Tag Archives: Hindu Dharma

Sri Adi Shankara – Some Incidents

 

Source – kamakoti.org & esamskriti

About 2500 years ago, in Kaladi Kerala, India, a learned brahmin, by the name of Sivaguru, and his wife, Aryambal, spent their life in pooja and in giving alms to poor and in other good deeds. This childless couple went to Trichur and performed puja for 48 days to Lord Vadakkunathan (Lord Shiva) and prayed for a son.

Lord Shiva melted in their devotion and was bornto Aryambal. As the Lord had already promised that he will be born to do good to this world, the child was named Sankara. Sam means prosperity and Karathi means te giver. All the visitors stood in awe at the divinity of the child and said “This is not an ordinary child”.

As Shankara grew up, he attraced everybody with his intelligence and kindness. At the age of three, he was given “Aksharabyas”, i.e., the learning of writing and reading. At the age of four, he lost his father. At the age of five, he was initiated in Brahmacharyam i.e.,  self-imposed celibacy that is generally considered an essential prerequisite for spiritual practice.   As per the practice the disciple had to go from house to house and take alms and submit this to his guru (teacher).

On a Dwadasi day Sankara happened to go to the house of a very poor lady and asked for the alms. The lady did not have a single grain of rice in her house to give. All she had kept a single berry fruit for herself. She unhesitatingly gave this fruit to Sankara as she could not send him empty handed. Sankara was moved by her selflessness and the poverty of the lady and prayed to Goddess Lakshmi in a beautiful sloka which is called “Kanaka Dhara Stotram”. On completion of this stotram, Goddess Lakshmi appeared in person and showered a rain of golden coins on the poor lady’s house.

One day, the rishis came to him and reminded him of his duty to the land in spreading spiritualism. Sankara agreed it was time to become a Sanyasi and go all over the country to kindle religious ferver. One day when Sankara was taking bath, a crocodile caught hold of his leg. Sankara called out to his mother. Aryambal came running and to her horror she found her son in the grip of the crocodile and she cried that se did not know how to help her son.

Sri Sankara informed his mother that his life was nearing to an end, but if he became a Sanyasi, he could start a new life as a sannyasi. Thus Sri Sankara obtained permission from his mother to become a sannyasi.

Sri Sankara went in the search of a Guru to be formally initiated as a Sannyasi. At the banks of the river Narmada, he found the river gushing forth into floods. By using his powers, he encapsulated the river in his Kamandal (a vessel sannyasi’s carry) and released it in the banks of the river. Sri Govinda Bagawathpathar, an ascetic who saw this, marvelled at Sri Sankara then took him on as a disciple.

Sri Govinda Bagawathpadar taught various vedas to Sri Sankara. He also taught about Advaita, the principle that every one in this world is the manifestation of God and that God and Atman are one and the same. He advises Sri Sankara to go out in the world and spread this truth   throughout the country. One of Sri Sankara’s famous poetic composition is “Bhaja Govindam”.

Sankara and the Outcaste
One Summer noon at Varanasi Sri Sankara after taking a bath in the holy Ganga was proceeding towards the temple of Lord Viswanath along with his disciples. The Great Acharya saw an outcaste, a Chandala, coming along with his dogs in his way. He told the Chandala “get away, get away – move away, move away”.

These innocent looking remarks led to an unexpected questioning from the Chandala and caused Sankara to give out to the world an immortal poem entitled ‘Maneeshaa Panchakam’ which elaborated the Vedantic ideas and brought into focus that even a person belonging to a low caste could rekindle the light of wisdom in the greatest among the great teachers.  Sri Sankara’s encounter and dialogue with the “outcaste” on the streets of Varanasi were of immense and eternal significance.

