Monthly Archives: July 2015

Dharma v/s Dhamma

There is a major difference between Buddha’s Dhamma & Krishna’s Dharma. Buddha’s Dhamma stood for compassion for all, Krishna’s Dharma placed brother against the brother and preached revenge and vengeance as a way of life.

Buddha questioned everything to the core. He shook the status quo. His Dhamma (Dharma) was constant reflection and based on question marks. He refrained from becoming ultimate authority on matters concerned. He only directed the seekers to the path. According to him, seekers have to find their own answers which became stations of human conscience over a period of time. He never accepted any answer until and unless it satisfied the framework of compassion and empathy. His theory of Karma made an individual responsible for societal failures and successes. This threatened the social order proposed by Dharma Shastras.

Bhagwat Gita was a response to Buddha’s theory of Karma and Dhamma. It was a retort of clergy class to Sramanic traditions which preached non-violence and equality. Krishna commanded Arjuna to kill all his relatives as that was the Varna Dharma of a Kshatriya and gave a dubious justification, according to which killing is justified by a Kshatriya as a form of revenge and vengeance. He told Arjuna that this body is mortal and soul immortal, so either you kill or the person dying with natural death- there isn’t much difference.

Buddha remained silent on the matter of soul.

Instead of individuals taking a lead in social transformation, Gita dictated that the Lord shall incarnate to the reinstate social order. Fruits of labour and actions were for the other world or birth, whereas in Buddhist view their provision was instant, if you have been rude to anyone- you shall be angry and anxious, if you’ve been compassionate and affable to everyone- you shall be happy and content. Buddha informed that the world is full of suffering, and helped society to accept the collective guilt. Further, he stated that the key to get away from collective suffering is compassion framed in his eight fold noble path.

Gita rejected all of that and declared collective suffering as a cycle of Karma and thereby rescued the society from acceptance of responsibility. Buddha’s Dhamma began with questioning, Gita’s Dharma demeaned the critical thinking. Buddha’s path which was born out of collective churning is now alien in the land he was born. And individualistic approach of Gita became way of life for most.