Satsang with Swami Tejomayanandaji on the 2nd of April 16 in Singapore was a blissful and light session. Swamiji simplified the meaning and purpose of ‘Dharma’ to drive home the point of making Dharma a choice of life in our daily living.
Summary of the session- What is Dharma?
- Dharma is often misunderstood and misinterpreted by many as ‘religion’. Dharma is that which governs jeeva’s existence.
- Dharma is the goal of human life
- Dharma integrates, sustains and unites ones inner personality
- Dharma is the science of management of desires. Eg Imagine a vehicle which has a high speed but is without a steering or a brake. Without a steering there is no sense of direction and without a brake it can end up in an accident. Likewise to direct the life of a jeeva; dharma acts as a steering. It shows the path by a set of values (truth, love, compassion etc) Dharma helps one progress in the standard of living materially as well as in the standard of life by uplifting one spiritually. Values practised and translated in life to transform oneself becomes a ‘virtue’ and the person who is leading a life of these vale based principles is called ‘virtuous’.
- Some of the types of Dharma are- Samanya dharma-basic set of universal values (eg truth, love, peace, following one’s duty etc) which every being is expected to follow; Nature, animals, birds and all creation except man follow their dharma. Vishesha dharma– Specific duties of a student, mother, teacher, doctor etc and Apad dharma– The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word “Apaddharma” is “dharma appropriate at the time of calamity”. The Mahabharata’s use of this expression implies that, if the traditional varnashramadharma would not prove to be strong enough to protect the society, if and when there is a calamity; apad dharma is practised. Therefore, Vedic scholars ought to have welcomed the messages of Apad-dharma when the society was actually attacked by external forces during the premodern period. (A detailed discussion on this can be found in http://www.hinduism.co.za/dharma.htm)
- One story on dharma of a shishya to his guru was told by Swamiji. When guru sandeepani was learning under his guru at the gurukula; his guru used to test the students by asking them to do some activities (which seemed crazy to other students) like once to light fire to the huts in the ashram. All other students thought that the guru had gone insane but only Sandeepani followed guru’s instructions implicitly to the word and no wonder as a result of this he was blessed and fortunate to Lord Krishna’s guru. We cannot comprehend the actions of a true Master or Guru. We cannot understand their words and actions. That is why the duty of a shishya is to follow every word of his/her Master implicitly.
- Dharma protects those who follow dharma. ‘dharmo rakshati rakshitaha’
The session closed with the screening of Raja Harischandra story which glorifies the epitome of Dharma followed by King Harishchandra.
Things to ponder-
All of us know about the universal or human values to be practised and we do try to practise to a great extent. But are we really able to follow it at our most difficult and testing times? How then do we easily succumb to situations and try to compromise to get out of the difficulty. Do we lack enough conviction and faith? Or are we afraid to face challenges?
Watching King Harischandra’s story led me to wonder how such great Shishyas like Harishcahndra and Lord Rama were the ideal disciples of sage vashishta; never swerving from the path of Dharma. Such a great guru and such exemplary disciples.
Many of us have been blessed to have a Sadguru in our lives who are a role model for Dharmic way of life; who teach us the principles of Dharma and all set of universal values through their life; how many of us are worthy of calling ourselves disciples or devotees of such enlightened Masters? Time to contemplate and start working on the teachings and lives of our Masters for us to lead a dharmic life where we can raise our standard of living as well as life.