Issues raised by the “Chandala”
The Chandala asked Sankara:
1. By saying ‘Move away, Move away’ do you wish to move matter from matter or you mean to separate spirit from the Spirit? You have established that the Absolute is everywhere – in you and me and yet you want me to get away from you as if I were different. Is it this body, built up of food that you wish to keep at a distance from that body which is also built up of food? Or do you wish to separate Pure Awareness which is present here from the same Awareness present there?
2. Does it make any difference to the sun when it is reflected in the waters of Ganga or in the dirty waters of the cesspools in the streets of Chandalas? Is there any difference in the space as such, be it in a golden pot or in a mud pot? In the self-existing ocean of Blissful Consciousness, in the inner self, where there are no waves of agitating thoughts, how can there be this great delusory distinction – this is a Brahmin and this is an untouchable?

SANKARA’S RESPONSE
These words of the Chandala struck the Sadguru with astonishment. As a teacher of Advaita propagating the one Infinite Self in all, he immediately recognized that the Chandala taught him his own philosophy correctly.

HE THEN AND THERE COMPOSED THE FIVE VERSES ENTITLED ‘MANEESHAA PANCHAKAM’REITERATING THAT EVEN THOUGH A CHANDALA, HE HAVING EXHIBITED CLEAR PERCEPTION OF THE BRAHMAN, IS INDEED THE GURU OF THE JAGADGURU.

These five verses have been collectively given the name ‘Maneeshaapanchakam’, maneesha means deep conviction and panchakam means fivefold… The word ‘maneeshaa’, meaning ‘conviction’ appears in the last line in all the five verses.

In these verses which expound the wisdom of the Mahavakyas declared in the four Vedas, Sankara not only responded to his critique but also sent a timeless and universal message that distinctions based upon social, moral, ethical and other similar considerations have no relevance in the Upanishadic teachings.

 

 

 

 

Sri Sankara went to Kasi and by that time, he had a lot of disciples.  One of disciple Sanandhyaya, was washes the clothes of his Guru and suddenly Sri Sankara called him to the other bank of the river.  Sanandhyaya, little realising that he would drown, starts walking into the river.  However, the Grace of his Guru resulted in a lotus materialising wherever he was keeping his foot. When asked as to how did he cross the river, he says that when his Guru called, he did not worry about anything.  Sri Sankara named him as Padma Pada (lotus feet).

His mother, Aryambal was in her deathbed, and as per his promise while taking celibacy that he would be by her side while she breathes her last. He reached Kaladi and paid his last respects.  Aryambal was happy that her son had come. Sri Sankara prayed to Lord Narayana who appeared in person and blessed Aryambal. Sri Sankara did the last rites for his mother and put her in the pyre himself and lit it using yog-agni.

Sri Sankara completed his travels and went to Badrinath. Lord Vishnu appeared before him and told that image of Badarinaraya in Alaknanda river should be taken out and a temple be built for it. This temple is called Badrinarayan temple and is one of the important religious places for Hindus.

Towards the end of his life, Adi Shankara travelled to the Himalayan area of Kedarnath-Badrinath and attained videha mukti (“freedom from embodiment”) at the age of 32. There is a samadhi mandir dedicated to Adi Shankara behind the Kedarnath temple.

“Shruti Smriti puranam alayam karunalayam 

Namami Bhagavadpadam Shankaram Lokashankaram”

     

I salute the compassionate abode of the Vedas, Smritis and Puranas known as Shankara Bhagavatpada, who makes the world auspicious.

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BBC Documentary-The Story of the Swastika

At last, the BBC has produced an excellent video explaining how Hitler hijacked the swastika–a symbol of auspiciousness used by ancient cultures worldwide and held sacred by Hindus–and distorted its meaning so that the Western world now regards it with fear and loathing, as a symbol of hatred and genocide. Footage of Nazi Germany is contrasted with the swastika’s uses and significance in Hindu culture and religious observances.

Although the narrator doubts we can ever effect a complete recovery (even saying that Hitler “changed the perception of the swastika in the West forever”), the video ends on a very positive note, hypothesizing the day when each child’s early exposure to the swastika will be in terms of its traditional, benevolent uses and meanings–and the later knowledge of Hitler’s misuse of it will be met with the same sense of sock, horror and outrage that Hindus themselves feel. “And if we can get to that point, then Hitler will have finally been defeated.

