Then the subtle dharma will provide great results. But due to many obstacles it will be difficult to follow the dharma. The root of the dharma will be charity. On breaking up of the four states, dharma will also deviate from its form.

– Harivamsa Purana 3.2.44

Often throughout the Mahabharata we see the phrase, ‘Dharma Sukshmo’, which means Dharma is subtle. Often it is difficult to know what the right thing is to do. One thing is for sure is that with the sheer amount of basic level suffering in the world, charity is a great sign of Dharma. Again and again we are reminded by the Mahabharata that we should not be dogmatic but consider what right action is. There is a wonderful story of a saintly man who took a vow to always tell the truth, and one day some bandits came looking for a man outside his home. When the bandits saw the saint they asked him where the man was and he saint simply directed them to him. In this case his vow of telling the truth was a form of Adharma. If he truly cared for right action he would have lied.

Dharma cannot simply be defined by dictating rules to people, Dharma is compassion and charity, Dharma is that which is best for all living beings. May we all carefully consider what is right and act accordingly.

Hanuman Dass's blogs directly here. He is founder of as is the co-author of The Power of Dharma and The Eternal Path

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