Bharata Bharati

Dharma

Prof Michel DaninoThe Gita’s ethical message, rooted in a spiritual vision of the human being … insists on the need to take sides for dharma. The Pandavas are to fight and kill not for their own sake, not to recapture an usurped kingdom, but to prevent the victory of adharma. – Prof Michel Danino

Behind most master ideas of Indian civilisation we have been exploring in this series, one underlies all others or strings them together. It can be summed up in a single brief word, perhaps unrivalled in the history of human thought and ethics for the sheer number and complexity of practices it has encompassed, articulated, discussed and defended. Dharma—“that which upholds”—is a universe in itself. Indeed, it is supposed to uphold the whole cosmos, as also society, communities, families and individuals.

And yet dharma is delightfully ungraspable. Two of India’s longest texts, the epic Mahabharata and Ramayana, are nothing…

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