The following is an excerpt from Osho’s discourse on Krishna that was turned into a book titled “Krishna, the man and his philosophy”. The question being asked of Osho is, when religion is eternal how come Krishna says to Arjuna that you need to stick to your dharma and not convert to any other. “If dharma is one and eternal, why should Krishna think it necessary to divide it into good and bad, into personal and alien?”
The answer that Osho gives is probably the best explanation for Dharma anywhere in the world.
“…..It was very necessary for Krishna to say it. The Sanskrit text of his saying is, Swadharme nidhanam shreyah, pardharmo bhayawaha. And we need to understand it from various angles.
Here Krishna does not use the word dharma to mean the traditional religions like those of the Hindus, Christians and Mohammedans. The Sanskrit word dharma really means self-nature, one’s innate nature, one’s essential nature, and it is in this sense that Krishna divides it into the primal nature or the self-nature, and the alien nature, the nature other than one’s own. It is a question of one’s own individuality, one’s own subjectivity being quite different from the individuality of others. It is a question of your being truly yourself and not imitating another, not trying to be like another person, whoever he may be. Krishna here says, “Be immaculately yourself. Follow your own true nature and don’t follow and imitate any other.” He says, “Don’t follow a guru or guide. Be your own guide. Don’t allow your individuality, your subjectivity to be dominated, dictated and smothered by anybody else. In short, don’t follow, don’t imitate any other person.” Maybe the other person is going somewhere wherein lies his own individual, subjective destiny – which is his freedom – but it may turn out to be your bondage if you follow him. It is bound to turn into a bondage for you.
Mahavira’s individuality is his own; it cannot be the individuality of any other person. The path of Christ cannot be a path for another. Why? Wherever I go I can only go as myself; I can go the way I am. It is true that on reaching the destination my self, the “I” will disappear. But the day the “I” disappears, the other, the “he”, will also disappear. And the state of nature or being that I will then attain is everlasting, eternal. This transcendent nature is impersonal and oceanic. But right now we are not like the ocean, we are like a river. And every river has to find its own way to the ocean. On reaching the ocean, of course, both the river and its path will disappear into the ocean.
Here Krishna is talking to a river and not to the ocean itself. Arjuna is still a river seeking a path to reach the ocean. And Krishna tells the river to go its own way and not to try to follow and imitate the ways of any other river. The other river has its own route, its own direction and its own movement. And it will reach the ocean on its own, by its own path. In the same way you have to build your own path, your own direction and your own movement, and then you will certainly reach the ocean. If there is a river it will undoubtedly reach the ocean.”
Follow your Dharma !!