Living one's dharma seems to be paramount, but first I must discover what my dharma is. I was born and reared in the West, so how can I discover my dharma?

I have read the Gita and it helped me understand different paths, but how can I know what is proper for me? I don't have a caste or any other similar societal role. Do I simply do something I am interested in and then it will become clear?

IOW, how may one discover their specific dharma? How should one spend their days without knowing this? Or am I missing the point and discovering one's dharma is a part of the process?

If it helps to know, Advaita appeals to me the most, but I am always open to new understandings.

  • You can read Bhagwat Geeta initially to get some clue. Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 16:28
  • ask your elders (parents), or church priest. god doesn't forsake anyone who surrenders to him.
    – ram
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 3:56
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    You can check my answer here. Hinduism does not encourage renunciation without fulfilling the primary duties first. BTW, your Q has been edited immensely , so not quite sure whether the present Q is the Q u were asking in the original version
    – Rickross
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 5:13
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    @RubelliteFae The greatest Dharma is Atma Dharma. Know thyself. Knowing ourselves is our real Dharma all dharmas are secondary. I recommend you to read teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaja or Jiddu KRISHNAMURTI. You will know your Dharma. Don't read Geeta anymore if already didn't work. Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 19:44
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    "I am more interested in learning how to discover my dharma and (perhaps thereby) my artha” this. Artha should always conform to dharma. You don't have to become a renunciate or a hermit. Dharmic fulfillment of desires is allowed bin Hinduism. It is one of the four attainables. Now to your specific circumstance, can you postpone grad studies by a couple of years during which you can earn/save some? What kind of Jobs do you hope to get after grad? Will the income justify the debt? What is the worst if u don't go to grad school? And so on. Good wishes
    – user1195
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 21:15

2 Answers 2


A possible answer based on this Gita verse is given below.

One's own duty, even if without excellence, is more meritorious spiritually than the apparently well-performed duty of another. For, no sin is incurred by one doing works ordained according to one's nature.

Gita 18.47

This verse was interpreted by old commentators as jobs ascribed to particular castes. This verse is interpreted differently by those who follow Vivekananda's psychological explanation of Varna.

These verses, which were easy for our ancients to understand, pose great difficulty for us today. So long as Varna was identified with the endogamous caste, and valid texts ascribed particular works to each caste it was easy to find out one's Svadharma, and if one had a will, to perform it too. That a priest's son should be a priest, a soldier's son a soldier, a merchant's son a merchant, an agriculturist's son an agriculturist, a serf's son a serf - is an arrangement that could be practised to some extent in the old feudal society when educational opportunities were restricted, when there was no choice in following professions, when social contacts were limited, and when the validity of the system was accepted by the people in general. But today such an idea of Svadharma hereditarily determined, is impossible of practice. Society and professions have become competitive. The imparting of education without any restriction imposed by caste, has helped the shuffling of professional abilities among all members of society, setting aside hereditary factors. So it has become honourable for any one to follow any profession, and the determination of Svadharma based on birth as in a caste based economy, has become impractical and impossible, and also undesirable. In a democratic society, the same kind of education is open to all, and every one is eligible, according to one's qualification and capacity, to positions of power, prestige and high income. In these days of national armies every able-bodied citizen has the eligibility to be recruited - he may even be conscripted - in the armed forces of the country. In such a milieu, if the Gita idea of Svadharma is accepted as caste based, as it was understood a few generations back, and as it used to be interpreted by old commentators, then it has become thoroughly outmoded and will be rejected by every section of society in India and outside.

But as already pointed out, the wording of the Gita about Caturvarnya, except as interpreted by old commentators, does not mean endogamous castes, but the four psychological types. If this is accepted, Svadharma would mean only work that springs out of one's own nature and therefore adapted to one's natural development. But how to recognise these types and how to provide them with work suited to their nature - is a problem that cannot be solved. We have to leave work based on psychological type as an ideal arrangement in a more rationally organised society of the future. There is no other way today but to understand Svadharma as the duty devolving on oneself in society, inclusive of the profession one follows. If that is done well with God in view, and not merely for remuneration or with a worldly master in view, then one may be said to follow Svadharma.

Commentary on Gita 18.47 by Swami Tapasyananda in his English translation of Srimad Bhagavad Gita.

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    Wow!! Thank you so much! 💖 "Svadharma would (be) adapted to one's natural development." This was my intuition, but I wanted to be certain I wasn't following my ego desires. Sometimes it is difficult to discern ignorant craving from natural need. I'm also glad to hear I needn't be overly concerned with payment, because in past money has made ego distractions easier and my personal development slower. Since asking the question I have returned to Uni to study physics & philosophy. 🤓 I'm particularly drawn to the Gita's sections on Jñāna yoga and am elated to hear I can pursue what I most enjoy. Commented Apr 8, 2018 at 19:43

The only very practical advice is to do your "naadi reading". I mean "Agastya naadi astrology". I did last year "Kotchara Shanthi" and reached "Maha Siva Vakkiyam", what remedies I will do this year. It is not about finding out your past and future. It is about changing it. Pictures - my remedies, abisheka to Agastya and Lopamudra.

My remedies. Abisheka to Agastya and Lopamudra.

Naadi Astrology

  • "an offering of Rs. 30008, Rs. 21008" - is this the fees you charge or you paid someone else? Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 15:33
  • Cool question. It is not an advertisement. Guru dhaan is charity. It differs according to the person and chapter. Can be less or more. Are you going to do the remedies as shown and to what extent, including Guru dhaan is up to you. Reading fees are separate. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 17:13
  • I don't think these "remedies" have any effect. From what I heard all these "naadi" astrologers have prior arrangements with the hotel staff where the "clients" stay to share details about clients' background/history/family details. That is how they gain trust of clients and then go on to "predict" the future. Figures like 21008, 30008, etc don't sound like charity. It's extortion from gullible people. Commented Apr 29, 2018 at 18:27

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