Dharma : “That Which Sustains One’s Existence.”

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This morning I awoke early, and before rising, I was just going over the dreams in my head. I was dreaming about the following verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam.

“The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.” (SB 1.2.6)

I have been very much absorbed in my worldly occupation of late, writing up contracts, submitting bills, paying employees etc. and have mostly been waking up with thoughts of work. But this morning I was dreaming about a specific verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam. Interesting! So I went to the Bhagavatam, and read the purport to this verse.

…We have purposely denoted dharma as occupation because the root meaning of the word dharma is “that which sustains one’s existence.” A living being’s sustenance of existence is to coordinate his activities with his eternal relation with the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the central pivot of living beings, and He is the all-attractive living entity or eternal form amongst all other living beings or eternal forms. Each and every living being has his eternal form in the spiritual existence, and Kṛṣṇa is the eternal attraction for all of them. Kṛṣṇa is the complete whole, and everything else is His part and parcel. The relation is one of the servant and the served. It is transcendental and is completely distinct from our experience in material existence. This relation of servant and the served is the most congenial form of intimacy. One can realize it as devotional service progresses. Everyone should engage himself in that transcendental loving service of the Lord, even in the present conditional state of material existence. That will gradually give one the clue to actual life and please him to complete satisfaction.

Somehow I feel more satisfied, more complete, after my reading.

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The Spiritual Sky (Sanātana Sky)

The Spiritual Sky

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I have always loved this picture since the first time I opened the Bhagavad-gita some 42 years ago. It is a beautiful image of life in the Spiritual Sky, and also, it is a nice graphic description of the 5 types of relationships one can have with the Supreme Lord. The following is a short description, from the Introduction to the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, about the eternal nature, and the 5 types of relationships on can have with the Lord.

…In this material world we find that everything is temporary. It comes into being, stays for some time, produces some by-products, dwindles and then vanishes. That is the law of the material world, whether we use as an example this body, or a piece of fruit or anything. But beyond this temporary world there is another world of which we have information. This world consists of another nature which is sanātana, eternal. Jīva is also described as sanātana, eternal, and the Lord is also described as sanātana in the Eleventh Chapter. We have an intimate relationship with the Lord, and because we are all qualitatively one—the sanātana-dhāma, or sky, the sanātana Supreme Personality and the sanātana living entities—the whole purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is to revive our sanātana occupation, or sanātana-dharma, which is the eternal occupation of the living entity. We are temporarily engaged in different activities, but all of these activities can be purified when we give up all these temporary activities and take up the activities which are prescribed by the Supreme Lord. That is called our pure life.

…That destination is called the sanātana sky, the eternal spiritual sky. (from Introduction to Bhagavad-gita As It Is)

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The Supreme Occupation

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For some reason I woke up this morning thinking about this very important verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam;

sa vai puṁsāṁ paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhokṣaje
ahaituky apratihatā
yayātmā suprasīdati

The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self.

I was trying to recall the two occupational paths; the path of sense enjoyment, and the path of renunciation, and the sanskrit words for them. I remembered that the verse and purport was in the first canto, chapter two, so I looked it up and there was the two words my mind was searching for;

“The Vedas prescribe two different types of occupation for the human being. One is called the pravṛtti-mārga, or the path of sense enjoyment, and the other is called the nivṛtti-mārga, or the path of renunciation.”

Both good words for your vaisnava vocabulary. But anyway, as I was searching this verse, I realized just how important this particular verse was. Srila Prabhupada lectured on this verse 13 times. And in one Lecture given by His Divine Grace in Montreal, August 3rd, 1968, Srila Prabhupada begins by saying…

“The real aim of life is how to get satisfaction, full, complete satisfaction. And that satisfaction, complete satisfaction, can be achieved only by prosecution of devotional service. There is no other method. If you want to be happy, free from all cares and anxieties, then you have to engage yourself in devotional servece of the Lord. That will make you free from all material miseries. We are all seeking after that position, how to become completely happy. Our whole struggle for existence…Anyone, in any place, any country, they are all struggling how to become happy. This happiness of the mind, atma, is only possible when we are engaged in Krsna consciousness. That is the only remedy. There is no other alternative.” (Srimad Bhagavatam Lecture Aug. 3, 1968)

I guess this was what I needed to hear this morning before leaving for work.

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