YATO DHARMASTATO JAYAH (Sanskrit: यतो धर्मस्ततो जयः) is a Sanskrit phrase inscribed as the logo of the Supreme Court of India, which occurs a total of eleven times in the Hindu epic, the Mahabharata. The literal meaning of this Sanskrit phrase implies, “Where there is Dharma, there will be Victory”. This phrase is part of many shlokas of Udyog, Bheeshm, Dron and Stri Parva and has repeatedly appeared across various parva’s (chapters) in the Mahabharata.
The most noticeable feature about this Sanskrit phrase is that its mentioning is always associated with Krishna as god and never mentioned in shloka’s in any instances without taking the reference of Krishna Bhagawan. The contextual meaning of this inscription could be understood from the references where this Sanskrit phrase appeared in the shlokas of the Great Epic, Mahabharata. For instance: From Udyogaparv (उद्योगपर्व in Hindi), spoken by Sanjaya, one of Dhritharashtra’s advisors:
Udyogaparvam (Sanjaya Uvacha):
||“yatah satyam yato dharmo yato hrirarjavam yatah tato bhavati govindo yatah krishnastato jayah ||”
Where ever there is truth, dharma(righteousness), unwillingness to do wrong doing, rock solid determination without any maligned thoughts there you will have the presence of Krishna and wherever Krishna is present there will be victory.
The Sanskrit inscription in the Supreme Court’s logo underlines the significance of Dharma in the Indian judicial system. It reaffirms the fact that Indian Dharmic Civilizational roots provide a foundation to the growth and development of the Indian legal system throughout history. In the archival documents of the Supreme Court of India it is categorically acknowledged that the concept of Dharma given in Vedas is the fountain head of legal jurisprudence in India. The use of the Sanskrit logo further testifies to the fact that in the larger picture it is part and parcel of the continued legacy of ancient Indian heritage and civilization values.
The Sankrit epigram of the Supreme Court is not some rare reflection or accidental usage from ancient Indian Dharmashashtras, the original copy of the Indian Constitution is also full of illustrations that carries repeated references from ancient Hindu texts (later on removed). These repeated references points out categorically that the founding fathers of the Indian Constitution never shy away to acknowledge the Dharmic roots of Indian judiciary and the political structure of the Indian State. But unfortunately with the passage of time the same has been demonised to the extent that now the mere mention of word Dharma or its usages in any form have been ironically seen as offensive and in contradiction with the notion of Secularism and Constitutional morality and it would not be wrong to say that in the near future the Supreme Court of India has to address this conflict and re-assure to acknowlege and appreciate Dharmic civilizational roots of the Indian legal system.