What is ‘dharma’? The word today has become synonymous with being ‘good’ or ‘truthful’ or ‘straight-forward’! Hope you agree. But the very essence of ‘dharma’ is ‘a law that governs conduct’
In the broadest sense this refers to a law governing the way of life that we should be leading. It includes practice of fairness, unselfishness, honesty, prudence, sharing amongst others. But it also refers to doing what one is supposed to do. In a way it also means ‘righteousness’.
Like the good have a ‘dharma’, the so-called bad also have their ‘dharma’.
Here are some thoughts that came to my mind based on my sojourn with Vedanta texts
When we exploit our resources, Mother Nature is giving us indication (through tsunamis, earthquakes, etc) that we are not living by the ‘dharma’ of the world. When we conflict with the universal truth, we always feel we have beaten the system – but what is not understood is that it is only for a short-term.
Our dharma as individuals is pre-decided based on the roles that we adopt. However the actions that we take (the karma) decides whether we are abiding by it or not. So the cause and effect (karma and karma-palan) needs to be studied not in isolation but in relation with what is the underlying dharma governing the individual.
A father who has taken a bribe blames God for having given him a sick child and for the pain of seeing this every day. But what he doesn’t realize is that universe is balancing the earlier act. It is settling accounts in the longer term.
As in the end (which is actually at various points in time) accounts need to be settled and balanced. That is the eternal ‘dharma’ of the world. You, me or no other human will be able to defy and beat it – smartness does not work here!
Look at it from your own profession.
Don’t you know what is right or wrong in terms of practice? Don’t you know if you are cheating someone? Don’t you know if the system being followed is right or wrong? Are all our actions not born out of conscious choices that we make as businessmen or professionals?
Why is it that even after knowing all this, many of us do the non-dharmic act? Why is it that we allow selfishness at various levels (self, family, institution, profession, country etc) come in the way of giving in to the even greater good?
While we cannot choose our dharma – our karma’s (actions) are our choice. This is the freedom that has been given to us. The powerful tool called ‘intellect’ enables us to see the difference and make our choice. But then most of us seem to be bent on wasting time to outsmart the rules.
We are busy trading short-term benefits for the longer term fall-out. We ensconce ourselves so often in the ‘just this one time’ or ‘I will take care of this later’ syndrome – forgetting that the law of dharma immediately indulges in the balancing act. No future act of ‘goodness’ can correct your current ‘misdeeds’.
If hundreds of small businesses decide to ensure ‘dharma’ is upheld in the way they go about building, sustaining and growing their business – can we see the silver lining for a more calmer, peaceful and happy world?
Should this not be the responsibility of entrepreneurs / businessmen, even higher than that of making profits?
After all we have chosen the path of ‘capitalism’ through the use of the powerful instrument called ‘intellect’! And we should not forget that ‘capitalism’ also has its own ‘dharma’.
Make your choice!