action which helps us or anyone else move towards Moksha is Dharma, and an action, which hinders our or anyone else’s movement towards Moksha is Adharma. Scrupulously following Dharma, we will attain the state of perennial happiness – Moksha - sooner or later.

Objection: How fair is it to fix the difficult goal of Moksha as the aim for everybody’s life?

Resolution: No. The scriptures do no force anyone to have Moksha as the aim of his or her life. They only point to us that sometime or the other, in this birth or perhaps a million births later, life itself will force us to work for that aim. The reason is this: Material pleasure is polluted. It is not only momentary, but also generally coupled with pain like causing disease etc. So, it causes disillusionment in due course, if not direct sorrow. Therefore, one’s attention would surely turn to thinking about a happiness that is unpolluted with any of these shortcomings. Of course, to a large extent, the veracity of this statement can be verified even in this life. Everyone enjoys material pleasures with total abandon in youth, but develops remorse in old age for what happened. So we may not want Moksha as our aim now, but we will surely want it later.

Question: “What would be my Dharma if I am interested only in material happiness and do not adopt Moksha as my immediate aim?"

Answer: You can certainly enjoy material happiness, but it should be within the ambit of Dharma. If you resort to Adharma in order to satisfy your desire, i.e. Kama – it will surely end up in causing utter sorrow definitely for you and perhaps for others too. That is why the Vedas refer to two types of Kama: One within the brackets of Dharma and Moksha and another which falls outside. Here, Moksha is only the distant aim indicated by the scriptures and not your immediate interest. However you have Shraddha (faith) in the Vedas. Therefore for you the first type of Kama is a Purushartha, i.e. something to be sought after by every common man. But the Kama which lies outside the brackets of Dharma and Moksha is to be abjured. For example, conjugal pleasure with your life-long partner is Dharma because while it satisfies our natural urges born out of Samskara, it does not put us way from Moksha. In fact, a joint pious life would even move both of you towards Moksha, even though you may not be aspiring for it immediately. On the other hand, the same pleasure out of wedlock is Adharma. Ultimately it lands you and your kin in grief.

Conclusion: Dharma for All of Us

Dharma ensures that we do enjoy the pleasures of family life, however they become incidental for us and not our primary concern. Remember that following Dharma automatically ensures our material happiness also. When there are problems in life we should remember the law of Karma and face them with fortitude. Some salient features of the householder’s Dharma, as propounded in the scriptures are:

Work hard and earn well by honest means only. Do Dana (charity) to the best of our ability. Never deviate from righteous conduct. Never deviate from the daily Puja. Never consume food without first offering it to God. Be disciplined in our food habits. Take physical exercise and keep off disease. It is our duty to look after our parents and keep them happy with our conduct. One should never stop studying and gaining knowledge – both secular and spiritual. Share it with your children. Give them a good Samskara. Never praise them when they achieve anything; just hug them silently and bless. This will galvanize them to achieve more. Praising will only make them egoistical which, in turn, stunts their growth. Respect your wife and do not enjoy anything without her. Let her be an inseparable part of all your religious activities. Remember: Dharma Dharma Dharma. Dharma helps us avoid grief. Dharma gets us what is good for us. And finally, Dharma helps us protect and retain what we already have.

This article is based almost entirely on the teachings of Param Pujya Swami Paramanand Bharati Ji. However, any errors are entirely the author's own.

 


References & Further Reading:

Bharati, Swami Paramananda. Foundations of Dharma: Bangalore, 2008
Post a Comment
 
