‘Dharma is not religion, it is a moral order’

“Take care of yourself and invest in your growth, take steps towards your growth by converting normal ordinary actions into actions of growth”. This is my biggest learning from the Essence of the Gita classes. I never was and am still not a religious person but the Shlokas of the Gita always intrigued me. I acknowledge that my limited knowledge of it was from the Mahabharata serial I watched on television. The chanting of the verses mesmerized me and whatever little I understood from the serial struck a chord and I wanted to know more.

The most profound question I had though was, how could I undertake an action without worrying about its consequences? Every action that I initiate is with the intention that it will cede me desired fruition and hence the advice of ‘karm kar phal ki chinta mat kar’ did not cut much ice. I wanted to understand this better and I did get a rationale behind this. What I understood from the classes ( and I consciously use the word classes and not discourse) is that my actions have to be in alignment with the results that I want. If my actions are in alignment, the results are bound to follow because every result that I get is in direct proportion to what I deserve. The natural laws determined by my past actions take care of it. This I can swallow, not only swallow but I can gulp it down because it makes sense. It is so simple, yet so profound!It is the choices that we make that determines our success.

The discussion about guilt is another concept  I identify with. ‘I know that I do not want to be hurt, I also know that the other person does not want to be hurt, yet if my actions hurt the other person it causes guilt, regret, sorrow in me’. This is because the knowledge is inherent in me, irrespective of whether I want to bring it to the fore or not and it is this knowledge that causes the guilt and the regret. This is what makes me human, so this leads to the previous learning of choosing my actions to go with my ‘to be done’. Life is a series of small situations and in these small situations we can dictate our actions. In big situations emotions take over. If we follow the path of growth we can follow ‘dharma’ (moral order) even in big situations and we will be in a position to decouple our happiness from situations.

Raagas and dhweshas (binding desires) artha and kama, have them sub serve dharma instead of the other way round because when one goes against dharma, one goes against oneself. Shift commitments from ends to managing the means to these ends. When I do this I grow. I become someone whom I can respect and hence it is essential that I become kind to myself, only then can I be kind to the world around me.

Ayman Shaikhmahmud



One comment

  • I have always been a firm believer in ‘choice’ determining ‘fate’ and not the other way around. So yes, the idea of the choices of action/reaction I made have determined where I am today or what has ‘happened’ to me was something that struck a chord with me as well.
    As for Gita being a moral order and not a religion – I wish Hindu fanatics would wake up to this fact…

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