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Observance Of Dharma Is Necessary For The Orderly Course Of Life – Hinduism Teachings

In the Mahabharata, following the conclusion of the great war, Yudhishthira was overwhelmed with sorrow upon discovering that Karna was his elder brother. Contemplating renunciation, he decided to forsake the recently acquired kingdom and return to the forest. Despite the efforts of Draupadi, Arjuna, Bhima, Vyasa, and Krishna to dissuade him, arguing that his duty as a kshatriya was to govern the kingdom, Yudhishthira remained unconvinced. It was Bhishma, the venerable patriarch of the Bharata tribe, who ultimately persuaded Yudhishthira that performing his royal duties was imperative for the greater good of the people.

Highlighting the paramount importance of kingly responsibilities, Bhishma likened them to the footprints of an elephant, which encompassed all other animal footprints. He asserted that the duties of the king, known as Rajadharma, surpassed all other obligations. According to Bhishma, the proper execution of royal duties was essential for the prosperity of dharma.

The Mahabharata posits that, in the ultimate analysis, dharma is rooted in truth and righteousness, serving as the cohesive force that binds the world together. Yudhishthira emphasized that adherence to dharma should not be driven solely by its benefits but should be considered a binding duty for everyone. Bhishma expounded the concept that both the duties of the state and those of the citizens emanated from a 'social contract' among human beings. He argued that samaya, or mutual agreement, formed the foundation of the state. Those who, in their strength, perceived dharma as a creation of the weak, turned to it in times of adversity. Therefore, the observance of dharma was deemed necessary for the orderly progression of life. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad further argues that dharma is the 'controller [even] of the kshatriyas,' and with its aid, a weaker individual could rule over the powerful.