All About Bharatiya Sanatana Dharmam otherwise known as Hinduism : Ch-4.11.
CHAPTER - 4. HINDU ETHICS - 11
11. Illustrations Of Right And Wrong : -
Right and wrong are always relative to the surrounding circumstances. What is right in one situation is not right in another. Right and wrong vary according to time, special circumstances, Varna (status or class in society) and Asrama (order or stage of life). Morality is a changing and relative term.
That passionate man who molests his legally married wife frequently to gratify his passion is more immoral than a man who visits the house of his sister of ill-fame once in six months. That man who dwells constantly on immoral thoughts is the most immoral man. Do you clearly note the subtle difference now? To kill an enemy is right for a Kshatriya king.
A Brahmin or Sannyasin should not kill anybody even for protecting himself during times of danger. They should practise strict forbearance and forgiveness. To speak an untruth to save the life of a Mahatma or one’s Guru, who has been unjustly charged by the unjust officer of a state, is right.
Untruth has become a truth in this particular case. To speak a truth which brings harm to many is untruth only. To kill a dacoit who murders the wayfarers daily is Ahimsa only. Himsa becomes Ahimsa under certain circumstances.
Forgiveness or Kshama befits an ascetic or Sannyasin who leads the life of Nivritti Marga or renunciation. It cannot befit a ruler. The ruler may forgive one who has injured him, but he cannot forgive one who has done the greatest harm to the public.
There are special Dharmas during critical, dangerous circumstances. They are called Apad-Dharma. Rishi Visvamitra took forbidden meat from a Chandala or outcaste when there was a severe famine, and offered this in his sacrifice to the Devas. Ushasti, a learned sage, took the polluted beans from the hands of an elephant-driver when the former was suffering from acute hunger and when he was not able to get food from anyone else.
Next : 12. Of Right And Wrong
To be continued ...