Where There is Dharma, There is Prosperity
Sant Kabirji has said: “Better an illiterate, free from the worldly delusion.”
If someone is striving to be more learned or erudite only to fulfil his desires, it would be better for him to remain ignorant and illiterate. Irrespective of how many educational certificates one obtains, or however great a post one reaches, if that person isn’t interested in upholding dharma, even at the cost of pains which may come on the way, then they haven’t attained true elevation or aren’t yet fully evolved. Things like securing a big job, or constructing a number of houses are not indicators of true elevation. Regardless of whether these things are there or not, the ambrosial stream of spiritual consciousness must continue to flow in your heart, and your intrinsic nature of Truth-Consciousness and Bliss should keep radiating through every pore of your being –this is the mark of true elevation. Then it hardly matters whether you have got food or clothing for yourself or not, or whether you are being showered with praises or insults from all corners. Mansoor remained steadfast in his dharma by declaring, “I am God.”, even though it meant his sure execution. Socrates and Janaka had practised their dharma as well. Lord Rama and Mother Sita were incarnations of dharma itself.
True elevation eludes us only because we are careless about maintaining our dharma. You must observe dharma for quick elevation. Install the Lord of the Universe in your heart and carry out your duties even if you have to face a lot of troubles –this constitutes real ‘dharma’. If selfish goals or worldly allurements lead you to obey your parents, this is not true observance of dharma.
Generally, after reading about dharma, people prefer to put the books aside; but a personality whose life itself reflects a good exposition of dharma, is that of Lord Rama ‘Lord Rama is the very personification of dharma.’ Kaikeyi used the boons she had attained earlier in her life to get Lord Rama sent into exile to the forests barefooted. Then Ramaji declared, “It is my resolve to carry out the resolves of my parents.” Ramaji then engaged Himself in His duty without paying even a passing thought to the difficulties ahead.
Indeed, how supremely great is the dharma of Lord Rama, Who didn’t ever look at a thing that should not be seen; nor did he ever give a word which He couldn’t fulfil, or for which He would be branded as a liar. He never spoke deceitfully, keeping a difference in his thoughts and what he actually said. Sri Ramachandraji did not eat food that would make His intellect dull, depraved, or give rise to attachment and hatred. So ardent was His love for Lakshmana, His younger brother, that He wouldn’t eat a delicious food given to Him until and unless He had shared it with His beloved brother. Nor did He ever go to bed before Lakshmana’s arrival. While playing in Gurukul, when He saw that His victory was but sure, which would leave His dear brothers Lakshmana, Bharata, Shatrughna and other co-disciples disheartened; Lord Ramachandraji would let them win and accept defeat Himself as would behove Him, a lover of the Transcendental Existence, established in His Real Self, Who considered victory and defeat to be mere dreams and as events in the behavioural existence, while knowing the Witness Consciousness to be actually His own. It was such actions of His meant to foster enthusiasm, sensibility, bliss and Knowledge among others as led the supremely righteous Rama to the high pedestal of being the very personification of dharma.
While preparing to go on His forest exile, Sri Ramachandraji told Sitaji to stay back at home; to which Sitaji politely disagreed. She prayed to Ramaji, and cited such powerful scriptural reasons in favour of her plea that Ramaji had to accept her request. Lakshmana offered a similar loving prayer and Sri Rama accepted his request for accompanying Him as well. So Sitaji, Ramaji and Lakshmanaji all put on monastic dresses. Then Sitaji said, “Now, when we are moving about in the forest as recluses, where is the need to carry bows and arrows any more? People will take you for warmongers and Kshatriya by race. You should leave your arms at some rishi’s ashram here, and collect it again on the way back to Ayodhya. At present we are living on roots and tubers, have dressed ourselves as recluses, and are also carrying out spiritual practices; so it doesn’t conform to dharma to keep with us the means of tormenting and killing others.”
How great a deference Sitaji has for dharma, and how keenly inclined she is to discern the practicality of dharma! But then, even Ramaji didn’t miss a chance of knowing or expounding dharma. He didn’t say, ‘I shall keep these arms with me, who are you to stop me?” No. Ramaji rather says, “Dear Sita! See, I have taken an oath to serve the righteous people. I shall destroy those demons and rascals who are spreading terror in society, and on account of whose base nature the righteous people have to suffer. I shall never go back on my oath. I may abandon you and brother Lakshmana, but I shall definitely abide by my dharma, my oath.” This saw Sitaji bowing her head down in deference.
