In Sanatan Dharma, each individual creation needs to function as per their characteristics (the basic properties given by the creator) and code of conduct. For example – fire should burn and give heat to function- according to its dharma, and water in rivers needs to flow into the oceans. Dharma upholds the created universe, supports it and sustains it, without which the universe just falls apart. The reverse of dharma is adharma – when the fire stops burning and rivers stop flowing, they are doing the opposite of what it is expected to do and it can result in the extinction of the Universal creations.
The same applies to humans, more than ever, at the time when they have to handle difficult ethical dilemmas of life? Many of us want to know which aspect of our psychology and personality holds the best answers to certain difficult ethical situations? Traditionally it is said that when we try to find the answer to a difficult question, the response of our body can tell if our answer was correct or not. When the answer is ethically correct, the body and mind feels relaxed as the subtle layers of the inner consciousness know that our decision was righteous.
“Righteousness constitutes of 5 pillars: Knowledge, Patience, Justice, Love and Dedication, and the foundation of Righteousness is Compassion.” ~ Lord Krishna (Mahabharata)
Righteousness and attaining the state of Oneness with the One
Humans are nature’s creations and they need to follow their dharma of leading a life as it comes, without hurting the surrounding environment (Prakriti) or other creations on earth. Our accomplishments are linked with the knowledge of Truth. Just as food enables the body’s growth and development, knowledge of the truth facilitates the growth and evolution of mind, the intellect, and the knowledge of the Self. The development of the knowledge of the Self to its fullest extent means acquiring knowledge of the fundamental nature of the Self that leads to the state of absoluteness or the state of Oneness with the One.
ABOUT THE FIVE PILLARS OF DHARMA
In Mahabharata, when Draupadi married the five brothers – Pandavas, she had many doubts about the relationship. Lord Krishna gave her five pieces of rocks as a gift stating “Look at the rocks whenever in doubt. The five rocks are the five pillars of dharma-knowledge, patience, love, dedication and justice. The five pillars stand on compassion (karuna).”
Lord Krishna explains how knowledge can help to differentiate between right and wrong. Patience stabilizes the mind and helps in enhancing intelligence. If you have love in a relationship, it is stabilized at heart. Dedication towards each other is required in such a relationship to control the senses and justice gives stability to the inner soul.
When God created various creatures in this world, He assigned certain different characteristics to all. The balance of the creation is maintained when specified creation exhibits their specified properties assigned by God. All the inert items like fire or water are strictly following the will of God. God has full freedom to change any characteristic / property of any of his creation. If the limits are violated by the creation and the behaviour of some other creature like animals’ behavior is adopted by humans, the soul is punished and pushed into the life cycle of animals. Such animal lives in the forest and can have its characteristic behaviour which does not upset the balance of animal kingdom in the forest. But when a human being lives in the society of human beings and behaves like an animal, the society is disturbed.
MEANING OF DHARMA
In general, in a society, Dharma sustains and maintains the social, moral, political and economic order. Dharma has its legal, moral and social shades of meanings which are developed during the traditional and historical development. The word ‘Dharma’ has its root ‘dhr” meaning ‘to uphold’, ‘to support’, and ‘to sustain’.
‘Dharma’ has a wide variety of meanings. For instance, it is used to mean justice, what is right in a given circumstance, moral values of life, pious obligations of individuals, righteous conduct in every sphere of activity like being helpful to other living beings, giving charity to individuals in need or for a public cause, or alms to the needy. There are certain natural qualities or characteristics or properties of living beings like duty towards society / people or law.
BASIC GUIDELINES FOR SANATAN DHARMA
- Eventually every soul goes back to the kingdom of God.
- The soul is eternal, and it has existed (reincarnation) multiple times, it means we exist now, we were there before this body, and we will continue to live after this body.
- The Vedic eternal knowledge contains over 800,000+ verses compiled by God Himself.
- The Vedic texts explain the rule of “Justice for all living beings via the infallible Law of Karma.”
- One should follow the concept of universal brotherhood as all living beings are brothers and sisters – they come from the same source.
- To concentrate on the energies of the Universal Source of energy, one can chant mantras to focus on it to be able to identify it within, that ultimately leads to the state of attaining Oneness with Him.
- He appears in many different/parallel universes to perform His transcendental acts.
- He is Omniscient (knows the past, present and the future) and all His scheduled appearances and His complete description is given in the Vedic scriptures.
- The material cosmic creation is cyclic. There are repeated cycles of creations and annihilations.
Our physical presence is a field and it makes use of everything that is material in nature: the five elements- ego (sense of self, understanding, the five senses and the objects of the senses where love and care resolve clashes as it soothes the heart and lowers psychological pains.
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WHAT ARE THE CHARACTERISTICS OF SOUL?
- The soul is eternal.
- It cannot be destroyed by any weapon, burned, blown, or moistened.
- It is neither male nor female.
- It is neither black nor white.
- It does not belong to any place. It can be born in Europe in one birth and Asia in the next.
- It has no religion.
