Dharma in Mahabharata Essay

2813 Words Dec 2nd, 2006 12 Pages
Dharma in the Mahabharta

The concept of dharma is the most central and core concept of Hindu philosophy, “all the other principles and values flow from the beautiful fountain of Dharma” (Srinivasan n.d., 1). Consequently, the Hindu scriptures present many examples of its importance in a variety of ways. The two epics Mahabharata and Ramayana are particularly interesting in their presentation of dharma.
Dharma is Sanskrit word with many different connotations that are mostly of ethical nature. Thus far, there has not been a parallel word found for it in English or any language that truly signifies the essence of it. It comes from the root word, dhr, which literally means to uphold, sustain, and
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“According to the epic itself, the Mahabharata War is the expression of a state of tension between two ideal orders of beings, a moral (dharmic) where in gods become incarnate as heroic individuals, and an immoral (adharmic)-or rather unmoral-type which it is the object of the former to destroy” (Sukthankar 1998, 62). It is also more evident by now that the Pandavas represent dharma and the Kauravas adharma. Therefore, Pandavas are said to be incarnations of gods; and it is very obvious in the case of the five brothers. Yudhisthira, the eldest of five, is the son of Dharma and, therefore, is said to be Dharma incarnate. Bhima is the son of Vayu; Arjuna, the son of Indra; Nakula and Sahdeva, sons of the Asvins. The Kauravas are likewise incarnations of Asuras or Anti-gods. There are many other characters in the epic that are said to be incarnations of the other gods. One of the most important that is worth mentioning is Krsna who is seen to be the incarnation of the Supreme God, Visnu himself. Since, Krsna gives the Pandavas support throughout the epic and is said to be incarnation of Visnu who has come down to earth for the purpose of restoring dharma; the Pandavas are regarded as to be the ones representing dharma in the battle. From the epic, one of the points that becomes evident is that dharma must be of universal importance for it led the Supreme God himself to incarnate as a lowly human. The epic does treat the

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