What chapters specifically of Mahabharata best explains Dharma?

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    Major part of Shanti Parva and Anushasana parva consists of Bhishma teaching dharma to Yudhishtira. May 9, 2018 at 6:37

1 Answer 1


Many chapters of Mahabharata explain Dharma directly or indirectly. Sometimes in form of conversation between two people or some times as a narration of stories. There are many such chapters which teach dharma. But in particular, Shanti Parva and Anushasana Parva of the Mahabharata are dedicated to teach different dharmas.

Shanti Parva consists of three parts:

  1. Rajadharmanusasana Parva which means book of instructions as a ruler. This consists of duties of a king, leader.
  2. Apaddharmanusasana Parva which deal with instructions to be followed when there is an adverse situation.
  3. Mokshadharma Parva which deals with instructions to be followed to achieve moksha and related topics (liberation, peace).

Anushasana Parva also has teachings about dharma. It literally means "Book of instructions" or "Book of precepts". Kisari Mohan Ganguli divided this parva into two parts with the name Anushasanika Parva while Bibek Debroy divided into two sub parts as

  1. Danadharma Parva and
  2. Bhishma svargarohana Parva.

This parva ends with Bhishma leaving his body and reaching higher lokas.

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