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Sarva Dharman Parityajya 1

DHRMA
In context of Geeta the meaning of ‘Dharma’ was “Law of Being”. Our ‘Dharma’, is the
Supreme Principal’, which is, The Absolute.

Beginning of Geeta starts with word ‘Dharma’. It ends with the word ‘Mama’. Connecting
these two words the phrase obtained is ‘MAMA DHARMA’. It means ‘My Dharma’. That is to
say ‘My Law of Being’. The main objective of Geeta is to explain about our real ‘Dharma’, as
The ‘Absolute Supreme’.

The Sanskrit is most pregnant language. We can see that one word implies many meanings with
reference to context. The word ‘Dharma’ has been used in Geeta with various meaning. It will
be worth to study such various cases where the word ‘Dharma’ has been applied.

Geeta advocates that every thing to be done must be according to ‘Dharma’. It means as per
‘Manual of Operation’ all activities must done. In general meaning of ‘Dharma’ is

Law
Rules
Code of operation
Manual of operation
Code of conduct
System
Discipline
Activities followed by family by human race, by religion, by Nation for long time
Tradition
Injunction decided by religious masters, Elderly people, Wise Men
Properties
law of Being

We can well see that if ‘Dharma’ is followed in above context, generally one if benefited. One
can do the same task in better ways, in short time with economy if he follows ‘Dharma’ wisely.

Now let us find out the word ‘Dharma’ used by ‘Shree Vyas’, in Bhgwat Geeta, in various
situation.

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 2


Implied Meaning ‘DHARMA’, in ‘GEETA’
Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

1 I

Meaning of ‘Dharma Kshetra, is ‘Holy Field’. This means the Holy Field
field of experience and action. As per scriptures to do war is
also ‘Dharmic’ act or a ritual. It means it is accepted by A Holy Place
religion and to be played as per rules set by religion. ‘Kshetra Where One Can
means the place where religious activities are performed. Contemplate On God
Hence ‘Kuru-Kshetra is ‘Dharma-Kshetra like Kashi, Hardwar, Principal
Makah, Medina etc.
Real Dharma-Ksheta is our own body where one has to
perform holy act like to revere the God Principle. “Son of
‘Pandawa’ is good thoughts and ‘Son of ‘Kuru’ is bad
thoughts in us. There is a continuous war goes on between
good and bad thoughts. Thought is ‘Mind’. And ‘Mind’ is
Thought flow. If the ‘Mind’ works under guidance of ‘Lord
Krishna’, then bad thoughts are vanished and only good
thoughts remains which produces sheer happiness and leads to
evolution of the personality to ‘God-Hood’..
2 I

Family Traditions.
Cultural experiments were the pre-occupations of our fore-
fathers and they knew that the culture and tradition of each
Tradition of Society.
family was a unit of the total culture and integrity of the whole
Culture
nation. Hence the important of the family- Dharma so seriously
brought forth by Arjuna as an argument against this civil war.
‘Kul-Dharma’ means religious traditions followed by family
over generations for betterment of life. Society is formed by
many families. So if families are stable then there is a social
reform. Society follows its own ‘Dharma” the tradition which
ultimately known as culture. If families are destroyed in civil
war naturally good traditions followed are vanished in turn
whole society is deprived off its long heritage. Some sort of
disordered takes place due to war. Disaster of war is no more
new to modern society.
The first and second world war had shown their effect on
Germany and British empire.
Shree Vysa skillfully paints deadly picture of such disaster.
The Hero ‘Arjuna narrates further……

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 3


Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

3 I

Skills in society or
race, group of people

When individual families are destroyed, along with them the


religious traditions of the society will also end, and soon an era
of impiety will be ushered in. Slowly the morality in the
society will wane and there will be an "admixture of castes."
Here caste means group of people doing particular job or
activity. Destruction of society means end of human skills
‘Jati Dharma’ the skill acquired by the race.

4 II

Duty, Action to be
taken, decision to be
taken

My heart is overpowered by the taint of pity; my mind is


confused as to duty. I ask Thee. Tell me decisively what is
good for me. I am Thy disciple. Instruct me, who have taken
refuge in Thee. Here Arjun confess that he is not able to decide
in this condition what he is suppose to do.

