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The Essence of Dharma: Indian Perspective

Professor Mahavir Saran Jain

Ancient Indian thinkers had reflected on many of the important problems of
Aesthetics. It is not
(poetry/ literature) is different from agamas, shastras, itihasa etc. Tasting or
appreciation of art is viewed a
(रस) in his
N ṭya shastra (नाट्य शास्त्र)
developed and enriched by others. The Indian philosophers of literary art have
Bhava (भाव). Bhava is a life emotion
whereas Rasa is an art emotion. The theory of Rasa has dealt elaborately the
process of transmutation of life emotion
into art emotion
. Rasa is
always pleasurable even if the presented situation displays a painful emotion. This
(करुण रस) give pleasure although
they depict pathetic, mournful, grief and sorrowful sentiments. The example of
Srinag r
Rati Bhava
र ार रस)
(रति भाव) can make things quite clear. Rati Bhava is a physical passion in its
kinetic aspect; Srinagar rasa is its transmutation in art purged of all that is
obsessive and disquieting in it, and realized as all tenderness and spiritual, super
(साधारणीकरण). In general, what happens in the change
‘Bhava to
is that whatever is personal, self regarding and obsessive &
disquieting come impersonal, reposeful and bright with the sun shine of
consciousness which leads ultimately to transcendental Bliss. The Indian model of
aesthetics is based on the notion that profound and knowledgeable communion
model, like ras sv d of k vya, aesthetic experience of any art form can be
(ब्रह्मानन्द) (Bliss
or rapture of absorption into the Supreme Being). In this background, the substance
of Soul (आत्मन) and Brahman (ब्रह्म) (Supreme soul) is being commenced.

Truth is one. It is said: ekam sad (एकृं सद्). It can be expressed in many ways:
vipr bahud vadanti (ववप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति). Similarly, Dharma is one but is
propagated to mankind through various religions. Dharma is the substantive
(Noun). Every religion, in addition to a substance, has many adjectives that make it
Dharma is the strength & force by which human qualities develop in an individual.
Dharma makes the action of the individual pure and pious. Dharma elevates the
qualities of humanity and social awareness in an individual. Dharma inspires a
person to possess and practice those virtues and values, which make him a good
human being. A good human being invariably means a good social being also.
What are those virtues and values that a human being is expected to possess in his
life? Do egoism, anger, greediness, unrestrained sexuality, cruelty and violence
deserve possession? If all the members of society possess these traits, if everybody
breaks the moral or social order of sexual–life, can the concept of family be
conceived and harmonious social relations can be established?
The basis for a happy life and harmonious social order is self-restraint. It does not
mean renunciation or the total elimination of desires. Desires should not be
suppressed or removed, but should be sublimated.
When a person governs himself, it is self-restraint. When a person observes social
or governmental rules, leads his life with a sense of responsibility, then his rights
and freedom exist. When a person controls and limits the acquisition of
commodities, economic disparities become less. If every member of society does
the same, the basic necessities of every person can be fulfilled. When there is no
self- restraint in the members of a society, chaos prevails and the government
punishes its citizens severely to protect the social–order. The grip of the
government becomes severe and merciless and a centralized power or dictatorship
comes into existence.
Thus, compliance of dharma is a prerequisite for having happiness & freedom in
personal life and equality and harmony in social life.
The relevance of dharma on the personal level lies in welfare and happiness of an
individual. His liberation from illusion/ Maya/ mental impurities finally results in
attaining a state of salvation/ mukti (मुन्ति)/
ṣ (मोक्ष) / pure consciousness/
enjoyment of pure bliss/ nirvana (तनवााण )/ baikunṭha (बैकृंु ठ)/devotional worship and

supreme devotion to Ishwara. Dharma purifies one's consciousness and sublimates
the human instincts. Dharma imparts individual feelings of compassion and affinity
towards other beings.
The relevance of Dharma on the social level lies in establishing those social
conditions that are essential for peace, goodwill, freedom, equality, progress and
development of the society. The Vedic seers laid the foundation stone for
harmonious social life. Sam gachchhadhvam Sam vadadhvam sam VO man nsi
j nat m (You go together, speak together, let your minds think together) (RigVeda 10/191/2). The Vedic seers began with worshipping gods or divinities. The
principal Vedic gods are said to be 33 in number, namely eight Vasus, eleven
Rudras, twelve Adityas, Indra and Prajapathi Brahma. These gods belong to the
three regions of the earth, the heavens and the intermediate space. Most popular
the lord of the heavens. He is the most popular and powerful of the Vedic deities.
He is described as the god of the blue sky. He rides a white elephant called
Air vata (ऐरावि) and wields the dazzling weapon of lightening called Vajr yudh
(वज्रायुध ).If we find in Indra the qualities of a war lord or a typical king, in Varuna
we see the earliest signs of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent &
compassionate god, the precursor of the Upanishad Brahman. Varuna is the ruler
of the worlds, the ordained and enforcer of law and upholder of the world order. In
one of the Rig Vedic hymns he is described as the Lord of the earth and heaven
who sustains the tree that has its roots in heaven and branches down below. This
description reminds us of the famous Ashvattha (अश्वत्थ) tree of the latter day
scriptures. Varuna is the knower of all and controller of all. He is the supreme god
capable of controlling and dispensing justice. Mitra and Varuna are both lords of
the heaven. Together they uphold the law; they cause the cows to stream, the plants
and dispels the darkness, no sacrifice is complete without his presence. His
presence verily ensures the success of a sacrifice, because whatever sacrifices he
accepts goes to the gods. Agni is the messenger, the herald, master of all wealth,
oblation-bearer, much beloved, who brings the willing gods from the heavens and
makes them sit on the grass with him near the sacrificial altar. The Rudra (रुद्र) of
the Rig-Veda is a fierce looking god, well built and golden in color, a militant god
of storms and lightening and a provider of medicines. Though he did not enjoy the

