Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

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“Career Dharma, The Natural Art of Work” Book Review
By Visvambara Dasa   |  Jan 06, 2024

Reviewer Visvambara Dasa appreciating the book.

What you were born to do is no longer a mystery. Career Dharma, The Natural Art of Work, by Urmila Devi Dasi (Dr. Edith Best) and Dr. Ruchira S. Datta, is here to help you discover that. The English word natural comes from the Latin term “naturalis,” which means birth, or in Middle English, it denotes the physical power of a person. What is your superpower? What is your dharma?

In this comprehensive volume, the authors begin with the wisdom of the Bhagavad-gita, which speaks of our sanatana dharma (eternal dharma) and sva dharma (temporary dharma pertaining to our body). In fact, Krishna says, “It is better to engage in one’s own occupation, even though one may perform it imperfectly than to accept another’s occupation and perform it perfectly” (BG 3.35; 18.47), warning against upsetting the societal body. The other verse that is emphasized is, “Always think of Me and become My devotee (man mana bhava mad bhakti)” (BG 18.65). Our movement has emphasized the latter since its inception 57 years ago. It’s time to bridge the gap between where you want to be and where you are by finding out who you are.

After all, how can you work with detachment and give up the fruits of your labor, as Krishna recommends, if your work is not fulfilling and the fruits are acquired painstakingly?

Even if you are situated in your dream occupation, lacking the understanding of your dharma results in the misapplication of your potential; what to speak of the added value of understanding other’s natures as well as their respective dharma and the intrinsic dharmas of specific occupations.

The world is largely being educated by the likes of Hollywood, Bollywood, YouTube, Netflix, and social media influencers. Proclaiming that you can be whatever you want and that freedom is the ability to choose. That immediate gratification is your rightful claim—selling the dream of unlimited choices on an equal playing field. Overchoice and competition, rather than cooperation among the fields of work, abound. When, in fact, your experience is more of an unequal playing field, over choice, and mental anguish. Naturally, job satisfaction is at its lowest. Enter Dr. Best and Dr. Datta, who unfold the ancient texts to inform the reader of a brighter truth: a system devised by Krishna for harmonious social intercourse, thus moving from defective business practices to utilizing Krishna’s invention. Alternatively, tried and tested corporate practices have been the go-to for innovative communities in ISKCON. 

This book shines a light on some of the more neglected passages of Prabhupada’s books. It doesn’t stop at the mode of goodness but pushes for transcendence. It doesn’t stop at the four purusharthas but advocates prema pumartho mahan. All the while, it is aimed at a wide audience, achieved by using non-stigmatized terms.

Career Dharma will give you another reason to believe Krishna isn’t out to hurt us with a fearful and painful experience. Instead, he has set up our roles and psycho-physical natures for a satisfying experience as we proceed toward transcendence.

There is no problem to me on the personal or societal level that doesn’t have a natural art of work solution to it, nor a problem in this world that’s not related to the ignorance of the natural art of work.

I see this book as the beginning of a revolution. I am excited to be an early adopter and exponent of this understanding. My life thus far has been a catalyst (having spent much of my career in the wrong roles) for my service as a Career Dharma consultant. Helping one person at a time to find themselves within Krishna’s societal body is my passion!

To read additional details and to purchase a copy of their book, Career Dharma, click here. You may also want to visit Urmila Edith Best’s Amazon author page. To follow her service and schedule, visit her website