What is my dharma?

Ever since the talk on Geeta Jayanti, I’ve gone back to studying the book again. It’s different with every reading and in the progression of thought, very logical. I discovered that there were sections within sections in all the chapters.

I read and ruminate on a set of shlokas that is part of a thought or an idea and usually one shloka captures the central theme. Like today for instance was

स्वधर्ममपि चावेक्ष्य न विकम्पितुमर्हसि।

धर्म्याद्धि युद्धाच्छ्रेयोऽन्यत्क्षत्रियस्य न विध्यते।।३१।।

Further, looking at thine own duty thou oughtest not to waver, for there is nothing higher for a Kshatriya than a righteous war.

– Translation by Swami Chinmayananda

The word swadharma caught my attention and prompted me to question what is my dharma? In the recent talk by Geetaji, the line that galvanized me into picking myself up again was her exhortation to ‘Do your duty’. Often we ask ourselves about our purpose. Rarely do we question about our dharma. I confused it for a long time with what we do as a passion, a living, a career etc. And since it remained a quest on the outside, it never felt as though I found a sure answer. I just went where the wind took me. I did many things but not necessarily my dharma. Of course, there’s the usual playing many roles but as I understand it today, my dharma is what I do regardless of reward or punishment, just because it’s my song of existence. Sort of like why the earth goes around the sun. That’s her raison d’etre.

It’s also scary to own up to it just like Arjuna experiences right before the war of his life begins. Despite his skills, training, aptitude and dharma, he quivers with fear. He loses his confidence and belief at seeing the mighty fathers, teachers and mighty warriors. He loses sight of his place in the grand scheme of life and forgets his dharma. As a warrior, his job is to fight, regardless of the outcome or the enemy. He fights for a principle and not against people. That’s his dharma.

These few lines by Erin Hanson echo something similar…

There is freedom waiting for you,

On the breezes of the sky,

And you ask “What if I fall?”

Oh but my darling,

What if you fly?

On the matter of my naughty knee😊, it feels as if on the mend. There are brief spells of normal and I have to remind myself to maintain the nonviolence. I’m filled with so much gratitude for all the help I receive in the remedial class. My mom said something in malayalam, ‘pacchha pidikyennum’ loosely translated it means to take firm root. And that requires undisturbed soil. A seed is allowed to germinate and reach a certain level of growth before transplantation. The cartilage needs that silence to regenerate. All things need the dark to grow, no? Like the foetus in the womb, the butterfly waiting to be born in the cocoon and the seed in the earth. In the meanwhile, the propped asanas water and nourish gently. The elaborate prop setups are interesting in their principles and there are many questions in my head. The answers will come, in time. For now, it’s a relief to let go of a timeline for recovery and justbe.

Hari Om

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