same status as Indra, he definitely enjoyed his own importance because of his
tempestuous nature, his association with storms and storm gods called Maruts and
his ability to bring medicines to the people to prolong their lives. Vayu (वायु) is
described in the Rig-Veda as a beautiful god, ideally the first partaker of soma
juice which he seems to be especially fond of. He is a friend of Indra and a hero
who shares the glory of victory with the latter. He is swift as mind, the thousandeyed and the Lords of thought. Surya (सूया) is the blazing sun. He is one of the
Adityas, god among gods, the light that is most excellent, golden colored, who
rides the skies in his golden chariot, drawn by seven bay horses, which are
described in the hymns as the daughters of heaven. He is said to be extremely
brilliant, with radiant hair, which flies in the skies like a bird and shines brightly
like a jewel. Giver of power and strength, destroyer of laziness and darkness, with
bright light radiating from him, he knows all that lives. Before him, the
constellations pass away, like thieves, together with their rays. Swift and beautiful,
Surya is the maker of the light, who illumines the radiant realm, who goes to the
flock of gods as well as to the world of mankind with his light. Usha (उषा) is
dawn, the daughter of the sky, lady of the light, who rouses all life. She stirs all
creatures that have feet, and makes the birds of air fly up. Borne on a hundred
chariots, she yokes her steed before the arrival of the sun and is never late. She
eludes the Sun who is always eager to catch her. She brings not just light to the
sleeping mankind, but hope, happiness, riches and all the good things. On the
physical plane, Soma is some kind of intoxicating juice. As a god, Soma (सोम) is
the god of inspiration, the intoxicant who stirs the minds, lures the gods and brings
them to the place of worship. One of the most popular gods of the Rig Vedic
hymns, the entire 9th Mandala of the scripture is dedicated to him. Also known as
Indu or Somadeva, he brings joy into the lives of people, cures them from diseases
and leads them to the worlds of bliss and immortality. He gives strength not only to
mortals, but to the gods as well. Because of him, Indra was able to slay Vritra (वरर ).
Because of him Agni maintains his sway. He is also known as Lord of the speech
because of his intoxicating influence on the movement of speech.
The Vedic seers do not stop at revealing the existence of gods. They went from the
external to the internal cosmic body, God immanent in the universe, and ended in
identifying the soul itself with that God, and making one Soul, a unit of all these
various manifestations in the universe, and asserting that the whole universe is but

In the Vedas a number of hymns are addressed to Vishvadeva (ववश्वदे व ). The
Vishvadeva is a class of the popular gods of the Vedas. When they were
collectively invoked through a common ritual, they were addressed as Vishvadeva.
In the hymns of the Vishvadeva, we generally find the names of all those popular
gods which have been above-mentioned. In addition to these gods, we find the

By addressing various gods collectively, the Vedic people acknowledged the unity
of these gods and their inter relationships. The opinion of the Rig Vedic people
was that the gods came into being from a common parentage and were helpful in
nature. In contrast, the demons were wicked and troublesome. Although each god
in the pantheon was endowed with specific qualities and responsibilities, the Vedic
Aryans did not miss the larger picture and their underlying connection in the order
(ऋि) of things. The changeless and immortal nature of supreme soul has been
described in Atharva Veda. It is said that the supreme soul is free from desire, nonmutable, immortal, self-existent, satisfied with its own bliss and not deficient in
any respect.
(अकामो धीरो अमि
र ः स्त्वयम्भू रसेन ितोर िो न कुिश्ोनोनः)।