Info received by Hindu Association USA. LONDON, ENGLAND, May 13, 2014 (BBC):

A Book Review of Indra’s Net by Rajiv Malhotra

THE INTELLECTUAL PUGILIST

 ( Indra’s Net by Rajiv Malhotra, Harper Collins Publishers India, 2014)

By Khandavalli Satya Deva Prasad

Indra's Net

The title of this book is a metaphor for the profound cosmology and outlook that permeates Hinduism. Indra’s Net symbolizes the universe as a web of connections and inter-dependencies among all its members, wherein every member is both a manifestation of the whole and inseparable from the whole. In these pages I seek to revive it as the foundation for Vedic cosmology and show how it went on to become the central principle of Buddhism, and from there spread into mainstream western discourse several disciplines.

The metaphor of Indra’s Net originates from the Atharva Veda, which likens the world to a net woven by the great deity Shakra or Indra. The net is said to be infinite, and to spread in all directions with no beginning or end. At each node of the net is a jewel, so arranged that every jewel reflects all the other jewels. No jewel exists by itself independently of the rest. Everything is related to everything else; nothing is isolated. The mantra is brihaddhi jaalam brihatah shakrasya vaajinivatah(8.8.6), Ayam loko jaalamaaseet shakrasya mahato mahan (8.8.8). The fundamental idea of unity-in-diversity underpins all dharmic traditions….

Now excerpts from the preface of the book:

Each of my books tries to provoke a new kind of conversation, the goal of which is to confront some specific prejudice against Indian civilization. Established biases covering a wide range of issues need to be exposed, especially when they are unsubstantiated. The objective of every book of mine is to pick a particular dominant narrative which is sustained by a nexus of scholars specializing in that theme, and then target it to effectively subvert it. If my counter-discourse can become established in the minds of a sufficient number of serious thinkers, thenit will assume a life of its own and its effects will continue to snowball without my direct involvement. This is the end result I seek. To be effective, a book must resist straying from its strategic priorities and must avoid arguing too broadly.

For example, I developed the strategy, overall thesis, and much of the content of Invading the Sacred so as to take aim at the Freudian psychoanalytical critique of Hindism. This hegemonic discourse was being propagated by powerful nexus in the heart of the Western academia, and had spread as a fad among Indian intellectuals. Invading the Sacred gave birth to, and incubated, a solid opposition which cannot be ignored today.

My subsequent book, Breaking India, focused on demonstrating how external forces are trying to destabilize India by deliberately undermining its civilization. Such efforts are targeted at confusing and ultimately aborting any collective positive identity based on Indian civilization. The book exposed the foreign interests and their Indian sepoys who see Hinduism as a random juxtaposition of incoherent and fragmented traditions. Many watchdog movements have sprung into action because of that book. It has triggered a domino effect with other researchers now exposing more instances of the same syndrome.

My most recent book, Being Different, presents a coherent and original view of dharma as a family of traditions that challenges the West’s claim of universalism. Because Western universalism is unfortunately being used as the template for mapping and defining all cultures, it is important to become conscious of its distorted interpretations of Indian traditions. Being Different is prompting many Indians to question various simplistic views concerning their traditions, including some that are commonly espoused by their own gurus and political leaders. It is a handbook for serious intellectuals on how to ‘take back’ Hinduism by understanding it on its own terms.

The present book exposes the influential narrative that Hinduism was fabricated during British rule and became a dangerous new religion. The central thesis which I seek to topple asserts that Swamy Vivekananda plagiarized Western secular and christian ideas and then recast them in Sanskrit terminology to claim Indian origins for them. Besides critiquing this nexus and defending Vivekananda’s vision, this book also presents my own vision for the future of Hinduism and its place in the world.

Hence the book has two purposes: to defend the unity of Hinduism as we practice it today, and to offer my own ideas about how to advance Vivekananda’s revolution to the next stage.

