Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I’m reading chapter 2 Gita notes.. At the point where Krishna starts to speak his introductory words on Karma Yoga ( 30-40 verse) , I had a question from what I have gathered so far. When Krishna talks from a dharma/adharma perspective he explains to Arjuna that to act per swadharma is win-win thinking. Even if he is killed he will attains joy of higher world ( heaven).

In today's world, with our roles in community being a blend of various identities, how is one to know his swadharma beyond those universal values of ahimsa, satyam etc?
.. I understand swadharma as living in harmony with the world around us.. But with respect to our duties as per our identity, swadharma requires a certain clarity on conviction and principles... In the absence of which there is fear and anxiety.

Swadharma is vishesha dharma, in contrast to samanya dharma or general code of ethics. In todays world, vishesha dharma will be your professional integrity, family roles-based responsibilities, and 'politically correct' behaviour (i.e. respecting cultural differences and current trends). Beyond that, you also have a responsibility to yourself to meet your needs at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels.

Every vishesha dharma is grounded in samanya dharma but interpreted according to the special needs of the role and situation. Just like in law, there are general laws, special laws, bylaws, and exceptions, so too is the case in dharma. What we learn in school is samanya dharma and a touch of vishesha dharma. But as we grow, we revaluate and evolve our understanding of vishesha dharmas and aapat dharmas. This happens when we confront situations for which there are no precedents. Global warming, genetic engineering, intellectual property, religious absolutism, and international terrorism are some of the todays challenges that require scientists, philosophers, and laymen to come together to evolve a consensus and lay down ground rules.


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