The Upanishads reveal the knowledge about Brahman and are known as Vedanta,
meaning "end of the Vedas". They are the concluding portions of the Vedas. There
are several interpretations of the word Upanishad. Shankar interprets it as a means
to destroy ignorance by revealing the knowledge of the Supreme Spirit by cutting
off the bonds of worldly existence. The Upanishad seers gave new dimensions to
Dharma and Darshan. In order to establish social unity, Upanishad thought
proclaims: "Ekastath sarva bh tantar tm " (One or the same is in inner-Self /
“Ish v syamidam sarvam" (All the things in the
universe are enveloped or pervaded by the Supreme).
The relationship between Param tm and Ataman is likened to the indwelling
God and the soul within one's heart like two birds on a tree.
Two birds with fair wings, knit with bonds of friendship, in the same sheltering
tree have found a refuge. (Rig Veda 1.164.20)

Like two birds of golden plumage, inseparable companions, the individual self
and the immortal Self are perched on the branches of the same tree. The former
tastes of the sweet and bitter fruits of the tree; the latter, tasting of neither,
calmly observe. (Mu ḍaka Upanishad 3.1.1)
They are two birds, close companions, clasping the same tree. Of the two, one eats
sweet fruit; the other looks on without eating. On this same tree a person, sunk and
grieving in slavery, is deluded, but upon observing the Lord happy and great,
becomes free of sorrow. (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 4.7)
The Supreme Being that dwells in our heart is dearer to us than even our children,
wealth and everything else. (Brihadara yaka Upanishad 1.4.8)
Param tm or the Supreme spirit or Brahman is beyond knowledge and ignorance
and is devoid of all material attributes (उपाधि). In Chapter 13 of the Bhagavad-Gita,
Param tm is described as Vishnu (विष्णु) residing in the hearts of all beings and in
every atom of matter. The Jiv tm and the Param tm are known to be one and
the same when the Jiv tm attains the true knowledge of the Brahman (ब्रह्म ज्ञान).
Brahman is the name given to the concept of the unchanging, infinite, immanent
and transcendent reality that is the Divine Ground of all being. It is regarded as the
source and sum of the cosmos that constricted by time, space and causation, as
pure being. Essentially, it is also beyond being and non-being alike, and thus does
not quite fit with the usual connotations of the word God and even the concept of
monism. It is said that Brahman cannot be known, that we cannot be made
conscious of it, because Brahman is our very consciousness. Brahman is not
merely coming to know Brahman, but to realize one's 'Brahman-hood', to actually
realize that one is and always was Brahman. Indeed, closely related to the Self
concept of Brahman is the idea that it is synonymous with Jiv tm , or individual
souls, our ataman (or soul) being readily identifiable with the greater soul of
Brahman. It is described as Sat, Chit and Amanda in its essential nature. The
features of the Brahman are described almost in all the Upanishads. Ish v sya
Supreme is) faster than the mind, and therefore beyond the reach of senses. One,
who sees all beings in his own Self and his Self in all beings, has hatred for none.
The Atman is self-sufficient, is everywhere, without a body, without blemish,
radiant, pure, knowing all, seeing all and encompassing all. All the entities have
been created by the omniscient, self-sustaining Lord and who is the controller of

all the minds. This Upanishad has the central theme of extolling the all
pervasiveness (सवा व्यापकत्व) and all regulating (सवा तनयामकत्व) nature of the
Supreme Lord. The central idea of Kena Upanishad is that the Brahman is verily
the source of all vital energies in this universe is infinite and therefore cannot be
comprehended by speech and mind. He is beyond the reach of the senses, beyond
words and even beyond the mind. Being Infinite, He cannot be brought within the
compass of limited knowledge. One cannot know how He directs the senses, mind,
etc. However, He does not remain altogether unknown, but is not completely
known because of His infinite nature. He is unique, distinct from and Superior to
all known things manifest or un-manifest. He cannot be known through speech,
mind, eyes, etc., but knows all that is known through these and regulates them. The
nature of self is aptly explained in Kaṭha Upanishad. Realizing by reverting to the
contemplation of the Self to the eternal God, the wise man leaves both joy and
sorrow behind. The Self is without sound, without touch, without form, without
decay, likewise without taste, eternal, without smell, without beginning, without
end, beyond the great; one is freed from the mouth of death by discovering that.
(अशब्दमस्त्पशामरूपमव्ययृं िथारसृं तनत्यमगतधवच्ो यि ्। अनाद्यनतिृं महिः परम्व
ु ृं
तनोातोय ितम रत्युमुखाि ् प्रमुच्यिे। - Kaṭha Upanishad (कठोपननषद्) 3/15 )

