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Dharma or Adharma?
Rory: Hello, Sundari.
I have just come back to Vedanta after taking the last year to work on qualifications. Rory was a neurotic mess a year ago, and now Bhagavan has given me an amazing situation to totally commit to self-inquiry.
I own a marketing business, work from home and am not married or with kids at home. Recently I even sold my TV, cancelled Netflix, Hulu and all dating sites. So when I’m not working I spend my time reading, listening to audios and contemplating.
But here’s my dilemma: My client/partner is in the day trading education business. We sell tools and education that helps these traders trade better.
The reason I love working with them, for the past four years, is because of the care we take to serve our customers (mostly guys) with tools and training that actually work in helping them actually earn a living trading.
Anyway, in another satsang (A Spiritual Person in a World of Wolves) Ramji told Ed (who appears to be a day trader at a hedge fund/prop firm) this: “It seems there is nothing objective you can do about your profession right now, but basically, gambling is adharmic and contrary to the spiritual laws of the universe. This is why it is forbidden in the scriptures. You are not actually creating wealth, which is a noble occupation. You are placing bets with OPM [other people’s money]. The very nature of this activity produces anxiety. Anxiety is the arch-enemy of discrimination, and discrimination is essential for a happy life. Mind you, Ed, this is not a judgment. This is just how things are.”
This has me wondering if I am doing “indirect adharmic” work! Because our customers are trading (with their own money), but I am the one selling it to them (I do not do any trading myself)??
I had never thought of this until I read Ed’s post, and would appreciate your guidance. I would love to continue doing this work because it allows me so much freedom to pursue moksa, and with ownership stakes, opportunities for me to retire within three to five years.
Yet I’m not interested in creating barriers to moksa either. That is more important to me now than anything I’m doing. And while it would be a big challenge to leave, I would trust Bhagavan to provide so I would be in harmony with dharma. Like Ramji, I had a gift for antiques. I am aware that Rory’s “nature” is to do marketing writing and strategies.
I’ve been pondering this for a few weeks now and can make a case for both sides, yet I’m not familiar with adharmic action nuances, so I’m asking for guidance to put this to rest.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance if you choose to reply. And for all the other satsangs you write at ShiningWorld.
~ Best, Rory
Sundari: I read your email carefully and cannot fault your inquiry in any way. Dharma is an interesting and tricky topic to work out because although there are fundamental laws of non-injury to oneself and life in general that need to be considered, dharma has different meanings to everyone. Basically, dharma is doing what is appropriate to you in the moment – meaning responding to Isvara in a way that is in keeping with your nature and with the natural laws that govern the universe.
It would make no sense to give up doing something that you love doing, is in keeping with your own nature (svadharma) and would make it more difficult for you to continue self-inquiry, which is clearly your highest value. Also, you are adding value to other people’s lives by helping them earn a living, which means you are adding value to the dharma field. We have a very good friend (who is also our sponsor) who makes a living doing momentum trading without any conflict of dharma. He sees it as working with the laws that run the field. Vedanta is not about right or wrong but about peace of mind, which is what you need most to continue your self-inquiry.
I will forward your email to James and ask him to pitch in too. But I don’t see that you have a problem at all.
~ Love, Sundari
Rory: Thank you, Sundari. Your timing is so perfect, as I’m on a second reading of the karma section in How to Attain Enlightenment. I’m seeing the value of trusting self/Krishna/Bhagavan to work out all details as I do what feels “right” with my nature and the dharma field – and let go of results. Already I, as the self, can observe Rory letting himself and others off the hook for “results.” It’s profound at times to realize this has been an option all along.
I have so much appreciation and gratitude for you and Ramji for living and sharing Vedanta. I am looking forward to meeting you in June. ☺
Sundari: I am so happy for you, Rory. The knowledge really does work when applied to the life of the jiva, smoothing its commerce with the world. Karma yoga is so powerful, especially when one no longer has to apply it consciously to every thought word and deed because it is simply common-sense logic and second nature – so much less pressure on the poor little jiva to “get things right,” to perfect itself or achieve anything. All that matters is freedom from the doing/experiencing entity, which then produces freedom AS the experiencing entity. It becomes just fine being exactly who Isvara made it to be, and following dharma is as natural as breathing.
I am glad we can be here to assist you, but you can also pat yourself on the back for your dedication and commitment to moksa! May the knowledge continue to serve you, bringing ever-deepening peace of mind.
~ Much love, Sundari