Monday, December 28, 2020

Dharma Protects the Protector (Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah)

Kannada Article by Dr Mohan Raghavan

English Rendering By M R Bhashyam

Respond to (

Dharmapaala and Dhanapaala were two famous merchants in the kingdom of Kaashi.  They used to travel in northern and southern directions for business.   Once, Dharmapaala took huge merchandise, a posse of sellers and armed guards in a cavalcade of bullock carts for business towards north.  Dhanapaala had already left earlier.  After many days, the army of Dharmapaala entered a vast desert. As a precaution, they had taken sufficient water to last them for a week. On the way, they met an aged gentleman. He said "Kindly take me along with you.  I will help in whatever way I can".  The followers of Dharmapaala laugh saying "Oh! Old man! You are unable to lift a stick to support yourself. In what way can you help us?" However, Dharmapaala was overcome by pity. With reverence, he asks the old man to travel with him in his own cart. As they were travelling through scorching heat and parching sun, they see a crowd of travelers coming from the opposite direction.  Their clothes were wet.  "Oh!  What a beautiful cool oasis. It is a boon to travelers" they were heard to be saying. Hearing this Dharmapaala's associates muse "if there is an oasis nearby, why should we carry the water; its load slows us down".  Though Dharmapaala thought that their argument was logical, the old man seated next to him said "Shreshti! Do not believe them. They are crooks wanting to rob the travelers weakened by thirst". Dharmapaala was in a dilemma. Unable to ignore the words of the old man, he instructs his troupe to carry on without discarding the stored water.  Some members were unhappy and were complaining "Oh! We should have travelled with Dhanapaala".  But, even after travelling for a couple of days, they could not find the oasis. Instead, they found the party of Dhanapaala robbed and without means whatsoever.  "Oh, grandpa, how did you know? Your words were true" was their question. The old man said "though their clothes were wet, no birds were seen in the horizon to signal the presence of an oasis nearby. A close observation of their eyes indicated their evil intent".

The city of Kaashi is our body. We transact with the world through our organs.  The arena of business in the outside world is like that desert. In the expanses of internal field, there are oases of serene and sappy ambrosia.  Our inclinations towards sensual pleasures create mirages that delude us.  In our business of life, we are naturally attracted towards money and power of the wealthy –Dhanapaalas. We throw away the ambrosia and are deluded by the magic woven by our senses and loose that wealth. We discard the aged and knowledgeable dharma, thinking that it is weak.  But, Dharma protects us and unveils Truth. Just as eyes give us sight and ears the ability to hear, the dharma of the soul, Aatmadharma, uncovers the inner truth. If this dharma is protected, it reveals the inner light and redeems us in turn. It enables us to keep our senses under control.  The principle that "If we protect dharma, it will protect us" was oft highlighted by the great yogi, the revered Shri Ranga Mahaaguru.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.