Why to study and practice Dharma ?

dharmādarthaḥ prabhavate dharmāt prabhavate sukham |
dharmena labhate sarvaṃ dharma-sāram idam jagat ||

Meaning:  From Dharma come wealth, Dharma is the source of happiness, through Dharma we attain
Everything, Dharma is the essence of the world. (Rāmāyana 3:9:30)

The purpose of dharma is to bring about happiness for the maximum number of people by creating harmony. Harmony between individuals of a family, between families of a community, between communities that live together in a nation. Harmony between nations that make up humanity. Harmony between humankind and the environment and other creatures that share our earth and harmony between earthlings and the inhabitants of other worlds.

Where there is harmony there is happiness, disharmony cause unhappiness.
The ultimate object of dharma is to bring universal happiness.
āhāra nidrā bhaya maithunaṃ ca sāmānyam etat paśubhir narāṛām |
dharmo hi teṣān adhiko viśeṣo dharmeṇa hīṇāḥ paśubhiḥ samāṇāḥ ||

  Eating, sleep, fear and procreation are common to both animals and humans, Dharma alone is specific to humans, without Dharma, they are equal to animals. (hitopadeśa) acharya chanakya also holds similar views w.r.t dharma .
The great ones like Shri Ramachandra by following the dharma created a harmonious nation which is still considered as an ideal nation.

Sources of guidance on Dharma :

 

 

vedaḥ smrtiḥ sadācāraḥ svasya ca priyam ātmanaḥ |

etac-catur vidhaḥ prāhuḥ sākṣād dharmasya lakṣaṇam ||

 

Meaning:  The Veda, tradition, the conduct or virtuous people and one’s own conscience,

This is declared to be the distinct four-fold source of Dharma. (Manu 2:12)

 

 

vidvidbhiḥ sevitaḥ sadbhir nityam adveṣa-rāgibhiḥ |

hṛdayena abhyanujñāto yo dharmas taṃ nibodhata ||

 

Meaning: “Dharma is that which the wise and the good, without attachment and aversion, always

Practiced, and which they acknowledged heartily (hrdayena-abhayanujñata) as dharma”.

(Manu 2:1)

 

na dharma adharmau carata āvaṃ sva iti |

na deva gandharvā na pitara ity ācakṣate-

‘ayaṃ dharmo- ‘ayam adharma iti ||

 yattv āryāḥ kriyamāṇaṃ praśaṃsanti sa

dharmo yad garhante so-‘adharmaḥ ||

 

Meaning:  For Virtue and Sin do not go about and say, ‘Here we are’; nor do gods, Gāndharvas, or Manes say

[To men], ‘This is Dharma that is Adharma.’ But that is Dharma, the practice of which the noble one’s praise; what they blame, is Adharma. (Apastamba 1:7:20: 6-7.)

 

 

Dharma is subject to conditions.

 

What Dharma should be practiced and when depends on a number of conditioning factors:—

 

1. svabhāva — the nature and temperament of an individual

2. bhūmika — the level of education and development

3. adhikāra — their capacity to judge and respond.

and

1. deśa — place

2. kāla — time

3. pātra — circumstances, and others involved.

 

Dharma is subject to democratic consensus

According to the Mahabharata, actions opposed by the people (loka-viruddha) are as sinful as those Condemned by the Veda (veda-viruddha).

 

karmaṇā manasā vācā yatnād dharmaṃ samācaret |

asvargyaṃ lokavidviṣṭaṃ dharmyam apy ācaren na tu ||

 

One should strive hard through body mind and speech to practice Dharma, but, a (so called)

Dharma which will not result in happiness and is disapproved of by the people

(loka-vidvista) must not be practiced”. (Yajñavalkya 1:156)

 

parityajed artha kāmau yau syātāṁ dharma-varjitau |

dharmaṁ ca-apy asukha udarkaṁ loka-saṅkruṣṭam eva ca ||

 

One should renounce Artha and Kama if they conflict with dharma and even dharma if it results in future unhappiness or arouses people’s indignation. (Manu 4:176)

 

 

Dharma must be based upon reason.

 

The Bhagavad Gita expressly enjoins:– buddhau śaraṇam anviccha — “Take refuge in reason”.(Gita 2:49)

 

Manu says:–

arṣa dharma upadeśaṃ ca veda śāstra avirodhinā |

yas tarkeṇa anusandhatte sa dharmaṃ veda netaraḥ ||

 

He alone, and no one else, knows Dharma, who thoroughly investigates the (teachings) of

the sages and the body of the laws, by (modes of) acceptable reasoning. (12:106)

 

 

DHARMA ENCOMPASSES THREE BROAD AREAS :

 

 * 1.VIRTUE

Personal virtue

 Social mores

National ethics

 

 

*2. DUTY

1. Sva-dharma – personal duties

2. Kula-dharma- familial duties

3. Jāti-dharma – professional duties

4. Samāj-dharma – social duties

5. Rāja-dharma – national duties

6. Prajā-dharma – duties of citizens

7. Yuga-dharma – duties of the age.

8. Puruṣa-dharma – duties of men

9. Strī-dharma – duties of women

10. Āpad-dharma – duties in emergencies’

 

*LAWS

 

1. Natural laws — ecology

2. Civil laws

3. Religious laws

 

Another division is :—

(1) samānya dharma — the common or the universal dharma and the

 

(2) viśeṣa dharma — specific or personal dharma.

 

                                                                                                        –Roshan Suvarna

"Dharma is not just a set of rules or rituals, but a way of living in harmony with the cosmic order. Ithihas is not just a record of past events, but a source of wisdom and inspiration for the present and the future. To follow dharma is to learn from ithihas, and to create ithihas is to uphold dharma."
Anvith Poojary

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