Career vs. Dharma


How do I know if the job I have is my dharma? I cannot feel any joy in my heart when I’m at work and dread going to work in the morning. I’m planning to find another job but am scared.



—M.L., Philippines


Dear ML.

Joy to you! And thank you for asking such an important question. This is what we call, “a hot topic” as it relates to so many on the spiritual path.

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you…In the opinion of many on the spiritual path, this is the highest dharmic action one can do. On our path this is every sincere devotee’s, “dharma”.

That being said, the topic of work vs. dharma can be confusing. As it was explained to me, your job is what you do to earn a living. Your dharma is the way you act while, working, playing, eating, sleeping, meditating, and divinely loving. Most people associate the type of work/job/career they do as being their dharma. And it can be. Perhaps you can make more money as a painter. That would be a good career. But, if your dharma (that which will bring you closer to god) is to be a teacher and make less money, then it is more dharmic for you to be a teacher.

In Hinduism, dharma relates to doing ones highest duty, taking the high road, doing the right thing when it may not be easiest or the most popular thing to do. As per above, actively seeking God is being dharmic. When we do the right thing we are being dharmic. And, yes, there are different aspects of being dharmic. Some people think that spending time at the river enjoying nature is more dharmic than working a challenging job. Working a job that makes lots of money that you use to help others could be dharmic. But, if the work, causes harm to others, robs you of your joy, destroys the environment, or keeps you from being with your family in an uplifting way, this job might be considered adharmic (not dharmic). No matter how much money you donate to the church.

Looking for a new job is scary or frightening. A prayer I like to recite when I take on new endeavors like job seeking is, “I will think. I will will. I will act. But, guide my thoughts, will and activity to the right thing.”

Another spiritual activity you could do is a fire ceremony. I highly recommend you communicate with, or Ananda Sanga web site, for more information relative to performing a fire ceremony.

I hope and pray this helps,

Nayaswami Gopal