As humans, we have an innate belief in the efficacy of our actions. Our assumption that our actions are not done in vain but have a bearing on our future, prompted us to postulate a cosmic law, the law of karma. Our belief that virtue (dharma) will be rewarded eventually, keeps us going. Even if the fruits of our good actions emerge in another world, we are bound to reap its reward.
As a responsible individual who is a part of a family and a society, what is it then that obstructs us from following the path of dharma?
We seem to constantly let down the people whom we love and care for by our petty acts. We are no better with people who we are duty-bound to. In spite of our firm determination to adhere to our call of duty, we fail in our attempts, time and again.
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As humans, we are driven by our emotions. Our emotions surface out of our bloated sense of self, our ego. They make us greedy, angry, envious and ambitious. Even the emotion of love distracts us from our path of duty. Hence, our emotions are the greatest threat to our sense of duty.
Even an emotion like love can make us get carried away in the moment and have its repercussions. People are known to commit grave acts of crime in the name of love. While it’s true that our emotions make us human, it’s also true that they come in the way of our sense of judgment. We wound our sense of dharma by caving into our emotions.
When we let our emotions take charge we begin to focus on the actions of others and lose track of our own. We align our actions and reactions not in conformity with ‘our’ dharma (sense of duty) but with how the ‘others’ are conducting their life. Our ego begins to measure and compare and our actions are then dictated by our emotions, not our sense of duty. This trap is the easiest to fall for because, as our ego-self, none of us likes to be exploited or wronged.
But, keeping the totality at play (cosmic justice) in mind, what the others do emerges out of their sense of duty; it should have no bearing on our dharma. ‘Woh unka imman hai’ (it’s their conscience/duty call).
Knowing well that there is a system in place, let us leave the accounting to the keepers of the ‘cosmic law’. As creatures of reason we have the power to discipline our emotions. Let us transcend our ego-driven emotions and strive to uphold dharma because “wherever there is dharma there is victory” (Mahabharata).