According to our Dharma, which three strategies would you give us to live life?
In the various religions in the world, not all accept the existence of God. Many religions do not accept the existence of God such as Jainism, Buddhism and Sāṃkhya darshan. The Sāṃkhya in Bhāgavat contains God. Otherwise there is no God in Sāṃkhya darshan. It talks of the soul and creation.
However, whether you accept God or not, you will have to accept Dharma.
Dharmaṃ bhajasva satataṃ dharmeṇa hinā pashuvi samānā
If Dharma does not exist in a human being’s life, then the human being will not remain human. It will become animal-like. All other animals’ live life as influenced by nature.
Prakṛtiṃ yānti bhutāni nigraḥa kim kariṣyati
If a lion in the forest becomes hungry, it will not think that is holding a fast or killing deers is violence and a sin. The lion does not have this understanding. As it is carnivorous, when it is hungry, it hunts animals to satiate its hunger. This is its habitual state.
The human being has an intellect. The more intelligent it is, the more cautious it needs to be. Human being is not only a jewel, but also a violator of this earth. The greater one’s intelligence, the greater the requirement for control. In accepting these controls lies the well-being of the intelligent. Such wise people can also lead to the welfare of the world. Thus, Dharma is extremely important.
One power is Dharma; the second is society; the third is nation. In combination, these three powers control the intelligent human being for its welfare. This is Dharma.
According to Sanatan Dharma, if I want to say three things, then the 3 cantos in our Sanatan Vedic Dharma: Karmakāṇḍa (path of actions), bhakti (devotion) – upāsana kāṇḍa and jñān kāṇḍa (path of knowledge). These are the three strategies.
In Bhagavad Gita also you find these paths, each in six chapters: karma (deeds/actions), bhakti (devotion) and jñān (knowledge).
You have been given a body then continue to perform actions. If you are intelligent then learn from scriptures and Vedas how to perform these actions. Perform actions as prescribed by Vedas and scriptures.
Dharma say teaches us: what to do, what not to do, actions that result in wellbeing and actions that cause damage to us as well as others. This understanding has been given in our scriptures. Until the body exists, no being can live without performing actions even for a moment.
God says in Gita:
Na hi kaścita kṣanaṃ api jātu tiṣṭhatya karma kṛita SBG 3.5
Now that we are bound to act, then the understanding of types of actions that must be performed, is for our well-being. After understanding this, perform actions recommended by scriptures and Vedas and live for 100 years whilst performing these actions.
Kurvanneveḥa karmāṇi jijivishe chhatam samāhā – this is what Vedas have said.
So firstly, continue to perform actions. Do not be inactive. Like God says in Gita:
Mā te sangostva karmaṇi
Do not be careless and lazy. Sleep is necessary but you sleep to awaken. I want to sleep for six hours because I want to be awake for 18 hours and act. Actions is food for your body. The mind needs love and the body needs exercise.
Hence, Vinobaji used to say that where two words ending with ‘m’ are supreme: śram (hard work) and prem (love), this is known as a āśram jīvan (holy life). However old you are, you are living in an āśram because you will be in one of the following stages of life: Brahmacharya āśram (celibacy), gṛhastha āśram (householder), vānaprastha āśram (ascetic), or sanyāsa āśram (renunciation). Not only should a hermit be filled with love and compassion, but he/she also requires the appropriate exercise in the body.
So firstly, perform actions, be active, do not be inactive.
Secondly devotion means love for the entire world. Become a lover. Hatred and malice are poison whilst love is nectar. So, let us become lovers.
Devotion is attachment but towards God. According to Śrimad Bhāgavat, devotion is a mother who gives birth to knowledge and renunciation. One attains renunciation towards mortal things in life. When we become attached towards mortal, material pleasures, then this attachment leads to great damage. Thus, if there is attachment, let it be for God. This is known as devotion.
Sā parānu raktirishvare – as said by Shāndalya Mahārāj in Shāndalya Bhakti Sutra.
Let there be devotion, love.
Thirdly, let our intellect be enlightened. Let us not remain foolish. Let us be knowledgeable. Learn and understand plenty. Stay at the refuge of Guru. Learn from Gurus (teachers) and respect them. Gain both spiritual and worldly knowledge.
Dve vidye veditavye.
Understand both worldly and spiritual knowledge. Meaning, learn regarding the world and how to behave as well as live in the world. Become a doctor, lawyer, engineer etc. However, at the same time, learn knowledge of the absolute, which leads to your spiritual progress and improves your next world. Thus, become enlightened through knowledge.
Hence, actions, devotion and knowledge, these three strategies explained to us in our Sanatan tradition are the essence in life. If these three are present in our life, then we are complete.