In the realms of both manifestation and of non-manifestation, there are certain characteristics borne by each and every object. In the realm of non-manifestation, those characteristics remain coverted within the object itself and are not known to any other entity. But in the stratum of manifestation, objects are known to other entities by their wonts or characteristics. These wonts may be in the form of prognosis or diagnosis or premonition or after-effects. But they must be present, because their presence denotes the existence of that entity. Such entities may be physical entities may be physical objectivities, may be psychic entities, or may be psychic pabula. Dharma is also such an entity. Dharma is the highest and greatest and sweetest psychic pabulum. So dharma should also have certain characteristics of its own.
What are these wonts? Are they prognosis or diagnosis or premonition or after-effects? The reply is that dharma’s manifestations, dharma’s wonts, exist in each and every stratum. A dhármika may be treated as a prognosis of something coming, a diagnosis of something already come, a premonition of something evil, or an after-effect of something good. Regarding the lakśana, the wonts of dharma, it has been said:
Dhrti kśamá damo’steyaḿ shaocamindriyanigrahah;
Dhiirvidyá satyamakrodhah dashaka dharmalakśańam.
What is the first lakśańa of dharma? It is dhrti which has several meanings in Saḿskrta, the most important one being “patience”. A dhármika should have patience. Dharma and patience are inseparable. Suppose an evil force says, “I, the lord of a certain country, will destroy Ananda Marga from the very root.” A dhármika should maintain patience, should be patient. Because the day is soon to come when that evil force is going to be destroyed. Its weapon will serve as a boomerang for its own death. And this happened in the near past, as you all know.
The second lakśańa, is kśamá, that is, forgiveness or pardon. Kśamá should be properly explained to spiritual aspirants. In your personal life you have the right to forgive anybody and everybody but in your collective life you have not got such a right. You have to consult the collective body before you forgive an enemy of the collective body. And in your individual life, although you have the right to excuse somebody, you should remember that pardon should not be extended to persons who have not rectified their conduct or their habits. If you pardon such persons it means you are encouraging their bad habits. You should not do that, it is against the principles of dharma.
The third is dama. “Dama” means “control” – to bring control. In Saḿskrta, there are two similar terms, “shamanam” and “damanam”. “Shamanam” means bringing the external enemies under control, and “damanam” means bringing the internal enemies under control. In the mythological story, Pluto was the God of Death, known as Yamarája in Saḿskrta. He is also known as Shamana, because he controls others. And a sádhu or dhármika to control him or herself is to do damanam. One should have full control over the internal enemies, which are the demons residing in your mind. This is dharma.
In the Vedas there is a story that once upon a time a big luminous body appeared on the horizon. Many people went near that luminous body, but no one could approach it directly. Then to some of the people who came near it, that luminous body uttered the sound “da” and nothing more. Some people interpreted that sound “da”, as “dánaḿ kuru”, and were regarded by society as Asuras or Dánavas. A second batch interpreted the sound “da” as “dayáḿ kuru” and they were treated as Mánavas; and a third batch interpreted “da” as “damanaḿ kuru”, and they were known as Devatas. The story says that in this way the differentiation was created among Asura, Mánava and Devatá.
“Damanam” is the highest order. “Damanam” means killing internal enemies. And one who has controlled the external enemies is known as “shánta”. In Saḿskrta “sham” + “ta” = “shánta”. The person who has defeated his or her internal enemies is dánta (“dam” + “ta”).
“Asteya” means “non-stealing” – not stealing physically or mentally; not cheating physically or mentally.
“Shaoca” means keeping both the physical body and the mental body neat and clean. It is easy to keep the physical body neat and clean and it is very difficult to keep the mind neat and clean. For this purpose, the mind must be initiated in Tántrikii diikśá and not in Vaedikii diikśá. Vaedikii diikśá teaches the mind how to pray for higher life and Tántrikii diikśá teaches one how to move forward.
“Indriyanigraha”. One must have complete control over one’s sensory and motor organs. Lord Buddha said,
Cakśuna saḿvaro sádhu sádhu sotena saḿvaro
Gháńena saḿvaro sádhu sádhu jibbháya saḿvaro,
Káyena saḿvaro sádhu sádhu vácáya saḿvaro
Manasá saḿvaro sádhu sádhu sabbat́t́ha saḿvaro.
Let there be complete self-restraint. A person who has established him or herself in this kind of self-restraint is known as a “Sádhu”.
“Dhii” – “Dhii” means “intellect”. You may say, “What about people who are illiterate attaining dharma? Are they not dhármika? Each and every person cannot have an intellect.” Yes, each and every person has an intellect. The dhármika interpretation of intellect is intellect free from all baseness, all impurities and all degenerative propensities. This is the intellect a dhármika will possess.
“Vidyá” means “true knowledge”. Vidyá is divided into two sections: vidyá and avidyá. Avidyá is mundane knowledge and includes material science. Vidyá means spiritual science. One must know this spiritual science. You may say how can an illiterate person, a less educated person, acquire vidyá? Here vidyá does not mean the self-realization that you get through books, “vidyá” means the movement of the mind towards Parama Puruśa.
“Satyam”. What is Satyam? The movement towards Sat is satyam. What is sat? “Sat” means “that which undergoes metamorphosis.” What is the object that undergoes no metamorphosis? The Cosmic Cognitive Principle undergoes no metamorphosis; hence it is the Sat entity. That entity is also known as “Sat Cit Ánandam”; and the mental movement towards that Sat entity is “Satyam”.
“Akrodha” means “free from anger”. It is an art of fighting. Suppose A and B are two belligerent parties, and A has got control over krodha and B has no control. What will happen? B’s body will tremble, and in that fight B will have no control over his or her nerves, and A, who is fully established in akrodha, will just give a push and B will be defeated. So this is an art of fighting. For a dhármika this art of fighting should always be remembered. A dhármika should always remember that by following akrodha he or she will always be victorious.
These ten items are the wonts of dharma. So although each and every entity has its own dharma, dharma has these ten entities as its own dharma.
2 December 1978, Madras