What is the role of dharma in Mahabharata?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The concept of dharma, or duty, is a large issue in the Mahabharata.  The characters in the work all face the issue of dharma in one way or another and their response to it forms both the structure of the work and the lessons taken from it.  Arjuna has one of these moments when he must face his kinsmen in battle.  Seeing them line up against him, without any fear, and recognizing that his dharma is to face and defeat them is a moment of truth for him and provides a similar moment for the reader.  The issue here is whether it is better for him to capitulate and shirk away from his dharma of fighting against evil or whether he must face the arduous and difficult notion of confrontation.  Through Krishna's guidance, it is clear as to what he must do.  His embrace of dharma, of his duty or responsibility as both a warrior and a human being, and his faith in Krishna's promises that Arjuna's dharma is part of something larger is what gives Arjuna the strength to carry out his responsibility.  It is also a message for us, the reader, to recognize our own "Arjuna moments" and rise to them, meeting our dharma and embracing it. 

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mahadevi | (Level 1) eNoter

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Darma plays a vital role in this mahabharatha, krishna who tried all his best to help people in case of this epic. Krishna is none other than incarnation of vishnu for the wellfare of whole mankind. 

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