What is the Meaning of Dharma?

Krishna teaching Arjuna about Dharma

Dharma means ‘Duty’.

The word ‘DHARMA’ is derived from the Sanskrit language.
After listening to the conversation between Sri Krishna and Arjuna in the war of Mahabharat, most people ask the question ‘What is the meaning of Dharma in Hinduism?’

Krishna teaching Arjuna about Dharma prior to the Kurukshetra war
Krishna teaching Arjuna about Dharma

What does DHARMA mean?

Sri Krishna taught Dharma and during the Kurukshetra war, said to his disciple Arjuna –

“yada-yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata
abhyutthanam adharmasya tada tmanam srjamy aham.”

Translation-
Whenever there is a decline of righteousness(dharma)
and rise of unrighteousness (adharma), O Arjuna, then I
incarnate Myself.

What is DHARMA in HINDUISM

The word ‘Dharma’ came into wide use after the rise of ‘Adharma’ (Non-Duty) amongst the people of Hastinapur (in the war of Mahabharat) who were unable to protect their daughter, ‘Draupadi’ from ‘Cheerharan'(stripping off clothes in the courtroom) by the evil-minded Duryodhana.

The ‘Dharma’ of the Pandavas was to save their wife ‘Draupadi’ from the insult that she was going through in the courtroom. The ‘Dharma’ of the elders sitting in the court was to save their daughter no matter the consequences. [I highlighted “was‘” because the Pandavas and the Elders in teh court did not fulfill their Dharma and did not save their daughter.]

Finally, the Dharma of Arjuna was to fight the war because it was the war of righteousness (Dharmic War).

The consequences of the War of Righteousness would decide the future of the nation and whether the conscience of a human being should be given any weightage or not.
Since the awareness of the massive use of the word ‘Dharma’ that came along with the Kurukshetra war (Mahabharat), this word has come into use in Hinduism and by the common man.

What are the Examples of DHARMA

The dharma (duty) of parents is to earn and to take care of their family. The dharma (duty) of a child is to look after his parents.

The Dharma (duty) of the sun is to shine and give light and heat to the people of this world. The dharma (duty) of the water is to flow and quench our thirst.

Simply put, Dharma is the duty of a person that arises out of the person’s rank, position, and presence in a certain place in a family, society, country or world…

Difference between DHARAM and MAZHAB

As we have discussed above Dharma or Dharam means ‘Duty’. ‘Mazhab’ is the Hindi translation of the word ‘Religion’.

RELIGION’ in Hindi is called ‘Mazhab’.

For example, ‘I belong to Hindu Mazhab (Hindu Religion)’ or ‘I belong to Isaai Mazhab (Christianity Religion)’

Today, Indians have forgotten what Dharma is. If you are somebody who is active on Twitter, you will know what I am talking about.

Past 3 months, India’s Twitter was full of tweets where the ‘Dharma’ word was wrongly used for the word ‘Religion’.

Well, this wrong usage of words did not take birth a few days ago.
In fact, a few years ago, some people started using the word ‘Dharma’ and ‘Religion’ interchangeably.

This wrong usage of the word ‘Dharma’ was then exploited by various political parties in India for fulfilling political agendas. Well, I call it an agenda because it is well known by the Millenials that the ‘Religion Card’ has been played by the two main political parties for many decades now.

Read about the difference between Spirituality and Religion here

HOW THE WORD ‘DHARMA’ IS BEING EXPLOITED TODAY?

The problem with the 21st Century Indians is that they rarely read books.
[For instance. according to the Youth Readership Survey, by the National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER), Out of the  459 million youth, 333 million are literate, of which only 83.4 million read books for leisure (25% of literate youth). Most Indians are visual learners. Though I must mention that I can see that pattern changing in Gen Z. Nowadays I come across many Gen Z kids who are into reading fiction and non-fiction books.] Source

The majority of Indians are visual learners. If they got time, they would instead watch a Netflix movie than read a book. Source.So it makes sense that it’s easy for non-readers to learn the Bhagavad Gita from Tweets than read their own books. I mean who will open the book, right?

Now, past 3 months, the IT Cells of the political parties have been continuously running Twitter Religion agendas.
Can you guess why?
Hello! You guessed it right…
Elections are around the corner.
These paid ‘Twitters’ justified the separation of India into a Hindu state based on a major reason of ‘Dharma’. They usually stated that they are protecting their Dharma.[by which they understood Religion. That’s what happens when you acquire knowledge of scriptures from Twitter instead of reading them]
Well, let me remind you that these are the same politicians that have their backgrounds as murderers, rapists, and whatnot. It would be foolish on our part to expect them to be spiritually guided. You bet they have never opened the Bhagavad Gita, let alone have the knowledge of ‘What Dharma Is?’

DHARMA is NOT Religion. Mahabharat was NOT a fight of Religion. It was a fight of one’s DUTY (Dharma).

DHARMA War that India Must Fight in the 21st century

The war of righteousness is the war between the good and the evil forces in the world.
AT present, some of the examples of the Dharmic wars that the Hindus or the Indians face in today’s era are –

1. The fight of losing a very talented actor in Bollywood to some gangsters. Sushant Singh Rajput was murdered and everybody knows that. This is one of the biggest Dharmic wars for Indians today. Why?

Sushant Singh Rajput is not the Only one that has been murdered in Bollywood. We all know, that in the previous years, we have lost Divya Bharti, Parveen Babi, and so many others, one after the other.

This is the war of Mahabharat (righteousness) that India is going through in the 21st century. There are Arjunas and Duryodhanas (amongst the fellow actors and the industry people). And as usual, Arjuna does not have the courage to speak up and fight.

Arjuna just does not know that Sri Krishna is standing with him in this war. He is afraid to speak up and raise his voice. He thinks that he will die. Out of inner fear, Arjuna exclaims to Sri Krishna in the Mahabharat

Alas! What a great sin are we resolved to commit!
Why should we not…have the wisdom to turn away from sin, O Krishna?
Only sin will accrue for us by killing these heinous criminals. (333)”


But Sri Krishna teaches Arjuna to be courageous.

And this is what Krishna says to Arjuna,
“If you do not fight this righteous battle (dharma yuddha),
then having fallen from your duty and glory, you shall incur sin (papam avapsyasi).”

Further, Sri Krishna says,

“He who performs actions, abandoning attachment…
is not tainted by sin.
Thus, you will not incur sin.
You shall cross over all sins by the boat of spiritual wisdom alone.”

Millions of aspiring actors go to Mumbai every year to fulfill their dreams of becoming an actor. Their families and loved ones are eagerly waiting to see their faces. If we allow one murder to happen, we are giving permission to these murderers to kill whosoever they want to kill in the near future.

So that means, fighting the righteous war of SSR murder is actually going to bring a lot of blessings to the one who fights it. Because such a person will not only muster the courage to fight but with his efforts (though he/she must play smart just like Sri Krishna, I should mention that) he would also save the lives of all the upcoming and aspiring Bollywood actors and actresses and their families. Such a man or a woman who fights the SSR war will indeed be a savior of not one family but thousands of lives, therefore.

I won’t go into the SSR case in much detail in this blog. if you wish to read more about SSR, you can read here. Or read an experience of the Mahabharat in my life and how I fought it and the consequences (upcoming).

Can you think of more Dharmic Wars happening in India and the World today? The wars that we must fight. Comment below. I would love to read what you have in mind. I will reply to you.

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