The M ḍ kya Upanishad (माण्डूक्य उपननषद्) starts with a mah v kya that this
Atman is Brahman (अयमात्मा ब्रह्म). The Upanishad also clearly explains the
interpretation of the words OM, Ataman, Brahman, and akṣara, all of which denote
Brahman by describing Him with His special attributes. The liberated soul being
free from ignorance (अज्ञान@अववद्या) attains similarity with the Supreme Lord in
respect of being free from sorrow and enjoying bliss etc. The Supreme Lord and
the soul are similar to each other. Their relation is like of an object compared to
which it is compared.
The second part of Taittireeya Upanishad (तैत्ततरीयोपननषद्) describes how there is
an ascending order of bliss, starting from that of a human being and culminating in
Brahm nand (ब्रह्मानतद). The body is the physical sheath (अतनमय कोष). Within
the physical sheath there is an inner sheath made of vital energy that is Para á
(प्राणमय कोष). Inside the sheath of Para á, there is an inner self consisting of mind
(मनोमय कोष). Different from the sheath of mind, there is an inner self which
consists of intellect. Different from the intellect there is an inner self consists of
bliss, and which fills the sheath of intellect. This sheath of bliss (आनतदमय कोष) is

enclosed by the sheath of intellect. The knowledge sought by Bhrigu and imparted
by Varuna is ultimately established that bliss is Brahman, because all beings are
born from bliss, remain alive by bliss, move towards bliss and then merge into
The Aitareya Upanishad proclaims that Brahman is pure consciousness (प्रज्ञानृं
ब्रह्म). The Brihad ra yaka Upanishad (बह
ृ दारण्यक उपननषद्) says that I am
(अहृं ब्रह्मान्स्त्म).

The Ch ndogya Upanishad (छान्दोग्य उपननषद्) says that you are that (ित्त्वमसस).
. This Upanishad teaches
us that there is no difference between the Atman within a person and Brahman. It
tells us how we reach a stage when we get rid of all bonds and achieve tm nand

In various Upanishads, the Brahman is called as "Sacchid nanda" (सत्चिदानन्द).
Broken down, it is "sat", "Chitta", and "Ananda" meaning "truth", "consciousness",
and "bliss" respectively. In the Hindu pantheon, Brahman should not be confused
with the first of the Hindu trinity of Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Preserver)
and Shiva (the Destroyer). Brahma is, like the other gods, Ishwara, or manifested
Brahman, fundamentally ego-conscious, whereas Brahman is without ego and
beyond form. The central theme of Upanishads is the delineation of a Supreme
Being as the cardinal principle of the universe. This is designated as Brahman,
Ataman, Akṣara, Akasha, Para á, etc. It is also the one and only independent
Principle upon which all other entities are dependent. It is imminent and
transcendent. Being infinite in all respects, it cannot be comprehended by anyone
completely. It has no drawbacks or blemishes of any kind. It directs all and is not
directed or constrained by anyone. It is absolutely independent in its very nature
and essence, functions and comprehension and innate unlimited bliss, none of
which need any element external to it for its completeness. All others derive their
limited qualities and capacities from it. It is thus described as Sat, Chit and Ananda
in its essential nature. The features of the Supreme Lord are described almost in all
the Upanishads.
The later stage of Vedanta is marked by the Bhagavad-Gita. It particularly dwells
on the application of the Upanishad teachings to the practical life enunciating
spiritual and moral disciplines for different types and grades of seekers and points
out the way to conform normal life to the highest ideal. The Upanishads, Brahma-

sutras and Bhagavad-Gita form the triple basis of Vedanta (प्रस्त्थानरयी).
They are respectively called the Sruti-prasth na, the Nyaya-prasth na and the
Smriti-prasth na.
When the Jiv tm attains the true knowledge of the Brahman the Jiv tm and the
Param tm are known to be the one and the same. Those who are free from pride
and delusion, who have overcome the evils of attachment, who are constant in
contemplating the relation of the supreme and individual self, from whom desire
has departed, who are free from the pairs of opposites called pleasure and pain, go
undiluted to that imperishable place. The sun does not light it, nor the moon, nor
fire. That is my highest abode, going to which none returns. An eternal portion of
me it is, which, becoming an individual soul in the mortal world, draws to itself the
senses with the mind as the sixth. When a man moves among the objects of senses
having the senses under control and mind free from attachment and jealousy, he
enjoys bliss.
े ात्मा प्रसादसमधधगच्छति।।
ु िैस्त्िु ववषयातनन्तद्रयैश्ोरन ्। आत्मवश्यववववाधय

(Bhagavad-Gita 2/64)
Without balance of mind there is neither intelligence, nor concentration; without
concentration there is no peace; without peace how can there be happiness.
(Bhagavad-Gita 2/66).
Besides Bhagavad-Gita in Bhishma parva, the Mahabharata - one of two major or
greatest epics of India-, narrates the main story of Pandav s and Kaurav s and the
war of Kurukshetra using the story within a story structure, also contains
philosophical and cultural material. The nature of Ataman (Self), relationship of
the individual to society and discussion of human goals namely (1) artha or
material resources, (2) k ma or pleasure/ sex, (3) dharma or duty and (4) mokṣa or
liberation have been discussed extensively.
The essence of religion has been expressed in this epic extensively. For example,
some quotes are being submitted:
It is only when a man does not commit sin in thought, deed or word in respect of
any living creatures; it is then that he attains to Brahman.

