TALK 30 by Prabhuji (18 April 2016)
THE CONFLICT IN FOLLOWING DHARMA
Let us contemplate on the conflict in following Dharma also called Dharma Sankata. All of us deep inside we know what Dharma is. The concept of Dharma is ‘I should not do something to others, what should not be done to me’. ‘I don’t like anybody hurting me naturally I should not hurt others’. Similarly ‘I don’t want to kill anybody, because I don’t want to be killed’, it is a mutual respect, ‘live and let live’is one aspect of Dharma. But Dharma becomes a set of prescribed actions depending on the role in life whether you are student, a householder, a retired or a monk, Brahmachari, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, sanyasa, different prescribed duties are there to ensure order in the society otherwise there will be disorder. Similarly depending on the which role you take – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra, a teacher, a warrior, an administrator, a politician, a business man or a worker, certain acts called dos and don’ts are there what we call as ‘Kartavya’ which upholds the dignity of the position which you are holding.
So, Arjuna had a conflict, he was Kshatriya a warrior, and in the war field, the opponents were his relatives. In the war field, on the opponent side, his Guru who taught him archery was also there. So if he has to fight in this war, then he is fighting against his Guru, or Master which is Adharma. Also he is going to kill his relatives which is going to be Adharma. Whereas as Kshatriya he has to uphold Dharma and hence fight against Adharma. So there is a conflict at two levels, conflict of his Dharma as a warrior or Kshatriya to fight and uphold Dharma, and conflict as Shisya killing his Guru which is Adharma.
So how does he resolve this, Arjuna gets totally confused and he surrenders to Krishna and whole of Bhagavad Gita is teaching of Krishna as to how to fight Adharma in spite of all these conflicts called as Dharma Sankata. Sri Krishna resolves his conflict through Bhagavad Gita.
There is another conflict comes for Dharmaraya in the war. Dronacharya who is the Guru of Pandavas has to be killed and killing Dronacharya is not easy. He is the real Master Archer and all Pandavas have learnt archery from Dronacharya. So Sri Krishna wants to cause confusion in the mind of Dronacharya so that he gets depressed and he can be killed. He asks Dharmaraya to go and announce that Ashwattama is dead or killed, Ashwattama is the son of Dronachraya. So Dharmaraya says ‘I cannot lie, Ashwatthama cannot be killed he is one of the seven immortals. Sri Krishna says, “Tell that Ashwatthama is dead so that Dronacharya gets depressed and loses his mental balance and he can be killed.” If it comes from the mouth of Dharmaraya then Dronacharya will believe, if it comes from others he will never believe. Now Dharmaraya is supposed to be the embodiment of truth. So if he says untruth also people will believe. But Dharmaraya is not ready to tell.
So Krishna asks Bhīma to kill the elephant called Ashwatthama and then makes Dharmaraya announce that an elephant called Ashwatthama is dead. Dharmaraya announces ‘Ashwattama hatah kunjaraha’ which means that “Elephant is dead”. Here, ‘kunja’ means elephant, ‘hatah’ means dead and Sri Krishna blows his counch when the word ‘kunja’ is said. So what is finally heard is ‘Ashwathtama hataha’. Dharmaraya told the truth only because the elephant called Ashwattama is killed. But hearing this Dronacharya suddenly feels depressed, and he forgets that his son is immortal and when he is in that state, Dhrustadumnyu the warrior of Pandavas kills Dronacharya.
Now here you see the conflict, Dharmaraya never told a lie in his life. But then the moment he told ‘Ashwattama hatakunjarah’ immediately he gets depressed. It is said that Dharamaraya was so truthful that his feet never touched the ground always floating above the ground. It is not to be taken as a literal meaning, it means he felt so light. But the moment he says ‘Ashwattama hatakunjarah’ his feet touches the ground. He felt heavy. Look at this, it looks very strange. Even though he told the truth ‘Ashwattama hatakunjarah’ he was still dpressed. Because he knew the intention of saying this was to kill Dronacharya. So for this sin Dharmaraya had to visit the hell for 15 min, but in reality he told the truth. So these are conflicts.
Now let us analyse the conflict of Arjuna, his conflict was his relatives versus war, justice against injustice. His duties for his relatives, duty for his Guru versus his duties for his country or justice. So which of these should he hold on to? Sri Krishna gave clarity that it is the duty for your country and justice which is higher Dharma compared to the lower Dharma relatives. So when there is a conflict between higher Dharma and lower Dharma the higher Dharma should be upheld. That is what Arjuna followed.
A judge is sitting for judgement and his son has come as criminal to the court, now the judge cannot be partial because his son is the criminal, but has to go as per the law book. Similarly your duty should take presidence over your personal things.
Let us take up the conflict of Dharmaraya, which is very strange. Dharmaraya followed truthfulness for his upliftment or purification throughout his life. Whereas Dronacharya should be killed for the overall interest of the Dharma . So his personal Dharma versus overall good. Which is of higher Dharma here? Sri Krishna said overall Dharma should be followed. But Dharmaraya felt that he was saying untruth, but if he had felt that he was telling truth in the overall interest of Dharma he would not have incurred sin.
So whenever there is a conflict between higher Dharma and lower Dharma always follow the higher Dharma. Conflicts keep coming to us in various aspects of our life like family life, personal life, professional life etc. Don’t get trapped in lower Dharma.
Transcription by Atmajyothi Satyavathi