Post Review
  • An inspirational article – thank you so much…
    by Anoop Kaur on 17th Nov 2011
  • Excellent article that is needed in to day's world of stress and strain in all walks of life.
    by Vetri Manyan on 16th Nov 2011
Testimonials
It is amazing. I am really very very happy with your excellent service. I received the book today in an awesome condition. Thanks again.
Shambhu, New York.
Thank you for making available some many amazing literary works!
Parmanand Jagnandan, USA
I have been very happy with your service in selling Puranas. I have bought several in the past and am happy with the packaging and care you exhibit. Thank you for this Divine Service.
Raj, USA
Thank you very much! My grandpa received the book today and the smile you put on his face was priceless. He has been trying to order this book from other companies for months now. He only recently asked me for help and you have made this transaction so easy. My grandpa is so happy he wants to order two more copies. I am currently in the process of ordering 2 more.
Rinay, Australia
I would just let you know that today I received my order. It was packed so beautifully and what lovely service.
Caroline, Australia
I have received the book in good condition. Thanks a lot for your excellent service!
Gabe, Netherlands
I like shopping online on exotic India website.I like the prices and free shipping.I also get my times shipped in right time.
Suman, USA
Wow! Just wanted to say that, as FedEx announced, I received the parcel today. Incredibly fast, and excellent packaging as well. I'm really impressed! The Kaftan looks exactly as on your website, it's beautiful and I love the colours. Thank you for the excellent service!
Bianca, Switzerland
I have bought things from you for a few years now and would like to say how pleased I have been with everything. Thank you very much.
Susan, UK
Just delivered! Beautiful as always!
Francesca, Italy
Subscribe to our newsletter and discounts
Share with friends
Related Links
"Once as he was engaged in puja, a saint came to visit him….Like a true householder attached to his family, Gajendra sported in the water with his wives, children and friends…. Understanding that his end was imminent, they all slowly withdrew, till Gajendra was left alone…. If we reflect on it calmly, we will realise that there is no house in the world where the story of Gajendra does not play out…. The one who is careful towards the end is able to reform his death…. Gajendra’s hymn of praise is one of the greatest philosophical poems in the annals of world literature."
Moksha of Gajendra: Liberation by The Formless God
"Here is a fragment from one of the most poignant episodes of Indian history…. This piece of history is from the Mahabharata…. She was dying with shame but inside, like a true kshatrani (woman of the warrior race), she was burning with anger…. I have heard that women who follow dharma were never brought before a public court….Greed is the destroyer of dharma. I do not desire a third boon…. Draupadi was as forgiving as mother earth herself…. Just then Arjuna saw his dear friend Bhagawan Krishna approaching him…. “Leave him, leave him. He is a brahmin and worthy of our worship. Their mother should not cry, like I have at the death of my children."
Analyzing the Eternal Dimensions of Dharma Through Itihasa (History)
"The primary thrust in the Mahabharata is to teach us the nuances of dharma through the poignant love story…. I have full control over my mind, even then it is attracted towards you…. You think you are alone with your own self. But don’t you know that the all-knowing God dwells in every heart…. Those who have wives are the ones who have Lakshmi…. I tell you that truth is equal to studying all the Vedas and bathing in all the pilgrimages…. The immortal dialogue between Shakuntala and her husband is one of the greatest…."
Narrating Dharma - Story of Shakuntala in the Mahabharata
"Who would not satisfy his wife who is but his better half?…. Later, he took a bath, performed pranayama and meditating silently on the pure, eternal light, repeated internally the Gayatri Mantra…. Once it so happened that goddess Lakshmi was out of Vaikuntha…. Despite being older, they always maintain the appearance of five-year olds…. Seeing the great saints he welcomed them with reverence…. It is never for one single purpose but to fulfil many functions at the same time…. He ensured for them a glorious death."
God’s Lila, Understanding the Collective Impact of Avatara
"The Bhagavad Gita, while describing the qualities of a wise person says…. This verse is vividly illustrated in the story of king Rantideva occurring in the Srimad Bhagavatam…. He did not believe in hoarding, was above all attachments and was highly patient…. They were all trembling due to starvation and thirst….bowed to the dogs and their owner…. What I want is only this: That I be able to go and live in the hearts of all beings and undergo sufferings on their behalf, so that they may become free from all miseries."
An Example of Living Vedanta: The Story of King Rantideva
"But to pull this statement out of context and give it as an advice for anyone is far from correct…. But how is one to recognise the guru? Obviously, he will be able to understand the difficulties of the disciples and clarify to them the meaning of the scriptures on the basis of logic and experience…. They will have to search in their own neighbourhood only….The guru chosen by him should be at least better than himself!…. Of course, if the ideal guru whose features have been enumerated in the beginning is available, then the sadhaka should immediately go and surrender to him…. It is just like going to another teacher for higher education, after completing the education in a school."
The Qualities of a Guru and How to Find One
"We assume that our happiness is the result of an interaction with external objects…. Suppose that an individual is deprived of sleep and food and pleasurable objects for a long time and then all of them are simultaneously offered to him…. Actually, seeking the answer to this question is the most significant pursuit in life…. The veil comes up again and the duality returns…. In this background, we can now analyse the nature of dukha (grief)."
