In the previous episode, we had witnessed the continuation of the discussion on the various aspects of “Dharma” as being narrated by Sage Sukhaachaarya to King Parikshit. Just to remind readers a little bit, we’re at the commencement of the eighth “Skandha” of the Shrimad Bhaagawatha Puraana, wherein Sage Sukhaachaarya elaborates the various “Dharma” principles for various categories of people in this world. Some of these principles are common for all kinds of people as well and now, we’re witnessing these common principles. So far, we’ve discussed around eight to nine aspects of “Dharma” that Sage Sukhaachaarya narrates in detail, and in the last episode we had witnessed a very important “Dharma” called “Brahmacharya”. We had witnessed in detail, what is this “Brahmacharya” and who can follow this “Dharma”. We had said that all kinds of people, including married couples can adopt and follow “Brahmacharya”, provided we adhere strictly to certain austerities. For instance, as per the Vedas, there are certain days of the month / year during which, it would be better to avoid going behind sensual and physical pleasurable experiences as a couple. These days include some auspicious days like festivals, “Ekadashi”, etc. If we’re able to follow these norms correctly as prescribed by the Vedas, this itself is “Brahmacharya”. Of course, we also tried answering several questions surrounding this, and the final outcome of this discussion was that, all what we do should please Bhagawan’s heart. It is only through this, we attain Moksha. Hence, let us try and meticulously follow whatever we should.
Now moving on further, Sage Sukhaachaarya talks about the next aspect of “Dharma”, which is “Thyaaga”. What is this “Thyaaga”? It simply means the maturity of a person to give something to someone. As ardent followers of our “Sanaathana Dharma”, we should learn to give more and more to the world, rather than getting more and more! I shall narrate a small example to drive this point home – Imagine I’m a working professional and I earn a handsome amount of money from my job. Whenever I go to my workplace or even for a leisure trip with my family, I only wear branded apparels and nothing less than that. Now if someone comes to my doorstep and claims that he doesn’t have proper clothing owing to his financial inability to by clothes – What do I do? I immediately go to my wardrobe and start searching which dress can I offer him. I start picking out various shirts and trousers / jeans, etc. and my hands stumble upon one of my most expensive shirts ever! I would have bought that shirt with so much of passion for the brand and the look of it. In the background, I would think within myself thus, “Oh! Should I give this shirt to this person? I bought this shirt all for myself and this is one of my best ones. Rather than giving this, I’ll give some other shirt which I do not use much, and which is of an inferior quality as compared to the others!” Thinking thus, if I hide the best clothing of mine, and donate the worst of what I have, can it be called “Thyaaga” or “Dhaanam” or “Donation”? The answer is “NO”!
Thus, we should understand here that the principle called “Thyaaga” means, we should have the maturity to donate the best of the best items that we have, to others. If we give something of an inferior quality, it can never be accepted as “Thyaaga”. This is why, whenever we do certain auspicious spiritual ceremonies at our homes, and when we give certain items as a “donation” to the Pandits / Brahmins who are performing the spiritual practices, we should always ensure that we give them the best that we can.
But where are we now today? For a small example, let us consider this – Many of us in the southern part of India have this practice of consuming betel leaves. Even during auspicious occasions, we have the ritual of offering betel leaves to Bhagawan, or to a Pandit or to anybody for that matter. Now, if we go to the shop to by these betel leaves, the shopkeeper would immediately ask us, “What is the purpose for which you’re buying these betel leaves? Is it for your consumption or is it for donating it to someone else?” If we say that it is for our personal consumption, the shopkeeper would automatically give us the expensive variety. Whereas, if it is for the purpose of giving it to someone else, he would give the cheaper and the inferior variety! Now, this is where our “Thyaaga” attitude currently stands! Thus, the question that we should ask within ourselves is, “Aren’t the people to whom we’re going to give these betel leaves also normal human beings like us? If we’re consuming the superior variety, they can also consume the same thing as well! Why should we differentiate between us and them? Why can’t we give them the same expensive variety of the betel leaves that we consume?” If we’re able to answer these questions in the positive way, it means that we’re growing higher on our “Thyaaga” attitude.
Thus, for today let us realize that “Thyaaga” is an integral part of our “Dharma” and we should develop the maturity to give as much as possible to others, with the superior quality. If we develop this noble quality in us, we shall definitely call ourselves as “Dhaarmikas”. So let us ponder over this point very closely today, and let us make efforts to follow this in our daily lives. We shall wait till the next episode to continue with this interesting discussion on the various principles of “Dharma”! Stay tuned! 😊