(यदा न कुरुिे पापृं सवाभि
ू े कुर्हाधोि ्। कम्माणा मनसा वाोा ब्रह्मा सम्पद्यिे िदा।)

The wise and learned say: magnanimity is a virtue. Therefore acquire
magnanimity, for you ought not to stay frivolity.
(उदारमेव ववद्वाृंसो धम्मं प्राहुमानीवषणाम ्। उदारृं प्रतिपद्यस्त्व नावरे स्त्थािुमहासस।।)

The dharma, which stands in the way of another dharma, is in fact no dharma but
is really unrighteousness. That dharma is true dharma which is not conflicting to
any other dharma.
(धम्मृं यो बाधिो धम्मो न स धमामः कुधमा िि ्)।
Non-cruelty (Ahimsa) is the best dharma. Forgiveness is the best of powers. The
knowledge of the self is the best of all knowledge. Truthfulness is the best of
religious vows.
र ृंस्त्यृं परो धम्माः क्षमा ो परमृं बलम ्। आत्मज्ञानृं परृं ज्ञानृं सत्यव्रिृं परृं व्रिम ्)

When one does not fear in any way, nor any creature is frightened at one, when
one conquers one’s attachment and aversion, then is one said to have realized the
Supreme soul.
(न बबभेति यदा ोायृं यदा ोास्त्मातन बबभेति। कामद्वेषौ ो जयति िदात्मानृं प्रपश्यति।।)

The wise man, endued with equanimity, would neither be puffed up with joy nor
be depressed with sorrow.
(पयाायिः सव्वामवातोनुवन्ति िस्त्मद्धीरो नैव हृष्येन शोोेि ्।।)

(Eyes cannot see the form of the soul. The organ of touch cannot feel the soul.
Attainment of soul cannot be accomplished by any of the five organs of senses.
The senses do not approach the soul. The soul however apprehends them all.
(न ोक्षुषा पश्यति रूपमात्मनो न ोावप सृंस्त्पशामप
ु ैति ककधिोि। न ोावप िैः साधयिे िु काया िे
काया िे िृं न पश्यन्ति स पश्यिे िान।।)

When one sees the one’s self in all beings, and all beings in the one’s self, is said to
attain the Brahman.

ू ेषु ोात्मानृं सवाभि
ू ातन ोात्मतन। यदा पश्यति भि
ू ात्मा ब्रह्म सम्पद्यिे िदा।।)

When one contracts all one’s desires like a tortoise drawing in all his limbs, then
the effulgence of his soul manifests itself.
(यदा सृंहरिे कामान ् कूम्मोऽङगानीव सव्वाशः। िदात्मज्योतिरधोराि ् स्त्वात्मतयेव प्रसीदति।।)

Vedanta philosophy has two main divisions and their classification into different
schools is as follows:
1. Advaita Vedanta (Non-dualistic): Vivar a School / V chaspati School
2. Monotheistic Vedanta:
(A) Vishiṣṭ dvaita (ववसशष्टाद्वैि /qualified no dualism) School of Ram nuja
(B) Shuddh dvaita( शुद्धाद्वैि /pure no dualism) School of Vallabh charya
(C) Achintya-bhed bheda (अधोतत्य भेदाभेद / incomprehensible difference-no
difference) School of Sri Chaitanya
(D) Dvaita (द्वैि / dualism) School of M dhv charya
(E) Dvait dvaita (द्वैिाद्वैि / dualism in no dualism) School of Nimb rka
Each system of Vedanta philosophy is essentially an interpretation of the
Brahman-sutras supported by commentaries on Upanishads and Bhagavad-Gita.
Each school has original writings also to elaborate on the teachings of the three
primary works to confirm to its views.
The aim or the methodology of Saṁkhya and Yoga (साांख्य एिां योग) schools or
doctrines of Indian philosophy is to quiet the Prakriti (प्रकरति = nature) as it exists
in the body, so that, like a calm body of water, body can reflect the true and
detached nature of Puruṣa (पुरुष = self), effecting liberation (मोक्ष). Some quotes
from Yogav shiṣṭha (योगिाशिष्ठ) - an encyclopedic text comprising twenty four
thousand verses on yogic disciplines -, are being presented:
Salutations to the Soul of all Souls who illuminates the heavens, the earth and the
intervening space, as also our hearts and their exteriors and all that has manifested
itself everywhere as visible forms.

