Let me ask you a question. Is God a commodity that needs marketing? Should adherence to religion require endorsement from a God-man?
This question came to my mind recently when the Dwarakapeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati questioned Sai Baba of Shirdi’s relevance as a worthy. Shankaracharya says that Sai Baba was human (he left for his heavenly abode in 1918) and should not be kept in equivalence of the super human entity that is God. Some people, he says, are corrupting Hindu religion by arbitrarily creating new gods.
Wait a minute. God created. I thought God was the one who created.
Thought processes like these made me contemplate why I found solace in the aura of Sai Baba. I have accepted him as the Sadguru (the true mentor) primarily because the calm and serenity on his face articulated my desire to lose my worries and accept the inevitable. I do not worship him because I see him as God but because finding him within me makes me feel complete and blessed. I do not revere him for the miracles attributed to him but for the simplicity that permeated from his persona. I do not care if he was a Muslim or a Hindu; whether he consumed meat or did not; whether he was human or an avatar of God. His enlightenment has made me contemplate on my Dharma and Karma and their correlation and relevance in my life.
I always thought Dharma is about guiding one on the path of life. Eternal bliss or Nirvana is the aim of every creature and Dharma is the light that shows you the way. It should not set restrictions on any body’s thought process but allow a free flow of emotions and expression. This brings me to my second level of belief. Dharma is not universal. It is not detached from Karma. When Karma is not universal, how can Dharma be universal? Hindu religion sets four casts, originally based on Karma, but now on birth. I do not wish to get into the validity of this division. The point that I am trying to make is that Karma is what an individual does and Dharma is what sets the individual on the right path. I have developed my sense of right and wrong based on my Karma and that sense is my Dharma.
Many may believe that not establishing a universal set of the ‘right beliefs’ may lead to anarchy and chaos. Whatever I say above stems from my belief that individuals are not good or bad; it is the circumstances (stemming from Karma) that make one react in a good way or bad.
Keeping your Karma clean is your Dharma and keeping your Dharma clean is your Karma.