Concept of Dharma

Subject: 🛕 Religion
Type: Descriptive Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 880
Topics: Church, Karma, 🧚 Creation Myth, 🕎 Theology
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The concept of dharma is approached from a Hindu perspective in this paper. Mahabharata deals with warriors, mostly dharma warriors (Kovacs 29). Human success or failure is often associated with the environment and the association developed between the two parties. Using such an approach, human life is viewed as a struggle while humans are viewed as warriors. Due to the unfairness of the terrain (world) which the warriors fight, there are some values which need to be observed to ensure that life is sustainable. Using the rich Hindu culture, the concept has been employed heavily in philosophy and religion. Dharma is therefore defined as a moral law which has been blended with spiritual discipline (Kovacs 30). Such moral law defines human life. In Hindu culture, dharma is viewed as the foundation of human life. Life without morals is baseless and unsustainable. Dharma holds the people together. With time, the concept has evolved to be viewed across other religious disciplines but from a Hindu perspective.

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From a western approach, dharma is defined in the English dictionary as a social law which holds people together. It is noted that the definition is coined from a Hindu perspective. The Mahabharata contains the theme leading to the battle of Kurukshetra (Kovacs 31). The epic also contains the resolution and life after the battle. Regarding dharma, the process of accumulating wealth and finding pleasure is highlighted as an important aspect of human life. While it is hard to regulate the processes, dharma can be used to provide a platform where there is no oppression and where all humans care for each other. The world has become so capitalistic with entities and individuals only focusing on that which increases their returns. Kovacs therefore emphasizes the approach that dharma is often viewed as a duty. It is also viewed as a comprehensive term which includes all laws governing human existence and his interaction with the universe. Man should not be destructive. The approach provides that man should consider himself the custodian of the universe. Destroying it would also jeopardize his survival in the long run.

Concept of Karma

In Hinduism, Karma explains causality. It has a direct link with dharma discussed in the above section. In Hinduism, the universe is viewed as a complex system where different component interdepend on each other for survival. Focusing on humans alone, the religious view argues that humans should be each other’s keeper. Karma occurs when one fails to observe dharma or engages in actions which are destructive. Buddhists hold the belief that karma can affect humans. It can affect their success, failure and impede misfortunes due to the choices and activities they engage in. Buddhists also believe that karma can carry on into humans’ next life. If one has a positive karma, they appear in the next life without being punished. They are reborn in heaven. Those with negative karma appear in the next life as animals or subjected to hell and suffering. Today, karma is misused in different contexts to mean luck or misfortune. Kovacs argues that there is a relationship between karma and dharma. He notes that good dharma results in good karma while adharama (disregard of dharma) results in bad karma (p. 30).

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Concept of Divinity

The concept of divinity overlaps with the concept of God in Hinduism. Hindu is considered a polytheistic religion with several Gods believed to play different roles in their lives. There is no consensus among Hindus on the number of Gods existing in their religion. Some believe that there are three Gods while others believe there are thousands of Gods. Hindus believe that their Gods are powerful and can help them in different situations. The Gods are also vengeful punishing humans if they deviate from the right ways. Divine power brings luck or misfortune. Hinduism allows absolute freedom to the rational mind of man (Sivananda 1). With such freedom, Hindus, therefore, hold that they can be punished by their Gods if they deviate from doing what is morally right.

Significance of the Three Concepts

The three concepts are intertwined. On one side, the Hindus believe that there is a supreme being(s) who can be a source of fortune or misfortune. They believe that their Gods allow them to use dharma to determine what is right and what is wrong. The guidelines followed to determine what is right or wrong are provided in Hindu religion and in the confines of humanity. Observing the guidelines yields good karma while adharama yields bad karma. In the same argument, Hindus hold the belief that their Gods are responsible for the misfortunes that befell them. Therefore, the best way to have good karma is to observe dharma. Hindus also hold the belief that life does not end at death. Considering the way one had lived, their Gods have the power to punish a person in their afterlife. People who deserve to be punished can be born again in the form of animals while those who were observing dharma proceed to heaven or are born in prestigious positions in their next lives.

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  1. Sivananda, Sri. “All about Hinduism.” Uttar Pradesh: The divine life society. 1947. Print.
  2. Kovacs, Ivan. “The Concept of Dharma and its Significance in the Mahabharata.” The Esoteric Quarterly, 29-39. Print.
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