Sunday, October 27, 2013

Your eternal, essential characteristic — that is your religion (Srila Prabhupada)

Excerpt (2) from a lecture on Absolute Love
given in Seattle, Washington, October 1968

You have love within you — you want to love somebody. A young boy tries to love a young girl; a young girl tries to love a young boy. This is natural, because the loving propensity is within everybody. But we have created circumstances in which our love is being frustrated. Everyone is frustrated — husbands, wives, boys, girls. Everywhere there is frustration, because our loving propensity is not being utilized properly. Why? Because we have forgotten to love the Supreme Person. That is our disease.


In the Srimad-Bhagavatam [1.2.6] it is said, 

sa vai pumsām paro dharmo 
yato bhaktir adhoksaje

(The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord.)

Now, in English dictionaries this word dharma is generally translated as “religion,” a kind of faith, but the actual meaning of dharma is “essential characteristic.” For example, sugar’s dharma, or essential characteristic, is sweetness. If you are given some white powder and you find that it is not sweet, you will at once say, “Oh, this is not sugar; it is something else.” So sweetness is the dharma of sugar. Similarly, a salty taste is the dharma of salt, and pungency is the dharma of chili.

Now, what is your essential characteristic? You are a living entity, and you have to understand your essential characteristic. That characteristic is your dharma, or religion — not the Christian religion, the Hindu religion, this religion, that religion. Your eternal, essential characteristic — that is your religion.

And what is that characteristic? Your essential characteristic is that you want to love somebody, and therefore you want to serve him. That is your essential characteristic. You love your family, you love your society, you love your community, you love your country. And because you love them, you want to serve them. That tendency to engage in loving service is your essential characteristic, your dharma.

(Excerpt 1 from this lecture here)

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