Dharma generally is thought to mean duties and righteous actions;  yudha means warfare. Dharma-yudha means warfare to preserve one’s individual dharma of duties and righteous actions or collective ways of living as in States or established religions. For individual Hindus however dharma is a way of life. However, It is easy to use those words but what do they mean in practice in Hinduism and does it have wider implications. Can there be interfaith dialogue on this important consideration that drives humanity forwards across the globe. This is what I set out to explore.

For a Hindu too taking the word simplistically we say that every Hindu is indeed engaged in dharma yudha but it has many manifestations. It can be separated out into theistic dharma-yudha and atheistic dharma-yudha with the two having different scopes. Atheistic dharma yudha is totally materialistic using value judgments that are self-derived consciously and it could range from swadharma or duties to oneself, Parivar dharma or duties to the family, or sansar dharma that is duties to society. In theistic dharma-yudha one is focussed on God and doing what one needs to do to attain the eternal law-abiding means of living, if there is any such thing. If there is no way for a Hindu to determine what any eternal law is, one might use Holy Books and scriptures from which to derive what constitutes the eternal law. In atheistic dharma-yudha one would take the Yoga shastras of Yamas and Niyamas to live by. That is rather simple and imagines that the best way of living is to be pious and sattvic in nature as distinct from rajasic (routinal) or tamasic in which one is animalistic and considers Shubha Labha as one’s guiding principle. The diversity of dharma is therefore vast, because there are atheistic sattvic, rajasic and tamasic Hindus and there are theistic sattvic rajasic and tamasic Hindus. This conception regards all Hindus who subscribe to Brahman as the Ultimate Reality or Consciousness as Self as atheistic, while those who are Dwaitist or Vishista-advaitists are theistic to different degrees there by once again having different scopes for dharma and its struggle for preservation in dharma-yudha. When a theist is in total bhakti mode, he would be a Shudha advaitist or as in the case of ISKCON Bhaktivedamta living totally by the Bhagavad Gita.

This diversity of beliefs is why Hindus never agree with each other on what should be an ideal Holy Book for all Hindus, and the vastness of scriptures enables people to pick and choose what is important for them to establish their own dharma and resulting dharma-yudha to maintain their individual religions within the Hindu fold. That is the beauty of Hinduism and generates the tolerance for each other for one can always cite one or other of the scriptures to argue and this argument is a healthy thing for in the end each person has to live and learn and apply the scriptures that closely define them from their individual upbringing in the different castes and vernas and family values to develop their own identities. It is also why people of other religious faiths find it so very difficult to convert to being a Hindu. If they wish to do so they will have to study the scriptures and blend these in with their own experiences of life.

For me as a Hindu I live continuously for each moment is the start of a new day with new horizons and our complex uncertain but vast array of scriptures enables me to think what we need to do to modify our individual dharma as we go along in life. So I have always been very flexible and sought the truth consistently through the process that I have discussed called satya-advaita. My dharma is now Sanatan Dharma because it is proven to me this morning that I could abandon the term sanatan dharma with small s and d and justifiably replace it with capital S and D, meaning that on taking Samadhi my personal dharma-yudha has born fruit in that it has determined the eternal law of the universe in the part of the shloka Dharma Rakshati Rakshita, that if one surrenders to God in all ones actions and reactions to determine one’s fate, one would live to the day when one will be exonerated and all one’s works will stand the test of time so that dharma has not only protected me to continue living with my family in our marital home that I call Shanti Niwas, my five books describing the development of my Conception of Reality and its application have been deposited in the British Library and available on websites across the world for anyone to question me on the validity of my findings.

