The Five Dharma Types

"It is hard enough to do what you were born to do; why complicate it by trying to be someone else?"

- The 5 Dharma Types, page 105

Just how different is Simon Chokoisky’s The 5 Dharma Types: Vedic Wisdom for Discovering Your Purpose from other volumes in this vein?  Like many books on “types”, self-scoring tests are provided to determine yours – along with benefits, challenges, learning styles and more.  Beyond such similarities, its uniqueness derives from knowing your purpose (dharma) – and how key this is to creating a fulfilling life.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

The 5 Dharma Types

"There is one thing that you do better than anyone else in the world, and your dharma type is the key to finding it!"
- The 5 Dharma Types, page 386

In the West particularly, we’re familiar with terms like karma (“what goes around comes around”).  What we have less understanding of is dharma, our purpose in the world.  Yet, without knowing “who am I” or “why am I here”, life can become quite meaningless.

Are you curious to learn the “operating system for your identity”? Here we go:

  1. Strongly idealistic; all about self-improvement; noted for wisdom; solid counselors and confidantes; motivated by truth.
  2. Adopt foreign ideologies plus concepts; incredibly adaptive; resent the establishment; keenly aware of societal injustices.
  3. Motivated to protect those who cannot protect themselves; respond to defiance and competition; value others’ innocence.
  4. Feel best when giving to family followed by community; feel lonely or empty without company; wish to secure personal and family interests.
  5. Capable of great service and self-sacrifice; powerful work ethic; deep sense of belonging; loyalty; strong likes and dislikes.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

The Path to Evolution

"Knowing your dharma in any area of life you can weigh your decisions and ask yourself, ‘does this serve my highest purpose or detract from it’?"
- The 5 Dharma Types, page 71

From an extensive elaboration of each type, the author goes on to describe some natural pairings by which we can continuously grow and evolve:

  1. Warrior-Educator. While Warriors and Educators are in many respects opposites, their divergent strengths balance one another. For example, the Educator’s compassion is juxtaposed to the Warrior’s forcefulness.
  2. Merchant-Laborer. Laborers are completed by family and community, whereas Merchants feed off strangers’ gratitude. The synergy occurs because Laborers nourish their families while Merchants nourish the world.
  3. Outsider-All. Nothing new comes into existence without the Outsider’s touch. They are everyone and no one. When Outsiders find their purpose through others, they become potent forces for change (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi).


To fully step into your dharma’s essence, here’s a next step for each:

  • Educators – Will get better ideas and inspiration through energy movement (fitness activity, walking) rather than sitting before a computer all day.
  • Warriors – Study deeply about an issue (cause) that is important to you and list/post goals you will implement in this arena.
  • Merchants – Needing to be needed, find a way to benefit your community this week (volunteer at a soup kitchen, donate old appliances).
  • Laborers – Because you love your routines, take a new spin on your day (drive a different road to work, brush your teeth with the opposite hand).
  • Outsiders – Often greeted by blank stares when you speak your truth, ask for feedback on how you can make your wisdom more “relevant”.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

The Path to Devolution

"There are no good or bad people, only resourceful and un-resourceful states."
- Anthony Robbins, quoted in The 5 Dharma Types, page 153

Conversely, when the types devolve, they become oblivious to alternative intelligences and unable to speak languages other than their own. Here’s what to watch out for:

  1. Warrior-Merchant. Warriors decline when they focus upon the pursuit of money to the exclusion of ethical considerations. When Merchants can’t succeed with persuasiveness, they must guard against applying the Warrior’s strength.
  2. Laborer-Educator. Educators regress when they become “stuck” in a particular way of being instead of inspiring. When Laborers take on Educator values, they begin to assume they know it all, which can lead to fundamentalism.
  3. Outsider-All. For Outsiders, the path to destruction lies in seeing themselves as victims of the world, thus stopping their own progress. To grow, they must have an inner revolution before imposing external change.

Naturally, the danger with any “system” is to stereotype.  Rather than pigeon-hole, strive to understand those around you.

Think back to times you went against the grain of your nature and later suffered. Were there also periods you pushed to develop and integrate skills that ended up benefitting you immensely? In the latter instance, you were (intuitively) playing to strengths.

Now, supported by ancient Vedic wisdom, you can proactively attain fulfillment. Everything you need is already on the inside. For, self-improvement is really self-actualization.

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Carol-Ann Hamilton

ABOUT Carol-Ann Hamilton

Carol-Ann Hamilton is a dedicated Maverick, Catalyst & Pioneer-Visionary who brings three decades’ coaching and facilitation expertise to her singular goal, “Encouraging Your Greatness”...
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