[Advaita-l] Question: Swadharma
Jaldhar H. Vyas
jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Jan 30 13:54:17 CST 2006
On Mon, 30 Jan 2006, Ram Garib wrote:
> However, I entirely agree that approaching a qualified teacher is the
> best (and quite possibly the only) way to learn ones swadharma.
But who is a qualified teacher on the subject of Dharma? I think now that
Indian society is more literate than in generations past (at all levels)
we focus unnecessarily on "books" and ignore that which, along with shruti
and smrti, is the third pillar of Dharma, shishtachara.
Last summer I had the occasion to perform a wedding in the Patel
community. This Gujarati caste is prosperous and has a high social
position but it is not dvija and they have many customs which were not
familiar to me as a Brahmana. So what I did was to find the grooms
great-grandmother and ask her about what was to be done. She was a
shishta despite never having studied a word of Sanskrit because in her
long life, she had seen many such weddings as this. This made her more of
an expert than any swami ever could be.
Practicing nityakarmas like agnihotra are an aid to self-realization not
because they have magic powers but because the practice eliminates egoism
and other impediments to jnana. So to does any karma that is an
inheritence from ones ancestors since time immemorial (no caste in India
has just sat there twiddling its thumbs and waiting to be taught Vedas.)
Anyone who wishes to know dharma should first delve deep into his own
history before consulting others.
Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
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