This volume introduces some new vocabulary and ideas such as ‘open architecture’ and ‘toolbox’, which are critical to my insights on Hinduism. While openness has always been characteristic of Hindus, too much of a good thing can be dangerous. I argue that this very quality of openness has made Hinduism susceptible to becoming ‘digested.’ ‘Digestion’, a concept introduced in my earlier books, is further elaborated in these pages.

In the conclusion, I stick my neck out and introduce a set of defensive strategies for safeguarding against digestion. I call these stragies the ‘poison pill’ and the ‘porcupine defence’. I hope this provocative proposition will trigger debate and controversy.

Some of the new vocabulary that was introduced in Being Different such as ‘history centricsm’, ‘integral unity’ and ‘embodied knowing’ will be further sharpened in these pages. I will also ascribe new meanings to the old Sanskrit terms astika and nastika, and utilize them differently than in the tradition.

Clearly, I wish to influence mainstream Hindus who are often seriously misinformed about their own traditions.

My hope is to spur the genesis of what I call a ‘home team’ of intellectual leaders who would research, reposition and articulate Hinduism in a responsible way on important issues today.

I have made some compromises for practical reasons. For instance, I use the term ‘philosophy’ to refer not only to western philosophy but also, to Indian thought, even though the latter would more accurately be called darshana.

The difference between philosophy and darshana is significant. Philosophy is entirely disembodied and is an intellectual tool driven by the ego. Darshana includes philosophy but goes much further because it also includes embodied experience. Traditionally, Indian thoughthas been characterized by the interplay of intellectual analysis and sadhana, with no barriers between the two. Hindu practices cultivate certain states of mind as preparation for receiving advanced knowledge. In other words, darshana includes anubhava (embodied experience) in addition to the study of texts and reasoning. The ordinary mind is an instrument of knowing , and its enhancement through meditation and other sadhana is seen as essential to achieving levels of knowledge higher than reasoning alone can provide. Western philosophy emphasizes reason to the exclusion of anubhava and thus consists essentially of the disembodied analysis of ‘mental objects’. Such a philosophy can never cross the boundary of dualism.

The very existence of smritis- texts that are written and rewritten to fit the context of each specific period and place- indicates that our tradition has never been frozen in time. It has evolved in stip with the needs and challenges of each era.

Hinduism cannot be pigeon-holed into tradition, modern and post-modern straitjackets in the way the west sees itself, because Hinduism has always been all three of these simultaneously and without contradiction.

The book focuses on toppling a specific, well-entrenched line of discourse that tries to isolate tradition in order to create conflicts and contradictions. My challenge is to help general readers undergo some serious mental shifts.

Following are my comments:

Like the seminal concept of Indra’s Net, most fundamental concepts that are ruling the intellectual space in the modern days are from Vedic (Hindu) India. For instance the very idea of interconnectedness and complementary reflected in the Indra’s Net fascinated the western scientists and contributed in no small measure to the foundation ideas of quantum physics. Scientists like Ervin Schroedinger openly acknowledged their debt to Vedantic ideas in understanding and clarifying quantum concepts. Going further back, it is a well known fact in History of Hindu Science that the Zero symbol, concept of infinity, the number system, the decimal place value system, are the exclusive discoveries of Hindus. This fact is recorded by such historians of mathematics as G.B. Halstead. The medical science, astronomy, the cosmology of Hindus travelled to Arabia and Moorish-Spain in a big way beginning with 8th century. From there these Hindu sciences reached Europe from Spanish moors and also directly from Persia. Buddhism has Hindu knowledge system for its base and served as the export variety of Hinduism (vide S.Radhakrishnan). It is perhaps the first missionary religion in the world and carried Hindu Ayurveda, and Sanskrit lore to distant lands. The sramanas (thera-putras) served the medical and educational needs of the people of foreign lands and gained converts to Buddhism. These conversions were voluntary and never resulted in the disruption of those foreign cultures and societies as is the case with christian and muslim conversions in India at present. The medical services of thera-putras were so popular that the very name for the science and art of medical treatment came to be called therapeutics. It is an undeniable fact that Buddhism adopted its pantheon, and tantric lore from its mother Hinduism, however vehemently may some alienated neo-Buddhists deny the fact. Thus Hindu knowledge first went to Buddhism, then spread to distant lands, though some direct passage also occurred. One point to remember here is that the western mind with its excessively materialistic tendencies and lack of experiential culture, is forever at sea to grasp the Hindu knowledge in the original. So it needed some half-wayhouse. Buddhism and Islam served as the conduits. One who investigates the global circulation of ideas, and the history of ideas will see the truth in this statement.