5 II
Duty of Race, Cast
(Varna).
Brahmin: Brain of
society
Further, looking at thy own duty thou ought not to waver, for Kshytriya: Warrior
there is nothing higher for a KSHATRIYA than a righteous Vaishya: Business
war. Arjuna's personal call-of-character (Swadharma) is that of Personel
a leader of his generation (Kshatriya) and as such, when his Khudra: Labour
generation is called upon to answer a challenge of an organized Class
un-Aryan force (Adharma), it is his duty not to waver but to
fight and defend his sacred national culture. Here Duty of warrior.

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 4


Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

6 II

But, if you will not fight this righteous war, then, having
Niyat – Karma
abandoned your own duty and fame, you shall incur sin.
Duties according to
This war is as per Dharma or righteous war. It means this war
past deeds.
is the resultant effect of Arjuna’s deed in past. So called the
Personal Call of
War was arranged by ‘Niyati’ the Great Destiny for
character
discharging accumulated War-Desires of arjuna. The war is
‘Dharmyam’ means The Act Ought to be done.
Every living creature has taken up its form and has come into
the world of objects for one great purpose, which is to gain an
exhaustion of its existing mental impressions. The bundle of
vasanas with which an individual has arrived into a particular
incarnation is called his, "personal call-of
character"(Swadharma). When classified thus, Arjuna falls
under the group of the 'kingly' (Kshatriya), who are
characterized by adventurous heroism and an insatiable
Thirst for honor and fame.

7 II

Knowledge of
Karma-Yog.
In this there is no loss of effort, nor is there any harm How to perform
(production of contrary results). Even a little of this knowledge, activities in life
even a little practice of the YOGA, protects one from the great. without getting
Here meaning of Dharma is, ‘Knowledge’, Knowledge about entangles into them
how to Act’.

8 III
Duties prescribed by
one’s own past deeds.

For Arjuna it is to
Better is one's own 'duty', though devoid of merit, than the fight in war as duty of
'duty' of another well discharged. Better is death in one's own a warrior.
'duty'; the 'duty' of another is fraught with fear (is productive of
positive danger) .
‘Swadharma’ means the type of Vasanas that one discovers in
one’s own mind. To act according to one's own taste,
inborn and natural, is the only known method of living in
peace and joy, in success and satisfaction. To act against
the grain of one's own Vasanas would be acting in terms of
Para dharma --- and that this is fraught with danger.
Sarva Dharman Parityajya 5
Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

9 IV

Morality
Code of conduct,
Healthy behavior of
Whenever there is a decay of righteousness, O Bharata, and a society
rise of unrighteousness, then I manifest Myself.
The Supreme, which is the substratum for the pluralistic world,
puts on the body-gown and, as it were, walks into the dusky
atmosphere of the immoral life of mankind, for the purpose of
re-organizing and conducting a thorough spring-cleaning of the
bosom of man.

10 IV

Righteousness Good
tendencies

For the protection of the good, for the destruction of the wicked
and for the establishment of righteousness, I am born in every
age.
Here 'DESTRUCTION' is not annihilation of the individuals as
much as the REMOVAL OF THE WRONG TENDENCIES in
the individuals. It is a process of refitting the wardrobe wherein
some old clothes are irredeemably spoiled, and have to be
eliminated in order to make more space for newly-made and
other refitted items. Similarly, Prophets, when they come, they
encourage the good; sometimes they rejuvenate the bad, and
often eliminate the poisonous specimens from the garden-of-
life.
11 VII

Of the strong, I am the strength --- devoid of desire and Divine Nature
attachment, and in (all) beings, I am the desire --- unopposed to Divine Consciousness
DHARMA, O best among the Bharatas.
All actions, thoughts and ideas entertained by him which are
not opposed to his essential Divine Nature constitute his
Dharma. All actions and thoughts that hasten the evolution of
man to rediscover his essential Divine Nature are considered
righteous action (Dharma), while all activities of the mind and
intellect that take him away from his true Divine Nature and
make him behave like an animal and degrade him in his
evolutionary status, are called unrighteous behavior.
(A-Dharma).

