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Amish: Dharma isn’t just dos and don’ts, it’s about consequences


The dharma of a warrior is to win a war in the right way. But what happens when one has to break the rules to win?” Amish, author of ‘Dharma: Decoding the Epics for a Meaningful Life’, raised this and other such questions about dharmas and their conflicts with each other in conversation with author-diplomat Pavan K Varma during a session of the Times LitFest.

Amish, whose new release is co-authored with his sister Bhavna Roy, said that at every step people were faced with choices. “What does a person who follows Jainism do when he sees a woman being attacked? Does his swadharma (non-violence) come in conflict with apadadharma (to protect)? Or is a person at fault when he is taking one apple from a rich man’s house to feed his hungry child? However, even if there is a justification, there is no escape from the consequences,” he said.

He went on to explain that dharma was complex and nuanced. It goes beyond a list of dos and don’ts. “It shows the nature of the universe. We analyse it and make the choices. It gives us perspective and it is about finding an ideal balance. No action is either right or wrong. There are both extremes. That’s where conscience comes into the picture. We know that Lord Krishna was dharmic and Shakuni was not. It is essentially about the role,” he pointed out.

Roy said it was also about how we negotiate life. “It lies in the intentions of the heart and the mind. Are truths and facts synonymous? Facts are data and truths depend on the intentions. Our real intention lies in our unconscious mind,” she said.

Amish added that most people know their morality or conscience, but find it difficult to stick with it. “The greatest miscalculations happen when people try to appear moral when they are not. People do a lot of things on social media to appear right and gain virtual likes, but it pushes them away from their morality,” said the author of the Shiva Trilogy.

The book follows a conversation format. “Even in our dharmic books, be it the Upanishads or the Bhagavad Gita, a conversation format is followed. There is no final commandment, and the purpose is to show a deeper understanding,” explained Amish.



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