By Nayaswami Dharmadevi
February 4, 2019

“How do I know my dharma?” This question was asked of Swami Kriyananda during an informal gathering I attended in 2008. Dharma, in this context, refers to one’s life purpose. “If you have a guru, you ask him,” Swamiji said, “and if not, you follow your heart and do that which is put in front of you to do.”

Immediately, when I got home, I emailed Swami and asked him, as the representative of my guru, Paramhansa Yogananda, “What is my dharma?” He responded, “To channel God’s healing energy to others and help them understand that it comes from God.” There was a deep satisfaction in my heart to have this personal guidance.

Unfortunately, when we are not yet free, ego gets involved and limits our understanding. I began to push away those things in my life that I deemed “not part of my dharma” even though they were being put in front of me to do. This rejection/repulsion created tension within me and a lack of willingness, which in turn sapped my willpower.

I got to a point of desperation and pleaded with Swami for help. I knew deep down that my spiritual trajectory was off but I didn’t know how or why. I needed his guidance.

He began his response by saying, “I’m afraid you will reject much of what I say, but you’ve pleaded with me, so I must be sincere.” At that point I took a big gulp. My ego was nervous and it had good reason to be! But I had asked for guidance and now it was in front of me, so I read on. He shared how those who have aligned themselves with Yoganandaji’s mission of spreading Self-realization, have grown spiritually. He said rather than attuning to that ray, I continued to ask “What is my dharma?” In other words, “what’s in it for me?” He then re-invited me to join him in the spread of our guru’s great mission. What a blessing to have such clarity!

But clarity is easily forgotten by the ego. As years passed, doubts about my life’s purpose slowly crept back in, in clever and deceptive ways – “Am I really doing what I’m supposed to be doing?”, “What is next?”, “Where is my life headed?” My confusion led to unwillingness, which then began to sap my willpower, and once again maya (delusion) had gotten ahold of me.

I was fortunate to have my dear friend and spiritual mentor, Nayaswami Devi, to set me back on the right track. I’d like to close with her advice here because I feel it is a universal teaching that we can all benefit from:

“Try to remember that it’s not about any outward responsibility or duty that we must fulfill. It’s about Master [Yogananda] asking, “Will you give me more?” Every time we say, “Yes,” even if grudgingly, we grow closer towards our spiritual liberation.”