Talk 29 by Prabhuji (13 April 2016)
Let us contemplate on dharma, the moment you say dharma you convert into religion, some English word called religion, religion is not dharma. And dharma has no equivalent term in English language. Because of this confusion we are a confused society. Dharma is very very different from religion. A religion has a founder, religion has a set of teachings, it has a belief system and followers. Dharma is not that. Religion defines who are the followers of religion and non-followers of religion, who are believers and non-believers of religion. Religion depends on the believers, religion depends on the founders. Dharma has nothing to do with the religion, and dharma has nothing to with the religion.
What is Dharma? ‘Dharma’ means ‘nature’. To give an example the nature of fire is to burn, the dharma of fire is to burn. Real meaning of dharma is nature. Now which nature we are speaking of? The nature is Prakriti, this manifest universe has a nature. What is that nature, let us look into that. Anything in the universe, stars, planets, galaxies, trees, rivers, ocean forest everything is constantly changing. Change is the only constant in this world. That is why it is called ‘jagat’, ‘jayate’, ‘iti gacchati’, which means that “it is born and keeps moving and goes”. Moment to moment it is changing. That is the nature of the world. But the beauty of this is that even though it is changing moment to moment there is an order in this change. There is no disorder, there is a beautiful order in this change. Otherwise if everything keeps on changing without order there will be chaos. Instead of chaos there is order, now why did this order come? This order came because, in this changing world there is something changeless, something that doesn’t change, there is a changeless in the changing.
Something which is unchanging is there behind this changing world and that unchanging is Bhagavan or Ishwara or Lord who is taking of the order in this universe. So that order is called Dharma. Dharma means nature and Dharma also means order. So the order represents the essential unchanging principle in this change. Now if you think that Bhagavan has created this Universe and sitting somewhere, no! Bhagavan has himself become Dharma and order in this universe. The order is God himself. Instead of chaos that is supposed to happen in this changing world, there is order because of the divine presence in this unchanging and divine himself manifested as dharma to bring order in this universe.
So there are different orders, if you look at the galactic order, there are stars and galaxies, there is so much of movement in Galaxy, but there is no traffic jam there. No traffic police. They all are moving with precision at a galactic order. You are looking for God somewhere. That order itself is Bhagavan, that order is Dharma. Then there is order in the manifestation, there is space, air, fire, water and earth. There is an order in the way seasons are changing. There is an order in which gravitational force is working, rivers are flowing.
There is an order in which the nature is working, there is a biological order and environmental order also. There are animals which eat plants called as Herbivorous, there are animals which eat other animals called as Carnivorous and there are human beings. Everything is in an order. If there is any imbalance it gets corrected. At nature level there is an order, at galactic level there is an order.
If we go to the microscopic level, there are atoms and electrons moving in precision. Who created rules for them to move? The electrons will not fall into the atom. There is biological order also. Look at your own body, how many cells are there in your brain, there are billions of cells having trillion of connections which are your memories and actions and you don’t have even a clue of how many connections are there. And the number of connections in the brain are more than the number of stars in the galaxy. Our eyes and ears are operating, our heart is beating, our lungs are working, blood circulation is there temperature is maintained, and so there is a perfect order in the biological system. So, there is order in the galactic system, order in the nature, order in the seasons and order in the biological system. Also there is an order in the society also, there are teachers, there are thinkers, business men, engineers, workers, so there is some order in the working of the society, no chaos.
And all this order is called Dharma, and dharma is Bhagavan himself. Dharma is not different from Bhagavan. Now a human being compared to all other beings can violate dharma. Everything else in the Universe follows Dharma. They don’t have a choice to not to follow Dharma. Even the sun which is so powerful has to precisely follow the Order which is given, no violation is possible. But human beings can fall out of this dharma. Why? Animals also follow Dharma. Only human beings can go out of this order which is called as Adharma. Dharma is actually universal order. That is God. So please note, how much mistake we are doing when we use the word dharma. The universal order is for every living being, it is not for a specific community or caste. Dharma is order, has nothing to do with religion and people are confused about this Dharma, the newspapers also confused with what is dharma.
Human being if he is aligned with this order that is called dharma. If he doesn’t disturb this order and maintains this order it is called dharma. But if falls out of the order and causes chaos in the system, disturbs the order, then it is Adharma. Disturbs the order by violating the universal principles, such a person is called Adharma. Now a person can act in different capacities in his society, for his living he can be a teacher, police, business, politician, worker, different categories. When he is working and contributing to the order and but not disorder then it facilitates overall evolution of living beings. So such a person is said to be in dharma otherwise he is Adharma. Action of a person in tune with the universe principles is also called Dharma. So that is why Sri Krishna says, ‘swadharme nidhanam shreyam para dharam bhayapaha…..’ act according to your dharma. If you are a warrior – Kshatriya, then act according to that, follow your dharma.
Now why does a human being go out of Dharma?
By nature human being has a freewill and because of the ignorance he forgets his true nature that he is divine and that’s why all the teachings of Upanishads are ‘You are That’, you are the supreme reality that means in your heart there is divine. So he forgets that and we tune ourselves with flesh and identifies with the body mind complex. When we tunes with the body-mind complex all our actions will become selfish and some of them become Adharmic in nature. When there is a large chaos in the order or system, Bhagavan says ‘I will manifest’, ‘yada yada hi dharmasay glanir bhavati bharat abyuthanamadharmasaya tadatmanam srujamyaham…’ Bhagavan himself appears, if a disturbance of a large scale is there, if small scale you only have to handle. When a massive scale of disturbance happens he himself take birth to restore dharma. He himself is dharma, you yourself are dharma.
You have to play certain role. You have certain dharma, now when you have to play role, the dharma of your profession, vritti dharma. Then we have deha dharma which is there to maintain the body, or dharma of husband, wife or children is there and dharma of a friend is there and so all these are Dharmas to maintain the order. If you start doing something not in line with universal principles a disorder can come in. Finally sri Krishna gives a definition of Dharma – “sarva dharman parityajya”, drop all dharmas not religions, deha dharma, vritti dharma, mano dharma, sthree dharma, then what remains is Atma dharma, the Self is nothing but Sri Krishna, once you realise the Self all sins will fall away because you were identified with what you are not, this is Dharma.
So that is why the saying ‘dharayati iti dharma’, Dharma is the one which protects, not at the individual level but it is an universal order, which takes care of everything. Now does everybody know their dharma? Do you know your dharma? That dharma concept is built inside you. Deep inside you know what should not be done to you and by the same principle you should not do that to others. The fundamental principle of life, somebody should not kill me, by the same principle I should not kill somebody else. So dharma concept is not taught through books, dharma concept is not some belief system, dharma concept is inbuilt human understanding and that is what we call as Dharma. That is why it need not be taught through books. But when you say religion it is taught through books, it is a set of believers and non-believers. Dharma is universal principle it is not about a set of believers.
Transcription by Atmajyothi Satyavathi