The saying ‘Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshitaha‘ summarizes the importance of protecting dharma. This should be the guiding principle for law makers and law enforcers.
What is Dharma? The closest synonyms for Dharma in English are righteousness and ethics.
Here is the full sloka:
Dharmo eva hato hantee dharmo rakshati rakshitaah |
Tasmadhrmo na hantabhyo maa no dharmo hatovadhit
धर्म एव हतो हन्ति धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः
तस्माद्धर्मो न हन्तव्यः मानो धर्मो हतोवधीत्
Roughly translated into English as:
Dharma destroys those who destroy it, Dharma protects those who protect it.
Dharma does not destroy and cannot be destroyed.
A similar sentiment is echoed in the Tamil saying-‘Dharmam thalai kaakum’
Translation into English-‘Dharma will protect your head’. Roughly,it means that following a righteous path will save your life.
I see a modified form of Newton’s third law of motion here in the first line
‘Every Action has an equal and similar reaction’
The person who destroys Dharma, gets destroyed by it. Whereas a person who protects Dharma,gets protected by it.
The second line sounds similar to the Law of Conservation of Energy which states that ‘Energy can neither be created nor destroyed’.
Dharma,the righteous way of living, is akin to the energy of life. Dharma is the energy which sustains the consciousness and governs the way we live. The ones who follow Dharma are never destroyed. Not only that, Dharma itself can never be destroyed.
The great Indian epics,the Ramayana and the Mahabharata exemplify the spirit of Dharma. The triumph of good(dharma) over evil(adharma) is celebrated in these epics.
Rama defeated Ravana and rescued Sita. He established Dharma by killing Ravana,who had committed the adharmic act of abducting Sita. In Mahabharata,the Pandavas defeated the Kauravas to put an end to the rule of Adharma.
In both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata,the evil forces got destroyed as a result of the evil deeds committed by them.They tried to destroy Dharma and get destroyed by it in the process. On the other end,Rama and Pandavas tried to protect Dharma and got protected by it in the end.
In spite of several onslaughts against it, Dharma was not destroyed. Dharma triumphed in the end.
Here,we can relate to a song by Tamil poet Subramania Bharati,who stated-‘Dharmathin valvadhani soodhu kavvum,dharmam marupadiyum vellum’.
தர்மத்தின் வாழ்வதனை சூது கவ்வும் தர்மம் மறுபடியும் வெல்லும
It means that ‘Dharma might be shadowed, now and then by evil forces,but at the end,Dharma always triumphs’.
This line embodies the eternal victory of Good over Evil.
It is not only epics and stories, Dharma prevailed in World War II also. Adolf Hitler, propagated adharma by spreading evil and hatred. He was defeated as he tried to suppress Dharma.
Here is a Thirukural couplet which echoes similar views:
Irai kakkum vayyagam ellam
avanai murai kakkum muttacheyim.
இறை காக்கும் வையகம் எல்லாம்
அவனை முறை காக்கும் முட்டாச் செயின்
The couplet means that a King who rules justly(as per Dharma) will himself be protected by Dharma(righteous way of ruling/living)
For those who doubt this, please check India’s history after independence. Our independence was got in a dharmic way,on principles of ahimsa and righteousness. We didn’t get it by practicing terrorism or mindless hatred.I state this fact proudly as an Indian.
So what has this got to do with Dharma being a protector?
Yes,it is relevant.
When neighbouring countries who got their independence based on hatred,had dictators after dictators,India still maintains a peaceful,democratic government. This is because of India’s vibrant democracy(dharma) is still alive
Having said all this,we come to the question-Is this quote applicable in the realm of politics and administration alone? No.
It applies to each and every walk of life.
Each one of us have to follow our dharma. If you are a teacher,your dharma is to teach. If you are a student,your dharma is to study. If you are working for a corporation,your dharma is to do your work sincerely. If you are a sportsperson,your dharma is to strive to excel in your sports.
Do your duty sincerely.That is doing your dharma. Once you perform your duties sincerely,you are protected by the benefits you get out of your work.
Even if you are not working,a housewife,your dharma is to look after your family and household. Do it well and you will find happiness in the well-being of your family. Your dharma done well,protects you here also.
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