Tonight’s topic shall be dharma. What is dharma? It is a word that is commonly used, perhaps you have heard people say “it is his dharma ”. What does that mean?
Each and every living being has a purpose to their life. Life does not manifest simply to exist without purpose. All living beings have a purpose. The purpose is related to the inherent nature of the being. When one wants to understand the purpose of a living being, one must look to its essence. That essence drives the purpose of that living being.
The essence and dharma for each and every living being is completely unique and yet, there is collective essence and dharma as well.
The teachings of the Tao come from the ancient teachings on dharma, and in the simplicity of Taoism, dharma is explained and understood. When a being follows the Tao they are in alignment with their inherent nature and they follow the laws that govern that inherent nature. These laws, the principles and operating forces of the universe, are the fabric of existence. Without them the natural world would loose its integrity.
To understand the Tao is to understand the inherent nature of human beings, the inherent nature of rocks, the inherent nature of water, the inherent nature of earth, the inherent nature of each and every type of living being. When beings are in alignment with their inherent nature, dharma flows naturally and they are aligned with the Tao. A sense of harmony with all life is the result. The Tao is the way. Dharma is called the way, the law, the path. Dharma is inherent in all things. Everyone has an inherent unique personal way called svadharma in Sanskrit. When a person’s unique expression is combined with their universal human dharma, called Bhagavad dharma, the inherent pull toward the One Self becomes their pranadharma – their unique path to their deepest universal goal.
Four Aspects of Pranadharma and Vision There are four aspects to a person’s pranadharma: Vistara or vision, Rasa - a movement of flow towards essence, Seva or loving service, and Source -Divine Consciousness. First there needs to be the vision of and the yearning to come close to one’s inherent nature, to move towards inherent essence. A person may feel a pull from this inner Self. Then flow, Rasa, is needed to move towards it. However these alone will not bring resonance with one’s essential nature, for that flow must entail selflessness service or seva. Seva allows one to moves in harmony with all beings. When you adopt an attitude of service then your actions promote expansiveness in love rather than building the ego.
Seva allows the Rasa, the flow towards essence, to exist. Then one begins to awaken one’s unique and harmonious connection with all life. Prana Dharma brings harmony to all existence and moves you in alignment with your own inner essence and Divine Self.
Human beings have a longing for the Great. There is restlessness in the hearts of human beings because there is dissatisfaction with duality, with feelings of separation from the whole. Sooner or later most people experience an existential pain of separation from the unconditional love that is the source of their being. This separateness, and the pursuing restlessness that emerges because of it, brings a search for wholeness that may take many forms. People try to acquire things to feed that need inside of them. They grasp for solutions not only in the physical world, but in the psychic world and spiritual world as well. However this need is only met when dharma governs a person’s life and they move in harmony with their inner most Self, with their personal calling and also with the collective human dharma.
Human Dharma or Bhagavad Dharma That human dharma is called the Bhagavad Dharma. Bhagavad Dharma is human dharma and it allows living beings to channel this restlessness towards the great. When they do this, they move their unique human expression of individuality towards unity and wholeness. They align themselves in perfect harmony with their inherent, natural state of being. Dharma is followed when they find that they are in alignment with the natural laws of the universe, with the laws of the divine mother. When they find harmony with all that is, life becomes a movement, a flow, an expression of love, a Seva. One feels alignment with the Tao.
When you are in the flow of Pranadharma towards the Divine, all that you have seen and known comes into a harmonious alignment and becomes directed towards your innermost Self rather than towards pleasures or worldly acquisitions. Instead it becomes directed towards the Divine. And when dharma governs your life, the little sense of “I” melts away, is surrendered to the larger self, to the love that is unconditional and the pain of duality is dissolved in, moksha, liberation. This movement from ego-centered pleasure seeking, to this selfless love and flow of dharma towards the unitary whole and liberation is the natural, essential flow of human life. It is your natural flow that is inherent in your own nature.
Each person’s expression of this flow of Dharma will be unique. But you move on the path of dharma when your life becomes a flower offered to the infinite. When you live in love with all beings and in honor and respect for all life, when you direct the restlessness and pain within to the one true Self and let that love flow in you and through you, in all that you do, all that you say, all that you are, then you follow Dharma. Then you live in harmony with the natural laws and in harmony with all life. This is knowledge of the Tao.