The perfection of dharma is not to fall in line with cosmic law, but to fall in love with the trans-cosmic lover

The Bhagavad-gita (18.66) concludes with a surprising call to give up all dharma.

Why is this call surprising?

Because the protection of dharma is the central theme of the Mahabharata, the huge epic that contains the Gita. Additionally, even the Gita itself (04.08) declares that the purpose of Krishna’s descent is the re-establishment of dharma.

Given this consistent and insistent emphasis of dharma, it is astonishing that the Gita’s conclusive call is for the abandonment of dharma.

The rationale for this call is the multi-level connotation of the word dharma. At one level, it refers to various socio-spiritual duties such as those enshrined in the varnashrama system – duties that progressively elevate a person on the spiritual path. The Gita (03.12) refers to such duties that keep people in line with the cosmic law through the medium of propitiatory sacrifices for the gods.

At the highest level, however, dharma refers to the innate nature of the soul – to love and serve Krishna. The purpose of all dharma is to promote our spiritual evolution so that we can all learn to love Krishna purely. Krishna is the personal and personable Absolute Truth in the highest manifestation. He is the supreme cosmic lawmaker, but he is also much more – he is the trans-cosmic lover, who delights in pastimes of eternal love with his pure devotees in his own abode far beyond the material cosmos. Re-uniting with him in love is the purpose and perfection of all dharma.

The Gita’s conclusive call is not to abandon all dharma per se, but to put aside lower levels of dharma so as to embrace, undistracted, the topmost dharma of devotional surrender to Krishna – the perfection of dharma and indeed of life itself.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 18 Text 66


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  1. Such deep understanding made possible in such a concise manner. Everyday these articles are a feast for mind and soul.

    Thank you Prabhuji for giving us such wonderful gems day-by-day.

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  2. Thank you guruji you are doing such a great service to the society .By reading the sacred words uttered by the divine lord my mind is filled with peace.

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