Let’s begin with the definition. This word has a large number of different definitions, a lot of meanings. The most important thing is to choose the suitable one for the specific situation. In one or another context the meaning of this word takes different tones. We will consider one of the basic meanings of this word. With the word “Dharma” we may understand a certain spiritual teaching, a condition of the truth or verity and also quite specific religious movements. The most basic explanation of the Dharma concept is a certain way of life, individual for each person; when following it a person avoids suffering at the maximum possible level depending on the karma of this person. Dharma - it is the way that you follow to reduce the negative karma as much as possible and the positive effect of Karma increases substantially. Besides, going this way the person sooner or later leaves the plane of karma. Therefore, we may say that Dharma- it is that way, which guards us away from sufferings.

Dharma and Karma

We still have not reached the level, where there is no cause and effect, where there is no Karma. However, we perfectly feel, what is suffer and enjoyment. There is always a question we ask ourselves, how I lived my life in a proper way. By the long analysis the person understands that if in some situations the person had done differently, then a lot of suffering would have been avoided. Of course, there are some things are out of our control.

For example, natural calamities or the mass social phenomena or something else that does not depend on us. But there are such moments in our life, where we absolutely clearly understand, that we ourselves caused the negative experience. So there is a following question- whether it is possible to avoid negative consequence in the future?! It is clear that in three days we cannot fix our negative Karma, that we have gained it during many lives, and we have to work it out. What should we do (or not to do) for the negative karma not to show itself in our life? If we manage to find this path then this is the way of Dharma; it is the path that we should follow in our life, the most suitable one.Let’s approach to the definition of a Dharma from the practical side. The advantage of yoga is that it gives a method. Yoga not only explains many things, but also shows how to apply them in practice. Yoga is the system of self-exploration, which adheres to two principles - the principle of no-harm and the principle of no wasting of the life on trifles. In this way the yoga sketches the path we should take in our life. By following these two principles we will get closer to the notion of Dharma and the way we should choose in our life!

Method of yoga and finding how good is your Karma

Yoga is not static, it does not dive one-sided recommendations for everyone. Yoga gives certain methods and by applying this method each and everyone can find specific recommendations for exactly for themselves. It is like do-it-yourself kit. We make what suits our life. The same situation is with defining of Dharma. If we adhere to the yoga teaching, we should follow the first and the second principle, i.e. we try to avoid harming any live being and at the same time we try to adhere to the common sense principle. Actually, in the real life it can happen that the first and the second principle may collide (contradict each other). This conflict may happen in the most unexpected places.

For example, when our loved ones expect something from us but we understand that by fulfilling their expectations we would increase the distance to our goals. But if we are not fulfilling their expectations then we might disappoint them greatly. Always there is a question- what should I do? It is a very difficult question, we go one way - someone suffers, we go other way - we break the second yoga principle (don’t follow our common sense). The yoga says that indirectly it is possible to tell the degree of your negative Karma. If in your life the first principle and the second principle contradict each other very often, it means that your Karma is not so cheerful. If you can follow both principles at the same time then your Karma is positive and you can effectively reach for your goals and living beings won’t get hurt. The first and the second principles like two big mountains, it is necessary to get through them, and you need to find this path. Any yogi tries to fulfill the first principle by causing a minimum harm, as it is impossible to cause no harm at all. Our duty is to reduce it to the minimum. And to what degree we should reduce it? Only the second principle can help us to find it out. Otherwise, we might turn our life in hell by trying to cause no harm at all. If you are going by the path where the first principle of yoga is violated at the minimum degree and the second principle of yoga is fulfilled at the maximum level, then it is a path of Dharma. To determine your Dharma, we should at first try to follow the first and the second yoga principles!

