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Understading Dharma and Karma. Outline. Fundamental spiritual questions. Brief background on Srimadbhagavadgeeta. Dharma and Karma. Karma and Karmaphal. What does the Geeta provide?. Do we need to study the Geeta from cover to cover?.

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Presentation Transcript

Fundamental spiritual questions

Brief background on Srimadbhagavadgeeta

Dharma and Karma

Karma and Karmaphal

What does the Geeta provide?

Do we need to study the Geeta from cover to cover?

Essence of teachings in Chapters 7-9

Prescription for God-realization

fundamental questions to a human mind
Fundamental questions to a human mind

Who am I?

Where do I come from?

Why am I here?

Where am I going from here?

What is the goal of life for a human being? What should (s)he be doing?

Who is Bhagavan?

Can one realize or attain Bhagavan?

What are the ways to realize/attain Bhagavan?

What is Moksha or salvation?

what is srimadbhagavadgeeta
What is Srimadbhagavadgeeta?

Beautiful verses relating to Bhagavan or God

Bhagavan = Comes from the word “Bhagyavan” meaning “most opulent”

Bhaga = Luck

Part of the Mahabharata (The story of the great Bharata – Arjuna )

Occurs in Parva 6 before the onset of the Kurukshetra battle

Composed by Vyasdeva ~ 3000 years ago

Discloses the essence of Manavadharma and approaches to God-realization

Comprehensive and authoritative exposition Vedic knowledge (Vedanta)


Composed by:




~3000 Years

Several Rishis


Several Rishis;

Compiled by Vyasdev


>5000 years


Dharma = Comes from the root “Dhri” (adherence to what you should be doing as a human being)

Dharma = Good works, action, duty, law, usage, practice, custom, religious or moral merit, righteousness, virtue, prescribed code of conduct, right, justice, equity, impartality, piety, characteristic property, decorum, morality, ethics, nature, disposition, character, an essential quality, peculiarity, manner, resemblance, likeness, a sacrifice, good company, associating with the virtuous , devotion, religious abstraction, mode , etc.

Dharma = Religion (?);

Religion = Going back to the source


Karma = To do something. The real word in Sanskrit is “Karman” and derives from the root “Kri” meaning “to do”.

Karman = Action, work, activity, deed, execution, performance. Karman also means religious rites or moral duty.

Karma has become a loanword in English meaning “consequence of action” . That is, among English speakers in the western world “Karma” means “Karmaphal”.

Everything that we do is Karma.

Examples: Breathing, eating, talking, walking, going to office and doing official work, listening to me (as you are doing now), ritualistic worshipping, mental worshipping, etc. Even sleeping or thinking or dreaming is a Karma. Even doing nothing (lack of activity or inaction) is also Karma or work.

karma message from the geeta
Karma – Message from the Geeta

In the Geeta, it is said that one cannot be without Karma even for a nano-second. Karma is inherent in Prakriti or Nature that comprises three Gunas – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Karma is everywhere- starting from the tiny atom to the whole universe where the galaxies are constantly on the go . Nothing in this universe is without Karma or having no activity.Only when human body dies that Karma temporarily stops.

karma and karmaphal
Karma and Karmaphal

Even highly learned people do not understand the meaning of Karma --- Bhagavan

Ramakrishna Paramhansa’s simile for the role of Karma in God-realization:

An indoor patient is checked out of the hospital only after he is cured of the ailment. He is not released till he is cured.

Similarly, when we are effectively treated with appropriate Karma (auspicuious Karma) and achieve Brahma-jnan that we achieve freedom from Karma. We call it Moksha or God-realization.

So, Dharma is really that Karma by which one is enlightened and realizes Bhagavan. Adharma is any Karma that impedes man’s spiritual growth and progress.

Dharmaphal = Fruits or results of action


Karma and Karmaphal

Gita: Chapter II-47

Note: This verse is really related to doing appropriate Karma for realizing God or freeing from the cycle of birth and death and birth. It is not related to doing mundane activities or daily chores.


In results or outcome

At any time or never

Karmanyeva adhikaraste ma phaleshu kadachana,

Ma karmaphalaheturbhurma te sangostvakarmani.

Certainly in what you do

Authority or privilege


Your privilege is certainly in what you do; but, never in the outcome of what you do.


Motivated by Karmaphal

In having no action





ma bhu = should not be

Should there be

(Since you don’t have control over the Karmaphal) Do not do something only for achieving a particular Karmaphal or result; also, there should be no attachment in not doing anything (Akarman or no actvity)

That is;, you do not decide the Karmaphal in advance and then proceed to do the work .

essence of the geeta
Essence of the Geeta

God-realization is the goal of life. To realize God, one has to develop a pure mind (be a yogi) and steadfastly adhere to thinking about God.

chapter 7 jnana vijnana yoga
Chapter 7 (Jnana-Vijnana Yoga)

Listen, O Partha, how with your mind clinging to Me, and taking refuge in Me and practicing yoga, you will without any doubt know Me in full.

chapter 8 akshara brahma yoga
Chapter 8 (Akshara Brahma Yoga)

Anyone who remembers me at the time of death, leaving the body goes forth remembering Me alone, achieves My nature. There is no doubt about this.

In the following verse, it says”Whatever a man thinks just before death, that alone does he attain or become”.

Therefore, all the time think about God. Fix or focus your mind and thoughts on God.

chapter 9 rajavidya rajaguhya yoga
Chapter 9 (Rajavidya Rajaguhya Yoga)

Whatever Karma you do, offer it to God with pure mind . One should have this thought that

whatever (s)he does is being done by God and for God.

Thought should be: “Not I; not mine. It is you ; everything is yours”.

prescription for god realization
Prescription for God-realization

(Executive Summary)

Have a purified mind/heart (Shuddhachitta)--- Free from ego, desire, fear and anger

Steadfastly think about God

***Self-effort is the key to success. Walk for youself.***