WHAT IS DHARMA?
It is so surprising that Dharma and Karma rhyme so well, and yet Dharma and Karma are just but the obverse and reverse side of the same coin. It is a misconception to believe that Karma is wrong; you have good and bad Karma.
Good Karma means actions performed that are conducive to nature and are in the flow with nature, while bad Karma would be the forces created by acts that conflict with nature’s details.
Dharma means the performance of duty, duty towards one’s parents, one’s wife, one’s children, husband, friend, and society. That is the interpretation of dharma. But there are far greater meanings in dharma. It is not only a performance of duty that one does with effort. For the beginner’s some effort might be required, but one has to reach the stage of dharma whereby all actions performed, where all Karma performed become spontaneous. This very spontaneity that is developed in man shows his level of evolution and some progress in his life.
You would have many mythological stories, for example, where Rama, in the Ramayana, because of his father’s promise and duty to his father, was banished for fourteen years into the jungles and underwent so many different experiences. This could be because of the promise, but the deeper meaning is that because of specific karmic values of Rama, he had to undergo these difficulties in the forests. This is a cleansing process to dharma. So, you might start on the dharmic path and end up cleansing the bad Karma within you.
DHARMA LIES WITHIN KARMA
Bad Karma means all the impressions of all kinds of experiences that are stored up in the mind through ages and ages, which are active experiences, or which could even be inactive experiences, meaning such things as emotions and other psychological factors. Anything that leaves an impression in the mind or the subconscious strata of the mind can be equated as Karma, and when we refer to Karma as impressions, the counterpart of Karma, we call samskaras.
To repeat, Karma and dharma are so interlinked, and they are not in opposition to each other because within your Karma lies dharma. By performing good action, you are performing a dharmic action in the flow of nature. Here we do not differentiate, but all activities performed in life can be brought to a very good or refined level so that one does not only act from the story of the impressions in one’s mind but from a group which goes beyond those impressions.
THERE IS A DIRECT LINE TO THE SUPERCONSCIOUS MIND
After the conscious mind, we have the subconscious mind, and after that, we go to a level of the Super-conscious Mind. Forces of nature govern these three so-called sections of the mind, and in Sanskrit terminology, they are called Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva. Tamas is the force of inertia or darkness; Rajas could be called the activating force, and Sattva is the force of Light. Here at the finest point of relativity, on the verge of the Absolute, we have the Superconscious Mind.
People do think that seeing that I have performed so many bad Karmas in my lifetime, I will have to suffer them all. This is not necessary, although there is truth in that “whatever you sow, you will reap.” That is a great truth. But this truth applies only to the subconscious mind. When one reaches the Superconscious Mind, one can overcome all those impressions.
Here is how it works. Apart from the grosser nervous system connected to the conscious mind, there is a subtle nervous system which is the hotline or direct line from the conscious mind to the Superconscious Mind. If you can activate that subtle nervous system and find the direct link to the Superconscious level, then you can draw the forces of Light from there so that they can permeate your conscious level.
WE CAN BYPASS ALL SAMSKARAS WITH OUR SPIRITUAL PRACTICES
Throughout all the ages, you have accumulated so many karmas, good and bad. That is one reason why all theologies have created all these heavens and hells. If you live a good life, you will go to a region where there is all happiness, which is called Heaven, and if you do bad actions, you will go to an area called Hell or suffering. That is why theologies, in their way, try to portray the result of that which is good and that which is bad.
But the principle is that you do not need to go to Heaven or Hell; you go beyond that to a Karma-free region. To reach that region, we will have to go back to the main point again that this very fine network of this nervous system can lead you directly from the conscious to the Superconscious, cutting right through all the samskaras or impressions stored in the sub-conscious mind. Through meditation and spiritual practices, one does. However, at first, it might not be so apparent to you; one does reach the Superconscious level and from there draw the Light and banish the darkness of impressions, the Tamas which resides in the subconscious mind.
Therefore, in practical daily living, we must remember that one does not need to feel guilty about any actions that man has performed because what is past is past. There is no future, and there is only now. With spiritual practices, we reach an area called “nowhere”, and that “nowhere” if you take note of the spelling is “now here.” That does not mean that we do not make any effort. We can bypass all the samskaras with our spiritual practices, which would have taken millions of years to clear up. If the floor is filthy, you use a broom; it will require so much energy and time, but if you have a powerful cleaner, an electric vacuum cleaner, how quickly would the floor be cleaned. So, we use the vacuum cleaner for meditation and spiritual practices to clear away the debris and dirt.
