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As we had seen in Mahabharata, Bhishma never broke any of his vows.

He was an honorable man in whole country.

He knows that Kauravas(Duryodhan) are wrong in his decision regarding giving Indraprastha kingdom to Yudhishthir.

Yudhishthir(Pandavas) was a rightful king of Indraprastha. Bhishma knew that.

Why then did he decide to fight the war from Kauravas' side?

Even when Lord Krishna supported Pandavas why did Bhishma give importance to oath over Dharma?

  • That is why Krsna encouraged Arjuna to defeat him. – Surya Jan 14 '16 at 12:15
  • He took the Oath to give solace to his step mother's parents that he will not be the next King after his Father. He also said that he will guard and support the King, while he is alive. In Mahabharata battle, though he knows he is against good he must follow his King because it is righteous for him because of the Oath. – Mr_Green Feb 27 '16 at 18:12
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    @MrGreen: Thanks brother for your comment. He supported king due to his oath. no offense. He was a great man and great man needs to take big decisions. We must respect it. After seeing history, I have a question that why he did not supported Pandavas but I can't even imagine his position in which he taken such decision. God bless him. God bless us all :) – Ravi Hirani Feb 28 '16 at 1:57
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The meaning of Dharma doesn't mean following the good path, but what it means is following your path (which you feel is right), whether it's good or bad, will be determined by God. So in a way, a competent thief is following his dharma in a better way than an incompetent policeman. The world constitutes both good and evil to balance.

We might think that the fighting on Kaurava's side was immoral. But morality is often difficult to understand. Though Krishna was on PAndava's side, majority of the warriors were on Kaurava's side. Not all were immorals. Warriors did what felt right to them during then. The relevant text can be obtained from "Dice game" event in Bhishma's own words (from this answer):

Bhishma answered, I have already said, O blessed one that the course of morality is subtle. Even the illustrious wise in this world fail to understand it always. What in this world a strong man calls morality is regarded as such by others, however otherwise it may really be; but what a weak man calls morality is scarcely regarded as such even if it be the highest morality.

Bhishma accepted his Dharma as to serve the throne of Hastinapur, in this case it was the King Dritharshtra, hence he sided with Kauravas.

  • > dharma.. means is following your path (which you feel is right) hahaa... how was this accepted as an answer ? – ram Jul 15 '16 at 6:03
  • @ram: (which you feel is right) it points to Aatma(soul) not thoughts. Every living being is absolute. Unfortunately, no one aware with it. – Ravi Hirani May 10 '18 at 14:30
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No. Dharma is neither the good path, nor is it what you feel is right path.

Dharma is that path, which is truly right. And to decide what is truly right, one should become the 'all-knowing'. Only the one who knows all, can decide what is truly right.

As far as Bhshma's decision is concerned, he was more attached to his vows than Dharma.

The only person in the entire Mahabharata, who was totally and unflinchingly attached to Dharma, was Shri Krishna. He was all knowing.

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