Regarding the concept of dharma, often there are questions about implications, relevance or applicability. Questions like what is dharma, how to find your dharma, how to live according to dharma. At a recent question and answer session, a devotee asks Swami Mukundananda about dharma, its relevance, and significance. Swamiji graciously blesses us all with a profound explanation of the concept of dharma and how to resolve dharma-sankat.
In this lecture, Swamiji explains that: the word dharma does not have any equivalent in the English language. It covers so many aspects of our life. It covers the thoughts, values beliefs that are apt and suitable for us. It covers so many aspects of our life. What is my dharma vs. what is your dharma is the question that arose in Arjun's mind in Mahabharata. He was faced with the need to kill his own elders. Lord Krishna answered him over 700 verses in Bhagavad Gita. The Bhagavad Gita explains that it is the bounded duty of everyone to perform their "dharma". One is receiving from so much from nature and so you must give back and do your duty. Whatever your duty is, you should do it to perfection - which is taken as your sacrifice or YAGYA. Everybody must do their dharma. But then if you delve deeper, the question what is my dharma revolves around who do you see yourself as.
If you see yourself as the body, then you have a bodily dharma towards your children, spouse, parents, country etc. The Bhagavad Gita goes beyond - Lord Krishna starts by explaining to Arjun that you are not the body but you are the soul. Lord explains to Arjun that whom he is considering his relatives are not true relatives. He says Arjuna you are in ignorance. and lamenting for that which is not worthy of lamentation. So, when you determine you are the soul, your dharma then is to love and serve God. That is the param dharma - to love God. There is a "karmi" who does the wordly dharma and there is a "karm-sanyasi" who rejects wordly duties and is only loving and serving God. Loving devotion to God is the param or highest dharma. Such deveotion which is without self seeking and without discontinuation (or constant). For a common man, that may not be practical though in the household life. One can't run away from everything. Shree Krishna then explains the path of "karmyog". He says in karmyog, that Arjun - engage your mind in loving devotion to God and with your body you discharge your worldy duties (or dharma). That is how the balance comes about. Hence, karmyog is simple, convenient, practical and relevant for most people. Now, when dharma-sankat comes, now what? If you have a problem at work, what do you do? you enhance your knowledge first. In spirituality, sometimes people think, I will just do it by myself following my intuition. That does not work. The reason why a situation becomes a dharma-sankat is because you don't have the necessary knowledge. What is the solution then - access the right knowledge - from scriptures and the Guru.
About Swami Mukundananda:
Swami Mukundananda is a renowned spiritual leader, philosopher, visionary, author, and humanitarian. He is the founder of the yogic system called “JKYog.” Swamiji is a unique sanyasi (in the renounced order of life), with distinguished degrees in Engineering and Management from two world famous Institutes in India, IIT and IIM. He is a senior disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.
Swamiji’s enlightening discourses clarify the deepest concepts of the Vedic scriptures with wit, humor, and perfect logic. Along with his discourses, he teaches the comprehensive system “Yoga for the body, Mind and Soul”. For the youth, Swamiji has conducted programs at prestigious universities such as Princeton, Stanford, Yale, MIT, Duke and Kellogg School of Management. He has been invited to speak at various Fortune 500 companies like Google, Oracle, Intel, etc. For children, he has established a special personality development program, called “Bal-Mukund Character Building Program.”
He has inspired millions of people around the world on the path of spirituality, holistic health, yoga, meditation, service to society, and God-realization. Swamiji's warmth and humility touch all those who have had the fortune to have his association.
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