WE MUST CONSCIOUSLY CHANGE OUR MODE OF THINKING
Yet this does not imply that meditation alone is enough. This also means that we must consciously change our mode of thinking. That which is called negative is only the misuse of the same energy that is used in positivity. So naturally, when we are aware of actions that are not conducive to the flow of nature, that automatically will produce negative thoughts, and negative reviews are just as powerful as positive ones. You can love just as intensely and hate just as intense, but speaking, hate is love but used differently; as I always say, electricity put into the fridge or the stove produces opposite results. Yet it is the same force and power at work all the time.
With a bit of self-analysis, one could very quickly convert hate into love, which is why we have these residential courses and talks to give some understanding of man’s thinking processes. If you hate someone, why do you hate him? What has he done to you? So, he has done you down in a business deal and robbed you. He has alienated the feelings of your beloved, or he might have just thrown over some dirt from his backyard into yours. So, you hate him.
If you analyse this, who are you hating? You hate yourself. You hate yourself because you are hating. In other words, it is your hatred within yourself that you are now projecting onto someone else. In other words, the subject has found an object on which they could pour those negative feelings. When one through meditation realises that there is only one Spirit underlying it all, then if there is only that Oneness, one big pond with just all different ripples and that we are using our energies to differentiate between those ripples and forgetting that it is the same water.
So, the neighbour throws all his garbage over the fence into your yard. It is straightforward to have that changed by loving him, and if you show that love and consideration to him and tell him that look, “if you do want to throw your garbage over, just show me which place, and I will put a bin there because it is the same garbage man that collects your dirt, and the same garbage man collects my dirt. It is the same even if he takes it from my backyard or your backyard.” You see how beautifully hatred can be turned into love. It is just the proper use of the same energy, and when you tell the neighbour this, he will say, “No, rather you throw your dirt in my yard”. So is the Scriptural injunction not true “, Love thine enemy?” Is it not true? Look how beautiful it works. It is easy to love your friend, but love your enemy, then you can change all the negativities of life or so-called negativities into positivities.
DIVINITY OWES YOU NO FAVOUR BUT HAS GIVEN YOU ALL THE TOOLS OF GRACE
As we do our spiritual practices and draw the Light from the Superconscious level and let it permeate and penetrate that samskaric box, which is called the subconscious, you fill it with Light, and very spontaneously, you become a better person, and that is how you help yourself in becoming a better person. The saying goes, “God only helps those that help themselves.” Divinity owes you no favour but has given you all the tools of grace. That grace is such that you can override thousands and thousands of years of impressions with a direct hotline from your conscious level of thinking to the Superconscious level of the mind. Is that not grace?
Therein lies the beauty of life, to activate that force. It is so simple, just as simple as switching on the Light and then you do not worry about Hell or Heaven; you are beyond it.
We want to reach the area that goes beyond the good and evil, for good and bad are opposites. Wherever it is good, there will always be wrong; there will always be this balance. Wherever it is bad, there will always be good. And you could notice in the annals of history that there will always be significant opposition whenever a tremendous spiritual force arises. That is even happening in the world today. It meets with resistance, and the greater the resistance, the greater the push and the greater the push, the greater the mark it will make in history so that it could last for some thousand years. That is why resistance is required.
GOOD KARMA IS AUTOMATICALLY DHARMA
So here we have Karma and dharma, which are the same; for good Karma is automatically dharma. The performance of one’s duties is dharma, and those duties have to be performed in such a way that they become spontaneous, natural, and not laboured. If the wife has to cook for the husband and the family, she must not regard it as drudgery. “Oh God, I have to cook again.” You know that kind of thing. I get very gaseous if someone cooks for me and does not cook with love. That is where the negative thoughts of struggle come in, that it even affects your vibrations, that to a very highly sensitive person shows some effect.
If the cooking was done with love and a sense of service, “my husband, my children, my flesh and blood for them I do the best I can with so much love,” then that love becomes tangible. It is no use saying, “I love you; I love you, I love you.” You can say that a million times a day. It has to be practical, that even the very act of cooking, cutting up the potatoes and onions and whatever you cut up, there is that love that flows through you tangibly into that food. It becomes enjoyable.
