Hello and welcome to episode 104 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about practicing dharma in the midst of darkness.

Today’s question comes from Susanne and she asks “how can we practice dharma when everything is going wrong? How can we inspire ourselves when in darkness?

Thanks for the great question. This is something a lot of us go through every single day. We have dharma and karma, when things go bad we tend to deviate from dharma.


All of the grate sages say this and I would like you to write it down. Dharma is an attitude. It is not dependant on what’s going on in your life today, tomorrow or in the past. We need to keep reminding ourselves of this fact. Our dharma should not deviate in our day to day life, that’s critical.

To be honest, it took me a long time to realise this because I didn’t have the knowledge. I don’t want the same thing to happen to you or anyone else so pay great attention and read the words of the great ones as much as you can. We need to develop the attitude that dharma must be practiced at all times and at any cost. This is essential.

I want to share a story with you. The Mahabharat and Ramayan are two of India’s greatest treasure. Everyone knows the stories within in them whether they are 5 or 95.

The destined king

This happened in a kingdom with a king who had four queens who had birthed four sons. One of the sons, Ram was named as the one destined to become the king. Everyone loved Ram. He had all the right qualities to become a leader. After all he was God incarnate! When the time came for him to be appointed king the whole kingdom celebrated. No one opposed Ram for the throne.

When preparations were being made a maid went into one of the other queen’s chamber and started poisoning her mind against Ram, telling her he should not be king. The maid insisted her son Bharat should be king instead of Ram. The queen dismissed her. She loved Ram and knew he was best suited for the throne. The maid kept at it, she kept trying to poison her mind against Ram.

Rahu Kalam

There is a period in Hinduism called Rahu kalam. During this period there will be times of the day when evil finds it easier to strike. They say it is a time when God sleeps and evil has a chance to dominate. The maid had planned her entry around these times so she knew she would win if she kept persisting.

The maid reminded her that because she had saved the kings life some years back she was allowed to ask for two boons. The maid tried to convince her that this was the time to ask for those boons. Suddenly something happened in the queen. She lost her spiritual balance. Her selfishness rose to the top and she succumbed to the maids poisoning. She went to the king and asked for her two boons to be fulfilled. One was for Ram to be banished to the forest for 14 years, ensuring that he could not become king. The second was for her son Bharat to be appointed as king.

The king fell at her feet. He begged her not to do this. He would give her anything in the world but he pleaded with her not to ask this of him. She said no and demanded that her wishes be fulfilled. The distraught king then called on Ram. He fell at his feet in despair of what was to happen to his beloved son. Ram picked him up and told him not to feel regret. Ram told him not to worry. This was karma and he would come back after 14 years to rule the kingdom. Even in the midst of this terrible change Ram was steadfast. Nothing could rumble him.

In the next 5 minutes he was ready to go to the forest. He had removed his royal robes and had adorned the attire of a yogi. This image of him is hung in millions of homes across the world. He knew that his dharma was to follow the advice of his father. He could have destroyed the queen and Bharat but he chose not to even though he had the strength to do this. He chose to follow dharma. He went with his wife Sita and his brother Lakshman. They joined him because they were so close to him. Before going Ram  knelt at the queen’s feet asking for her permission to go. Even though she was the reason for his banishment.

Gunas and time

I remember this scene several times a day because it is so powerful and in turn it gives me power. It really proves that dharma is an attitude. It was not really the queen’s fault. It happened because of her tamas gunas and because of the script. If she didn’t do it then somebody else would have. This is why he did not bear any grudges towards her. This is why I always believe that men should kneel before women even if they feel they shouldn’t have to. You should do it because of the attitude of dharma.

You cannot change things before their time. Fourteen years later Ram returned and the queen fell at his feet. He could have argued with her before leaving but it would not have worked because the timeline had not aligned yet. Only a fool will try and change someone before they are ready because those with knowledge will know it’s only a waste of time. If there is an enemy in this story then it is time and only time.

When Ram went to the forest he only had his brother and wife with him. While they were in the forest a king from a neighbouring kingdom tried to kidnap her because she was so beautiful. Ram had no army just he and his brother Bharat to confront the massive opposition . Rams greatness shows because he never gave up no matter how bad things seemed. He made friends in the forest with the monkey god Hanuman who was a leader to thousands of monkeys. He made friends and allies to help him get through the tough times.


There are always friends around to help if you just look for them but more importantly there is always a friend within, your consciousness. There are many people who may come to help you but even if they don’t it doesn’t matter because your most important friend will always be with you. This is why Ram always practiced dharma. So he could win a battle without an army behind him.

To give you more of the story, Ravan had a brother named Vibhishan. He knew that there was something different about Ram. He had this fear of him and deep down he knew that he was special and he didn’t agree with Ravan’s actions. He went to Ram and asked for his blessing. He told him he did not want to be a part of Ravan’s plan. The others wanted him to go, they called him a traitor. Ram said no, he wanted him to join them and be a part of his new kingdom because he had surrendered himself completely. The others were deluded by the gunas and only saw him as a traitor.

This is why Krishna says “even if a man of wicked nature worships me exclusively he is indeed deemed worthy for his resolution is right” Krishna will accept anyone who surrenders to him be they saint or sinner.

Even in the midst of trouble Ram accepted him because he practiced Dharma. During this time Hanuman had found Sita. He was very powerful and could have taken her there and then but Ram said no. He just wanted him to find her and report back to him. Ram knew that thousands of women had been kidnapped and he wanted to free them all. He would win the battle against Ravana and free them all. He knew it was his dharma to free them all.

Dharma is the greatest thing you can ever practice. Always choose it and make it your attitude.

I hope I answered your question. You keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.

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