CHARITY AND SWADHARMA: DR. SHRINIWAS
Most of us usually accept that it is good to be charitable.
Because most of us agree that being callous, crude and
indifferent to the needs of other people is the lowest stage
of development of mind. This stage neither allows us to
grow from within and manage any form of our stress
healthily, nor does it ensure any development of the
Being kind to others is a higher stage. Kindness to others is
actually enriching and fulfilling to self in as much as it
benefits many people around us. This is why most of the
religions have upheld charity.
SWADHARMA is evolved and refined form of charity.
SWADHARMA is a highly refined and appropriate
solution in the form of proactively allocated duty to
different individuals; at different stages of life; according
different personal and social relationships, different
seasons and different auspicious days!
SWADHARMA is not a matter of individual’s feelings,
fancies, idiosyncrasies, whims or choice but it is
inseparable from an individual’s subjective mind or ego.
The importance of SWADHARMA is that it does not give
rise inflation of condescending attitude and ego on the one
hand and destruction of self esteem and humiliation on the
other; as it usually does in case of charity.
It is a matter of gong beyond subjective realm and
fulfilling various responsibilities and obligations,
conducive to global blossoming. These are akin to loans or
debts called RUNA. Thus there are PITRU RUNA (debt of
father), MATRU RUNA (debt of mother), and SAMAJ
RUNA (debt of society) etc. The concept of “repaying
these loans” is called DHARMA. Thus there is PUTRA
DHARMA (the sacred obligations of a son), MATRU
DHARMA (sacred obligations of a mother), PITRU
DHARMA (sacred obligation of a father), RAJA
DHARMA (sacred obligation or responsibilities of a king)
etc. This DHARAMA prevalent in the different stages of
life such as student stage
(BRAHMACHARYASHRAMA), married family person’s
stage (GRUHASTHASHRAMA), retired stage
(VANAPRASTHASHRAMA) and stage of renouncement
or renunciation (SANYASASRHAMA) was referred to as
Thus a student is expected to observe celibacy and study.
This is obviously a wise thing if one considers fixation on
physical pleasure and menace of AIDS and other sexually
transmitted diseases, problems of unmarried mothers and
most importantly thwarting of sublime aspirations. The
GRUHASTHA or family person had the sacred duty of
offering hospitality to a guest (ATITHI), who were usually
involved in all socially beneficial pursuits. The stage of
retired life and the stage of renunciation
(VANAPRASTHA and SANYASA) were characterized
by consultative sacred duties.
The concept of SWADHARMA is akin to the role a cell in
maintenance of internal environment i. e. homeostasis.
Thus just as a cell participates in homeostasis in
subservience to health of an organism, similarly an
individual participates in social homeostasis in
subservience to the health of the society.
Since the fabric of the Indian society has changed almost
completely the revival of the old concept exactly in the
same form does not seem possible and feasible.
But it is possible by practice of Namasmaran to develop
global perspective, global thinking, global policies and
globally beneficial administration and implementation, i.e.
practice SWADHARMA in one’s own field..
This is very important and urgent because; charity in itself;
being a crude; though egalitarian and commendable
response; does not reach and act on the roots of the social
and political evils in the form of perspectives, policies,
plans, administrative machinery, laws, rules, conventions
etc., which if neglected or deliberately concealed, keep on
nurturing the evils unabatedly. Moreover; charity is not
sufficient or in fact proves to be counterproductive in
terms of emotional black mailing and cheating, tax evasion
and vested interests of political and economic nature by
harboring and empowering the social evils responsible for
a variety of social maladies. This is why charity even if it
is sincere; can not give emotional gratification to
discerning individuals, (who find themselves suffocated in
absence of charity and cheated by practicing charity)!
This scenario of failure of “charity” in every way is
evident in the queues in front of public hospitals, many
restaurants, temples etc in India. At one stage of the
development of society these signs of diseased (exploited)
society; could have been inevitable. Charity in those times
could have been the only way or solution; for individual
gratification and social relief. But today, by understanding
our SWADHARMA, and practicing its essence through
Namasmaran or any other method, we can rectify our
cognition, affect and conation. This can be explained by
By practicing NAMASMARAN, a doctor would work for
the advent of holistic medicine, a lawyer for laws for
holistic education, an educationist for the development of
holistic education (which nurtures cognitive, affective,
psychomotor and productive domain of a child) and so on,
in terms of policy making, planning and implementation
and can effectively manage the most important, vital and
burning problems such as child labor, begging, slums,
pavement dwelling, diseases, pollution etc.