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Is It My Svadharma to Practise Adharma?
Rob: I may have more questions, but just for now, the reason I thought it was my dharma as at such a young age there’s not even apparent free will, as the ego is still developing. Thus it seems like it was the will of Isvara, that is, the laws/forces that caused this jiva to appear in a drug-orientated environment. I thought one’s personal dharma is best served by aligning it with universal dharma. For this reason, I have thought on occasion drugs were part of my dharma. Does that make any sense?
Sundari: Yes, it does make sense inasmuch as Isvara is both dharma and adharma. But that does not mean that choosing adharma, because it seems our circumstances are conducive to it, is our svadharma, or what will bring us peace of mind. It may be in some circumstances, like people who born to criminals tend to become criminals, and Isvara looks after them too. Or people who are born psychopaths or mentally ill – they have no choice. But anyone practising adharma is not qualified for self-inquiry. As you were born into circumstances which were conducive to drug-taking and obviously were not taught dharmic values, and did not have a means to discriminate what was dharmic for you, it is hardly surprising you went that route.
Whatever the reason, nobody is to blame. Nobody makes themselves the way they are or deliberately gives themselves their life circumstances. And no one deliberately chooses adharma, even when it seems they do. It’s always the vasanas choosing adharma and healthy values (or vasanas) choosing dharma. Now, as an inquirer, you know better. Following the dharma of non-injury is obligatory for anyone seeking peace of mind and freedom from suffering.
There is no fine print to this – and it’s non-injury in thought, word and deed, of oneself or anyone else. It’s the most fundamental value for all life and this dharma is built-in, but sadly, often ignored by samsaris because of their binding vasanas and desires. Obviously, relying on or abusing drugs as a crutch to get by is not healthy for the mind or body and ultimately hurts those around us as well.
As for “free will,” we do have the freedom to choose one thing over another or we could not succeed at anything in mithya. The problem is that although most people’s choices seem to be volitional and individual, they are usually highly predictable and repetitive. This is because most people, who have no or very limited self-knowledge, behave like automatons, although they don’t think they do. They think that they are doing the choosing, but actually, their conditioning (vasanas/gunas) is doing the choosing. Still, it does look like one has free will, and in a way the person does. From this platform, free will gives the person the choice to “make the best” of their lives, and relative success is thus possible in the apparent reality. We do have free will to respond to what Isvara dishes out and how we respond either creates unpleasant or pleasant circumstances/karma. But if we want a good life, we need to assess what we value so that our values are in harmony with non-injurious, dharmic values. We need to learn to say no to Isvara in the form of our binding and injurious vasanas.
If our vasanas are doing the responding (which is most often the case) we tend to get more of the same back, unless we are mature people with good values and always follow dharma. If we are not, “free will” is not free at all. We are just programs responding to our unconscious programs creating more karma, which will either manifest quickly or “down the line.” But it will fructify, just as a bullet fired from a gun will hit something, even if not necessarily the target. And we will suffer the consequences.
~ Love, Sundari