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Chapter Eight - Dharmacaran Part one - What is righteous living? ..

{written by : Sri Bimal Mohanty.}

Article word count : 1411 -- Article Id : 1024
Article active date : 2008-11-06 -- Article views : 9662

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The practice of Dhrti does not confine to situations and happenings alone but also extends to the agents that perpetuate these happenings.

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The practice of Dhrti does not confine to situations and happenings alone but also extends to the agents that perpetuate these happenings. The person, who apparently has become the cause of one"s misfortune, is neither the enemy nor the friend. This is an important consideration in the Sanatan Hindu philosophy. A wise man does not react adversely to the agent but looks deeper into the situation itself and tries to understand the cause behind the effect in a dispassionate manner. That is the true meaning of Dhrti. If evenness of mind in the face of opposites like pain and pleasure, good and bad fortunes are not there, then the mind will remain preoccupied and satisfied with the happening of the moment. The focus would shift from Dharma. Hence a pre-requisite of the practice of righteous living is codified as Dhrti.

The Sanatan Hindu Dharma being a way of living, emphasises the practice of Dhrti, synonymous with the practice of religion.

The second agenda in righteous living is Kshyama - or forgiveness. This in effect flows from Dhrti. In all interpersonal conflicts retaliating with vengeance or nursing a grudge is an instinct of base nature and does not befit humans who possess intellect and discerning power to resolve an issue.

The base animal instinct does not understand forgiveness. It only understands physical victory of the powerful and total defeat of the weak. But human instinct with its higher intellectual faculty recognises that even the weak or the wrong doer is also serving a purpose - a purpose ordained for him by the Lord. Hence where is the question of vanquishing him? The powerful then adds to his power by extending a hand of forgiveness. This is a true sign of a developed mind, hence a true sign of righteous living or dharmacaran.

When I am wronged by some one, my focus of attention should be towards the wrong itself and not the so-called wrong doer. Most developed religions subscribe to this concept. Whenever a wrong has been inflicted by someone to you, if the thought of revenge occupies the entire mind, there is no time to think of any remedial measure against re-occurrence of the wrong in future. By retaliating against someone who has wronged you, you may have a temporary satisfaction of proving your superiority, but by doing so, you have also failed to win over the wrong doer and in effect have crated a permanent enemy who would be waiting for his next opportunity to get even. This preoccupation with grudge and revenge leaves little time for self-development by rising above the base instincts.

There is also another simpler aspect to forgiveness. When something apparently wrong ( to our way of thinking) is done to us, we immediately deduce that we are right and the otherside is wrong. The fact of the matter is that this is a total misconception. No one is totally right. All wrong things that ever happen to us , have their genesis in some forgotten wrong deed perpetuated by us. They say Agate visamandashah daivam arhayate narah Atmanam Karmadosanca no socatyapanditah When misfortune strikes man immediately blames the fate , but the fact that it is the result of one’s own wrongdoing eludes the unwise.

No wrongdoing is ever forgotten. Why? Because it is a blemish on the soul and the soul has to be cleansed. How does the Lord help us in this? He sends a warning through someone. It is for us to recognise this and atone the misdeed through a good enough deed. Hence even if someone is doing wrong to us, we may resist his actions but it would be foolish to retaliate by doing wrong to him. Is it too much to ask to forgive him?

If everyone goes about bringing equal harm to some one who has apparently harmed him, the whole world would soon be full of violence in no time. What will happen to Dharma in that case?

The next aspect is Dama or control over impulsive actions dictated by one’s emotions and executed by our outer sense organs. How many wrongs are perpetuated by people who act on impulses? Each of us can easily reflect upon our own experiences and come to the conclusion that, when ever we have come to grief, it is because we acted too hastily, too reactively and did not weigh the pros and cons of all happenings. Any thing that happens to our dislike, we immediately react against it. More often than not we realize what fools we have been. A misfortune which could have been avoided by little restraint, we blow up to unmanageable proportions. All the world’s, society’s and individual’s problems are solvable if we act with understanding rather than being impulse driven.

Study of human nature from the earliest of times has established that sense gratification is the surest way of human degradation. The fire of desire once kindled, unless controlled firmly, gains strength in no time and then drags the person to any lengths down the hill. It is a road with no stops till one pulls up himself from total destruction. A moot point here to remember is that, dama does not mean a total annihilation of sense organs or the indriyas. Indriyas are also given to us with a purpose without which we shall not be able to perform. But Sanatana dharma advocates only mastery over them. Do not be a slave to your sense organs , let the organs be your slaves. Use them to serve your ultimate purpose which is, self-development. Do not let them drag you away from the path of righteous living. That is all that is required. – (to be continued)


GIST OF VOL 6 The collective wisdom of our spiritual philosophy has codified suggestions for each and every one defining the right way of living. These are guiding principles for enrichment of life at all levels, essential for spiritual development.


Questions- (Rephrased)

1) The question of choice between a) life of a saint b) life of a householder.

2) Is Solitude possible living in a householder"s life in a world of materialism.

3) what makes sanyasis and yogis superior to us ( worldly people).


It is not correct to assume that the life we lead, whether as a worldly house-holder or a meditating recluse, is in anyway a hindrance to our spiritual journey or vice versa. Spiritual development is and has to be a way of life - whichever kind of lifewe lead.

The environment in which I am today, is in fact my own creation, a result of my past `karma". The efforts and actions of mine are at the root of the cause and create their corresponding effect. Everything evolves and comes to being, following the infalliable natural and divine laws that govern the entire creation.

The thing to remember is that all circumstances, in whichever environment we find ourselves, that happen to be the most conducive to our own personal requirements towards spiritual development. In the scheme of Divine things any other situation would have indeed retarded our progress. Wise realize this truth and use the opportunity in hand, engaging themselves in Yoga.

Results of our new actions shall create for us new results either in this life or lives hereafter, in form of new environments which again are most conducive for our progress. If by virtue and strength of our efforts and actions a different mindset and change of environment ( from a life of a worldly householder to a recluse mendicselves eventually so that our progress shall continue. Every situation in life teaches usant, or the other way round) becomes desirable, such circumstances will present them unique lessons which is essential for us to learn before we take the next step. The thing to remember is our bounden commitment to action guided by Yoga. Any particular life is not necessarily better than the other. It boils down to one"s individual state of mind and level of consciousness. It is possible to have higher consciousness remaining involved in the world and also continue groping in darkness even being a so called "sanyasi".

Solitude is synonymous with calmness of mind which is achievable through efforts (abhyasa Yoga). Within the demands of the worldly life one can have solitude of mind ( we have examples of Janaka etc.) Likewise even a disturbed mind can goad a sanyasi.

Author Bio :
From Ahwanm the spiritual approach to life by Sri Bimal Mohanty.

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