Build a Fence of Dharma Around

The Gurbani urges us to abide by Dharma at all costs. Through the Gur-Giaan (Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom, Aatam-Giaan, Gurmat, Shabad-Vichaar …), the Gurbani urges us to build the fence of Dharma around. In fact, the Gurbani calls this earth “ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ” (Dharam Saal – the place for Jeeva to practice Dharma, ਜੀਵਾਂ ਲਈ ਧਰਮ ਕਮਾਉਣ ਦਾ ਅਸਥਾਨ…).

  • ਸਾਚ ਧਰਮ ਕੀ ਕਰਿ ਦੀਨੀ ਵਾਰਿ ॥ ਫਰਹੇ ਮੁਹਕਮ ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: Saach Dharam kee kari deenee vaari. Farahe muhkam gur giaanu beechaari. ||2|| (sggs 430).
  • ਤਿਸੁ ਵਿਚਿ ਧਰਤੀ ਥਾਪਿ ਰਖੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲ ॥: Tisu vichi dharatee thaapi rakhee dharam saal (sggs 12).

The word Dharma comes from the Sanskrit root dhri, which means “to hold”. Therefore, Dharma refers to that innate characteristic or Eternal Nature (True Nature …), which constantly exists with a particular object. To put it otherwise, Dharma refers to that Natural Law which cannot be changed. Accordingly, the term Dharma is the Eternal function or True Nature of all beings in relationship with the Supreme Truth.

For example, the mind’s True Nature is Joti-Svaroopa. Also, heat is the natural Dharma of fire; liquidity is the natural Dharma of water; and so on. Hence, the word Dharma refers to the Eternal Virtue (ਗੁਣ) of all beings, which can not be taken away from them. It expresses the vital or Essential Nature of men, animals, all other creatures, metals, and so on. Dharma, therefore, is a comprehensive term that refers to the Immutable and Changeless Cosmic Order (Hukam…), that pervades every particle of the Cosmos, and runs the entire Universe and all beings. Thus, in the broader sense, Dharma is what upholds the Universe.

  • ਹੁਕਮੇ ਧਰਤੀ ਸਾਜੀਅਨੁ ਸਚੀ ਧਰਮ ਸਾਲਾ ॥: Hukme dharatee saajeeanu sachee dharam saalaa (sggs 785).

In this way, the Dharma is eternally integral with everything in this world. It can not be taken away just as the heat cannot be taken away from fire; just as liquidity cannot be taken away from the water; just as energy cannot be taken away from the electricity; and so on.

  • ਇਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਭੁ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਿਸੁ ਅੰਦਰਿ ਸਚੇ ਕੀ ਵਿਚਿ ਜੋਤਿ: Ihu sareeru sabhu dharmau hai jisu andaru sache kee vichu joti. Guhaj ratan (sggs 309).

We cannot escape actions in life. For every situation calls for action from the Jeeva (individual being). And every act produces some results or effects, which take us either closer or farther away from our the Truth – our Mool (ਮੂਲ), etc.

  • ਕਰਮੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੇ ਨੇੜੈ ਕੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥: Karamee aapo aapanee ke nerrai ke doori (sggs 8).

Dharma is present when one is aligned with Truth in one’s thought, word and deed (“ਮਨਿ ਚਿਤਿ ਇਕੁ”…). Furthermore, Dharma has no equivalent synonym. It implies the laws and disciplines pertaining to the Truth (accepting the Hukam, ਭਾਣੇ ਵਿਚ ਰਹਿਣਾਂ, righteousness…) and is relevant to all times and all peoples. Additionally, the effects of Dharma manifest in the way we lead our lives.

  • ਮਨ ਬਚ ਕ੍ਰਮ ਗੋਵਿੰਦ ਅਧਾਰੁ ॥ ਤਾ ਤੇ ਛੁਟਿਓ ਬਿਖੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: Man bach kram govind adhaaru. taa te chhutio bikhu sansaaru ||3|| (sggs 197).
  • ਇਕੋ ਹੁਕਮੁ ਵਰਤਦਾ ਏਕਾ ਸਿਰਿ ਕਾਰਾ ॥: Iko hukamu varatadaa ekaa siri kaaraa (sggs 425).
  • ਮੰਨੈ ਧਰਮ ਸੇਤੀ ਸਨਬੰਧੁ ॥: Mannai dharma setee sanbandhu (sggs 3).

The Gurbani’s Giaan (Gurmat …) is the very Essence of Dharma. The Gurbani makes it very clear that without the real Giaan there can be no real Dharma (i.e., there can be no living a life of true Dharma-ਧਰਮ…). Absence of Dharma constitutes falsehood (Bikaars…), and falsehood leads to corruption (Durmat, Manmukh or Mayaic lifestyle, opposing or resisting of the Hukam – ਹੁਕਮ ਦਾ ਵਿਰੋਧ…).

In essence, Dharma is just an another name for Giaan (Aatma-Giaan, Gur-Giaan, Divine Knowledge, Spiritual Wisdom…).

  • ਕਬੀਰਾ ਜਹਾ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਤਹ ਧਰਮੁ ਹੈ ਜਹਾ ਝੂਠੁ ਤਹ ਪਾਪੁ ॥: Kabeeraa jahaa giaanu tah dharamu hai jahaa jhoothu tah paapu (sggs 1372).

Dharma makes one Bhagat (Gurmukh …), not Sansaaree (worldly or Mayaic person). The Gurbani assures us once inside the fence (ਕਾਰ, ਵਾੜ …) of Dharma, we will not be plundered.

  • ਤੈ ਸਹਿ ਦਿਤੀ ਵਾੜਿ ਨਾਨਕ ਖੇਤੁ ਨ ਛਿਜਈ ॥੨॥: Tai sahi ditee vaarri Nanak khetu n chhijaee (sggs 521).