Composite view of DHARM that emerges from the scripture is a necessity to look at a glance under prevailing situations at present in modern and materialistic society. It may be claimed without any impropriety that dharm, properties and conduct that enable a man to realize his Self, is the overriding concern of the Gita. As per Bhagavad GIta, “DHARM” is certainly not “RELIGION.”
According to Sri Krishn (B.G.-2.16-29), the unreal never exists and the real is never without existence at any time.God alone is real, permanent, indestructible, changeless, and eternal, but he is beyond thought, imperceptible, and quite above the fluttering of mind. Action is the name of the mode by which a man attains to God after subduing his mind. Putting this mode into practice is dharm, which is a trust or obligation.
As Sri Krishn has told Arjun in the fortieth verse of Chapter 2 (B.G.):”Since selfless action neither wears out the seed from which it sprang nor has any adverse consequence, even a partial observance of it liberates one from the dire terror of repeated birth and death.” So the undertaking of this action is dharm.
This appointed action has been classified into four categories on the basis of the seekers’ inherent ability. At the initial stage, when a man sets upon the way of seeking after a due understanding of his task, he is a Shudr. But he is elevated to the rank of a Vaishy when his hold upon the means gets steadier. At the third stage, the same worshiper is promoted to the yet higher status of a Kshatriy when he gains the ability to oppose the conflicts of nature. The awakening of true knowledge that is transmitted by the voice of God himself, and which bestows on one, the ability to rely upon that God and become like him, transmutes the seeker into a Brahmin.
Hence it is that Yageshwar Krishn lays down in the forty sixth verse of Chapter – 18 (B.G.) that engaging in action that is in harmony with one’s native disposition is swadharm. Though of an inferior merit, the discharge of one’s natural obligation should be preferred. The undertaking of a deed of superior merit is, on the other hand, improper and injurious if it is attempted without cultivating the ability that is commensurate with it. Even losing one’s life in the fulfillment of one’s inborn calling is better, because the body is a mere garb and no one is really changed by putting on a different apparel. When taken up again, the spiritual exercise is resumed from the same point at which it was discontinued. Thus climbing from step to step, the seeker at last attains to the immortal state.
The same is re-emphasized in the forty-seventh verse of the concluding chapter(B.G), when it is said that a man attains to ultimate liberation by worshiping God well according to his inborn inclination. In other words, remembering and meditating on God by the appointed mode is dharm.
But who is the man entitled to this spiritual discipline called dharm? Who has the privilege of approaching it? Shedding light on the problem, Sri Krishn tells Arjun that even the most degraded man is rendered virtuous if he worships him (Sri Krishn)- the one God-with intentness, and his Soul is then merged with God who is the ultimate reality and dharm. So, according to the Gita, that man is pious who performs the appointed task in keeping with his innate property to realize God. Arjun is counselled at last to forsake all his other obligations and seek refuge in Sri Krishn. So that man who is wholly devoted to the one God is endowed with piety. To dedicate oneself thus to God is dharm.
The means by which the Self is enabled to attain to the Supreme Being is dharm. The awareness, that comes to sages after their hunger for union with God has been quenched because of their achievement of the ultimate state, is the only reality in all of creation. So we have to seek refuge in these men of enlightenment and wisdom in order to learn how we can make our way along the path that leads to final bliss. That path is only one and embarking on it is dharm.
Dharm is an obligation-a sacred trust. It is propitious and the mind that applies itself to this enjoined task is also one and unified.(B.G.-2.41) Offering the functions of the senses and the operations of the life-winds to the fire of yog-self-restraint-kindled by the knowledge of God is dharm. (B.G.-4.27)
When self-control is identical with the Soul, and the operations of breath and the senses are thoroughly stilled, the current which arouses passions and the current that bears one towards God merge into one in the Self.
Realization of God is the sublime culmination of this spiritual process.
~Revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans~