Friday, April 9, 2010

Nishkam Dharma: Harness the Energy

If there was ever a topic that's difficult to discuss with kishores/kishoris, it's the topic of nishkaam dharma. While we may approach this week's topic with apprehension and anxiety, let's take a deep breath and relax.

Sometimes, we just need to shed new light. Light is an interesting thing. It certainly brightens up the day.

However, if we focus it, we gain a powerful laser, like this mosquito-killing ray that fends off malaria!

When it comes to nishkaam dharma, it's just do's and don'ts - the fastest way to tune out an audience of kishores/kishoris. However, let's try an alternative approach. Just as harnessing light provides us with the a powerful tool, harnessing lust provides us with formidable focus.

Nishkam dharma harnesses our lust, but we know those words are a big turnoff to the audience. Let's take a step back, and we realize nishkaam dharma at this age really boils down to dating. Surprise the audience - why not compare the benefits of nishkam dharma vs. not maintaining nishkam dharma?

Many believe that without nishkaam dharma, we would enjoy,
  • Greater social status - through adhering to what's "normal" at this age
  • Development of social skills - through dating
  • Fulfillment of our emotional needs - through a relationship
However, these points are shallow at best.

Let's take social status first. Are "normal" things always best for us? One of the main reasons Swamishri asks us to aspire to this dharma is that it will enable us to focus on our education and poise us for a successful life.
  • Yale, Harvard, or MIT are not "normal"; they're above it. 
  • Graduating valedictorian or salutatorian are not "normal"; they're above it. 
  • Scholarships and awards are not "normal"; they too are above it. 
Moreover, true friends are those that respect us for who we are without pressuring us to act contrary to our values.

Second, social skills can be traced back to self-confidence. When we follow Swamishri's agna of not exerting ourselves in a relationship at this age, we develop a type of resolve that's unmovable, unshakable, unwavering. The same resolve that...

  • ...Shastriji Maharaj carried with him when he left Vadtal. 
  • ...Bhagatji Maharaj maintained in his beliefs even amidst excommunication
  • ...Shriji Maharaj instilled in his paramhanso when opposition reared its ugly head across the land. 
This resolve has withstood the test of time - it's eternal and much more solid than than anything we could gain from some frivolous flirtation.

Finally, we often confuse our emotional needs with what we hear in society. The type of romance that is often popularized in music, movies, and even TV shows revolves around hook-ups where we are fulfilling our lust and infatuation, the product of a rush of brain chemicals that makes us feel "fuzzy" at first but ultimately DROPS us at a low point. After awhile, the "high" disappears, so we look for somebody else again and again. In this endless cycle, we never realize that the companionship and support we seek with the opposite sex can be found through God & guru who lovingly wait for us with outreached arms.

Above all, we expend a great deal of energy as it is in trying to be a great student, satsangi, son/daughter, friend, etc. so why add another title (boyfriend/girlfriend) to the mix?

Swamishri has emphasized that "by practicing brahmacharya, one’s intellect, luster, and power increases. By conserving the energy of brahmacharya, the body’s total energy is conserved."

Bottom line: Harness lust to hit it high in life - practice nishkam dharma.

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