(ददवि भम
ू ौ तथाकािे बदहरन्तश्ि मे विभुःु

यो विभातयिभासातमा तस्मै नमुः।।)

The wise say that the best thing for a man to do in the world is to give up longing
for objects which cause the mind to fluctuate and that such abdication constitutes
the liberation and that is to accomplish purity.
(अशेषेण पररत्यागो वासनानाृं य उत्िमः मोक्ष इत्युच्येिे सर्दसभः स एव ववमलः क्रमः।)

It is well said that four sentinels wait at the gate of liberation which are (1)
patience and peace (2) knowledge of Brahma (3) contentment (4) association of
sacred persons.
(मोक्षद्वारे द्वारपालाश्ोत्वारः पररकीतिािाः। शमो ववोारः सृंिोषश्ोिुथःा साधुसृंगमः)

The Supreme one cannot be attained by bodily suffering or pain and by visiting the
places of pilgrimage. He can be attained only by the conquest of mind .
(न कायतलेशवैघय
ु ृं न िीथाायिनाश्यः। केवलृं ितमनोमारजयेनासद्यिे पदम ्।।)

Persons can never have that happiness by the drink of nectar or by the blessings of
the goddess of wealth, which persons having tranquility of mind enjoy.
(न रसायनपानेन न लक्ष्मयासलङगनेन ो। िथा सुखमवातोनोति शमेनातियाथा जनः।।)

Supreme bliss is possible only for those who are composed in mind.
(प्रससमिमनसः स्त्वके स्त्वरूपे भवति सुखे न्स्त्थतिरुत्िमा धोराय।)

One who sees Him within one's self as the All-powerful One, as the All permeating
One, as One of pure intelligence, does alone see Him in his conscience.
(सव्वाशन्तिरतिरात्मा सव्वाभावातिरन्स्त्थिः। अद्वविीयन्श्ोर्दत्यतियाः पश्यति स पश्यति।)

About 2600 years ago Lord Mahavir (भगवान महावीर) or Vardhamana (िर्द्धमान)
(599 to 527 BC), the twenty fourth Tirthankar of this era revived the Jain
philosophy previously preached by his predecessor Lord Parshva (950 to 850 BC)
in India. He expanded the code of conducts and implemented daily rites for his
followers. He felt that such changes are essential for proper religious practice.

Lord Mahavir
“No logassa esan m chare (Do not imitate or follow
)” “S
appagamappae am (Communicate with and inspect your
S )”.
Lord Mahavir also underlined the social relevance of dharma by accepting Ahimsa
(Non-violence - towards others as well - is the greatest
“D ’ kill any living beings. Don't try to rule them.
To kill any living being amounts to killing one self. Compassion to others is
compassion to one's own self. He said:
(Just as you do not like misery, in the same way others also do not like it. You
should do unto them what you want them to do unto you. Just as pain is not
agreeable to you, it is so with others. Knowing this principle of equality treat other
with respect and compassion)
धम्मो मृंगलमुन्तकट्ठृं अर्हृंसा सृंजमो िवो। दे वा वव िृं नमृंसन्ति जस्त्स धम्मे सया मणो।।

(Dharma is the highest good. It consists in Ahimsa (non-violence), self control and
austerities. Even the gods revere him whose mind is always concentrated upon
Lord Mahavir is of the view that the soul is the home of excellent virtues, the best
among the substances and the highest reality among the realities. He, who is led by
his senses, is extrovert or Bahir tm (बर्हरात्मा) and he who exercises self
discretion (i.e. not guided by external factors) is introvert or Antar tm
(अतिरात्मा). The self who is liberated from the pollution of the karmas is

Param tm (परमात्मा).The pure soul is free from activities of thought, speech and
body. He is independent, infallible and fearless. He is also free from meekness,
attachment and delusion. The pure soul is free from complexes, attachment,
blemishes, desire, anger, pride, lust and all other kinds of defects.
The state of pure knower ship is neither vigilant nor non-vigilant. The knower self
is called pure, because it is only knower and nothing else.
The soul is neither the body, nor the mind nor the speech, nor their cause. Nor is he
doer, nor the cause of action nor the approver of action. In this way, I (Soul) am
alone, really pure.
(अहसमतको खलु सुद्धो)।

It is not possible to describe the state of liberation in words as they transcend any
such verbal expression. Nor is there the possibility of argument as no mental
business is possible. The state of liberation transcends all the determinations and
alternatives. But for the sake of expression it can be said that the bliss attained by
the Siddhas in a moment is infinite times more than the pleasure enjoyed by the

emperors, by the Jivas residing in the regions of the Karmas, and by the Fanindras,
Surendras and Ahamindrasin in all the ages –
Chakkikurupha isurinda-devahaminde jam suham tik labhavam.
Tato a antagu idam, siddh am kha asuham hodi.
(ोन्तककुरुफणणसरु रतद दे वहसमृंदे जृं सह
ु ृं तिकालभवृं। ििो अणृंिगणु णदृं ससद्धाणृं खणसह
ु ृं होर्द।।

(Triloka S r-560)
The followers of Jain Dharma pray to those who have led the path to salvation,
who have destroyed the mountains of karma, and who know the reality of universe.
The followers pray to them to acquire their attributes.
(मोक्षमागास्त्य नेिारृं भे त्िारृं कमा भू भि
र ाम। ज्ञािारृं ववश्वित्िवानाृं वृंदे िद्गुणलब्धये।।)

