One year ago, I was invited as the president of Vandy Karma to deliver the following Hindu prayer, on behalf of my own graduating Class of 2013. Today, I pass it on to the new alumni of the Vanderbilt Class of 2014. May each and every one of you find and fulfill your dharmas:
“From whom proceeds the activity of all beings, and by whom all this is pervaded – worshipping Him through one’s own dharma, a person attains perfection.
One’s own dharma, imperfectly done, is better than another’s dharma done perfectly.
Doing the dharma ordained by one’s own nature, one incurs no sin.”
We can think of our dharma as our destiny, our purpose in life, which we must each discover and fulfill. Dharma is often translated as “duty,” and indeed, our duties and responsibilities to others – our family members, community, other creatures, the world – are a part of our dharma. However, dharma also includes our duty to ourselves, to act “as ordained by our own nature,” true to our talents and abilities, and to the calling of our own heart. So as you each prepare to leave Vanderbilt, and embark on your own separate paths, please take a moment to ask yourselves, “Have I chosen a path true to my own heart? Am I acting true to my own dharma?”
Om Shanti Om. Peace Peace Peace.
About the Image: In Balinese Hinduism, Brahman, the Supreme Being and ground of all existence, is portrayed as an empty throne, conveying both that Brahman rules over all things and that it cannot be confined to any image or location. Photo copyright firstname.lastname@example.org, from http://patokallio.name/photo/travel/Indonesia/Lombok/index.html