Updated: Oct 12, 2021
Whether we understand it or not every phenomenon in the universe is the result of some natural law.
Likewise many things may seem chaotic, but they follow a universal order, called 'Dharma'.
Dharma has been used almost exclusively in a religious or spiritual context, but in reality it is a scientific concept that covers every aspect of existence, with its origin in ancient Indian thought and life. Dharma is a term for which there is no literal translation. At best we can try to describe it as 'The universal Order'.
Like gravity, Dharma is the same everywhere in the world. Dharma is both philosophy and science which has been well defined, in various forms and at various times in human history to successfully test universal truths.
Dharma is emotionless, non judgemental and always active. We may acknowledge Dharma or not but Dharma always exists pervading every aspect of existence.
All scientific studies are actually aimed at understanding and defining Dharma. 'The universal order'.
Dharma is not some abstract concept, it applies to every field, discipline and activity of our lives. Be it love, war, meditation, work, commerce, family.
As a former industrialist I like to think I am pretty good at what I do, but I often could not succeed in what I desired and this troubled me a lot. As is with great teams, luckily where I was weak, my brothers, father and other members of our staff were very strong and capable.
I studied them and realised that they were better businessmen, engineers, planners, and managers than me, but why?
They respected and followed Dharma, in their respective areas of work and activities, while I did not. For example in business one has to be ruthless, meaning the ability to take tough decisions, which may cause unpleasantness in the short to medium term but has medium to long term benefits.
There is no such thing as a kind businessman, warrior, leader, politician etc. They may be kind individuals but if they bring it into their domain of professional activity, they will doom themselves and the cause they serve.
During the 12th Century the great Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan not only repulsed but decisively defeated in battle the Islamic invader Muhammad of Ghor multiple times. However Prithviraj got carried away with his greatness and magnanimously forgave Muhammad each time.. After numerous attempts Muhammad of Ghor's army eventually succeeded in defeating the army led by Prithviraj. Prithviraj Chauhan along with his leaders was enslaved, humiliated, blinded and then brutally killed.
In terms of Dharma as rulers and warriors, Muhammad of Ghor was true to Dharma of warfare and in spite of being inferior of character, in capabilities and numbers triumphed over the superior but misguided Prithviraj Chauhan who ignored the Dharma of war and statecraft.
Am I implying that one should not be magnanimous or kind?
No I am merely placing these concepts in context. Muhammad had waged ceaseless war on the great kingdom of Chahamanas, of which Prithviraj Chauhan the king was a mere custodian. As an individual he followed the high individual Dharma of forgiveness and compassion but as a king and commander in chief of his army he failed miserably in his duty to protect his kingdom, the people, its culture and its institutions.
Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi may have demonstrated magnanimity and kindness in many matters of state with complete lack of prudence and thus greatly troubled the population, imperilled India and supported the forces of destruction and violence.
Nehru and Gandhi were completely entitled to live their personal lives as they deemed fit. But as leaders many things they consented to, supported, implemented and committed to was not theirs to exercise. A custodian cannot give away what is not personally his or hers.
Dharma covers every aspect of our lives and each phenomenon, profession, relationship, has its own Dharma.
In the days to come I shall share with you whenever I can the Dharma of statecraft, politics, warfare, business, family life, etc.
I hope my thoughts will be useful to you.