Gautama Buddha (गौतम बुर्द्) gave a message of friendship and compassion to
: “Pariksya bhiksavo! Grahyamad vacho Na tu gaurav t (You
accept my words after having examined them, do not be influenced by my
)” He said:
अतनतकसावो कासावृं यो वत्थृं पररदहे स्त्सति अपेिो दमसच्ोेन न सो कासावमरहति। यो ो
वतिकसावस्त्स सीलेसु सुसमार्हिो उपेिो दमसच्ोेन स वे कासावमरहति।।

(He who wishes to put on the yellow robe without having cleansed himself from
sin, who disregards self-control and truth also, is unworthy of yellow robe. But
who has cleansed himself from sin, is well grounded in all virtues, and endowed
also with self-control and truth, he is indeed worthy of the yellow robe.)
(Dhamma Pada 1/9-10)
Buddhism is a path of practice and spiritual development leading to insight into the
true nature of life. Buddhist practices such as meditation are means of changing
oneself in order to develop the qualities of awareness, kindness, and wisdom.
Nirvana (fuokZ.k) is a Buddhist Sanskrit word describing the stopping of the process
sustaining conditioned states and self-realization of Nirvana the unconditioned

There are many explanations of the term Nirvana (तनवााण ):
(1) Cessation
(2) Extinction
(3) Extinguished
(4) Quieted
(5) Calmed
(6) Awakening or enlightenment
Amongst them, two explanations are more prominent. One is that Nirvana means
"to extinguish," such as extinguishing the flame of a candle(extinction of craving
and ignorance and therefore termination of all types of sufferings and the end of
the cycle of involuntary rebirths ) and another is that Nirvana is the completion of
the path of Buddhism, where the real is won via self-enlightenment and selfawakening and all delusion and anguish are permanently ended even before death .
In the middle ages, the saints criticized religious rituals and religious pretension,
and questioned the significance of studying and interpreting of the Vedas by the
“ khanḍa bhakti R m nahin reeijhe (पाखृंड भगति
राम नहीृं रीझे ) (Ram is not attracted towards hypocrite devotion) ", Saint Namdeva
has drawn our attention towards the inner core of Dharma. The purpose of life lies
in such devotion that leads to self-realization - “K y antar p iy , sab devan ko
dev (काया अतिर पाइया सब दे वन को दे व ) (The Self is in our inner-body. Self is the
God of all gods)" (Dadu Dayal).
Dharma exists neither in the village nor in the jungle but in our Antar tm (Inner
self). Does spiritual contemplation means prostrating before God to fulfill ones
worldly desires? Can a person become religious by offering money at a temple?
Does the significance of Dharma lie in the collection of articles and commodities
or in being relieved from mental impurities like lust and aversion?
A religious person cannot be selfish. Having known that 'One', he knows everyone.
He establishes in himself a sense of belonging to everyone. Every particle of the
universe becomes as important to him as his body and soul. Through the
identification of 'All', he identifies himself. Tulsidasa expressed it beautifully –

"परर्हि सररस धरम नहीृं भाई पर पीडा सम नहीृं अधमाई". (Parahit saris dharma nahin
bh ee, parpeeṛ sam nahin adham ee). (There is no Dharma better than doing well
to others and there is no meanness worse than hurting others). Tulsidasa has
clarified the true nature of Lord Ram in the following words:
भगि हे िु भगवान प्रभु राम धरे उ िनु भूप। ककए ोररि पावन परम प्राकरि नर अनरू
ु प।।
जथा अनेक वेष धरर नत्र य करइ नट कोइ। सोइ सोइ भाव र्दखीवअइ आपनु होइ न सोइ।।

(For the sake of His devotees, the divine Lord appears in the form of an earthly
sovereign and performed most sacred deeds, in the manner of an ordinary mortal,
as an actor - who while acting in a drama on the stage, assumes various guises and
exhibits different characters but himself remains the same). In fact, Lord Ram is
devoid of birth, the totality of Existence, Knowledge and Bliss, wisdom
personified, the home of beauty and strength. He is both pervading and pervaded,
fraction less, infinite and integral, the Lord of unfailing power, attribute less, vast,
transcending speech as well as the other senses, all seeing, free from blemish,
invincible, unattached, devoid of form, free from error, eternal and untainted by
Maya, beyond the realm of matter, bliss personified, the Lord indwelling the heart
of all, the action less Brahman, free from passion and imperishable
Guru Nanak (गुरु नानक) also characterized the ultimate truth as the following:
ੴसतिनामु करिापरु
ु खु तनरभउ तनरवैरु।

अकालमरू ति अजन
ू ी सैभृं गरु प्रसार्द।। (जपज
ु ी)

