RIGHT CONDUCT (DHARMA)
[Extracts compiled from Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's Discourses]
Dharma is the foundation for the welfare of humanity; it is the Truth that is stable for all time. God is the embodiment of Dharma; His Grace is won by Dharma; He is ever fostering Dharma; He is ever establishing Dharma. He is Dharma itself.
Dharma is a body of principles that are fundamental to social stability and individual progress. "Dharma Moolam Idam Jagath". Dharma is the root of this world. Obey it and you are happy. One common definition of Dharma is that it is the adherence to the rule: 'Do unto others what you wish them to do unto you. Do not have a double standard. Treat all as your own self'.
The basic principles of Dharma are Sathya (Truth), Prema (Love), Sahana (Fortitude) and Ahimsa (Nonviolence). "Dharmo Rakshathi Rakshithah" - Dharma protects those that protect Dharma. Dharma means certain obligations and duties and regulations over actions, words and behavior. For example, elders have certain obligations towards younger people and vice versa; neighbors have mutual duties and rights.
The task of everyone is to do the duty that has come upon him, with a full sense of responsibility to the utmost of his capacity. There should be complete coordination between what one feels, says and does. Then work becomes worship.
How are you to decide in any particular case what is Dharma and what is not? That which does not inflict pain on you and others - that is Dharma. This follows from the recognition that same God resides in everyone and if you injure another, you are hurting the same God who is in you. Dharma enables you to come to the recognition that anything that is bad for another is also bad for you. So act in such a way that you get joy and others too get joy. Or take another standard for your actions: Make the mind, the speech and body agree in harmony. Act as you speak, speak as you feel, do not play false to your conscience. That is the Dharmic way of life.
Dharma trains you to be calm, level headed, secure in equanimity. You know the transitory nature of success or failure, riches or poverty, joy or grief. You are not elated or deflated. You are serene, unmoved. Anything that helps you to maintain this unruffled stability is Dharma. To summarize: sensual life is Adharma; the spiritual life is Dharma.
Dharma is not a matter of time and space to be modified and adjusted to the needs and pressures of the moment. It means a number of fundamental principles that should guide mankind in its progress towards inner harmony and outer peace. When man stays away from Dharma, he meets with greater harm than even physical slavery. These principles are called Sanathana because their origins are not dated, their author is not identifiable; they are the revelations made in the clarified intellects of impartial sages. They are basic and eternal.
Dharma is the eternal source. Dharma is a great virtue. Dharma is the basis for everything. In this world nothing is higher than righteousness. Man must follow the path of Dharma, to know himself, to discard demonic qualities, to foster human qualities, to develop divine qualities and to achieve a good life.