According to Mahābhārata, in the beginning, there was neither the ruler nor the people who needed to be governed. Instead, it was ‘dharma’ that protected one man from the other. In order to arrive at the correct meaning of this, we should understand that, in that age, there wasn't any multiplicity of ethnic, cultural, religious, or political groups. So, there were no boundaries and no demarcations of territories nor were there any kind of divisions. Similarly, when the Mahābhārata says that 'Dharma' protected one from the other, it means that, in that age, people had benign nature, noble intentions, good behaviour, and high character. Their thoughts, words, and behaviour were practically such that did not generate any friction, problems, or crime.
The Mahābhārata further says that, after a period of time, there arose confusion among the people in regard to the obligation of one person towards the other, which led to vices like greed, anger, and revenge. This clouded their judgement so that they now could not discriminate between what is right and what is wrong or what may be said and what must not be said. All these trends, in the course of time, led to a state of anarchy where the powerful oppressed the weak and the rich and the forward classes harassed the poor and the backward. It was in these ages that there arose the necessity of kings, recognition of territories of kingdoms, penal laws, armies, weapons, etc.
The Mahābhārata clearly says that it is mutual trust and truth that sustains a society. Trust according to Mahābhārata is sustained by dharma and dharma is another name for truthfulness. So, if people or the king do not speak the truth and are not trustworthy, then that society does not last long. We see both these characteristics in present-day society. The government thinks that people, in general are cunning, liars and unfit for trust and the people have a deep-rooted feeling that the government is unreliable, undependable and unworthy of trust and the whole machinery is corrupt.
These are the signs that indicate that the world is on the verge of a huge destruction and a new age will dawn after this age of darkness ends. This is possible if people now adopt such measures as make their intellect clean of the dirt or rust of vices, such as greed, anger,lust,ego,attachment etc. In other words, they must follow a course that changes their sanskārās and gives them altogether a benign and divine nature. Now, it is for each one of us to decide as to what kind of future we want for us as well as our future generations?
The writer is a spiritual educator and popular columnist for publications across India, Nepal and the UK. He can be contacted at email@example.com / www.brahmakumaris.com