ੴ = एक ओृंकार

One universal creator god whose name is truth (ੴसतिनामु करिापरु
ु खु )
devoid of fear and enmity (तनरभउ तनरवैरु)
immortal and unborn (अकालमरू ति अजन
ू ी)


self-existent (सैभृं )


One true in the primal beginning (ੴ = एक ओृंकार)

Guru Nanak (गुरु नानक) also characterized elsewhere the ultimate truth that has no
physical form and is without material attributes. He is the beginning. He is the end.
He is without beginning, without break. He is the same through different ages.
Guru Nanak (गुरु नानक) has said:
दइया कपाहु सांतोख सूतु जतु गांडी सत िट।
एहु जनेउ जोउ का हइत पांडे घत।
ना एहु तट
ु ै ना मल लगे ना एहु जले न जाइ।
िांन सु मानस नानका जो गलिलै पाइ।।

(1 महला ,सलोकु)
(174 पष्ृ ठ ,गुह सांथ सादहब)

(Blessed is that man who moves in this world with such sacred thread on his neck
which is made of the cotton of kindness, thread of contentment, knot of self –
control and freedom of truth, does not tarnish and does not burn.)
Swami Vivekananda (स्त्वामी वववेकानतद) explained the importance of dedicated
service. His message has continued to inspire millions of his countrymen. His
voice can comfort the suffering and sanctify of their lives. "You rejoice that you
belong to the race of the great sages. But until those who belong to the upper
classes help to uplift the downtrodden, and until exploitation ends, India will only
be a grave. May Mother India step forth anew from the humble dwelling of the
peasant! May she appear in the hut of the fisherman! May she step forth from the
cottages of the cobbler and the sweeper! May she become manifest in factories!
May the song of New India echo and reverberate amidst mountains and in forests
and valleys!"
The few very famous quotes of Swami Vivekananda are mentioned below:
"What is it that by knowing which everything else is to be known?"
"Brave, bold men, these are what we want. What we want is vigor in the blood,
strength in the nerves, iron muscles and nerves of steel."

"Avoid all mystery. There is no mystery in religion. Mystery mongering and
superstition are always signs of weakness."

-built, the
intellectual'- for them is the task. Lay down your comforts, your pleasures, your
names, fame or position, nay, even your lives, and make a bridge of human chains
over which millions will cross this ocean of life. Do not be frightened. Awake, be
up and doing. Do not stop till you have reached the goal."
"I would rather see every one of you rank atheists than superstitious fools, for the
atheist is alive and you can make something out of him. But if superstition enters,
the brain is gone, the brain is softening, and degradation has seized upon the life."
"Work unto death - I am with you, and when I am gone, my spirit will work with
you. This life comes and goes - wealth, fame, enjoyments are only of a few days. It
is better, far better to die on the field of duty, preaching the truth, than to die like a
worldly worm."

ger generation, the modern generation; out of them will be
my workers. They will work out the whole problem, like lions. "
"Truth, purity, and unselfishness - wherever these are present, there is no power
below or above the sun to crush the possessor thereof. Equipped with these, one
individual is able to face the whole universe in opposition."
The central theme of Sri Aurobindo's (श्ी अरववतद) vision is the evolution of life
into a divine life. "Man is a transitional being. He is not final. The step from man
to superman is the next approaching achievement in the earth's evolution. It is
inevitable because it is at once the intention of the inner spirit and the logic of
Nature's process". The aim of yoga is an inner self-development by which each one
who follows it can in time discover the One Self in all and evolves a higher
consciousness than the mental, a spiritual and sacramental consciousness which
will transform and divinize human nature. Shree A
’ has been a great
visionary and has inspired the country and mankind. His very famous quotation is
presented herewith: "Out of this awakening vision and impulse the Indian
renaissance is arising, and that must determine its future tendency. The recovery of

the old spiritual knowledge and experience in all its splendor, depth and fullness is
its first, most essential work; the flowing of this spirituality into new forms of
philosophy, literature, art, science and critical knowledge is the second; an original
dealing with modern problems in the light of Indian spirit and the Endeavour to
formulate a greater synthesis of a spiritualized society is the third and most
difficult. Its success on these three lines will be the measure of its help to the future
of humanity."
Thus, compliance of dharma is a prerequisite for having happiness & freedom in
personal life and ultimately his liberation from mental impurities such as
attachment & aversion leading to the deliverance of the soul from recurring births
or transmigration, and for having accord & equality in social life and ultimately
peace, freedom, friendliness leading to the progress & development of the society.
In essence, Dharma means the spirit of non- violence, universal love and purity of
heart. It should be our earnest desire and endeavor that no adjective added to
qualify the substantive (Dharma) become more prominent than the substantive
---------------------------------------------------------------------Professor Mahavir Saran Jain
(Retired Director, Central Institute of Hindi)
123, Hari Enclave, Buland Shahr (INDIA) Pin-203 001