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 6


Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

12 IX

Conscious Principle
Spiritual Science

Royal Science, Royal Secret, the supreme purifier is this,


realizable by direct intuitive knowledge, according to the
DHARMA, very easy to perform, imperishable.

It also it is a science "pertaining to Dharma" (Dharmyam).


The term Dharma has already been explained. Man is nothing
but a parcel of minerals in their gross and subtle states, if the
Conscious Principle were not blessing them with awareness.
This Awareness, called the Self, is then the Dharma of man,
the Principle of Life in him. the Spiritual Science, that the Lord
of Vrindavana promises to enunciate in this chapter, is neither
the physical science of the biology of the objects of the world,
nor the science of psychology that explains the field of
emotions and thoughts --- but the Science of the Self, the
deepest essence in each individual.

13 IX

Righteous man
As per spiritual
science
Soon he becomes righteous and attains Eternal Peace, O
Kaunteya, know for certain that My devotee is never destroyed.

The term Dharma was already explained as "the Law of


Being." Just as heat is the specific quality (Dharma) of fire,
without which fire cannot exist, the Dharma of man is the
Divine Atman in his heart, without which none of his
personality layers can ever come to express themselves.
Therefore, the term 'Dharmatma,' in the stanza, is not fully
expressed when it is translated as 'a man of righteousness.'

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 7


Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

14 XII

Law of Life
They indeed, who follow this 'Immortal DHARMA' (Law of
Immortal law
Life) as described above, endowed with faith, regarding Me as
Code of conduct of
their Supreme Goal --- such devotees are exceedingly dear to
Sanatan Dharma
Me.
THIS IMMORTAL LAW PRESCRIBED ABOVE --- The
Sanatana Dharma is summarized in the above lines. To realize
the Self and live in that wisdom at all our personality levels ---
physical, mental and intellectual --- is the fulfillment of the life
of a Hindu.

15 XIV

The Ultimate Bliss


For I am the Abode of BRAHMAN, the Immortal and the
Immutable, of everlasting DHARMA and of Absolute Bliss. In
the realm of experience, if a meditator apprehends the Self in
him, he at once experiences the Omnipresence of the Self. As
long as a pot exists, the pot-space is seen distinct from the pace
around. Once the pot is broken, the pot space itself becomes the
unbounded space in the Universe; similarly, when life's false
identifications with the body, mind and intellect are broken
own --- in short, When the ego is dead, the Awareness of the
Infinitude rises up flood the bosom with THE TERNAL
HARMA AND THE UNFAILING BLISS.

16 XVIII

Righteous
That by which one wrongly understands DHARMA and Healthy for spiritual
ADHARMA and also what ought to be done and what ought life
not to be done, that intellect (understanding), O Partha, is Science which make
RAJASIC (passionate). you understand what
The "understanding" of the passionate (Rajasic) comes to judge is good, bad or right
the righteous (Dharma) and the unrighteous (Adharma), what wrong
is to be done and what is not to be done, in a slightly perverted
manner (Ayathaavat). Such a Rajasic "understanding" cannot
reach right judgments, because it is invariably colored by its
own preconceived notions and powerful likes and dislikes.

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 8


Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

17 XVIII

Righteous
That which, enveloped in darkness, sees ADHARMA as Healthy for spiritual
DHARMA, and all things perverted, that intellect life
understanding), O Partha, is TAMASIC (dull). Science which make
It has such a totally perverted "understanding" that it you understand what
recognises "Adharma" as "Dharma," the 'right' as 'wrong.' This is good, bad or right
faculty of coming to wrong judgments is amply seen in the wrong
dull, because their entire reasoning capacity is enveloped by
complete darkness and egoistic drunkenness.
18 XVIII

Dharma: Law of
behavior
But the "fortitude," O Arjuna, by which one holds fast to duty, Arth: Law of earning
pleasure and wealth, from attachment and craving for the Kama: Law of desire
fruits-of-actions, that "fortitude," O Partha, is RAJASIC full filng
(passionate). Mokshya: Law of
The constancy, with which a person holds fast to duty getting liberated
(Dharma), wealth (Artha) and pleasure (Kama), encouraged by
his growing desire to enjoy the fruit of each of them, is the
steadiness or "fortitude" of the Rajasic type.
19 XVIII

