“Do your duty until it becomes your joy.”
My favorite story about duty or dharma in Sanskrit (which literally means “right action”) takes place on a battle field. Arjuna, a brave young man has been trained as a warrior. But on this day of one of the greatest battles the world has ever seen, his spirits plunge. He rides down the center of the battle field in a chariot driven by Lord Krishna. On the opposing side he witnesses people who have been near and dear to him. They too are poised for war. As he looks into their faces he loses heart. “I can’t do it,” he tells Krishna. “I can’t fight and risk killing them.”
He slumps in the chariot, dispirited. But Krishna reproaches him: “You have been trained, oh warrior. To fight in battle for a good cause is your highest duty. Whether you fight or not, these men you see are fated to die in battle today. You have the choice of going down in history as a great warrior or a coward. The wise man would do his duty.”
Arjuna decides to fight and becomes a legend. This is one of the great teaching about dharma – and how to perform it even in difficult circumstances. This battle, according to Jack Hawley, author of The Bhagavad Gita: A Walk Through for Westerners, is symbolic. It’s about an inner battle, a struggle to slay our inner foes. These may include hatred, anger, greed, lust, envy and jealousy. These enemies get in the way of living a content, happy and spiritually fulfilled life
Be brave. Allow duty to become joy today.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.