Friday, March 9, 2012

Higher Dharm

Everybody knows that one should follow his Dharm or duties. In Hindu Sanskriti this Dharm has been divided for each person according to his Varn and Aashram. There are four Varn and four Aashram. Everybody has his own Varn - Braahman, or Kshatriya, or Vaishya or Shoodra; and his own Aashram - Brahmcharya, or Grihasth, or Vaanprasth or Sanyaas. Till a human being lives, he is under one Varn and one Aashram and thus he should behave according to that. That is our Dharm and this is the normal way of living. But there is another Dharm which is above this normal Dharm and morality. There are a few stories of such higher Dharm and morality in which people did not follow normal Dharm, but rose to follow higher Dharm. Here I give four such stories, read them and try to rise higher than your normal Dharm and morality  --

(1) Yudhishthir
Yudhishthir is a Mahaabhaarat (MBH)  character. He was the eldest son of King Paandu and is known for following his Dharm, Truth and morality. When the MBH war was going on, Bheeshm had fallen and Guru Drone was the Commander-in-Chief of the Kaurav army; he was slaying many people daily. Four days had passed and there was no hope of defeating Drone. Yudhishthir was losing his army very quickly. He asked Krishn what to do, how to kill Guru Drone. Krishn suggested that there was only one way to kill him. He thinks that his son cannot be killed. Once he told that if he would hear the news of the death of his son in the battlefield, he would put down his weapons. So if somebody spreads this news that "Ashwatthaamaa has died" he would put his weapons down and it will be easier to kill him."

But who should tell this lie and how. Krishn suggested that "there was an elephant named Ashwatthaamaa, he could be killed and then one should spread the news that "Ashwatthaamaa has died". When he will believe this he will put his weapons down."  Who will convince him for this, because he is not such a fool that anybody will spread this news and he would believe it. At this Krishn suggested that "if Yudhishthir will say this, he will believe it." Yudhishthir said - "This is a lie, I cannot tell lie and that also to my Guru. It is a great sin." Then Krishn preached him of higher Dharm and morality - that it was better to kill one person by telling a lie, instead of killing thousands of people by sticking to truth.

Then Bheem killed the Ashwatthaamaa elephant and spread the news that "Ashwatthaamaa has died". As Drone heard this news, he could not believe it and he said - "I want to hear from Yudhishthir's mouth, then only I can believe it." Yudhishthir also said - "Ashwatthaamaa is dead." Now there was no doubt and Drone kept his weapons down. Krishn asked Dhrishtdyumn to kill him at that time. He did that and killed him. That is how Yudhishthir saved his thousands of people by telling one lie on Krishn's advice.

(2) Sant Eknath Eswaran
There was a Saint named Eknath who lived in Mahaaraashtra state of India. Once he was traveling with a group of his followers from Vaaraanasee to Raameshwaram, from North to South. They all were carrying the Holy River Gangaa water to offer to Shiv. As they headed on foot to Raameshwaram, they passed through a dense forest. The pathway was narrow and Eknath got separated from his group as they could not keep up with him. When he saw nobody behind him, he decided to stop and wait for them. He sat down under a tree and started waiting for them. It was very hot. In the meantime he spotted a donkey to be dying of thirst. Eknath got very sympathetic to him. He tried to search for some water in the area so that he could give him for drink but could not find any.

He thought and thought, what should he do. The only water he had was the Holy water to be offered to God, and this donkey was dying with thirst. Should he keep this water for God, or give to this dying donkey? He did not take much time to think, he got up, took the Holy water pitcher and pour some water in his throat. The donkey was so thirsty that he drank all the water of the pitcher, to the last drop of it.

At the same time his followers arrived there. They saw him giving that Holy water to a donkey, they asked him angrily - "What did you do Eknath? This was the Holy water. We were carrying it to offer it to God and you gave it to a donkey. Now our trip is wasted. What we will offer to Shiv?" The saint smiled and said - "A true human being cannot bear to see another living being dying of thirst when he has water, whether it is ordinary or Holy. This offering to save the donkey's life is far greater than any kind of offering to any God.

(3) A Sage and a Cow
Once a sage was meditating under a tree in a forest. He was so much lost in his meditation that he did not know what was happening around. Suddenly he heard a shriek and he opened his eyes. Besides seeing the beauty of the forest he saw a frightened deer running towards him. He ran away in opposite direction. In the meantime a hunter appeared on the scene carrying his bow and arrow, ready to shoot, maybe to kill that deer. The hunter came and asked the sage if he had seen any deer going from there. The sage once thought what to say to him - "I have seen him or I have not seen him. If I say I have seen him, this hunter will kill him, and if I say, I have not seen him, although it would be a lie, but it will not affect him much and the deer will be saved. If I say one lie to save a life, it should not be taken as a lie." So he decided to tell the lie, he said - "No, I have not seen him." The hunter went away and the sage took the sigh of relief. He was very much at peace that he saved a life on that day.

(4) Jesus Christ
This last story is of Jesus Christ. Everybody knows this story of Jesus. Once Jesus saw that some people were throwing stones on a woman. Jesus asked the people what had happened. The people told him that she had done adultery, and according to the rules she should be stoned to death. Jesus was asked to judge her and pronounce her punishment. Now he had the choice of taking an easy course and pronouncing her guilty, which she was according to the law of the day in that society, a law Jesus was thoroughly familiar with, and which would allow the men who had brought her to him to stone her to death, OR to save her by giving some logical reason.

In all likelihood Jesus knew that this was a trap set for him – if he forgave her, he would be breaking the law of the Pharisees, and if he condemned her, he would be practicing against his own teaching of forgiveness and love. Yet he decided to take the risk and chose the path of higher morality. As the adulteress presented a similar situation of value conflict, in which a man has to decide to choose between  the paths of normal Dharm and morality or higher Dharm and morality. He decided to choose the path of higher Dharm and morality, He said - "He who among you has never committed any sin in your life, let him first cast a stone at her.” and looked around the people standing before him carrying stones in their hands.

It is said that Jesus sealed his own death warrant by this statement – for what he had done was expose the hypocrisy of the man who was trying to trap him to the glare of the day. Here again, like the sage in the earlier story, what Jesus had done was to forsake the conventional morality and rise to the level of higher morality.

Sushma Gupta

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