DHARMA MEANS A WAY OF LIFE
This is just a little household example, but this applies to everything we do in life, then that Karma is nothing but dharma. Dharma implies doing one’s duty; duty means action, and activities done with love become pure dharma. Dharma means a way of life. Suppose there are four thousand million people in this world. In that case, there should be four thousand million dharmas, for each one should adapt themself to the particular circumstances they are placed in, and that every adaptation is part of the way of life. Adapting to circumstances means that you are not concerned with having your way, and when you are not worried about just having your way, your ego self becomes more refined. You adapt yourself to whatever there is.
Today you might earn a thousand pounds a month, the job might become redundant, and you get another job for five hundred pounds a month, but that must not affect your happiness because you can live just as well. You might have to chuck up some of the nightclubs and the drinking parties, which is not doing anyone any good in any case.
WHAT WE PUT IN; WE GET OUT OF LIFE
So, you adapt yourself, but your necessities are there. When one realises what conditions are when one realises the actual value of life and what constitutes life is the humility required for adaptability.
Adaptability shows you the way of your life, how it should be lived, not what the Jones are doing. That is dharma, a way of life and in that way of life, through the practice of meditation, through helping oneself in various things, perhaps at first consciously doing one’s duty until one becomes adaptable enough, one has to temper oneself.
You take a pound of steel, a pound weight of steel; if you convert that pound of steel into kitchen cutlery, it would be worth two hundred pounds. You take the same pound weight of steel and make surgical instruments, then it is worth two thousand pounds, and then you take the same pound of steel and make very delicate watch springs, for example, worth twenty thousand pounds. The pound of steel remains the same. The same pound of steel but how much work have you put into enhancing its value. Life is like that. What we put in, we get out.
DHARMA, ARTHA, KARMA AND MOKSHA
That becomes dharma, to get out the maximum value of life. To adapt oneself to life, to formulate a particular way of life does not require so much effort as we think. It does not require any great sacrifice. It does not need any great denial to go on a fast for twenty-one days. It does not require all that, for the ancient Sanskrit Scriptures talk of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. I will explain these terms to you.
Dharma is a way of life. Be first established in the form of life, and then Artha means economics. Economics does not only tell money; let us use money as an example. Nobody denies you the right to make money in an excellent moral and ethical way. If you are making five million a year, make ten million. Nothing wrong with it; it is how you use it. It is so if you are a miser or not or use it for good works. Once you are established in dharma, Artha or the economic part of life will take a good form.
After that comes Karma. Karma means fulfilment of desires, and no one denies you the satisfaction of wants. They do not appear as householders. This is a householder’s path, and nobody denies you the fulfilment of desires, by all means, but let those desires be good. By good, I mean conducive to nature, in the flow of nature.
Moksha means salvation. So here, economics and fulfilment of desire are based firstly upon dharma. Dharma is mentioned first, and then the performance of Artha and Karma will naturally lead you to Moksha, which is salvation. Do not worry about saving. Forget it. Do not worry about self-realisation, although that is in your mind. But by being practical, by formulating a good way of life, dharma and being established in that, by using Artha and Karma in its proper form, salvation is there, ready-made for you. You can only be led there and nowhere else.
BEING ESTABLISHED IN DHARMA, THE NEGATIVITIES OF LIFE WILL AUTOMATICALLY DIMINISH
Being established in dharma, you will find the negativities of life automatically diminishing, and it will be replaced by positivity because the mind will never remain a vacuum. To repeat, you are so helped by the grace of Divinity that you have a hotline direct to the source of Light, the superconscious level of the mind, which is closest to the Spirit. The conscious level is like a piece of glass which is dirty, and so is the subconscious level of the mind, while at the super-conscious level, the glass is clean, and the Force of Divine Light shines through in its full glory. And this is so powerful and forceful that it immediately penetrates all these layers and washes away all the dirt without using Surf or Omo. You use Divine Force to clean all that.
Here dharma and Karma are synonymous until one reaches the stage in the householder’s life, which comes when you become much older, you reach the stage where you go beyond both these opposites. You become one with the Spirit, which is neutral, and it is neutral and has nothing to do with you – with your free will – use the energy permeating through all the layers of the mind.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang UK 1980 – 19