Have you ever questioned your life purpose?  What is your Swadharma?

Have you ever questioned your life purpose?  What is your Swadharma?

By fulfilling your ‘dharma’ you give a purpose to your life and climb the spiritual ladder progressively. According to Hinduism teachings, you are born and reborn until you succeed to do things right – to do your dharma. Can we ask ourselves this question; ‘Is everything I am doing in my daily life is being done with an element of righteousness?

The Vedic text speaks about the Purusharthas which are the inherent goals for fulfilment in our life. These are Dharma (righteousness), Artha (economic values) and Kama (pleasure). The Upanishad define a fourth goal known as Moksha (liberation) for people who begin to seek higher consciousness. To be honest, it is not easy to attain moksha. You may die without attaining moksha.

Overtime, as you are growing up, you must surely experience some feelings over your inner qualities, a sense of authentic qualities; hence gradually you uncover these inborn qualities over your karmic cycles. There is no doubt that these inner qualities will have an impact on your life.

When I was 5 years old, I started drawing and painting. Strangely, I engaged myself into religious paintings. These karmic tendencies were uncovered at a very young age. Consequently, I painted for many temples as part of specific religious ceremonies which required artwork, as I was living in an age where digital art was not yet there. Till now, apart from finding art as a lucrative and passionate activity, I am still painting for temples, as and when required (by the way I finished the renovation of a lovely 7 feet Hanuman murthy in a temple). This is part of my Swadharma.This is an inborn quality I acquired and uncovered which I deliver for the betterment of the society. I do it with devotion, love and passion. Interestingly, I learned from my grandparents, at that time, that there has never been any artist in my family lineage, as far as they could recollect.

So, are you curious to know more about your swadharma? Some people would usually learn about their swadharma from their vedic astrologer by studying their birth chart. A vedic astrologer will skilfully guide on how to enhance the manifestation of swadharma to help them surfacing, avoid obstructive patterns, if possible, from planetary configuration and give a better purpose to your life as per your inborn attributes and qualities.

Swadharma is also influenced by one’s varnas, i.e the caste system one belongs to. One may find this provocative but one’s duty is also according to the quality one has acquired. Arjuna refused to fight against his own family members. The Bhagavad-Gita is the enlightening response to the confused and puzzled Arjuna, who was unsuccessful in discerning his swadharma and personal duty. Krishna reminded him that fighting is his swadharma as he is a Kshatriya.

Your swadharma is also rooted from the Varnashrama Dharma. This is a term given to the divisional structure of any Hindu sect or society. When this order of society is intertwined with the four orders of life or the ashramas, i.e. Brahmacharya or the student life, Grihasthaor the householder’s life, Vanaprasthaor the retired life and Sanyasaor the devotional life, it gives rise to the Varnashrama dharma. The purpose of the Varnashrama social system is to provide a structure allowing people to work according to their inborn qualities and natural tendencies and to organize society so that everyone, regardless of their position, makes spiritual advancement. This philosophy allows people to work with a central point of focus and not aiming to cause any prejudice if properly understood.

You must have heard stories about householders or fathers who have abandoned their family for vanaspratha or brahmacharya. A vanaspratha lives a retired life and a brahmachari lives a student life. Many untold stories can be related about fathers (i.e a Grihastha) leaving the ‘householder life’ on account of their so-called intense bhakti for God and transcendental motivation to accelerate their own spiritual advancement. This is not necessarily true. A householder has to fulfil his own responsibility first. Spiritual progress can also be achieved through the life of a householder. When you are reborn with qualities of a householder you must fulfil this respective swadharma first. Many disciples of Hindu sect have been attracted by their respective gurus and have left their families in quest of liberation.  But they may have become brahmachari by dress only. As long as they have not identified their swadharma as a householder, that is their duty according to the quality they have acquired, they will not complete the puzzle leading to spiritual path.

One can become brahmachari internally as well. Brahmacharya does not just mean celibacy. To become a brahmachari means you are ecstatic by nature. This own nature is your swadharma. So, you can be a married person and still be a brahmachari if you exhibit these inborn attributes and nature, and still, you will be at the service of the society.

The last part I would like to address is the swadharma of women. Swadharma of a woman in the family is a huge responsibility that no man can fulfil. The maternal instinct, care, love and resilience are inborn qualities of a woman. However, in the modern world, the various obstacles faced by women in doing their swadharma in the family can lead to conflict. When the swadharma is not well executed, harmony is not achieved in the family, as well as in the place of work and in the community.

Thus, parenting is the most important swadharma for a Hindu woman. The motherly nature of a woman and her ability to nurture and educate children in the family will determine the future of the children. However, in the modern world, there are still many Hindu women who are struggling to find ways to fulfil their swadharma. The lack of understanding in educating and raising children is also a problem in doing their swadharma in the family.

Recently, I read a quote from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar who says, “When we do something without authenticity, just to show off to another person, that is when we feel fear. But when we do something that is authentic, from the heart, then there is no fear. This is what swadharma is. Swadharma is that action which is in harmony with your true nature.”

Swadharma requires respect, dedication, understanding, resilience and courage. It does not include indulgence or immature selfishness.

Nanda Narrainen

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