Dharma: The Path of Accomplishment
by A. C. George
Years of extended research and esoteric application were defined by a filtering and fermentation through which I transformed digested bits of knowledge into something that worked to my satisfaction. Even though I was, and still am, driven to forge my own corpus of esoteric potential, I often take for granted the benefits of esoteric process. Many sorely underestimate the basic nature and implications of these benefits because they cannot see them in terms of material value.
In other words, it becomes discouraging for many when an allegedly healthy transformation of self via esoteric empowerment does not insure that one ends up as wealthy as a globalist tycoon and/or as popular as an award winning celebrity. I guess it’s about priorities. Such can be manifested in my opinion, but due to the artificial (socially engineered) nature of those representations of success, and the resulting conflict such artifice creates, the only way even occult process can get you such things without the standards of this world changing radically is via sacrifice- of self or others.
By change of standards I refer to sustaining sense of purpose that defines the “perks” as the means to worthy ends rather than all that matters. I do not speak of spiritual accomplishment in any way divorced from terrestrial fulfillment. I speak of the forging of meaningful “dharma”- to use a Sanskrit term. It is my contention that understanding the word dharma in a felt way, as opposed to being burdened by rote analysis, will help in coming to terms with what it means to evolve in terms of esoteric accomplishment. Let’s first look at a traditional exposition of the word’s meaning.
The word ‘dharma’ (धर्म) in Sanskrit is derived from the root धृ meaning ‘to hold’, ‘to bear’, ‘to carry’ or ‘to support’. धारणात् धर्मः – that which holds together or supports is dharma. In this sense dharma encompasses all ethical, moral, social and other values or principles, code of conduct and behavior which contribute to the well-being, sustenance and harmonious functioning of individuals, societies and nations and which prevent their disintegration. In a wider sense it is dharma which sustains and supports the whole world.
I find this very similar to the definition of “religion” as that which binds and controls/manages (as in “to relegate”). The difference is that negative connotations of the religion concept are pretty stark compared to the positive ones of meaning of dharma. The latter is a sustaining dynamic, a carrier that keeps things from falling apart. Religion may use that as an excuse, but it plays an active and dictating role rather than one where support is divorced from dependency and manipulation. This is not easy for the mind that is not esoterically inclined to understand about things like morality and ethics. They are not meant to dictate behavior, but to sustain the health and integrity of the essence underlying behavior: our deeper identity.
It is easy to surmise that dharma is the hidden hand that holds all we value so that it does not dissolve into chaos. Yet, discerning examination would illuminate chaos itself as anything but the enemy. It is rather the power and tendency to dissolve the structure and ordered patterning of any process or conceptualized entity. Chaos, as I am referring to it here, is a universal solvent that induces structure and form into action and fulfillment of purpose. Chaos in this manner is cooperative with dharma, not its antagonist. Chaos and dharma are mutually interacting so that one without the other represses the proliferation of all that is of true worth. This, however, leads to another misconception: that dharma itself is tantamount to order.
Let me clarify with a metaphor: To establish the medium of oceans where life can proliferate, salt and water are both required, and in the right proportion. Salt is the binder and water is the solvent. One holds together and supports and the other pulls apart and mobilizes. It is similar to sustaining ideal pressure in a medium. Ideal pressure for a human being depends on the balanced between the pressure in the body that pushes outward and the pressure in the environment that pushes inward. It is their equalization that actually sustains.
Indeed, it is easy to misunderstand dharma. At the same time, we can use that to realize what drives the tendency to such misunderstanding. The conventional interpretations regarding support, sustenance and the bearing of a burden appear to be colored by our own proliferating state of imbalance. Suffice it to say that dharma is not order or law or morality per se.
It is the balance between order (law, morality etc.) and chaos. That balance is intrinsic to neither order nor chaos. It is intrinsic to the nature of the beneficiary of balance. The first- and by no means the last- step in establishing dharma and hence sustaining existence in a meaningful manner, lies in knowing the nature of what is to be sustained as such.
How effective is conventional morality in this? How many, if any, religions or laws or any alleged bastions of moral order take the necessity of chaos into account? Chaos is always risky, or at least seen that way by those whose experience of dharma is either lacking or corrupt. Order is seen as oppressive when corruption and neglect proliferate on the other end of the scales.
Freedom, as such, results when the forces defining one’s mobility are perfectly balanced. That is when they do not interfere from whatever one is, does or becomes. The point when the forces are balanced is not, however, a universal quantity, but is solely dependent on the nature of the subject of balance.
Dharma is, therefore, not a binding form of support. Nor is it a path of perpetual escape from what appears to be limiting for the sake of losing all that is meaningful because of an inability to appreciate it- hence making it a scapegoat for one’s true lack. From an esoteric point of view, dissolving into the infinite and being focused into a singularity of unexpressed monomeric potential, are both events reflecting loss of meaning. In chemistry a monomer is a unit of matter that has the potential to bond with more of its kind.
I have noticed that chaos and order have in many minds taken on the interpretations of evil and good, and sometimes in reverse. Usually the “good” represents what is lacking and the “evil” what is abusively abundant. The true culprit, however, is always the lack of synergy that represents the requirements of our true nature. We can take a lesson from the workings of nature here. Our bodies and the natural physical environment cannot function without a constant balance of synergistic processes. Everything works in its right proportion to reflect the balance between form and the energy underlying it.
Although we can apply the implications of the above rant to many areas of experience, dharma is most often associated with esoteric wisdom and accomplishment. It is not, in my view, that the meaning of dharma is lost when we find things derail in its application. It’s more that we lose sight of how that meaning is meant to be beneficial and healthy. There are a variety of reasons for this.
If the process of dharma’s application is warped, then esoteric process is also warped. If esoteric process is warped, then dharma’s application is also warped. Imbalance is exacerbated resulting in a feedback loop. Therein, false perception and adverse conditions proliferate. They foster deliberate corruption, and the active striving for meaningless existence, regardless of the pretenses of interpretation upon which that is based.
“Evil”, in this manner, results when insanity becomes the convincing imposter of the ideal. Instead of denying “Evil” as a conception we can explore the possibility that it is a mutation of insanity. In this, the latter manifests intelligence. It then takes its malaise to the logical conclusion of reversing the sense of existential meaning so that all that is sane is treated as the illness and existence is forced to become its own contradiction. Something like esoteric knowledge, when applied in resonance with one’s true nature, can ultimately offer something of value: The balance that is the basis of all heart’s desires.