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The Dharma of the Self

By Michael Laughrin

Dharma, from the Sanskrit, means, more or less, that which upholds Life and Natural Law. Dharma is also sometimes translated as duty or righteousness - although these two meanings are insufficient.

We have many different dharmas. Men and women, for example, seem to be almost from two different species. The gulf between them appears to be almost impossible to bridge.

There is the dharma of our caste (or class), our country and our religion. Each profession has its own dharma. Each language has its own dharma. A very important dharma is the dharma of the family we were born into.

A working definition of dharma should include the rules of how to behave in any group to which we belong. Looking deeper, dharma is a certain mind-set and range of emotions that accompanies a group that we are part of. Usually, these "rules" are not written down anywhere, but are just "the way it is" for a given group.

But, as I see it, we are One in the most important dharma of all - the dharma of the Self. Please note that I spelled Self with a capital S. The small self is our earthly personality. The Big Self is our Soul. This is called the Atman in Sanskrit.

The great Oversoul of the universe is called Brahman. A common phrase in Vedic texts, more or less, is that Atman equals Brahman. In other words, in the deepest part of each one of us, we are part of the Great Mind that was never born, will never die, and is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent.

The idea that all humans are created equal seems to come from this Atman-Brahman part of us. On the surface, we are very much unequal. Some are rich, others are poor. Some are fat, others thin. Many, many traits separate us.

It is very comforting, at least to me, to understand that, in the deepest, most important part of us, we are all One.

In the highest level of Enlightenment, we experience that all we perceive and experience is part of one grand, living, breathing, dancing Whole. It seems that all the masters have preached this idea in some way or another.

This is the Dharma of the Self, of the Soul, of the Atman. This is the Dharma of the Great Brahman. It transcends all other dharmas, all other rules, all other memberships in any group or organization whatsoever.

From the December 2012/January 2013 issue of Michael Laughrin's North American Jyotish Newsletter. Click to subscribe to this free Jyotish newsletter.

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