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Thread: Do fruits of dharma nullify past adhārmic acts?

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    Do fruits of dharma nullify past adhārmic acts?


    I find these 2 verses a bit confusing. Hanumān says these to Rāvaṇa in Sundara kāṇḍa of Rāmāyaṇa. What is Hanumān or Vālmiki trying to tell here?

    In verse 28 he says one's dhārmic acts do not nullify adhārmic acts. But then he also says "Righteousness in abundance destroys unrighteousness"

    Verse 29 seems very clear though. It suggests the results of dharma (puṇya) and adharma (pāpa) go into separate baskets -- so the results of one do not affect the other, they need to be experienced independent of the other.

    How to make sense of all this?

    If it helps, you can find 3 commentaries on these 2 verses here:




    न तु धर्म उपसम्हारम् अधर्म फल सम्हितम् || ५-५१-२८
    तत् एव फलम् अन्वेति धर्मः च अधर्म नाशनः |

    na tu dharma upasamhāram adharma phala samhitam || 5-51-28
    tat eva phalam anveti dharmaḥ ca adharma nāśanaḥ |
    28. dharmopasamhaaram = the fruit of righteousness; na tu = is not; adharmaphalasamhitam = close by the result of unrighteousness; tat phalameva = that consequence of unrighteousness alone; anveti = follows as an adherent; dharmashcha = righteousness; adharma naashanaH = destroys unrighteousness.
    "The fruit of righteousness does not exist together with the result of unrighteousness (even though he practices virtue). That consequence of unrighteousness alone follows him. Righteousness in abundance destroys unrighteousness."

    प्राप्तम् धर्म फलम् तावत् भवता न अत्र संशयः || ५-५१-२९
    फलम् अस्य अपि अधर्मस्य क्षिप्रम् एव प्रपत्स्यसे |

    prāptam dharma phalam tāvat bhavatā na atra saṃśayaḥ || 5-51-29
    phalam asya api adharmasya kṣipram eva prapatsyase |
    29. dharmaphalam = the fruit of virtue; praaptam taavat = has already been obtained; bhavataa = by you; na samshayah = there is no doubt; atra = about it; prapatsyase = you will obtain; kSiprameva = just soon; phalamapi = even the fruit; adharmasya = of unrighteousness also."
    "You already obtained the fruit of virtue till now. There is no doubt about it. In no time, you will obtain the fruit of unrighteousness also."




  2. #2

    Re: Do fruits of dharma nullify past adhārmic acts?

    Namaskar svh,

    As is obvious, the two verses speak about a person's karmas (the recorded deeds of a person). So for example, just because a person is reborn into a crorepati family for all his punya does not mean that he will not suffer heart-attacks and cancers because of his papa.

    However, it is important to understand that the term Karma has more than one meaning. One meaning is "the recorded deeds of a person by which s/he will be alloted joyous or painful experiences in later lives" as explained above. A second meaning is "action that produces results in this life to oneself but also to others." From that angle, "Righteousness in abundance destroys unrighteousness." means something similar to "the more light there is in the room, the less darkness there is." For example, consider a person who has not been taking proper care of his family (that is, he has been unrighteous). Chances are high that his wife will be unhappy, that children will not do good in school, and will not have good sanskars.

    But let's say, before it gets too late, the person changes his ways and becomes responsible towards his family (that is, he becomes righteous). Chances are high that the wife will become happy again, that children will start doing good in school and will grow up with good sanskars. This is what it means by unrighteousness getting destroyed.

    This example does not simply apply to individuals. It also applies to families and entire communities. If people in Meerut, UP for example, suddenly start keeping their town clean, start teaching their children not to litter, and team up with municipal authorities to arrange for proper garbage disposal, the chance of people getting sick will greatly diminish and Meerut will be taken off the list of dirtiest places in India. That is, righteous acts in abundance (by people of Meerut) will destroy their sufferings (diseases) and bad name.

    I am fairly sure that this is what Hanuman ji meant. Hope this helped.

    What is the one thing that no beings can do, except humans? Answer: Arts!

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