Dharma needs to be followed both by individuals and by the collective society as a whole. When an individual is out of alignment with dharma, their life becomes disjointed and they cease to have a harmony with the world around them. They become self-centered and self-absorbed. When a society, a nation, state, social or religious group, is out of alignment with dharma, the society begins to fragment and lose its balance.
Prama, the cosmic principle maintaining a stable balance in the universe, is lost. Prama is very significant in understanding dharma and living harmony. It refers to the basic balance maintained in the interwoven web of life, the harmony that makes the universe work as a whole. All beings obey the rhythm of nature’s flow and, in doing so, are in a smooth and blissful relationship to life.
People can live in complete composure, unhindered joy and happiness when life is in balance and prama is present. However, this situation of blissful harmony changes with the emergence of desires such as greed, domination, and power, which create a civilization out of alignment with its surrounding world. It also changes in a person’s life when they lose this delicate balance and prama evades them.
The collective spirit of a people awakens when fed by the whole of the society. Society needs to support the development of the people within it. If not, it becomes a hindrance to its citizens and members, imposing social structures and norms that impede a person from being able to realize their own personal dharma and feel happiness and success in life. People suffer when their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter, as well as their needs for access to expansive thinking, devotion, and a way to find mysticism in their lives are not met. The heavy hand of oppression weighs down on people under these circumstances.
The materialism of today is the result of the age of the merchant societies, the Vaishya age, coming to a close. The emphasis upon material well-being and material wealth has, in many parts of the world, become so dominant that people absorbed in this material life lose their spiritual hearts.
The materialistic society fosters an attitude of dominance over nature, abusing and mistreating animals and disturbing the balance of life upon the planet. As a result, devastation occurs. Chaos results when dharma has been forsaken and prama is lost.
The natural laws that bring harmony to the planet and to all the species of living beings are being violated, and thus the ecological systems and natural order of the world are disrupted. The result is loss of many species, loss of environmental stability and changes in weather patterns. Nature, out of balance, becomes wild, destructive.
People have formed societies with the attitude of a conqueror, rather than in harmony with the planet and its natural laws, and those societies are now threatened. The atrocities done to living beings upon the planet in the name of progress have an impact. As the planet moves from order to disorder, from harmony to chaos, the forces unleashed are powerful, and they will reorder the world until harmony is regained and dharma restored.
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Maetreyii Ma: a teacher of yogic wisdom & practices