October 30, 2014

Dharma: Find Your Path & Purpose.

swati pic

My Unfolding Path

If you’re like me, your life purpose, your dharma has perplexed and plagued you.

In fact, it wasn’t too long ago that I wondered why I was struggling to find my dharmic path, or if I ever would find it. My purpose for being alive has been a life long quest; for the majority of my life it has been my driving force. At the same time, it has been a source of angst, agitation, fear and quandary, not to mention forcing me to deeply surrender.

I’ve not lacked desire or ambition, though at many times I’ve wanted to give up my search or any glimpse of hope that I had a dharmic purpose in this life—one that would give me great joy to give back to the world and humanity.

My health and physical body have also been primary concerns.

My sensitivity in physical, mental and emotional bodies have forced me to live life very differently than the rest of the world, adding to my angst, turmoil and depression. Will I ever have the energy to live my purpose? Can I keep up with the demands of a full time job? How can I impact the world when I need so much TLC and rest?

Though my primary resource for gaining insights into my life path are through jyotish, it wasn’t very helpful in my past search for dharmic understanding.

In fact when I went from jyotishi to jyotishi seeking their advice and their counsel they all said different things. Some said writing would be “good”, others said artist (but not dance!), I even had one jyotishi tell me that I could be a lawyer!

And while many of these pieces fit me and my chart in some capacity, they didn’t nail it.

And they certainly didn’t provide the clarity I was seeking so desperately. It wasn’t until I committed myself to studying my own chart that the answers started to reveal themselves.

This is the primary reason I strongly advise my clients to study their own jyotish charts. It is a tool of self development, spiritual awakening and creating awareness about the individual self in relation to the world. It is the map of one’s karmas—the things we can’t avoid or neglect—while also providing insights into where we need more support, consistency and knowledge.

Using one’s jyotish chart as a tool of awakening takes willingness, the desire to awaken and the dissolving of the ego in order to be honest about one’s shadows and karmas. It is through studying my own chart that I’ve realized my unique purpose in life and also why I trust the steps I’m now taking to maximize my dharmic path. Without the gift of jyotish as a tool of awareness, I know I’d be missing some very important information.

Growing in Dharmic Wisdom

The chart is an unfolding map. As you learn and grow more and more pieces of information appear and emerge from the chart, more pieces make sense and more trust can be had. I see it as a reciprocal, looping and spiraling. A tool for deeper listening, being honest and straight forward with ourselves—if we choose to be. And when we need a nudge of awakening, it can be helpful to get a trustworthy outside view from a jyotishi as well.

Even when, as in my case, outside views and jyotish consults didn’t give me the information I needed about my own dharma, I now see that even those experiences, nudged me closer to my dharma—which is connected to studying my own chart!

I chuckle about this now because it’s very evident in my chart that I have to stumble a bit to trust my path and that my dharma is quite unusual.

So unusual in fact that it really hasn’t been done before.

How could a jyotishi tell me what my dharma is when I’m a pioneer and they’d not seen it before?

As I meet with my clients around the world, this theme continues to emerge. My clients are like me in that their dharmas are entirely unique. They are the first to create their unique synergy of modalities and use them together. They are the first in their family certainly and that combined with a society that doesn’t have a name or a label for one’s occupation, can be discouraging or even derailing.

I also know from experience that many beings are on the planet right now to restore their family dharma. What has been lost for generations is now re-emerging through a special family member, guided by the ancestors, yet shrouded in mystery, challenges and much discouragement simultaneously. It is certainly my story and one that I recognize in almost every client that comes to me. I believe this to be part of my dharma as well—to help others restore their family’s lineage to its original order.

We are the artists, musicians, teachers (gurus), healers, maintainers of the spiritual and the sacred.

Look carefully at your family tree. Where are there hints of these pieces, these threads, in your family lineage? How have they appeared, or disappeared, throughout the generations? These will be important details you will want to be aware of as you study your own chart, gather resources for your life purpose, and affirm your own dharma.

Most of my clients are already engaged in small parts of their dharmic purpose but not feeling totally fulfilled. And like me they have multiple passions and a lot of creativity (whether they are conscious of it or not)!

These multiple passions can cause confusion and concerns about how to create a living for oneself, as well as how to choose a path. I am of the mind that we don’t have to choose!

We are likely just not realizing how to knit all of our passions together as one package offering.


Dharma: What Does it Really Mean?

Dharma means right livelihood. It’s a loaded word. And yet it’s tossed around a lot these days.

The dharma of the past is much different than the dharma of today. In fact, as I mentioned previously, dharma has essentially been lost in our Westerncentric culture—which is undoubtedly the source of much discord and confusion.

I believe that if we are miserable and not experiencing joy from our work then we are not doing our dharma. Dharma is most certainly living our purpose, our family’s purpose, the shakti of our lineage. It is coming forth from us, to serve the world in some capacity.

In Kali Yuga (a 432,000 year time period we are currently in that is ruled by Maha Kali the demon, where adharma and sin reigns supreme) we may or may not find our dharma or life purpose. We may aimlessly wander and not fulfill our dharma. The legacy of our family lineage may or may not emerge from us. We may pass the seeds (bij) but they may not take root, grow and blossom through us and with our life force. This is a sin in and of itself and the cause of much suffering

These days, dharma can even be something blatantly sinful that is passed through the lineage and emerges through occupations, traits and characteristics. Story telling for example was once a very important role in passing significant cultural legacies on to future generations. Today, TV and movies are the modern story tellers. Very few really meaningful stories for the most part! In Kali Yuga, anything goes. Even the definition of dharma and the ways in which it emerges is very different than hundreds or thousands of years ago.

