Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha”
(Dharma protects those who protect it)
Ancient sages of Bharata Varsha had no doubts that the fundamental basis of life on earth must be based on what they defined as Dharma. In composing the great epic Mahabharata, Ved Vyasa was very eloquent in appealing to this concept as the very core value and fountainhead from which all other values issue.
The popular Hindu dictum ‘Dharmo rakshati rakshitaha’ (Dharma protects those who protect it) means that Dharma offers protection. If we choose to live a life guided by the principles of Dharma, then we are assured of that protection. This understanding is ingrained in our thinking from childhood as one grows up as a Hindu.
‘Rakshitaha’ – brings us into the action – the need to protect the very concept whose protection we are seeking. Dharma will protect you if you protect it. We cannot simply take it for granted that Dharma will reign supreme always and that there is no danger to it. Therefore a duty is imposed on those who seek such protection from Dharma, and that duty is to take care that this wonderful governing concept of life is not in any jeopardy.
When a large number of people in a society violate Dharma, then the society as a whole is in danger resulting in major upheaval. This was the state of affairs that led to the Mahabharata war. The power of Adharma can be such that even the strong adherents to Dharma may be tempted to give up and throw in the towel. This was indeed the case with the warrior Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Lord Sri Krishna needed to remind Arjuna of the principles of Kshaatra Dharma that required Arjuna to perform his duty on the battlefield. It is therefore necessary for us to be on guard to prevent the unbalance from becoming so predominant that the future of an entire society may be at stake.
Hindu Council UK