Ananda: Understanding the True Nature of Happiness
"It concedes that for an orderly social life a division into four groups based on the principle of varnadharma is necessary…. Each individual sometimes acts in a sattvika manner while at other times he may act in rajasic or tamasic manner, which means that the manifestation of a particular guna depends on circumstances…. Though all the three gunas are present in everyone, different persons are driven to act differently…. The karma that I have to perform should depend on my inherent gunas and should have the ability to regulate these gunas…. There is no instant transition to moksha…. An individual has to make his way towards moksha only through worldly life."
Varnashrama Dharma: A Logical View
"Only a certain fraction of this karma is chosen by God in order to form the blueprint of our next birth…. The fruit that one experiences in this birth is due to prarabdha and a portion of the present agami…. Similarly, a fish in the Ganga does not accrue punya because of always living in Ganga…. A good karma can be annulled by a bad karma and a bad one by a good one…. Sometimes we also hear that prarabdha cannot be got rid of. It has to be spent through…. Bhagawan Vyasa says that for the full result of the karma to manifest, three things are necessary…. Then how to understand the statement that prarabdha should unavoidably be experienced?"
Theory and Practice of Karma: Some Salient Features
"She has always believed that this would redeem her of her distress….A coconut, otherwise an ordinary dried fruit or the source of edible, or at the most, beauty oil, has always been revered as an auspicious object effecting good and well-being and the food that gods most loved….The tree in the Buddhist tradition was later identified as Bodhi-tree, seated under which Buddha had attained Enlightenment….Body gestures and symptoms, signs, indications among others must have been the early man’s tools of communicating oneself and knowing and understanding the world around….Kirttimukha was initially conceived as a mystical mask….Lion does not figure in the wide range of animal toys or figurines excavated from Indus sites."
Auspicious Symbols in Indian tradition
"During one such sacrifice, nine spiritually charged men entered the sacrificial hall….As for Bhagavat Dharma, it is the dharma spoken by God directly from his own mouth…. Like a person eating food finds himself gratified simultaneously in three ways…. We are all constantly taught by spiritual texts to offer or dedicate all our actions to God. However, the question remains as to how to practically carry out this injunction…..The only fruit of wealth is dharma... Therefore, there is no need for the Vedas to enjoin us to these things for which we already have a tendency….The real intention of the Vedic injunctions in these matters is to make a person abstain from them…”
Nine Teachings from Nine Yogis: The Essence of Bhagavat Dharma
"Vyasa Ji explained through a story how it came to be that the Pandava's marriage with a single wife was in conformity with dharma….The gods, along with their king Indra, were sitting on the bank of a river when they saw a beautiful golden lotus floating on its waters…. Both were playing a game of dice…. On hearing Shiva’s words, Indra started shaking with fear… Without death, the burden on the earth becomes too much…. Her birth had the sanction of all the three Gods - Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu."
Devi Draupadi: Resolving the Paradox
"Actually, the one who worships Bhagwan Vishnu should get rich and the one who worships Shiva should become an avadhuta like Him…. Then he works hard again to acquire wealth. I render all his efforts futile…. However, Bhagawan Vishnu is not like that, it takes longer to please Him…. As a consequence, they later harassed the great God Himself…. On the seventh day, he bathed in the holy waters of Kedarnath and began to cut his head with an axe to offer into the fire…. The boy bowed respectfully before the demon and asked…. No one who commits sin against a great person can be safe and happy in this world."
Shiva and Vishnu: A Unique Aspect of Their Worship
"Whenever he gets the time, he should go and live amongst people who have given up worldly life…. A wise person should serve his body and family only to the extent that is functionally necessary…. The person who lays claim on the surplus wealth is nothing but a thief…. He should share all objects of enjoyment with everyone, right down to dogs, sinners…. Such is the attachment to one’s wife….How despicable is this body, which if buried is going to become the food of worms, or excreta if eaten by animals….Since a son is to thus revere his elders even after their death, what to say that he is expected to serve them when they are alive…. The person wishing to follow the path of dharma should steer clear of the five forms of Adharma."
Narada Teaches Yuddhishtra a Householder’s Dharma
"This middle path lies in between extreme asceticism on one side, and extreme indulgence on the other…. When standing under a Ashok tree, tired and exhausted, she raised her right hand for seeking support of a branch of the tree…. The unique balance that defined his entire life was pre-determined in this duality….One day, in the palace garden he frightened his attendants…. He ate less and less till his diet reduced to a sesame seed, and himself, to a mere skeleton…. Seven days after the attainment of enlightenment gods sent food for breaking his fast…. However, he postponed his ‘nirvana’ for three months till he visited the places he had reminiscences of."
The Light That Enlightened Millions
(The life of Buddha in the popular mind)
Show More
TRUSTe online privacy certification
Language:
Currency:
All rights reserved. Copyright 2016 © Exotic India