Several meanings of Dharma and finding of Dharma

The first Yoga principle says: in every possible way you should avoid harming any live being. If there is no such possibility we should follow our duty. In this case a word duty is a synonym to a word Dharma. Duty is the way which we should adhere. There is one more meaning of Dharma and it is our profession, a way of life, as a certain style of behavior, which we consider acceptable for ourselves. If I am a doctor then in order to help people there might be a necessity to make a painful manipulation. If I face a situation demanding to violate the first yoga principle then my duty will tell the extent of the violation. On the other hand, the second yoga principle says that you shouldn’t waste time and strengths on trifles and spend it only on what leads us to our goal and we should forget about everything that is taking us aside from this goal. Here with the goal we understand the goal of our life. Word meaning of Dharma is the way leading us to the goal. As the result we indirectly see the indication of the Dharma in both the first and the second yoga principle. However, people often don’t feel Dharma and their life path and are questioning themselves: “Is this the right way I am going?” Yoga suggests defining our duty step by step. We continue applying the first and the second yoga principle like we did before and try to get the notion of the way between these two principles. And with every step we get closer to our Dharma. It is great when these two principles don’t contradict each other and there is a certain free area between them and we can choose which way to go. But if there is a contradiction then only thing that can save us is a clear vision regarding our Dharma. However, we can find Dharma by applying the first and the second yoga principle. So we can conclude that Dharma follows out from the first and the second principle of yoga and the first and the second principle follow from Dharma. It is like a closed circle. It would seem, it’s a question of a hen and egg, but yoga is realistic. Yoga says that people who practice yoga already today have a certain perception of life and they take it as the foundation, i.e. you continue going the way you did before but now you try to apply the first two yoga principles as much as possible. By applying them we see our previous mistakes, thereby it takes us closer to the notion of Dharma and borders of the first and the second principle. So we live and we analyze all the time. Dharma does not mean that we have linear type of life. Dharma can change substantially from time to time.

For example, it can happen regarding the profession. Maybe you have chosen your profession after the secondary school and then you realize that your Dharma (duty) is to be in completely different profession. At a certain point you understand that there is no enjoyment is your profession. And you sharply change your life. If you would not do it then level of suffering would increase considerably. But if every step you make is the justification that your decision was right then you can be almost certain that this is your Dharma. There is no other way for determining your Dharma. The Dharma concept is exclusively individual. The path you go may be completely unacceptable even for your closest people because you have your own Karma and they have their Karma. And there is no sense to try to force somebody to follow your path, fulfill your Dharma.

The main concepts - reviewed

Let’s summarize the main concepts. Sometimes the first and the second yoga principles can contradict to each other. It depends on your karmic situation. In this case try to find a way where the first principle would be fulfilled at the maximum extent (as much as possible) and the second principle would violated at the minimum level. Search the life path that would not break these two principles at the same time. For someone it comes easily, for someone else it may be more difficult. It depends on your Karma. If it is complicated to combine these two principles, then your situation is more difficult. The life when you fulfill the first and the second yoga principles at the maximum level match Dharma. Dharma concept is ideal. We can get closer to it and the first and the second yoga principle will help us to do it and sooner or later we will start feeling it intuitively. Dharma is a way leading us to the heights of self-exploration.

For example, if a person suddenly decides to become a yoga teacher then he/she should determine if it is his/her Dharma or not. We can say the same thing about any other profession.

The person who finds own Dharma is a lucky person!

There are no specific recommendations or prescriptions that can give the right answer. Some people work hard to get a higher status in society or better position in a company or industry. Yoga says that it is better to go along the Dharma path. If at one moment your Dharma tells you to leave this profession or position but you will keep strong to it then suffering in your life increase and this will not be the right place for you. If you manage to find your Dharma it is a great luck! Nobody is expecting that you will find your Dharma on the first day. At first you need to make efforts to find your profession. If we go the right way then we will receive the minimum suffering caused by our negative karma and maximum joy from our positive karma. Moreover, following the Dharma path, we are going the way of our spiritual development and self-exploration and by doing so we will leave the place of karma, both positive, and negative. Your Dharma defines your duty; your duty defines your actions and your internal code of honor. Each of us has own prehistory and our karmic situation differs. Thereby, there are different ways to follow for each person. The main thing is to find your own way. The actions of other people may serve as an example but no more than that.

For example, we may study the lives of great yoga Teachers. We can learn from that but our way is not going to be like that. The first and the second principles will lead you to understanding of your Dharma, the understanding of a Dharma will give you understanding of the duty, the understanding of a duty will give you understanding of your life goals and proper actions, proper actions will give useful results, understanding of a life will increase, and finally understanding of the first and the second yoga principles will improve. While we do not understand fantastic scale of the first and the second yoga principles, we can hardly understand the Dharma. Still even without clear understanding of them we can learn to apply them in our life and that will give us new understanding of our path. Our path we give us the better understanding of yoga principles. And by finishing each such circle we will become wiser and happier. As you see it is a closed circle. But we will come to it with the time and practice.

Last modified: Sunday, 25 December 2016, 9:12 PM