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Dharma & Adharma (Was: Re: More on Prapatti)

From: Parthasarati Dileepan (
Date: Fri Oct 18 1996 - 05:41:53 PDT

"Mohan Sagar <Mohan.Sagar@DOT.STATE.CO.US>" writes:
[ ... ]

>It is interesting to note that although many of these actions would
>conform to the expectations of the Dharma, some would seem to
>challenge it, or as in the Azhwar's case, even go against it.  Another
>example of this involve the controversial actions of Vibhishana, who,
>after his Prapatti, sides with his own brother's enemy in battle.
>From the perspective of our ordinary understanding of Dharma, this
>would be a sin, but as he was a Prapanna, his actions were undoubtedly
>Bhagavad Kainkarya.

It is not my intent to nit pick, but I am a little troubled by
the term "ordinary understanding of Dharma".  Sri Mohan may
not have intended anything in particular by it, but I venture
to express my views any way.  It seems to me that to
be on the side of the Lord is dharma, and to be against
the Lord is adharma, whatever may be the understanding.

The circumstance of Vibeeshna's abandonment of Ravana may be
important here.  He did not simply pack his bags and leave.
Vibeeshnaazhvaar tried his best to persuade his evil brother
to return Thayar to PerumaaL.  Even then, Vibeeshna did not
abandon Ravana.  It is only after Ravana invited him to leave
did he do so.  Therefore, I submit that Vibeeshana's actions
were perfectly within the realm of dharma, ordinary or esoteric.

In the case of Prahaladhaazhvaar he had to oppose his own father
which ultimately caused his death.  Yet it was well within dharma.
This is hinted in 4th Paripaadal in one of the most beautiful passages.
As Prahaladhan is subjected to all kinds of hardships, he continued
to praise the Lord, in direct opposition to his father's commands.
Prahaladhan stood silent against all the abuse as the perpetrator
was his father.

"thaadhai yaagalin igazhvOn, igazhaa nencinanaaga"
(as the abuser was his father, he stood without 
malice in his heart)

Opposition to his own father did not make Prahaladan's
actions non-dharmic.

All the dharmic acts of Bheeshma, et. al. came to naught
when they stood shoulder to shoulder with adharma.

Therefore, it seems to me, to be on the side of the Lord
is dharma, and to be against the Lord is adharma.  Since
the saasthraas are Lord's own thiru uLLam, dharma will
always be on the side of the Lord.  If it does not seem
so, then it is our limited understanding that is to be 
faulted.  The only sure way to know whether we are on the
side of the Lord or not is to approach our Acharya and 
follow their guidance.


-- Dileepan