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4. How to Find Purpose

Have you ever looked back at your life and questioned what you’ve achieved? Many feel unproductive and unenthused, not sure what they should be doing and where they’ll make a difference. In moments of doubt we usually shrug it off and return to the daily grind. We surrender to the fact that life is what it is, and amidst responsibilities, expectations and daily demands we resign ourselves to the life we have created, never really addressing our inner calling. Ironically, it’s that inner calling which is the essence of our being – our unique gifted individuality that brings forth our special contribution to the world. If we ignore that, we disregard something valuable we’ve been invested with.
We could be compared to mobile phones, each one with ingenious apps, unique features, and savvy specialities. Some are lighter, some are more durable, and some have a battery power that outlives other models. Regardless of the variety, each and every phone has the capacity to perform the most fundamental task – to call and connect with someone.
In the same way, we each have unique abilities, strengths, personalities and capacities inbuilt within our body and mind. When we identify and engage these, we embrace our sva-dharma – occupational duties that we are ‘wired’ for in this life. Beyond the body and mind, as spiritual beings, we each have a sanatana-dharma – the essential and eternal function of connecting with the Supreme Person, the most fundamental aspiration within each one of us. The Bhagavad-Gita teaches how to embrace our purpose, our dharma, on the immediate and ultimate level.
Thus far, Krishna has consistently advised Arjuna to remain in the active world. In Chapter Four, He helps Arjuna to identify the most effective and efficient way to function. There are four broad categories of dharmic engagement, and Krishna reassures Arjuna that he is correctly situated as a warrior. This framework, known as varnasrama, is a powerful reference point to identify our unique dharma. Happy and fulfilled people utilise wisdom and guidance to accurately understand what makes them tick. It’s a simple but neglected principle of life. We live in a noisy world, and, in the midst of it, struggle to pinpoint our calling. If we don’t, we’ll find daily duties are slow and tiring, require excessive effort and attention, feel uncomfortable and abnormal, and fail to harness our innate potential. We’re left feeling unfulfilled and unhappy.
The problem can, however, go beyond this. It’s difficult to find your dharma, but just as challenging to wholeheartedly live your dharma. Even when we know what we are ‘hard-wired’ for, various factors deviate us from the path we should be treading. The expectations of others, the desire for appreciation and accolade, the restlessness and intrigue of trying new things, and the common delusion that the grass is greener on the other side. These are all factors which lure us towards the unnatural and set us up for disappointment and failure. Honest living is about doing what you are truly meant for, however big or small, in whatever field or arena, regardless of pressure or public opinion. Everyone, without exception, has something unique to bring to the table. We only have to find it and feed it.

“According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me. And although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the nondoer, being unchangeable.” (Bhagavad-Gita 4.13)