In India the word ‘dharma’ has been used in the sense of religion. But in fact religion is not exact word for dharma, religion contains only theology meaning but the dharma consists of many things including religion where as theology, morality and duties. The Rig-Vedic people prayed to Varuna who was considered to be the supreme ruler that who might punish them if they failed to fulfill their duty towards friends and guests, brothers and other members of their families. In another context the term ‘dharma’ has been used in the sense of that power which sustains the universe. The concept of dharma makes it clear that its aim was maintenance of order in society. In the beginning, the concept of dharma was not static. Its content has changed in the changing contexts of time, place and social environment. The Rig Vedic people realized that there was order everywhere in creation. They called this cosmic order Rit. Rit is the early Vedic form of dharma. The controller of this cosmic order is called Varuna. Man is part and parcel of this cosmic order. To maintain order in society man must act in harmony with the cosmic order. In the same way the term dharma has been used in the sense of that system or social order which is capable of holding the universe in harmonious working condition. The aim of Rit or dharma was to keep the society progressing as a result of harmonious development. For maintaining this social order man must control his desires, feelings, thoughts, instincts and needs. A good man conducts himself in his relations with those with whom he comes in contact in such a way that it might lead to a better social synthesis. This synthesis depends on some values of life which the individual has inherited from his forefathers. If these values of life are not based on reason and knowledge, they are likely to prove an obstacle in social synthesis. These values of life if based on reason and knowledge impel a man to do his duty under all circumstances. This is his dharma. These values of life find expression in the form of our conduct, duties and mutual relationships. The social organization is based on these values of life. In the Rig-Veda it is stated that Soma, a Rig-Vedic god, protects truth and destroys untruth. This means that society is based on truth and Justice. Every individual is expected to conduct himself in a way that he may be able to make his individual progress and contribute to the progress of the society. Some European scholars have been of the opinion that Indian religious system laid more emphasis on the spiritual side than on the material aspects of life. This view does not seem to be correct. Indian dharma never simply means theology. It was a way of life or a code of conduct. Every activity of the individual as a member of the society was regulated by his dharma .A person’s dharma according to Indian thought aimed at individual progress as well as social progress. It will be sufficient here to state that religion always affects to society and we can use the virtues of religion in modern era for maintaining the harmony of society.
|Keywords:||Dharma, Religion, Society, Cosmic Order, Morality, Harmony, Humanity|
Reader and Associate Professor, Department of Ancient Indian History Culture & Archaeology, Banaras Hindu University, Vranasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
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