To behave as per own


Better is one's own duty (though) destitute of merits, than the tendencies
duty of another well-performed. He who does the duty Duties as per own
ordained by his own nature incurs no sin. nature, tendencies.
To work in any field ordered by one's own vasanas is better,
because in that case, there is a chance for exhausting the
existing vasanas. When anindividual strives in a field contrary
to the existing vasanas, he not only fails to gain any exhaustion
of the existing vasanas, but also creates a new load of vasanas
in his temperament. Hence, it is said here: "BETTER IS ONE'S
OWN DHARMA THOUGH IMPERFECT THAN THE
DHARMA OF ANOTHER WELL-PERFORMED."
By performing "duties ordained by one's own nature"
(Swabhaava-Niyatam-Karma) the individual comes to no
evil --- meaning, the individual has no chance of imprinting
any new impressions on his mind --- the impressions which, in
their maturity, might force him to strive, to seek, to achieve and
to indulge.

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 9


Sr. Chapter Verse – Meaning - Criticism Meaning of Dharma

20 XVIII

Abandoning all DHARMAS, (of the body, mind, and intellect), take THE LAW OF BEING
refuge in Me alone; I will liberate thee from all sins; grieve not.
Most often used, and yet in no two places having the same shade of Divine Spark of
suggestion, the term, 'Dharma'has becomes the very heart of the Existence
Hindu culture. This explains why the religion of India was called by
the people who lived in the land and enjoyed its spiritual wealth as Divine Consciousness
the 'Sanatana Dharma.'
Duties in life
Dharma, as used in our scriptures is, to put it directly and precisely,
"THE LAW OF BEING." That because of which a THING continues Ethical and Moral rules
to be the THING itself, without which the THING cannot continue to
be that THING, is the Dharma of the THING. Heat, because of Duties towards
which fire maintains itself as fire, without which fire can no more be relations, friends,
fire, is the Dharma of fire. Heat is the Dharma of fire; cold fire we community, nation and
have yet to come across! Sweetness is the Dharma of sugar; sour the world,
sugar is a myth! Every object in the world has two types of
properties: (a) the essential, and (b) the non-essential. A substance
can remain itself, intact, when its "non-essential" qualities are absent, Obligations to our
but it cannot remain ever for a split moment without its "essential" environment
property. The color of the flame, the length and width of the tongues
of flame, are all the "non-essential" properties of fire, but the
essential property of it is heat. This essential property of a substance All our affections,
is called its Dharma. Then what exactly is the Dharma of man? The reverence, charity, and
color of the skin, the innumerable endless varieties of emotions and sense of goodwill
thoughts --- the nature, the conditions and the capacities of the body,
mind and intellect --- are the "non-essential" factors in the human Perfection through all
personality, as against the Touch of Life, the Divine Consciousness, our actions and in all
expressed through them all. Without the Atman man cannot exist; it our contacts with the
is TRUTH which is the basis of existence. Therefore, the "essential outer world
Dharma" of man is the Divine Spark of Existence, the Infinite Lord.
With this understanding of the term Dharma, we shall appreciate its To live truly as the
difference from mere ethical and moral rules of conduct, all duties in Atman
life, all duties towards relations, friends, community, nation and the
world, all our obligations to our environment, all our affections,
reverence, charity, and sense of goodwill --- all that have been
considered as our Dharma in our books. In and through such actions,
physical, mental and intellectual, a man will bring forth the
expression of his true Dharma --- his Divine Status as the All-
pervading Self. To live truly as the Atman, and to express Its Infinite
Perfection through all our actions and in all our contacts with the
outer world is to rediscover our Dharma.

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 10


mama Qama-: My Religion
Qama- xao~o ku$xao~o samavaota yauyau%sava:
maamakaM paNDvaaScaOva ikmakuva-t saMjaya:
The Opening The Concluding
word in Geeta word in Geeta
ya~ yaaogaoSvar: kRYNaao ya~ paqaao- QanauQa-r:
t~ EaIiva-jayaao BaUitQa`u-vaa naIitma-it: mama

mama Essence of Geeta Qama-:


There are some commentators of the Gíta who draw our attention to this
concluding word in the Gíta, "my" (mama), and to the opening word in the Gíta,
"Dharma."Between these two words, the seven hundred verses are hung
together as a garland of immortal beauty, and so these commentators
summarize the meaning of the Gíta as "My Dharma" ( ). mama Qama-:
The Gita explains the nature of humans (my dharma), the nature of Truth (My
Dharma), and how true life starts when these two are in harmony. The ideal
nature of all true students of the Gita should be a glorious synthesis of both the
spiritual knowledge expressed in their equipoise and character, the dynamic
love expressed through their service to humanity, and their readiness to
sacrifice.
mama Qama-: My Religious Values As Human Being:
™ Duties in life
™ Duties towards relations, friends, community, nation and the world
™ Obligations to our environment
™ Perfection through all our actions and in all our contacts with the outer world
™ The dynamic love expressed through service to humanity, and readiness to sacrifice

mama AaQyaai%mak Qama-: My Spiritual Religious Values As Human Being:


™ To know ‘Law of Being
™ To know Lord is The Absolute
™ To know Lord is The Bliss

™ To know Lord is Love

Sarva Dharman Parityajya 11


kao mama Qama-: Æ What Is My True Religion ?
Religion is philosophy in action. From time to time an ancient philosophy needs intelligent re-interpretation in the
context of new times, and men of wisdom, prophets, and seers guide the common man on how to apply effectively
the ancient laws in his present life.
Now days the word ‘Religion’, though most commonly used by people, but most misused and misinterpreted in the
world. True meaning of ‘Religion’, is to re-join soul to the Lord.
In India, the sages discovered and initiated a culture that is spiritual, and this spiritual culture is maintained and
worked out through religious practices, and therefore, culture and religion are, to the Hindu, one and the same.
Very rarely we find any mention of the term culture, as such, in our ancient literature. More often we meet with the
insistence on and the mention of our religious practices. In fact, the Hindu religion is a technique by which this
spiritual culture can be maintained and worked out in the community. Dharma comprises those divine values-of-
life by living which we manifest more and more the essential spiritual being in us. Family-Dharma (Kula-Dharma)
is thus nothing but the rules of living, thinking, and acting in a united, well-planned family. By strictly following
these rules we soon come to learn, in the prayer-rooms of our homes, how to live as better citizens of the Aryan-
culture.

Vedanta is no religion in the ordinary concept of the term, which implies the formalistic observance of some
physical and mental discipline, in some House of God, during a specific day of the week, for a prescribed length of
time. If we consider religion as an "Art of Right Action," then Vedanta is indeed the noblest of religions, because it
provides a scientific explanation for the entire way of right living. Krishna here glorifies it: "THIS IS THE
ROYAL SCIENCE, THE ROYAL MYSTERY AND PURE AND VERY HIGH."

In Short, A Student Of Religion Must Learn To Keep An Open Mind And Not Condemn The
Philosophy Before Understanding What It Has To Say.
So word ‘Dharma’, used by ‘Bhagwat Geeta’, the most sacred text book of ‘Vedantic’, philosophy
has may shades of meaning. Let us summarize all as follows:
Meaning Of ‘Dharma’ The ‘Religion’
¾ A Holy Place Where One Can Contemplate On God Principal
¾ Tradition of Society
¾ Skills in society or race, group of people
¾ Duty, Action to be taken, decision to be taken
¾ Duty of Race, Cast or group of people like Thinker, Business-men. warrior, laborer
¾ Duties as per tendencies developed by past deeds.
¾ How to perform activities in life without getting entangles into them. Science of ‘Karma Yoga’.
¾ Healthy behavior of society, Code of conduct
¾ Righteousness, Good tendencies
¾ Divine Consciousness
¾ Spiritual Science
¾ Righteous man as per spiritual science
¾ Code of conduct of Sanatan Dharma
¾ Immortal Law, Law of life
¾ Ultimate Bliss
¾ Science which make you understand what is good, bad or right wrong
¾ Duties in Life, towards relations, friends, community, nation and the world,
¾ To live truly as the ‘Atman’. The Principal Absolute
¾ Know That ‘The God Is Love’
Salutaions To The Lotus Feet Of Satguru
Sarva Dharman Parityajya H. H. “Swami Chinmayanada’ 12
Idam Na Mama
asohoni@gmail.com