Written by London swaminathan
Date: 21 January 2017
Time uploaded in London:- 15-48
Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.
What are the sources of Dharma?
Veda- Four Vedas
Smrti – Law Books
Sadaacaara – Good Conduct
Priyamaatmanah – What is pleasing to mind
vedah smrtih sadaacaarah sasya ca priyamaatmanah
etat caturvidham praahuh sakshaaddharmasya lakshanam
–Manu Smrtih 2-12
Manu, the first law giver in the world has defined righteousness. As always believed Vedas and Smrtis (law books) are the source of Dharma. It is very difficult to translate the word ‘Dharma’ in English. But Tamils succeeded in Tamilizing that Sanskrit word as ARAM (Dharam in Hindi). The most interesting point of this definition is WHAT IS PLEASING TO MIND!
Does it mean that anyone can do anything that which pleases one’s mind? No. It must be a good conduct. Why did he add this after giving three sources? That is because Dharma also changes according to time, location and the circumstances. So, when one in doubt he does what pleases his mind without violating the other three factors i.e. Vedas, Smrtis (law books) and accepted good conduct. I will give you one example.
Brahmin priests get enormous number of Dhotis (Veshti) in a year by performing various rituals. But they don’t get enough money to pay for their house rent, bills and travel etc. When they met Kanchi Paramacharya, he suggested that if there are too many dhotis involved in a ceremony, they can get money with a small thread representing Vesti/dhoti.
So, when someone is in doubt about following certain rules, one can always consult the saints or elders living at that time. Sri Sathya Sai Baba made Gayatri a universal mantra, available to everyone. He did not insist initiation or caste or sacred thread to recite Gayatri, the most powerful mantra in the three Vedas. This is applicable to Baba devotees, because they have already fallen in a divine, religious grew. So, nothing could go wrong if they are in the grew.
In the very first verse of the Second Chapter of Manu Smrti, Manu says, “Learn Dharma that is constantly followed and assented to in the heart by learned men, good men who have neither HATRED or PASSION – Manu 2-1
Narada Smrti says that the Four Feet of Dharma are
Jnaanam – Knowledge
Dhyaanam – Contemplation of Inner Self
Sama – Control of Mind
Dama- Control of Sense Organs
catushpaadaa hi dharmasya jnaanam dhyaanam samo damah
–Narada smrtih 1-8
“That which should be done is virtue;
That which should be avoided is vice
–Tiruk Kural 4-40
Tiruvalluvar, author of the Tamil Veda, Tirukkural, also defines Dharma in ten couplets.
He says, “What brings more glory to man than righteousness? It gives prosperity (on earth) and also happiness (in heaven)- Kural 41
Do good deeds unceasingly, as far as you are able, by thought word and deed 43
Do the deeds of charity now without postponing them to your old age; for they will be unfailing help to you in the hour of death- 46
Buddha on Righteousness!
Gautama Buddha explains Dharma (righteousness) in 17 couplets in Dhammapada (Path of Dharma). He said nothing new. All are already in the Gita and Upanishads.
“A man is not great because he is a warrior and kills other men; but because he hurts not any living being, he in truth is called a great man” (269)
“A man is not on the path of Dharma if he settles matters in a violent haste (256)
“He in whom three sins (envy, greed and deceit) are uprooted and who is wise and has love, he is in truth a man of honour”(263)
Is short, everything said by Buddha is already in Mahabharata.
Long Live Dharma!