The art and science of living while supporting life
is described as a noun meaning to live by the eternal law of the cosmos that is
inherent in the very nature of things. For many people, this may be too much of
a stretch of the imagination, but it can be redefined as living in accord or in
harmony with nature.
The idea of Dharma arises from Yoga, Hinduism and
Buddhism because the ancient yogis were
able to identify and relate with nature. Unfortunately this is beyond any
people's ability today because we live in such a consumer driven world where
personal identity and happiness is dependent on external phenomena.
But the idea of Dharma and the idea of living in accord with nature is not
something that is passed or redundant, it is the only way to know life and to
One might ask, what is life or what is nature? This is good question but
unfortunately there is no one answer because life is deeply mysterious, it is
very complex and indescribable and yet because we are part of life we can come
to know life through realisation.
Our scientists have been deeply involved in these questions because if they know
life, they will be able to modify it and some corporation will make a profit. It
is probably a good thing that life cannot be defined and confined because if it
were, we may have already destroyed ourselves.
Our science has gone down to the subatomic level and in its exploration, it has
discovered that what we call life or at least the material aspect of life that
we are familiar with actually flickers in and out of existence continuously. In
other words they have proved that the nature of existence is an illusion and
this is something that yogis and mystics have been saying for many thousands of
The word Dharma ("dharma/dhArma") means: " ...that which is established or firm,
steadfast decree, statute, ordinance, law, usage, practice, customary observance
or prescribed conduct, duty; right, justice (often as a synonym of punishment;
virtue, morality, religion, religious merit, good; holding to the law, doing
one's duty) Law or Justice personified as a Bull; law or doctrine of Buddhism;
the ethical precepts of Buddhism (or the principal (ot) dharma" ~
It is those ancient yogis who meditated and in a sense became one with the
nature of existence who understood through their direct experience that if we
live in harmony with life, life will provide all our needs. Even in the
Christian Bible, there are references to living in harmony with nature, but the
primary sense of Dharma as a way of harmonious life comes from Hinduism from
which Buddhism emerged.
“Sana” is Sanskrit for “ancient” “old” “long lasting” this produces “sanat”
meaning “forever” “always” and sanatana meaning “eternal” “ancient” “forever”.
The Vedas speak of the four mind born sons of lord Brahma, the four Kumaras
who refused to become universal progenitors and instead remained as children,
refusing to reach puberty. Their names are Sanat meaning “forever young”
Sanatana meaning “eternal” Sanandana meaning “forever joyful” and
Sanaka meaning “ancient” all expressing this “sana”
meaning “ancient” and “old”. ~
A dharmic life
This has nothing to do with materialism and modern economics, it has nothing to
do with our modern fast paced lifestyle, in fact it is contrary. It doesn't mean
that we don't have stuff that we call our own, that doesn't mean we don't have
to do any work, it simply means that we live our lives in a way that is
harmonious with our fellow man and all the other species with whom we share this
Within Hinduism and Buddhism, we see many good examples of Dharma living. The
personal qualities of kindness and compassion take precedence over personal
wants and desires, and desires are shaped to support harmonious living.
It is thought that if everyone adopted a dharmic lifestyle which simply amounts
to having respect for life, the levels of crime, social inequity and violence
would decrease by about 70% stop therefore instead of the majority of people
living in a continuous state of fear and apprehension, lives would become much
A traveller took shelter with an old yogi. He was astonished to see that the
Yogi's home was a simple room. The only furniture was a mat and a simple
Traveller : "Yogi, where's your furniture?"
Yogi : "Where is yours?"
Traveller : "Mine? But I'm only a visitor here."
Yogi : "So am I
It is perhaps our mothers who best know what is Dharma. They are the ones who
instinctively nurture their offspring to such an extent that exhaust themselves
with the effort. It is our mothers who do the utmost to support life and on a
deeper level it is the earth that gives us all life. Therefore adopting a
lifestyle that is Dharmic requires that we get in touch with nature, and follow
the lead of our mother's by nurturing all of life.