Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dharma as Duty in Yoga Philosophy

Dear Yoga aspirants,
Below is the article form our Guru that I would like to share with you. It talks about the concept of Dharma as duty.


by Dr.Jayadev

Duty instills discipline which leads to knowledge.
That what upholds is duty, we are all inter-related to each other.  So far as each one does his duty, the world process carries on.  We should recognize our duties, duty to ourselves, to our near and dear ones, to place of work, to society, to humanity.  Creating a duty sense is very essential for health, wealth, happiness.

DUTY can mean:                                                                                                                    

  • what one does because it is morally necessary.
  • allegiance
  • faithfulness, loyality
  • obedience
  • obligation
  • responsibility
  • service
  • task that a person is bound to perform for moral or legal reasons

Duty is a moral obligation.

It is a task required as part of one’s job.  Duty is an important component of Dharma.  When I go about doing my duty, I am doing my Dharma.  The mango tree does its duty by giving its fruit to all irrelevant of their status, religion, etc; hence it is doing its Dharma.  Being a caring, loving, balanced person are spiritual qualities to become a good human being.  It is our duty to be a good human being.  It’s our duty to live 100% every minute.  An action done in a state of tranquility is duty.  When we walk on the road, we are mere pedestrians, not a so-n-sp person.  This is living in the present and in that living in the present is our duty.

Offering our duty is the most important.

It keeps us in touch with reality.  When we perform our duty with complete understanding we grow to become better and more successful.  Duty should be towards self, towards work, to family and neighbors, towards nations and humanity.  Our prime duty is to maintain a health state of mind, body, emotion, moral and spirit.  The father does not perform his duty merely by financially providing for the child and being out of the house 14 hours a day, but the father perform his duty of a father by involving himself in the day to day activities of his son, tending to his needs and being there for him always that is when the father fulfills his duty of being a father.  Fulfilling wholeheartedly and completely the task at hand is duty.  When we say this we mean, choose your profession and become it.  For example, if you desire to become a dancer and when you perform the dance with grace, co-ordination, expression, emotion and passion, and continue to do so and eventually while performing, you no longer are the dancer by you have become the dance.  This is when you have performed your duty with discipline.  Work like it’s a celebration and celebrate like it is work.  Do it sincerely.  Do your duty and leave it, let go.  Do not wait for response or appreciation.  Enjoy what you do, or else do not do it.  Perform your duty for your own pleasure, not to please others.  Moral code of conduct is duty.  Duty has to be done with discipline, only then, it is the fulfillment of duty When we maintain our duty we excel and gain wisdom.

Dharma is a virtue of survival to thrive.

Whatever thoughts we have to survive is Dharma.  All actions that we do to protect our survival is our Dharma.  Action/thoughts initiated from pint of survival are dharma. Thought of being health is a positive thought it helps to protect us.  It is virtuous since it helps survival.  Positive thoughts are dharma.

What helps us survive?
Faith is the most basic but mostly weak.

FAITH is our foremost Dharma.  Our inner hope for survival brings about faith for our existence.  Sitting quiet gives us faith, going for a morning walk gives us faith.

GOAL, do we have one?  Do we need it?
Having a goal in life is essential.  What goal will help you survive?
Material goal as well as Spiritual goal is essential.  Material goals help you and your families to survive in this world. Spiritual aspect of personality generates positive thought which is essential.

The success or failure is not depending on us but on external reality.

Spiritual goals depend only on us.  For example:  you are working only on material goals, working hard for you job etc. and then one day you are fired or your company closes down then you feel absolutely lost in the world.  You don’t know what to do.  You feel broken down.

But if you have spiritual goals running along side your material goals for e.g. Doing your prayers everyday, your japa, lighting 2 agarbattis, namaz, doing your asanas, pranayamas everyday, being caring, loving, understanding, balanced, to become a good human being are spiritual qualities.  Then when you lose your material goals that is the time where your spiritual goals keep you grounded and save you from falling down.  Therefore, it is very important to keep your spiritual goals always ongoing.

Duty is thought related to dharma which protects us.

This word duty is taken very negatively.  We take duty a something which is force on us, something which somebody else wants you to do, and something which has to be done.  Right form childhood, the child is under much pressure to do this, do that, this is right, this is wrong.  The child has to constantly undergo that stress and tension under so called duty idea. You know what happens when somebody is forcibly told to do something; there is a strong reaction from within.  Sometimes, you can bear it, sometimes, you try to bottle it up and then it creates a big problem.  The child hates all those people who want him to do certain things in a particular way to do duty.

According to yoga philosophy, duty is self directing.

Person has to direct himself to do certain actions in life, not to work under the imposition of another.  The basic idea is that every individual should be doing his part in life.  Everybody is born with two things:  one is this body and the second is the span of time for which the person will be alive.  These two have to be used thoroughly and systematically well while doing actions and these actions, when they are self-directed and are done with the right attitude is duty or dharma.

As mentioned earlier, duty to a man is like water to a fish.  A person has to totally get absorbed in this feeling and in this attitude of duty every movement.  Every actions, it could be walking, talking, eating, playing, anything else should be based on this feeling of self direction, a feeling of “Since it is my duty, I am doing it and so I should do it well” With this understanding, this feeling that every action has to be done.  Anything done without the right attitude, without the right feeling would be a waste and it should be a wrong action.

Now the concept of duty has its own hierarchy.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him.  When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls.  He then asked the students if the jar was full.  They agreed that it was.  The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar.  He shook the jar lightly.  The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls.  He then asked the students again if the jar was full.  They agreed it was.  The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar.  Of course, the sand filled up everything else.  He asked once more if the jar was full.  The students responded with a unanimous “yes”.

The professor then produced two cups of water from under the table and poured the entire content into the jar, effectively filing the empty space between the sand.  The students laughed.  “Now” said the professor, as the laughter subside, “I want you to recognize that this jar represent your life.  The golf balls represent you, duty first towards yourself.  The pebbles represent your near and dear ones.  The sand is your work.  “If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls.  The same goes for life.  If you spend all your time and energy only on work, you will never have room for the things that are important to you and your family.  Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.  Play with your children.  Take time to do your practices.  Take care of the golf balls first, set your priorities.  The water represents your duty towards your society, nation and the world.

Hope this article was able to make the concept of Dharma clear to you. Namaste!

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Om Shanti!!