Author Topic: The concept of Dharma  (Read 1439 times)


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The concept of Dharma
« on: March 11, 2009, 01:46:30 PM »
"Dharmam" the Sanskrit word has got many meanings.  Apatstamba
Sutras say, Dharmam is the behaviour of a person depending upon
his class and community.  There are general dharmas like speaking truth, right conduct, high morality etc., applicable to all classes of the
society.  But there are particular dharmas for each class.  Dharmas
again vary depending on time and space.  The Sutras also say, when these dharmas are not applicable, listen to what your conscience says or what elders say.

Buddhists use the Pali word Dhammam for Dharmam.

A king can kill a thousand people in the battle.  But he cannot kill even a single person otherwise, unless, he hears him in a dispute or in a purported crime.  A brahmin can never kill any beings, unless there is a threat for his own life.  So also other classes.

Again it depends on a time and space.  The king can enjoy the girls of the enemy's harem.  But not his citizens' girls and wives!

Anyone excepting a King, cannot marry a second wife, unless the first wife cannot bear a  child for him in eight years or a male child for him in fifteen years.  Even here, he should take care of the livelihood of the first wife, till his or her death.

A trader cannot give a product for price or profit to a Sannyasi.  He can quote a price and make a reasonable profit from others.

An agriculturist need not take bath in the mornings, before food.  He can take bath, if he wants, in the evening, after completion of work and eating food. He can kill all the creatures that harm his agricultural produce.

The Sutras say that when something is not clear, ask your conscience or elders.  This can be applied to many situations even now.  Even untruth in times of need and as per your conscience, can be spoken.  Like the Sannyasi, who told the hunter that he did not see the deer, even though he had seen a deer running for life from the hunter in a particular direction.

Arunachala Siva.