Then Bhishma ended his discourse with the following words: "It is good conduct which leads to prosperity, enhances fame, increases the lifespan and destroys anything that is inauspicious. Good conduct is the birthplace of dharma and dharma increases the lifespan. Above I have enumerated to you the nuances of good conduct. It was Brahma Ji himself who first gave this discourse on good conduct out of compassion towards the people of all varnas."
(The detailed treatment of this specific dialogue can be found in the Mahabharata, Anushasan Parva, Chapter 104 Gita Press edition; and Chapter 1788 (107) of the Penguin edition).
Whether our goal in life be material prosperity or Moksha, the way lies through Dharma. However, most of the time, let alone follow it, we are not even sure about what our Dharma is, or even how we can come to know about it.
While it is generally known that Dharma has to be understood from the Shastras, due to their almost endless variety and diversity we are unable to get a clear and unambiguous picture of Dharma. However, when we understand that the sources of Dharma have been systematically divided into four simple categories, following a certain hierarchical structure, then not only does it become easier to understand what our Dharma is in a particular situation, but also makes it possible for us to live our life in accordance with it.
All versions of the Ramayana are unanimous in reiterating Sita Ji's fidelity and devotion towards Rama even in times of extreme adversity. For example, when Shri Rama is preparing to go to exile in the forest all alone, she addresses him thus: "O son of an illustrious monarch, a father, a mother, a brother, a son or a daughter-in-law, all enjoy the fruit of their karma individually and receive what is their due. It is only the wife who actually shares the fortunes of her husband. When you depart this day for the dense forests which are difficult to penetrate, I shall walk ahead of you crushing under my feet, all the thorns that lie on your way."
This is just one of the many expressions Sita used to convince Shri Rama to take her with him. She considered it her privilege to share in his misfortune and suffered the consequent trials and tribulations in equal measure throughout their sojourn in the forest. However, being exiled in the forests was the least of her troubles.
According to the Upanishads, the happiness experienced by us during deep sleep is ParamAnanda (the highest happiness possible). There is no happiness equal to it and certainly not greater than it. In deep sleep we are alone, nobody is different from us, hence, in this state, we are free from fear. In deep sleep the individual soul (jiva) merges into the supreme soul (Param Atman). This is the highest destination for the individual soul, his highest treasure, his highest world.
It is difficult for people to understand this description of deep sleep given by the Upanishads. They have no faith in these words and because the happiness of deep sleep is got without any effort it is taken very lightly.
Nitin Kumar is a leading light behind the Exotic India story, being a founding visionary.
Having conceptualized Exotic India in 1999, Nitin Kumar is today its Executive Editor, and is responsible for all content on the website.
He has authored several articles for the website, on diverse subjects as Hinduism, Buddhism, Art, Fashion, et al.
Sri Nitin Kumar is a firm believer in Vedanta Philosophy, and is today an acknowledged scholar on the Vedas, Puranas, and indeed the Brahma Sutras.Read more