Rajiv Malhotra attempted in this book not only to turn the tables on the west’s subversion attempts, but also to reestablish the centrality of Hindu knowledge system. His book is important in more than one way to the Hindus in general and to the alienated Hindus in particular who have lost all respect and confidence in their own dharmic religion and culture.

 

 

RSS Speaks on Propaganda of Hindu Terrorism

There is a vicious propaganda by some sections of the politicians and media to promote a brand called “Hindu Terror / Saffron terror” on the lines of “Islamic terror”. Using terror as a tool, they are attacking the organisations like RSS. They want to ensure that Sangh that does not spread its wings. However, the Hindu society sees through their evil designs and shall defeat all their efforts.

The RSS believes in a positive approach and its work has resonated in the hearts of the common people.

RSS General Secretary ( Sarkaryawah ), Sri Bhayyaji Joshi speaks on this subject of Hindu terrorism – Video length 5 mins

True Concept of Dharma

  • M.G.Vaidya

M.G.VaidyaIt may sound ironical, but it is my observation that many who know English find it difficult to understand the true meaning of “Dharma”. The reason is, the English knowing public, is accustomed to equate “Dharma” with religion. A common man who does not know English is under no such obsession. He knows the meaning of “dharmashala”. It is not a religious school. He understands the meaning of “Dharmarth Hospital” .No religion is treated in such hospital. He comprehends the meaning of “Dharma Kanta “. It is not a balance that weighs different religions. He knows “Raj-dharma” which is not a religion of a king apart from the religion of his subjects. He understands that the “Putradharma” is not the religion of the son, as distinct from that of his parents. .

Go To the Roots

The above examples are sufficient to establish that “dharma” and “religion” cannot be equated. The natural question is. what is “Dharma”? To comprehend the full connotation of the concept of “Dharma”, we must go to its root. We should follow the adage that when you are in difficulty you should go to the fundamentals. The word “Dharma” is derived from the Sanskrit root “dhri” which means to hold together, to bind, to sustain. What does “dharma” hold together? It holds together the whole universe. Therefore our Shastras say that “dharanat dharma ityahuh” (it is called “dharma” because it holds together or sustains).

Now let us see what this universe consist of. There are four broad entities or existences. The one is the individual, the other is the society in which the individual exists and lives; the third is the whole of the non-human world, both animate and inanimate and the fourth is the soul or the spirit. Each of these is a part, nay constituent, of the higher entity, and each of higher entities pervades the lower, the smaller entity. An individual is a part of the society, at the same time, the society pervades the individual. The human society is part of the nature and the nature pervades both the individual and the human society. All the three, viz the individual, the society and the nature are parts of the soul and at the same time are pervaded by it. This relation is expressed by our Shastras as “Yat pinde tad brahmande”. These four existences are termed as Vyashti, Samashti, Srishti and Parameshti. And Dharma is a string that binds or holds together and sustains all these four entities. It is a bridge that joins these four. When you build a house for your own use, it is no “dharma”, but when you build a house for others to live in, a “dharma shala” comes up.

When you make arrangements for your own health, it is no “dharma” but when you arrange for the health of others, then a “dharmarth” hospital is created. This “dharma takes the form of one’s duty as in “Rajdharma” or “Putradharma” but at the same time it gives the guarantee for the rights of the subjects and the parents respectively. Prajadharma connotes the duties of the subjects, but at the same time, guarantees the rights of the king. Thus “Dharma” is a mutual moral arrangement. “Dharma” is always in relation to something. It is a relative concept. It exists and sustains in relation to something. When it becomes the absolute concept, it gets the name of “Moksha.

