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Dharma Profile - DHARMA PROFILE - 2 PDF Print E-mail
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Let us continue with the Dharma Profile. Today we will discuss "H" which explains HAPPINESS and HARMONY.


We discussed in the last column about how health of infrastructure is important for development of an individual. Today we will explore on what the indicators of this well being are. We all understand what indicators mean. Dow as an index only comprises of 30 stock prices. Yet this is considered to be an indicator of the economy of entire USA. Dow has become an indicator of well being of the economy of this country. We all can relate to this. Dharma is an indicator of general well being of a society in a similar fashion. We may need to develop a Dharma index to denote this well being in a numerical form. We know the contents of the Dow. We will today explore further what the contents of Dharma indicator could be. How do we know if the infrastructure of a society is healthy? What are those indicators? Happiness and harmony is one such indicator. Is there happiness around? Are we living in harmony with each other?

Basic Needs :

Happiness needs to be understood at several levels. There is a happiness involved with our basic needs. A child is born in a family. Does the family have a house and can it provide clothes for the baby? Is there enough food for the baby that is born in that family? These are basic physical needs. Only a poor person in an unhealthy society understands the pains of not having these basic needs. The society or a nation needs to take care of these situations. It is our moral obligation to make sure that these basic needs are met. There is no point talking about Dharma or spirituality in a society that is irresponsible enough not to take care of these basic needs especially so in our modern times. The world has enough wealth to be able to take care of this basic need for a basic happiness.

Fear :

Let us say that the basic needs are taken care of. The family has enough to take care of basic needs and they have more as well. The family has enough to be able to contribute to the society and the country as well. His child grows up and is going to school. A child has been abducted while he is going to school. This has been happening in Bihar, India in recent past. One child has been abducted for a ransom. There are hundreds and thousands of children going to school every day. One child has been abducted. What effect has this on the whole society in Bihar? The effect is stunning. The fear has gone deep in every parent’s heart. This can happen to my child as well.

I grew up in a village in Bihar. We used to travel from Ara to my village Balbandh on a regular basis. We did not care if it was night or day. I went to Patna medical college in Bihar. We used to go to cinema in the late night show from 9p.m. to 12 p.m. we did not think twice about it. It was a regular affair to go out late night for a tea during our examination times. This was in 1960s. I go back to same town now. My relatives try to stop me from going out after dusk. My friends have security guards. What has happened?

Fear, insecurity and suspicion do not go well with happiness. They denote a downturn in the level of dharma. Dharma index in these situations is on the down turn. Possibilities of healthy growth are restricted in these circumstances. Basic needs are needed for any physical growth. A healthy social environment is needed for further growth of an individual. Drastic measures are sometimes needed to be able to reverse such trends in society. This is what was happening in Krishna’s times. There was nexus of bad rulers and the growth of any individual was suffocated. Krishna had no choice other that that Mahabharata war left to him for any healthy changes in those times. Let us hope that we do not have to go to that extent in our times.

Desire Complex :

Let us say that we have the basic needs and there are no such fears in our society. Are we happy in these situations? I now live in Skowhegan, Maine, USA. It is a small town. There is hardly any crime here. Law and order runs smoothly most of the times. I practice medicine in a hospital. I have competition. Some people do not like me. There is politics in the town and there is politics in the hospital. I can’t take vacation when I like and I can’t go places that I like. I am miserable. My wife wants to go to Mexico but I want to go to spain. We can not come to agreement.

These are psychological and political issues. Happiness now has come to individual level. “I do not want to be happy” syndrome might be taking place here. This desire complex which includes greed, jealousy, anger and what not is the most difficult one on path of happiness. That is why volumes have been written on this topic and yet it continues to elude happiness to most of us. We have discussed desire pathway in detail elsewhere and will not discuss it in detail here.

Interrelationship :

We will however discuss how to travel towards happiness in some detail in this section in next column. Before I do that I would like you all to as just two questions.

1. Do you want to be happy?

2. Do you want people around you to be happy?

We are all interrelated and interdependent and cannot be happy in isolation. If I want to be happy but feel uneasy if my neighbor is happy, then it is not going to work. Being happy in a miserable surrounding is not going to happen. We will continue on this topic in next column.

Harmony :
Interrelationship :

I requested you to ask the following two questions to yourself in my last column.

1. Do you want to be happy?

2. Do you want people around you to be happy?

These questions are important and have something do with harmony around us. Many of us want to be happy at the cost of some one else. Some of us want to be happy but want to see some one unhappy in the process. How can that be? How can I be happy in an unhappy surrounding? This is what we do not only with our fellow human beings but also to the environment around us. We want to cut trees so that we can have chop sticks. We want to kill elephants so that we can decorate our houses with their tusks.

We are all interrelated and interdependent and cannot be happy in isolation. If I want to be happy but feel uneasy if my neighbor is happy, then it is not going to work. Being happy in a miserable surrounding is not going to happen.

Harmony is another indicator of well being of our existence. If we overuse the natural resources around us today, we are bound to run into problems tomorrow. A balance is needed between what we take out from the resources and how fast it can replenish itself. A great example is our rivers in India. We call Ganga our mother. How do we feel about polluting our mother Ganga? We just have to go to Patna or Varanasi to find this out. How clean we keep our air in the cities. We know this by how many children fall sick each day in these cities.

It is a serious matter if you answered no to any of the questions given above. A “no’ answer is the root cause of creation of a terrorist. The existence of a terrorist depends on making others unhappy. We have to seriously think about creating a system which supports a yes answer to both the questions given above. This system is only possible when we give consideration to upholding of Dharma. Harmony is an integral part of Dharma. An individual lives in harmony in his family, a family lives in harmony with the society it belongs to and a society lives in harmony with the environment it lives in. We all have to realize that interdependence is inevitable existence. We cannot and should not run away from this truth.

We can see that in our family. Cold war or acute war between family members happens if there is no harmony in a family. Every individual in the family wants to make their mark. They each want to feel important and want to show the other that they are important. In a harmonious family environment the opposite happens. Each individual credits the other for who they are. They realize and make the other person feel their importance in the family. The end result is end of arguments and any kind of war; there is no cold war and there is no acute war. That does not mean that individuality is lost. Each person respects the other person’s individuality. There is no reason to or effort to change the other. In a non-harmonious situation the reasoning is different. If I do not argue with my brother or my mother, I am classified as weak personality. If I listen to my mother, I become a chicken. If I make a tea for my wife, I become hen-pecked. These words exist in non-harmonious family. In a non harmonious family the logics are completely different. There is respect and yet there exists individual strong personalities.

Pandavas are great examples of such an existence. All brothers are strong personalities. Yet they live in harmony and respect each other to the hilt. They are all different personalities, yet they are able to co-exist without many arguments. Kauravas are totally different. Every one has to live Duryodhana’s way. There is no other way of life there. Harmony is no where to see; Bhishma fought for duryodhana, but his heart yearned for Pandava’s victory. What else can be an example of disharmony?

Harmony and happiness go hand in hand and is an indicator of Dharma. Dharma has some concepts, some processes to get to the concept and some indicators of whether Dharma is on uptrend or on downtrend. A healthy system for proper development of individuals is a concept that we discussed in our first column on Dharma. We are discussing certain indicators for Dharma in our current column and we also discussed this in the last column. We will discuss some processes of Dharma in the columns to come.


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