Ravi Khangai deposited Āpaddharma’ (Law at the time of distress) in the Mahābhārata in the group Philosophy on Humanities Commons 10 months, 1 week ago
‘Dharma’ (Rightousness)1 sometimes takes the shape of ‘Adharma’ (unrighteousness ).”2 The Mahābhārata gives a subtle message through the stories. Sage Viśhwamitra justifies stealing of a piece of dog’s flesh to save his life during famine. (Śāntiparvan). Blind adherence of the sage Kauśika to his vow of speaking truth led to the killing of the villagers. The sage was later sent to hell as a punishment for this. (Karṇaparvan) The epic through these stories gives message that what may appear to be ‘Dharma’ (telling truth) may actually turn out to be ‘Adharma’ (Killing). Purpose of ‘Dharma’ is protection of life and not blind adherence to the vows. Though eating of a dog’s flesh is forbidden for a Brahmin, at the times of distress one may have to restore to it in order to save lives. The Mahābhārata by narrating these stories gives the message that probably human life is too complicated to have universally accepted code of the ‘Dharma’.