Life sustains because of Dharma, because it preserves society and life in general by maintaining and regulating a code of conduct, moral values and ethical values. Because of Dharma, life sustains. In Gita, Krishna says that for preservation of Dharma, He incarnates again and again. Anything that is ‘not Dharma’ is Adharma. Anything that is against nature, unlawful, unethical and immoral has to be Adharma. Adharma cause destruction, pain and suffering.
Dharma is of many types:
• Dharma of Self: Svadharma, Satya, Ahmisa and moral values of individual self
• Dharma of family: Dharma of a son towards his parents (Putr Dharma) or Dharma of a husband towards his wife or vice-versa. (Pati Dharam/Stri Dharma)
• Dharma of society: Unselfishness, Harmony, Truth, Moral and Ethical Values
• Dharma of Ashram: Dharma of student is to acquire knowledge and skills; Dharma of a householder is to raise a family and ensure its welfare.
• Dharma of Profession: Duty of a soldier is to take a life of an attacking enemy, and that of a doctor is to save a life, even if that be of an enemy.
• Dharma of Motherland: Actions which ensure adherence to the laws of the land. If the laws are unjust, these must be changed by democratic and peaceful means.
Marriage is an act of Dharma, an act of bringing about physical stability wherein a couple unite to serve and protect each other and their respective families. In Hindu rituals, they take seven holy vows around the fire. The vows cover the do’s and don’ts of a married life. They cover individual roles, the promise to bear the responsibility of rearing a family together, mutual respect, devotion putting each other’s happiness first, being equals in the union, and life-long commitment.
“For the last and Seventh Vow, the Groom says “Om sakhi jaradastayahga”, by which he proclaims ‘We are now husband and wife, and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity.’ The Bride accepts this vow and says “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade”, which means ‘As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honor and cherish each other forever.’”
The seventh vow is a promise to hold on to the bond of commitment and hence marriage for eternity. A divorce breaks this commitment and hence would be considered as an act of Adharma.
These days divorces happen for reasons such as behaviour incompatibility and adjustment issues. Marriage is a platform that teaches us many vital lessons of Life. Rather than running away from facing the challenges, one needs to solve these issues with courage and self power. Patience, selflessness, self belief, understanding and love solves many disputes.
However there are cases where divorce seems to be the unavoidable. This may happen when the other vows of marriage are broken or there is physical or mental abuse involved. At theses times, Swadharma or Dharma for Self takes precedence, and for one’s own well-being a person seeks divorce. However, even though Swadharma is followed, the sacred vows of marriage have been broken. Therefore, it still counts as Adharma towards marital life and the parties have to bear the consequences that life deems fit for them.