To the ancient Vedic civilizations, dharma was much more clearly defined. Occupations were passed from generation to generation and there wasn’t much say in the matter. Karmically, individuals surrendered to the reality that they chose that incarnation as a way to learn, through that specific family dharma. I think it’s similar today, though we just aren’t aware of the dharma, and that confusion alone is the source of the suffering, the maya (illusion) of this life.

This has been the case for me and my family. It is also the case for the majority of my clients.

Using Your Map

Studying your jyotish chart is an essential for understanding your dharma.

First, look at the ninth house—the house of dharma. In the jyotish chart, it is very important for identifying many parts of the life purpose. This is where you begin your investigation. The ninth house is the house of the guru, the teacher, how wisdom comes to you, what type of wisdom and knowledge come, and how (if) you receive it. This is considered the most auspicious house of the chart and since jyotish has traditionally been a tool used for dharmic and spiritual purposes, this house is obviously a predominate resource for the overall chart as well.

It is also used for calculating the Navamsha, a divisional chart that is used to further refine dharma, the spouse, and the inner experience of the being. It also shows how the “fruit ripens on the tree” or how the karmas play out so to speak.

Next look at the tenth house. This is the most external of the twelve houses. It is the house of career, one’s offering to the world. From the tenth house we can tell what types of offerings are given and in what capacity we give them. We can further refine the dharma in this way. It should be noted though that these days it is common that career (10th house) has no connection to the dharma (ninth house). It may be the career that pays the bills but the dharma goes unawakened or unused in some capacity.

The other houses that are important in order to refine the offerings of a person’s path are the fifth house and the sixth. The fifth house correlates to our creative energy and potential. This is why it is connected to children, but also our passion. It is also the house connected to students and clients. The sixth house is the house of both healing and being healed. It will be a predominant player in the chart of someone who’s life purpose has to do with healing and helping others; being in service essentially.

The seventh house as well can be a part of the dharmic picture. This house of “relationships” will further refine who you are working with- considered the “other” and your mirror.

Finally, the third house is vital for our courage and our ability to move forward in life with action steps. It is also the house of the arts—fine arts and creativity that requires the hands specifically, but also dance and movement. It connects us to communication—beyond the verbal. Most clients who come to me are neglecting their creativity and neglecting their inner artist. The third house can be a valuable resource for understanding one’s creative gifts.

If you’re wondering about money (we all need it!) look to the second house. This is the house of comfort and nourishment (literally the body part is mouth and throat) as well as wealth. Money is a source of comfort after all. This house will be important for informing the financial well being of the chart as it connects to career and life purpose.

The interaction of these houses, the planets involved, the nakshatras enlivened and the dance of all these elements with the overall chart, is all part of your dharmic story.

You will want to look for key symbols from the planets involved such as from Jupiter (the guru) who indicates teaching, giving knowledge, or being in a position of offering information. Saturn will give his benefits through physical labor, slow and steady growth. I often see yoga, dancing, somatic work and ancient practices connected to him. Mercury inspires writing and communications of all kinds.

Venus correlates to the feminine, to art and the life giving capabilities of the arts. The Moon offers nurturing, nourishment and support, as well as hospitality and the qualities of mothering. Sun on the other hand denotes fatherly qualities, leadership and needing to be visible and “seen”. The nodes have unique offerings. Ketu connects to computers (especially the internet), moksha and liberation, as well as unique or unusual modalities. Rahu is worldly and wants attention from others (and can get it!) and is connected to the foreign or unusual.

The nakshatras offer further refinement based on the meaning of the nakshatra, the deity involved and the planetary ruler of the nakshatra. These are essential details for fine tuning the dharmic story and the unique attributes of your life purpose.

Study your ninth house and look at the relationship it has with the rest of the chart. What is the ruling planet of this house and where does it sit in the chart? What planets sit in the ninth house- if any? Do the same with the 10th house. Note any connections these houses have with the third, fifth and sixth. Are there connections to the second house of wealth and nourishment? How are you nourished by your dharma in other words, and how do you nourish others?

I find jyotish to be a crucial tool for self awareness and self development. Study your chart and grow in the wisdom that is you! No one can truly know your chart as well as you because you are living it. However, jyotish has layer upon layer upon layer that slowly reveal themselves so remember this is a slow process and one that is rooted in gnana (knowledge and wisdom).

You will also miss what you don’t want to see! So be careful with those blind spots.

Use the information above to get you started and to look at your chart in new ways. Study the planets, their nature, and how they express themselves in your chart. The unique dharmic wisdom of your life path is carefully folded into the map of your jyotish chart. With slow and steady steps of wisdom and patience, your path will begin to unfold.

Are you ready to ignite your dharma and refine your purpose? I’m offering a unique Dharma Foundations Course this November. Get the details!

Need some extra guidance and clarity? Schedule a session with me.

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Author: Saraswati J.

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of the author

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