- It cannot be cut/divided or diseased.
- It is neither richer nor poorer than another.
- It is neither old nor young.
- It has no weight, and it cannot be seen with the naked eye.
- It is situated in the heart of all living beings.
- The size of the soul is 1/10,000th of the tip of the hair.
- All souls are equal; one soul is neither inferior nor superior to another.
- Every soul is part of the Supreme and hence, a knowledgeable person can identify that the other person is also a part of the Supreme Self and they have compassion and love for all.
- When the inner Self (consciousness) finds it difficult to stay or act in the body (the vehicle that holds the Self) with love – it leads to death.
Humans have limited vision and scope of understanding to know and determine what is right or wrong. A human can look into 4 dimensions to find answers but the Supreme soul can look into all the 64 dimensions beyond time and space, to determine the intention of the inner soul of a person. Since the vision and abilities of humans are limited they need to get in sync with the Supreme Self to get guidance about what is right or wrong. Some of the best judgments are given at the time when a person is connected to the inner Self – intuition as God is the greatest, beyond all dharma and His justice prevails everywhere.
Patience calms the mind and lowers stress. A person can concentrate and think clearly only when they are not impatient. The soul can adopt different paths to attain the state of liberation like meditation (dhyana), the path of knowledge (Samkhya-yoga) or the path of work (karma-yoga). Others, ignorant of these yogas, achieve salvation through worship or devotion.
In Bhagvat Gita, Krishna reminds Arjuna that all actions are done by Prakriti, the Individual Self is only the passive observer of the field of action. If you are impatient, you will find it difficult to clear the debts of karma, and you may indulge in more negative karma by acting impatiently.
‘The path of devotion is – surrender of the ego, the ‘I’, to ‘you’ (God), combining this ‘I’ with ‘you’ one attains supreme bliss and gets complete satiation for the desire of love’.
There is no discrimination between God and devotee because when one realises God the tendencies are also converted like the Supreme Self. Therefore the result of devotion is devotion only.
In the story of Mahabharata, Arjuna killed his grandfather Bhishma during the war of Mahabharatha but he was directed by Lord Krishna to do so. In such case, even though he killed a human, he was permanently associated with Lord Krishna ( the story of Nar and Narayana) and he was doing justice – Dharma.
- There are millions of species (bodies form) that the soul can occupy. [All these verses were written in the Vedic scriptures more than 5000 years ago.]
- ‘jalaja nava lakshani, sthavara laksha-vimshati, krimayo rudra-sankhyakah, pakshinam dasha-lakshanam, trinshal-lakshani pashavah, chatur lakshani manavah’ (Padma Purana)
- Jalaja (Water-based life forms) – 0.9 million
- Sthavara (Immobile implying plants and trees) – 2.0 million
- Krimayo (Reptiles) – 1.1 million
- Pakshinam (Birds) – 1.0 million
- Pashavah (animals) – 3.0 million
- Manavah (human-like) – 0.4 million
- Hence, there are a total of 8.4 million species of living beings. A soul occupies a particular body, exactly based on its desires, karma and inclinations.
- || Tatprem tatva madhurya yato gyaneapi vismratih | Dhanya dhanyamanirdashya manyanmanyamahe vayam || – Narada Bhakti 23rd Sutra
- The two elements love and melody (madhurya) are there in devotion or Bhakti. Gyan (Knowledge) and forgetfulness both are there, these are the two distinct elements that are present in Bhakti.
Knowledge of the Truth is an integral part of Dharma. It is an essential principle without which Dharma cannot remain intact. Hence Dharma is not merely a religious practice or depiction of some emotion; it is a sacred code of conduct. Knowledge soothes the Intellect, Patience soothes the mind, Love soothes the heart, Dedication soothes the physical body, and Justice soothes the soul. When all the 5 pillars resonate in harmony, man’s being is engulfed in pure compassion (Karuna). This, according to Lord Krishna, is the true Dharma.
As long as you are not disturbing the balance of society, God does not distinguish the good and bad qualities applied in the path of the spiritual journey. If somebody believes in dharma, they need to follow God’s guidelines, rules and restrictions. In the end, all dharma and adharma are determined by the Supreme Self – the inner self and the ultimate justice is given by Him.
The foundation of Righteousness is Compassion. According to Lord Krishna, true and pure Compassion is not obtained unless the 5 pillars of Righteousness are in complete harmony with one another. Dharma is called Pravriti which is the expected behaviour of the human being with the co-human beings to maintain the balance of humanity.
Humans should behave in the manner as per the guidelines given by the five pillars of dharma. If humans are not behaving as per the terms of their individual Dharma, they are doing adharma – opposite of dharma. In such case, their preference for lower acts can bring their soul into the body of human low-living creature, in the next birth. Only humans can understand the knowledge of dharma and spirituality. Humans can adopt spiritual methods to attain the state of Oneness with the One where they develop the perspective and preference to think / become like the Supreme Self. As they become like Him, they try their best to conduct their dharma and preserve and help in growth of the Godly creations.