You have two life purposes. One is the same for everyone, the other is unique to you.
If you will not undertake this rightful challenge, avoiding your own dharma and glory, you will gain only misfortune and harm.
“your own dharma”: svadharma — (sva, one’s own; dharma, natural characteristic). Your svadharma is your natural purpose, ability, talent, gift. Your svadharma is what you are best suited for, and would naturally do best.
In verse 32, Krishna said to Arjuna that, as a Kshatriya (warrior), by taking up the battle he could attain heaven and happiness. Now he is telling him what will happen if he doesn’t: He could come to harm.
In today’s society, many people work a job for someone else to the point of complete dependency, settling for being a servant to someone else’s cause for money and ‘benefits’, doing something that has nothing to do with their svadhama. They are self-deceived, living in denial of their own denial. I think it is safe to say that they are not happy people.
Self-reference: I previously suggested that you self-reference on whether or not you are performing your svadharma in your life. If you haven’t done this, this is a reminder to do so. The idea is to find your way to the best possible conditions for having the best possible life. This begins with determining your svadharam.
34 – 36
Also, everyone will forever speak ill of you, and for a well-respected person, disgrace is worse than death.
Great warriors will think that you withdraw from battle due to fear, and among those by whom you have been held in high esteem, you will be seen as a coward.
Unfit and hostile people will speak ill of you and deride your ability. What greater hardship can there be than this?
The point that Krishna is making is that Arjuna is not going to like his life if he abandons his svadharma.
Whatever happens, we should not give up our purpose, our svadharma, because doing so would make us miserable. In the second paragraph of the commentary on verse 33 above, I insulted practically everyone on Earth for doing just that. I was just writing, not thinking much about what I was saying, and as a result, I have proved Lord Krishna’s point!
The subject is the performance our svadharma, but what does that mean? Presumably, what we want and what we have the ability to do well, naturally go together. So figuring this out shouldn’t be all that difficult. But if you are not one of those rare mortals who know this practically from birth, it can be very difficult.
It is easy to say that we all have the same svadharma which is to seek God/Truth. This is certainly true, but in what context do we seek this? This is where our svadharma comes in. If we seek, do spiritual practices, work at something to make a living based on our svadharam, we will do well. Outside of that context, we will probably not do well. So we need to know what it is, for it is said…
Better one’s own dharma done poorly, than another man’s done well.
It is probably fair to assume that your natural abilities and what you want will go hand in hand, so check what you think you want against your natural abilities, then align what you want with what you do so that you can be successful. If this doesn’t work out to your satisfaction, consider that you may not know what you want.
Some of us do not know our svadharma, so how do we find out what that is? We may think we know, because we think we know what we want, but do we really? Having gotten side-tracked by other things we thought we had to do in order to manifest what we want, without realizing it we got led in other directions, over and over again, until we forgot what it was that we wanted to do with our lives in the first place. If you feel this may be the case for you, and if you want to live your life with the most happiness possible, you must get to the bottom of this.
Namaste (I bow to the divine one that you really are),
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