First published on Social Potpourri
This is in continuation to the previous piece - Of Right, Duty, Dharma and That Inner Voice. It would be helpful if you have read the earlier article.
Dharma is not an easy concept to understand and describe. It has to be actually ‘lived’ as per our level of consciousness and its ascending journey. However, in order to at least mentally comprehend it, we must first develop an intellectual practice and habit that accepts multiple truths co-existing simultaneously.
For example, while Ahimsa (non-violence) may be the supreme Dharma on a very high spiritual plane, it cannot and should not be applied universally as a moral principle on each plane of existence and action. When a soldier kills in a battlefield, he too is following his dharma. Failure to do so will mean abandoning his dharma. When a colonized people start an armed revolution against their colonial masters their action is not adharmic. Passively accepting oppression and unjust foreign rule may actually be against the spirit of the group-dharma which enjoins the group members to live and discover their individual dharma in freedom.
As we begin to see, Dharma is universal and individual at the same time. It is eternal and ever-changing at the same time.
A tiger kills and devours others as per its dharma; a flower gives fragrance and beauty to all as per its dharma. It is only human being, however, who perhaps is often not sure of his or her dharma and feels a sort of evolutionary crisis within. There are times when one must abandon the dharma that seemed right and true at an earlier time or stage in life, and go toward a higher dharma, a higher law of being. And this creates an inner tension of sorts, an inner battleground where dharma alone can help resolve the crisis.
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(Dear reader, I would love to hear any thoughts, comments or responses you may have to this article. You may drop me a few words here or at the SP site, as per your convenience and preference.)