Sitaji too acquires such a high pedestal in terms of adherence to dharma, that one can’t help being overwhelmed with reverence. When Hanumanaji saw Mother Sita being harassed and tormented at the hands of the demonesses, and found her to be very lean and thin as if on the verge of death, He couldn’t bear it and said, “Mother! Only God knows when we will be able to complete the bridge and come for your rescue, but why should you bear this torture till then? Please come with me. I am your son, a child. You just sit upon my shoulder and don’t at all worry about being noticed by the demons. I shall nullify all their attacks and take you to the holy feet of Ramaji.”
Sitaji knew that her Pawanasuta (another name of Hanumanaji) was fully capable and a trusted servant of her Lord; and also that it was he alone through whom He sent the identification ring. But she doesn’t accompany Hanumanaji. What does Sitaji say?
She says, “Ravana had come in the guise of a recluse and I had transgressed the line marked by Lakshmana only for the sake of giving him the alms. O Hanumana! At that time neither Sri Rama nor Lakshmana was with me. I was alone and helpless, while Ravana kidnapped me by force, and it was only then that I had to bear the touch of a man other than my Husband. Now I can’t willingly touch you, for this would amount to violation of dharma for a chaste woman. I am ready to bear the atrocities, but do not want to reach the holy feet of Lord Rama through a means inimical to dharma.”
Indeed, Mother Sita is verily the living personification of dharma! And in fact, each and every character of the ‘Valmiki Ramayana’ is a living personification of dharma or righteousness. Why, he alone who remains stuck to dharma despite facing adversities on the way, is a true man of dharma. If one observes dharma in favourable circumstances but relinquishes it in adversity, such observance of dharma won’t bring the desired transformation in life. Sitaji then further says, “Hanumana! Ravana had brought me here through an act of theft. Now, if you too want to steal me away from here, would that be a righteous action conforming to dharma? No. Shall we respond to the violation of dharma with another violation of dharma? O my son! Your heart aches at the sight of my sufferings, but these sufferings are only limited to my body and mind. I, on my part, am engaged in constant japa of Lord Rama’s name and am completely satiated therein. I have the satisfaction of observing my duty. It is the duty of Sri Ramaji to wage a war against Ravana. In this way His resolve to destroy the demons will be fulfilled and I shall become a partner of His in this pious act. With these facts in view, if I now flee away from here, I shall be guilty of obstructing the mission of Sri Ramaji.”
Now Hanumana was left speechless, what could he say after all? He bowed his head, and installed the lotus feet of Mother Sita in his heart while contemplating within, “Blessed I am to have got the privilege of serving and having darshana of the dharma personified Mother Sita and Lord Rama. Fortunate I am to have the opportunity of participating in the pious act of spreading the light of the Vedas, working for Lord Rama, the personification of Dharma, and assisting in the all round development of society. O Mother! May You and my Lord Rama live long.”
And is there any paucity of victory on the part of Hanumana who wished (and worked) for the victory of Lord Rama and Mother Sita? The hailing slogan still goes:
‘Remember Lord Rama, Mother Sita and Lakshmana, and wish for the victory of Hanumana.’
How greatly does dharma elevate everyone who abides by it!
It uplifts each and everyone of its followers.
‘Where there is dharma there is victory, and where there is dharma, there is true elevation.’
Just see the observance of dharma on the part of Hanumana! As Hanumanaji was crossing over the sea, the Mount Mainak elevated itself above the sea and requested him, “O Pavanaputra! You must be tired after flying for such a long time. I am highly indebted to the Raghu clan. Let me repay at least a bit of it by serving a servitor of that great clan. Please rest yourself for a while on me and find peace. Then leave for Lanka later on.”
Hanumanaji says, “How can I even think of taking rest without first completing the task assigned to me by Lord Rama? Verily my Lord’s work itself is the true rest for me.”
We are indeed fortunate to have been born in a tradition wherein dharma is reflected in practical life as well. Sanatana culture is expounded as being predominated by the pious spirit of benevolence. It allows one to take recourse to even surgery if that be the only cure for a given disease. Somewhere non-violence is dharma, while at another place violence itself becomes dharma. Suppose there is a risk of attack on our womenfolk, or even our nation; and by resorting to the principle -‘Non-violence is the highest dharma.’ we prefer to sit idle instead of preparing ourselves for a counter attack, then such non-violence would only give rise to a bigger violence and hence is inimical to dharma.
Had Arjuna not observed his dharma of waging the war, he wouldn’t have been able to curb violence and establish non-violence. Which action constitutes violence, and which non-violence –this has been well explained in Sanatana culture. How subtlest of the subtle wisdom is available in this Vedic culture! This is the culture of every human being. Irrespective of which class, society, nation or occupation one is in, if he follows the tenets of this culture, his desires are bound to be controlled. Vedic dharma controls desires and adds great impetus to the pursuit of worship; and worship in turn reveals the Supreme Truth lying within one’s very own self.