Dharmo Rakshati Rakshithaha


Hinduism is more a way of life than a method of worship.

The popular Hindu dictum Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha (Dharma protects those who protect it) has two implications in its statement. The first one is easier to understand: Dharmo rakshati, meaning that Dharma offers protection. If we choose to live a life guided by the principles of Dharma, then we are assured of that protection. This understanding is ingrained in our thinking from childhood as one grows up in India.

The other part of the phrase is: rakshitaha. This part brings us into the action. Why was this coined? That we human beings need protection is understandable. But rakshithaha implies that the concept itself needs protection too.( pl note this here, The Concept itself needs protection , not Dharama itself as it can take care of itself )

This is interesting as it conveys the need to protect the very concept whose protection we are seeking. Dharma will protect you if you protect it.

Therefore a duty is imposed on those who seek such protection from Dharma, and that duty is to take care that this wonderful governing concept of life is not in any jeopardy

He who carries out his duties shall be protected.

Which Dharma one should follow and protect?

The word "dharma" comes from the Sanskrit root dhri, meaning to "uphold" or to "sustain."

At a social level, every individual has a particular dharma according to their place in life. Children have a dharma, parents have a dharma, teachers have a dharma, the police have a dharma and even the head of a nation has a dharma.

One of the dharmas of a child, for example, is to obey parents and to study. Parents have a dharma to protect and look after children: to make sure they are educated, fed, housed and trained. It is sometimes written on the sides of police cars: To Serve and to Protect. This is a statement of dharma for police. A head of state has a dharma to protect the country and to provide a secure environment for its citizens.

If everyone performs their dharma: children obey parents, parents look after children, citizens uphold the laws of the land, the police enforce the law, a head of state protects the nation, then the family, the community and the nation are "upheld" and there can be prosperity. This is dharma, and it all follows from the idea of dhri, to uphold.

The ancient Hindu social system was called Varnashrama Dharma and the great epics of India, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata are built on this system of dharma. In the Ramayana, the hero Sri Rama exhibits the ideal execution of the dharma as a son and king. Ma Sita, his wife, illustrates the dharma of the ideal woman and wife. Hanumanji, the divine monkey, exhibits the dharma of a devoted servant in the way he serves Sri Rama.

The word dharma is also used in a different way within Hindu philosophy that can also be understood from the root dhri.

Every constituent of matter: liquids, metals, gases, fire, and so on have different dharmas. For example, the dharma of water is liquidity and wetness. The dharma of ice is solidity and coldness. The dharma of fire is heat and light. In other words, whatever it is that makes water, water or ice, ice, or fire, fire; what "upholds" the state of being water-ness, ice-ness, or fire-ness, etc., is dharma.


When Dharma is supported by Truth, even the Lord will protect you.

Sri Krishna said he was with the pandavas because of his dharma means his duty towards the truth. Sri Krishna was referring to dharma i.e. "Duty".

We have taken the meaning of Dharma as a Religion and branded it with different names. Your dharma is your duty. If you are duty bound and fulfill your duty, you are doing your dharma. If all human being understands that, there will be long lasting peace in this world. Why did Sri Krishna stay with Pandavas? Because their dharma was supported by truth. You can make anything your duty and call it your dharma. If it is based on truth, lord will always support you. That is the message of Sri Krishna's action.



The Mahabharata War as a war between cousins was a war between dharma and adharma.

“According to the epic itself, the Mahabharata War is the expression of a state of tension between two ideal orders of beings, a moral (dharmic) where in gods become incarnate as heroic individuals, and an immoral (adharmic)-or rather unmoral-type which it is the object of the former to destroy”


Since, Sri Krishna gives Pandavas support throughout the epic and is said to be incarnation of SriVisnu who has come down to earth for the purpose of restoring dharma; because Pandavas are regarded as to be the ones representing dharma supported by truth.

When Dharma was showing signs of decline, Sri Rama appeared to protect Dharani (the earth), Dharma Patni (his consort) and Dharma (Righteousness). It was for these three-fold purposes that Sri Rama Avatar took place.

By the time of Sri Krishna Avatar, the forces of wickedness had grown to greater proportions. Sri Krishna’s main concern was with Dharma; and to annihilate evildoers.

Source: Many sites

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