Any person can only individuate truly to the extent to which he or she can universalize consciousness, and svadharma has to be understood in the context of the universal dharma of the human family in any age or epoch. Svadharma is the deft application of dharma to the karmic conditions of the moment in any situation, with its limits, parameters and possibilities. The Bhagavad Gita (III.35) affirms: "Better is one's own duty, though imperfectly done, than the duty of another well done. Better is death in doing one's own duty (svadharma); the duty of another brings danger." The perverse refusal or pathetic inability to translate dharma into the appropriate thought and action in the present moment is indeed adharma, unrighteousness, the source of all sordid confusion and culpable wrongdoing, as well as moral backsliding. No doubt, none can, without the self-validating universal vision of the Adept, judge the duty of another. This makes it all the more vital that each and every one enacts svadharma with the modicum of courage needed to act on one's deepest convictions and fullest understanding. Given the inevitability of falling short of these time and again, it is an elementary requirement of the Golden Rule to show genuine tolerance and empathy for the frailties of others.
HERMES, September 1987