Is DUTY a loaded word for You? Do you ever ask that of yourself? Is that a question that ever plagues you?
It does me…
I constantly ask myself – ” Am I doing my duty?” “Am I doing my right duty?” Questions that poke me, make me reflect and agonize over sometimes.
Do you know what exactly “Duty” means?
Duty is derived from “Right-Conduct” which is a very lose translation of the Sanskrit word “Dharma”. Duty is attached to every role we play in life. I have a duty as a Daughter, Wife, Mother, Grand Mother, Friend, Employee, Employer, a Citizen – every role we play, every hat we wear comes with a set of terms and conditions relating to that role.
Duty is not limited to people. Wetness is the duty of Water, Heat is the duty of Fire, and when those elements perform contrary to their duty – things start to go wrong.
Whilst Duty is a synonym for Obligation, Duty is more than Obligation. Obligation can be externally imposed and Duty is intrinsic to our nature.
Performing my duty in an obligatory way can be devoid of love. Anything done without love will soon become an obligation, an imposition, a chore that we come to resent. What would be the result of doing something out of resentment? I begin to regret my actions. It eats me and the build up is hazardous for my health and detrimental to the health of my surrounds.
Sathya Sai Baba says,
“Duty without Love is deplorable;
Duty with Love is Human;
Love without Duty is Divine”
Now we all teeter between the first two statements, performing our duty with and without love. We generally perform our duty with love when it comes to family and friends and perhaps even our jobs. There are certain duties that we perform without love – cleaning in my case.
But what does it mean to Love without Duty?
Is it possible to love something or someone knowing that we have no obligation to do so, knowing that we are not bound by duty to love?
How would that look? Would that be spontaneous actions? Would that be responding rather than reacting? Would Love without Duty show up as kindness, empathy, caring?
We can easily do those things with nature, animals and children. But when it comes to extending love without a duty to adults, we struggle.
Why is it easy to love a child or a puppy spontaneously without hesitation?
I think we can do that because we have no preconceived ideas about who they are other than what we see in front of us – little bundles of innocence, joy and purity and we get drawn to those qualities instantly. Whereas when we come in front of adults our previous interactions are the first ones that jump into our minds before we even finished saying hello and those interactions color our greeting instantaneously.
We put people in pigeon holes and expect them to stay there, forgetting that people change all the time. Our sense of security is threatened when a person acts differently to how we know them to be.
Those colored perceptions and judgments make us forget to look at the intrinsic beauty, innocence and purity of each human being.
Result – at best we are polite or walk away, at worst we clash openly, with hostility. And of course, we regret later and agonize over our actions.
So how is Love without Duty possible?
Every time we come across somebody we picture them as a child, innocent and exuberant brimming with pure joy. We deliberately not let our previous interactions color our perceptions in the moment.
It is very difficult to do that especially when we know we are wronged by someone. Remembering that they are doing their ‘duty without love’ and therefore their actions are deplorable will help in separating the person from the action.
If water catches fire, we put the fire out and move on, we don’t condemn water for its action.
Separating people from actions and labeling the actions help us to interact with love and compassion. It is a deliberate, constant and continuous practice.
Ultimately ‘Love without Duty’ is the only balm that would heal the wounds and the only obligation we have in order to create peace within us and in our society.
What do you think? Do you agree or disagree?
Would love to hear your comments.
Until next time
With Love and Respect