I found something in "The monk who sold his Ferrari", which has ignited my memories as well has contemplated my thought process. Robin defines Dharma as "life’s purpose". The aim we sought.
The thought reminds me of my conversation with my father and my take on Gita.
Dharma is "What we ought to do". It is not we "think right" to do, but it IS always the right thing to do, under any situation.It cannot be a life purpose. it can never be an aim. Dharma is a guideline on what is correct and what is not.
Karma is "What we do".Whatever we do. Interestingly, our Karma should be guided by our Dharma, BUT, its our Karma which decides our Dharma. (which is quite scandalous to state..Most of us think that Dharma is by birth). Performing duties in lieu with Dharma is ones Karma.
Arjun kept down his weapons on the ground and with heavy heart asked Parth (Lord krishna). Why should I fight? Why should I kill my own brothers? What benefit would anyone get out of it? My Dharma is Khstriya(The one who protects) my family and relatives and here I am fighting the ones I should be protecting otherwise.. I quit..
Krishna replied.. Rise Arjun. For if you do not follow your Karma, which is to fight for justice , you will loose your Dharma. Your Dharma DEFINES your karma, but your Karma DECIDES your Dharma. Do your karma and do not worry for consequences. Fight , o Arjun, for you are the blessed one… Karma is the greatest service you can do. There is nothing except karma. Whatever you do is your Karma. Never expect any thing from karma you do. Because you cannot decide the outcome. So do not worry about the results and do your work sincerely. Protecting justice is your Dharma. Truth is your Dharma. Fighting for truth is your karma.
Krishna got the point and rose to occasion. However, the Mahabharta also has an interesting story of another character who asks the same question…
Bhism Pitamah was lying on his death bed, which was a bed of arrows. He asked .. i have always followed Dharma and have done whatever the Dharma said. I have always followed the right path.. so why such a horrible treatment for me?
Answer was … While you did whatever was correct and you did followed your Dharma. But you forget to perform you Karma… Your Dharma was to protect the kingdom, which you did followed but the Karma you did reduced you to a mere caretaker. O Bhism, while you are great… the Karma you did is of a gatekeeper.. and so is your Dharma now.. You could have done much greater things through your Karma which you didn’t… and hence the treatment.
The crux is Do whatever needs to be done. Do it in a right way. Do the right thing. That is karma….
What all needs to be done? What is right way? Which is the right thing? That is Dharma.
I would be looking forward to more intriguing thoughts on the same… keep blogging..