The books can be downloaded here:



 I was thinking all afternoon about dharma and I know the diversity of Hinduism in this respect so we will individually have out own ideas on what dharma (duties and righteous actions) is right for one in accordance with our own individual circumstances, upbringing and knowledge of the scriptures. Each one of us will treat dharma and dharma-yudha in accordance with their own perceptions, some will say fighting is wrong and it is only meant to be a struggle like satyagraha, others will take it to the other extreme and adhere to what might be termed Hindutva Kshatriya undertaking to preserve their Kshatriya dharma, and those of the sattvic mind will base their dharma on ahmisa or non-violence, others in the rajasic mould will believe in civil actions like protests of various kinds when there is adharma that affects the individual and still others will be more idealistic and 'fight' to counter evil that threatens the planet Earth towards Pralaya (doomsday) because it is all in our own hands as human beings since God is not the preserver, we are the preservers and God is just the Creator. In sanatan dharma within Vishista-advaita Vedanta, we serve God Sri Krishna in all our dharmic duties and responsibilities of righteousness for that gives us peace of mind that we have taken account of everything and we have surrendered to His Lotus feet.

On Facebook Ask a Hindu- Questions on Sanatan Dharma

Rita Gupta

Shantanu Panigrahi Yes we have to decide for ourselves. And doing that even learned ones make mistake. Look at Bhishm and Dron, they were elder and teacher of Kouravas, if they had even once threatened Duryodhan to leave, war would not have happened. They thought being at king's side was their duty.

Shantanu Panigrahi

Rita Gupta What you are saying is that Bhisma and Drona were State-slaves in carrying out duties to the King ahead of what was righteous so we should not be taking them as good guides on what should be dharma that we will individually feel as a matter of conscience as righteous depending on what truths we individually know. This means that duties to another person or the State or even to God is a separate idea from dharma, of what is the right course of action. We cannot assume even from reading the Gita that God Sri Krishna wishes us to fight with violence using weapons as He clearly asked the Pandavas to do to try and get their material justice in the Mahabharrata. So truth plays a very important if not a vitally important part in the determination of what is righteous and therefore dharma. In my view duties are not righteous as they serve material objectives rather than spiritual ones, the most important spiritual objective being the adherence to the path of truth: that alone is dharma.

Rita Gupta

Shantanu Panigrahi The way I see, spiritually was hardly a issue in Mahabharat war. Moral values were. Spirituality gets introduced only when Arjun lost his mind and started talking that it is immoral to fight one's elder and teacher. He lost his memory and forgot that his relatives and teacher has chosen to be on wrong side. He is fighting for righteousness and now it is his duty to fight, no matter who is in front.

To fix him, Bhagawan introduces Spirituality that don't worry, you be killing only body, Atma is Ajar Amar. Of course he is not convinced so Bhagawan introduces Yog. One thing leads to another and we get Gita. Many things are unsaid or in short due to time constraint and many things are in too details due to the fact, it was a conversation, not a Pravachan.

Asharira YogiAdmin

It is a very simple concept.

Following your dharma is achieving your soul’s life purpose by acting in accordance with who you truly are. While this discovery won’t happen overnight, part of the beauty of this journey is learning things about yourself every step of the way. The yudha-part is the fight within yourself (its constant and ongoing) to realize your purpose, your goal, what is right and what is wrong.

Trust in yourself and believe in your instincts for they will guide you to your awakening and your happiness. All of the good you do will always make its way back to you.

Shantanu Panigrahi

Asharira Yogi Beautiful explanation in simple language that is very helpful to me. Dharma is the essence of Hinduism; when one finds one's atman and knows its relationship to paramtaman throuh Om, the Supermind, one is performing sanatan dharma which is Sanatan Dharma, the eternal law of the universe enshrined by Sri Krishna. Nothing should deter a Hindu from following this path, and Rita Gupta is right in drawing our attention to Bhagavad Gita where God explained to Arjuna that he would only be killing the body of his perpetrators of injustices (Bhisma, Drona, Duryodhan) for their atman cannot be destroyed for the atman intrinsically is part of the paramatman and returns to Sri Krishna. So fight for your rights in dharma-yudha is the essence of Hinduism in my view. The fight should never be abandoned, One should never accept defeat for the sanctity of one's atman that instintively acts on conscience. When one does that Sri Krishna our God helps those who help themselves to strive for truth and justice in the material world. The duty of a person is to his atman as his guide (his or her conscience). That is how our Hinduism is so beautiful and it all fits in. Dharma-yudha is the essence of Hindu thought.


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