How to bind an individual with society? It can be done through coercion also. But it is beyond the domain of “Dharma”; it may fall within the sphere of the State. Dharma enjoins voluntary relationship. This relationship is created by a sense of mutual respect. It is priceless, voluntary and ennobling. “Dharmashala” joins an individual with the society without coercion or compulsion. It denotes an individual’s concern and respect for the good of the society. In this way an individual serves the society and the society in turn raises the moral stature of the individual. The human society is required to show the same respect for the Nature (Srishti) of which it is a part. The Hindu Thought has raised this sense of respect to the highest pitch by calling it “Mother” (Matri) .The nature is not a lifeless, emotionless outsider. It is a living and as respectable and loving as a mother. Therefore the nature is Srishtimata. The earth is Bhoomata, the river is “lokamata”, the Cow is “Gomata”, the river Ganga is “Gangamata”, even the Tulsiplant is “Tulsimaiyya”. It is the prerogative of the human mind only, to think about such sacred relationship. There are many reptiles that eat their own offspring’s. There are many animals that are ignorant of the relation of the mother and child. Cows do have some sort of affection for their calves. But a calf when it grows into a bull, loses all intimations of mother or sister. It is the characteristic of the human mind alone that transforms even an inanimate thing into a vibrant living intimacy. Then the earth is not merely a conglomeration of sand and stones, but it becomes motherland, “matrbhumi , it becomes mother earth. Vishnupatnee and the seer says, “Vishnupatni namas tubhyam padasparsham kshamaswa me” (Oh, consort of Vishnu, I bow to thee. Please excuse me for treading on you). Because we have such an intimate Dharmic view towards the Nature, we never thought of exploitation of Nature. Our Hindu Thought never regarded that the man is the only centre of the universe and that the whole of the universe is for his enjoyment. Our attitude has been explained by the Bhagawad Geeta “ ‘Devan bhavayatanena te deva bhavayantu vah Parasparam bhavayantah shreyah paramavapsyatha (Ch 111, 11) (By this, foster ye the gods and let the gods foster you. Thus fostering each other you shall attain to the supreme good. ) This is the reason why there were no environmental problems in this land.

The Hindu thought, believes in the existence of the soul also. It is the primordial living principle. This principle as embodied in a human frame is the same that pervades the whole universe. The Shastras say, “Tat twam asi” (Thou art that). So aham ” (1 am that). In short, there is this intrinsic, intimate relationship. An individual is intimately connected with all the other three, viz society, nature and soul. His relationship with the soul or the spirit is the domain of religion. His relationship with all the three is the domain of Dharma. Therefore Dharma is a much, more broad a term than religion; and because it connects all these four with reverence and harmony, Dharma is called the ‘principle of universal harmony’.

By accepting this principle we do not become oblivious of the differences and the diversities in the universe. They are naturally there. But it is the Dharma that makes us conscious of inherent unity in the midst of diversity. Man has certain economic tendencies (Artha) .He has the sexual urges (Kama) .But these tendencies and urges, though natural, have to run within the limits of the Dharma. Just as a water of the river, when it flows within the limits of its banks is useful and benevolent, but when it transgresses these limits, as in the time of flood, it becomes destructive, so also the economic and the sexual urges of man have to run within the banks of the Dharma. Then alone they are benevolent; but once they transgress these limits, they lead to exploitation and permissiveness and become an ultimate curse to the very human existence.

