Dharma, the Way of Transcendence

His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

The Sanskrit word dharma refers to the inherent, unchanging nature of something – sugar’s dharma is to be sweet, water’s dharma is to be wet, and fire’s dharma is to emit heat and light. Dharma also refers to our natural duty. We humans have social, familial, religious, and civic duties – this is our ordinary dharma – but we also have what’s called in Sanskrit sanatana-dharma, or an ultimate dharma that relates to who we are at soul level. That dharma requires that we ask existential questions and seek life’s ultimate answers, questions like who are we, why are we here, and what is our purpose in life.

Dharma, the Way of Transcendence is a compilation of lectures on human dharma given by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada in 1972 as he toured India. Here he teaches that the dharma of all humans and every other living being – all beings are embodied souls, after all – is service. No one can exist for a moment without serving someone or something else, even if it’s only our own mind and senses. The question is, whom or what can we serve if we want the greatest return on our investment?

The author 

At their first meeting, in 1922, Srila Prabhupada was asked by his spiritual master, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, to broadcast Vedic knowledge in English. In the years that followed, Srila Prabhupada wrote a commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, assisted the Gaudiya Matha in its work and, in 1944, started Back to Godhead, an English fortnightly magazine.