Srimad Bhagavad Gita was delivered to remind Arjuna’s commitment to his dharma. Besides, it starts with the word “DharmaKshetreh”.
The title of this post is a part of a shloka and there are many interpretations of it. And the most popular should be the one which says Dharma protects the one who protects it and destroys the one who destroys it.
I am no expert but what I understand is that Dharma protects those who stay protected. Meaning you should perform your karma according to your dharma. I do not think Dharma or for that matter, GOD has any role in our protection or destruction and surely wouldn’t require protection from us either.
Okay please just tell me this. There are different types of dharma and how on earth would you know which is that Dharma that needs protection? It is much like the belief of few who lights a lamp only to present light to God. If God is light then why does he need your light? You light a lamp to remind yourself that you are to move towards the light from ignorance. If Dharma can destroy its destroyers then why does it need your protection?
Here we are unable to protect ourselves from our own thoughts. How are we supposed to be protecting something that we do not even apprehend?
So the questions that blatantly need our attention are:
How will we know what is our Dharma?
Is it the same for everybody?
Do I go with what others are supporting for?
Is it about changing the society?
If that was the case then why didn’t the world change even after it begot great leaders/thinkers?
Is Dharma the slayer or the protector or both or none?
Arjuna too had these questions and he consumed the whole of the first chapter ‘Arjuna vishada yogam’. Struck by grief, he was acting unlike him. Moreover, he was using dharma as an excuse and was simultaneously seeking advice. We should note that he was confused when he was talking about dharma. Confusion and Dharmic talk cannot go together.
When we are confused, we should find a way out, identify our dharma and only then should we make a decision. The key here is to protect yourself before protecting others or anything else. You should wear your oxygen mask if you wish to help your co-passengers.
So how do I protect myself?
Bhagavad Gita’s answer to this is to follow (your) Swa dharma. Although deep within we all are seeking happiness yet our ways of achieving them are different. Until we have a free flow of that we should act according to our innate nature.
Sreyan sva-dharmo vigunah para-dharmat svanusthitat
Sva-dharme nidhanam sreyah para-dharmo bhayavahah //ch 3, shlok 35
What is our swadharma then?
Gita in chapter 4, shlok 13 states that the whole of humanity is divided into 4 different divisions according to their Guna karma. Please do not read it wrong, these varnas or classes are not based on their sexes or birth or colour but are formed on the basis of their karmic baggage.
You can be a Brahmin by birth but deep inside you might be a Kshatriya or a Shudra. Gita is talking about that inner you. The whole of Gita is only addressing that Inner You. Just look at yourself, you might be earning a lot of money but do you drag yourself to work? Are you doing something that you love? Are you deriving any happiness by being somebody else?
That is why Gita is prompting its readers to dive in to understand their true self and act out of that. It is easier that way. So, therefore, find your dharma and let your actions be to purify your Self.
Image: Though this is from the Internet, I remember that is exactly how I was when I met my Teacher. When you meet with a huge blow and if you are receptive then the learning goes straight into your head. Always be thankful in adversity, it will teach you something that will remain with you for life 🙂