Kaala Dharma

Here is an interesting story about kaala dharma that I heard on a TV channel (you will not find this in any standard text of Mahabharata):

During Yudhishtira’s rule in Hastinapur, 2 people ( a farmer & a landlord) came to his palace to resolve a dispute. The dispute revolved around a piece of land.  As the story goes, the land was given on lease to the farmer for cultivation for one year. While ploughing the land the farmer happened to find a huge treasure of gold and as you would have guessed, that was the reason for the dispute between the two guys. Yudhishtira listened to their story and wanted to know what was the dispute. To his utter surprise, the landlord said:  “Lord, I had given my land on lease to the farmer for one year with all rights on the land during that period. As per our deal I am only entitled to my share of the crop grown on the land. But this guy comes along and hands over the treasure to me saying that it belongs to me. I cannot accept it since whatever is found on the land during the lease period rightfully belongs to the farmer”. Now it was the turn of the farmer to defend himself. The farmer argued : “The land was given to me only for  growing crops – nothing more, nothing less. Whatever else is found buried in the land truly belongs to the landlord”.

Yudhishtira was perplexed and didn’t know how to respond. But at the same time he was very pleased to learn that people of his kingdom were not greedy and led their lives guided by basic principles of dharma. Attempting to resolve the issue, he looked at Krishna for advice. Krishna said:  “Ask them to go back and return after 5 days”.  They left the palace and returned after 5 days to see the king again as instructed.

To Yudhishtira’s surprise, when they returned after 5 days, they were almost at blows with each other. This time around they made a complete 180-degree change in their stand: Landlord insisted that the treasure belonged to him while the farmer was equally adamant that he was the true owner of the treasure of gold, since he found it during the lease period.

Yudhishtira was pained at the sad turn of events and again sought the advice of Krishna. Krishna replied:  “Kaliyuga is fast approaching – just 5 days away. Both the guys are already getting influenced by the approaching new ‘yuga’.  Once  Kaliyuga arrives, they won’t even come to you to resolve the dispute. They will be taking Law / Dharma into their hands. Therefore, it is time for both of us to pack up and go”.

This is a story dealing with kaala dharma and tells us how time influences our behaviour and our views of what is right and what is wrong.

One might wonder what is the relevance of this story in today’s world? Does it mean that one has to tune one’s principles of life according to times? I am not so sure. While certain basic values such as Honesty, Integrity, Truth, Non-violence, Love, Compassion are not negotiable, I am not so sure about certain other virtues like Modesty, needless sacrifice, selflessness (at all times), charity (at all times and places), forgetting & forgiving those who have committed grave harm etc. I guess the validity or applicability of these virtues will depend heavily on situations and circumstances.

P.S:  I would invite reader’s views on the last paragraph.

Published in: on July 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. It seems that most of these virtues, even the basic ones, need to be practiced in moderation. And I would include common sense as the most important virtue that will tell one when and how much to exercise the others.

  2. I am of the view that at all times acting based on the dictates of ones conscienceness (that small voice which constantly guides within at all times) is the best.
    — Ravi Prakash

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