Dharma Sastra

DHARMA SASTRA*

The conduct of an individual depends on many factors, such as one’s innate nature, swabhava, his moral standpoint, swadharma, the circumstances of his upbringing, and so on.
In a discourse, Kidambi Sri Narayanan pointed out that Rama emerges as one who laid down rules of good conduct for all in the world by precept and example.
Rama deals with the dilemmas in His life and chooses the Visesha dharma required of His role as king and protector of the people to His personal dharma towards family, wife, etc.
In the Ayodhya Kanda, Jabali asks Rama on what grounds he stands justified in renouncing the inheritance of the kingdom to lead a life of penance in the forest beset by dangers. Is He not evading His duty towards the citizens, being deluded by His attachment and respect to Dasaratha and his word? How can one be sure about the word of sastras that promise a world of bliss to one who practises austerities, charities, penance, meditation, renunciation and so on? There is no need to accept all these of which no one is sure. Better to accept what is now clear and follow the advice of the elders and the people and proceed to Ayodhya and take up the kingship.
Rama disapproves and condemns Jabali’s arguments that go against the sastras and mislead one into the path of adharma. When one is able to twist Truth and put forth a theory of Dharma that goes against the sastras, he is tantamount to a thief.
He wonders how Dasaratha had tolerated Jabali as a minster in his court.
Jabali apologises to Rama and says that he merely adopts a pragmatic stance in all matters, including the sastras. He quoted these arguments only to make Rama come back to Ayodhya. Vasishta also tells Rama that Jabali is a not a non-believer of the Vedas.
*The Hindu, April 24, 2017 Faith

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