Even the State should confirm to the Dharma principle. The Hindu Thought says that it should be “dharmarajya”. Dharmarajya is not a theocratic state. Hindus never envisaged a theocratic state. No Shankaracharya was allowed to become a king; and no king could become a “Shankaracharya”. It is elsewhere that we find an emperor of a country become a “Khalifa”; it is elsewhere that we find a Pope, a religious head meddling with the affairs of the state. To the Hindus, the state has always been secular, because it deals with the affairs of this world. The state is and has to be this worldly. The other worldly activities are outside the sphere of the state. It is religion’s domain. But the state must be attuned to the Dharma. Our Dharma is both this worldly and other worldly. Dharma is defined as “Yato abhyudaya nisshreyasa siddhih sa dharmah” .It means dharma is that which brings about this worldly prosperity as well as the final emancipation. All Hindu books on Dharmashastra deal with both these aspects of human life. More than half of the Manusmriti deals with secular topics, and yet it is called “manava dharma shastra” .The state will naturally have its primary law i.e., constitution. It all will have its physical laws that govern the activities of its people. But above all such laws, there is the Dharma. All laws, primary or secondary have to conform to the Dharma. Dharma is the ultimate reference point. The law of the Dharma is a moral law. All other laws must be in conformity with this ultimate moral law. Hence in a state of Hindu conception, the sovereignty rests, not with the “Parliament, nor with the people nor with the king. It rests with Dharma. Dharma alone is sovereign, and all others have to be attuned to it.

Dharma is the substratum of all of our social, economic and political institutions. Marriage is not a contract for the satisfaction of our carnal desires. It is a dharma, it is a “Sanskar, it is a duty and an obligation. Therefore there is a stress on preserving and sustaining a marriage. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan has rightly said, “that marriage is successful which transforms a chance mate into a life companion” .Therefore divorce is considered a weakness, a defeat. Our economic activities must be guided by Dharma. Only then there will be no exploitation. There is no conflict between the interests of an individual and society or between two classes of society. Therefore, Hindu Thought does not subscribe to class struggle. The worker and the employer must cooperate. That is the order of Dharma. To do good to others is Dharma. To cause pain to other is adharma.

In this broad sense, Hindu is a Dharma. The term “Hindu” has been acquired through History. Its qualitative epithet is “Sanatan” i.e. eternal. It was valid in the past, it is valid today and it will be valid in the future. That is the meaning of “Sanatana” .Just as there is an eternal aspect of Dharma, there is a practical and changing aspect also. It may change according to times. We wear some clothes in summer. They are changed in winter. This change is inevitable and we must accept it. To stick to the same methapher, we can say that wearing clothes is a Sanatana dharma. The quality and nature of clothes is Yugadharma i.e. dharma of the times. There is also an “apaddharma” i.e. dharma in exceptional circumstances. There is a pertinent story in the Upanishadas. Once there was a famine. People began to migrate from their place of residence. A Brahmin living in that village was also affected by famine, therefore he left his village and went to another village in search of food. But he was disappointed. While going out of that village, he saw an elephant guard, sitting under a tree, an elephant by his side, eating something from a cup of leaves. He was eating mustard seeds. The Brahmin asked him to give a few seeds. The elephant guard said, “Oh Brahmin, how can I give it to you. The seeds have been contaminated by my mouth” .The Brahmin said, “Whatever it is, I need them.” The elephant guard gave to the Brahmin the remnants of the mustard seeds. He had some water in an earthen jar. The guard put the jar to his mouth and drank it, after leaving a portion of it in the jar. When the Brahmin finished his eating, he requested the Brahmin to take the water in the jar. The Brahmin refused it, by saying that I don’t drink water contaminated by your mouth. The guard said, “Oh Brahmin, you could eat mustard seeds contaminated by my mouth, why are you refusing the water?” The Brahmin replied, “Had I not eaten the mustard seeds, I would have died of hunger. Now I have got some strength, I will go and find out water from a nearby stream.” Eating contaminated grain is an exception, an “apad dharma”. It cannot be a rule.

In short, Dharma is a principle of universal harmony. It creates harmony where there is natural dissension. The power of the State is effective only when it has the support of the Dharma. And in return, the Dharma gets its sustenance from the power of the state. As in the case of State, so in all spheres of human activity. Dharma is the cause of mutual benefits. We observe Dharma and thus Dharma is protected by us and in return Dharma protects us. Therefore, it is said that “Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah.”

Sri M.G.Vaidya A prolific writer, an author of several books, Shree M. G. Vaidya was a former national executive member of RSS. He is a former editor of ‘Tarun Bharat’ Nagpur