Each of us is wondering what is our destiny. Some find the answer to this question in early childhood, while for others the decision comes not at once, but after years and years of searching. What does yoga say about the choices of life journey?
In Indian philosophy there is a term “dharma”. The direct translation is “something which is holding or supporting”, from Sanskrit word “dhar” — “to support”.
“Sanatana-dharma is the activity, which cannot be changed. For example, we cannot deny that water is liquid, or we cannot separate heat from the fire. In the same way, the immortal living being cannot be separated from his or her everlasting activity.” 1
In yoga dharma is some sort of life path, which leads us to the heights of self-exploration by serving this world.
If we analyze our life, we conclude that every living being partially or completely devotes his/her life to other people. Any person’s activity, aimed at enhancing the freedom of another person can be qualified as devotion: friends are devoted to each other; mother is devoted to her children, wife — to her husband, husband — to his wife and so on. We all serve each other, acting in various capacities. Self-dedication to others is an immanence of all living beings.
The principle of devotion is the same for everyone, but each person chooses his or her own way of serving. The life path is individual.
The person’s way of life can be unacceptable for his or her relatives and friends. What should we do in case if our dharma and the expectations of the society contradict one another?
Yoga recommends that we should organize our life in such a way that we do minimum harm to other living beings and act the most effectively for ourselves.
Yoga encourages us to observe two principles:
The principle of kindness tells us not to harm any living beings unless it is necessary, and if this is not possible, we should follow our duty.
The principle of effectiveness says that we should not waste our time and effort on those activities, which do not lead us to our goals; anything misleading us from our goals should be rejected without remorse. The goal in this case should be understood as the purpose of our life path.
If we follow the First and the Second principles, we shall realize what is our dharma; understanding our dharma gives us an insight of our duty. Knowing our duty will help us to identify our goals in life and correct actions. Correct actions will lead to good outputs.
As a result, we shall understand life better and will be more aware of the First and the Second principles of yoga and our dharma.
In order to find our life path:
- Act trying not to harm others!
- Identify who you owe to and what!
- Remember about your goals!
Following this way, we shall get minimum pain and maximum pleasure according to our karma — a consequence of our previous actions, and finally, we shall go beyond the law “of cause and effect”.
In case if our chosen activity does not make us happy or even is painful for us, we need to review our duty, our goals and change the direction. However, before we start something new, we need to try bringing the case to its logical conclusion, by realizing the principle of Raja yoga “what was planned must be done”.
Therefore, acting according to our dharma, we will be able to act from a position of power and do not expect anything in return.
Non Attachment to the results of our activities is another principle to avoid suffering in the process of serving others. We dedicate ourselves to other people not for their feedback response, but for the pleasure of the process itself.
So, in order to understand our mission it is necessary to find such a way, which makes us happy to use our abilities most effectively and have a desire to share this happiness with others without any expectations!
Follow your own path and be happy!
Author: Marina Mirra
Project curator: Kerigona
Translated by: T.Sugrue
1Bhagavad Gita as it is. — Bhaktivedanta Swami; Pub.: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, Moscow. — 1986