What’s Your Dharma Type?

Song to capture the Spirit

“The only way to shape your future is to discover who you are today. Without knowing your current reality, you can’t create your future reality.”

~  Nitin Namdeo

Let us now discover your dharma type…


In Self Test 1 Choose the answers that describe you best; you can choose up to four for each multiple choice question if you are unable to decide.

Next, read the paragraphs in Self Test 2 ~ Choose two that describe you best. Not all of their qualities have to fit, though they should at least elicit a gut reaction of “yeah, that’s me”—even if you don’t necessarily like them! There are two paragraphs for each type. If it is difficult to decide, you may pick as many paragraphs as you like and narrow the results later. Check the answer key at the bottom of each test to tally your choices. The two that receive the most tallies likely indicate your dharma type and the Life Cycle you are in.*1 It is useful to have friends or relatives help us with the tests and descriptions. Often we see ourselves differently from how the rest of the world perceives us. We may also be in a cycle that makes it difficult to access our essential dharma type. Life cycles can tint our basic expression like different colored lenses—some enhance our light while others sometimes diffuse it—so take your whole life into consideration when reading the following descriptions, and have a friend or relative help you in the process. Looking at yourself from childhood to now will provide a complete portrait that should help determine your type.


Circle the answers that best apply to you. You may choose more than one answer for each question if applicable. Try to think of qualities that are permanent in you, how you have always been, rather than how you are at times or during recent changes in your life. Tally them up at the end to determine your dharma type.

  1. Circle the word that means the most to you or describes you best.
  2. Freedom
  3. Loyalty
  4. Wisdom
  5. Honor
  6. Prosperity
  7. Circle the phrase that means the most to you or describes you best.
  8. Independence and Bliss
  9. Love and Devotion
  10. Worldliness and Knowledge
  11. Discipline and Perfection
  12. Entertainment and Fun
  13. Circle the phrase that means the most to you or describes you best.
  14. I love being alone. Sometimes I hate people, sometimes I like them, but they usually don’t understand me.
  15. I don’t mind being alone as long as I have something constructive and productive to do.
  16. I love being alone. I like people but I need time to spend by myself for quiet contemplation and rejuvenation. d. I don’t mind being alone, as long as I have a goal to accomplish. e. I hate being alone. I prefer the company of people, even if I don’t know them.
  17. Circle the phrase that means the most to you or describes you best.
  18. I like strange, dark, or wild and remote places no one has ever thought of or been to.
  19. I like the plains and wide expanses of earth. I like living close to the ground, on ground floors rather than in high-rise apartments.
  20. I like high and remote places. I like upper floors, high-rise buildings, and living above others looking down. d. I like challenging places, places that are high, but not so high as to be remote. I like fortified and strong places.
  21. From the Beverly Hills to gently rolling slopes, I like places where the action is, places that are easy to get to, but also exclusive. I like living in the middle ground, not too high, not too low, where there is activity and access to the world.
  22. Circle the sentence that describes you best.
  23. I am the rebel or black sheep of my family. As a parent, I give freedom to my kids and let them individualize themselves from others.
  24. I am deeply bonded with my family. As a parent, I nurture my kids by making sure they are well fed, healthy, and content.
  25. I tend to teach my family and urge them to improve themselves. As a parent I make certain my kids learn how to think for themselves, get a good education, and understand the world.
  26. I am the strong one in my family. As a parent I lead by example and earn my kids’ respect with discipline and order. e. I actively support my family with shelter and resources. As a parent I provide for my kids and make sure they understand the value of money, self-effort, and making your way in the world.
  27. In religion I most value the following:
  28. Going my own way.
  29. Faith and devotion.
  30. Study and scripture.
  31. Penance and discipline.
  32. Rituals and observances.
  33. In marriage I most value the following:
  34. An unconventional spouse, one who understands my particular quirks and desires.
  35. A dutiful spouse who is loyal and provides for me: a woman who cooks and cleans/a man who brings home the bacon.
  36. A sensitive, intelligent spouse.
  37. A challenging spouse with whom I can do activities.
  38. A beautiful spouse.
  39. I mainly watch TV for:
  40. Horror, alternative political and spiritual viewpoints, science fiction (like the sci-fi, FX, indie, and alternative channels).
  41. Family, drama, history, and community programs (like soap operas, reality TV, daytime shows, cartoons, entertainment gossip, and reruns).
  42. Educational, thought-provoking, human-interest stories and entertainment (like National Geographic, PBS, Syfy, and documentary channels).
  43. Sports, action, news, and politics; adventure stories and entertainment (ESPN, CNN, etc.).
  44. Fun programs, drama, music, comedy, game shows, financial and motivational stories and entertainment (like HBO, the Comedy Channel, and Spike).
  45. Under stress I tend to:
  46. Bend the rules or lie to get my way; feel invisible and self-deprecate.
  47. Become lazy, close down in my own space, and worry a lot.
  48. Be scatterbrained, feckless, and wishy-washy.
  49. Become anger prone, inattentive, and reckless.
  50. Be moody, depressed, loud, and restless.
  51. At my best I am:
  52. A revolutionary, an inventor, a genius.
  53. A devoted friend, a hard worker, a caregiver.
  54. A counselor, a teacher, a diplomat.
  55. A leader, a hero, a risk taker.
  56. An optimist, a self-starter, a promoter, an adventurer.

Answer Key for Self Test I

  1. _____    _____          C.  _____          D.  _____          E.  _____

Tally your answers now. The most selected letter likely reflects your dharma type.

For confirmation you should now move on to Self Test II.

  1. Outsider
  2. Laborer
  3. Educator
  4. Warrior
  5. Merchant


Select two paragraphs that describe you best. Then refer to the answer key to determine your type.

  1. Sometimes I think no one really understands me, and no one ever will. I love freedom and need to feel independent and free most of all. Although I can fit into many crowds, I never really feel a part of any of them. I wear many hats but none of them defines me. People may see me as secretive or mysterious, but I am just the way I am—different. By fate or choice I am attracted to foreign lands, cultures, religions, and values and have embraced some of these. I have talents and abilities that are not always recognized, and it can be hard to make a living if I do not compromise with my society. My ambitions are somewhat unique, and I have a quirky way of seeing the world. Sometimes I feel lost and don’t know what my true purpose is, but when I look at others I am reminded of what it is not: I can’t conform to somebody else’s lifestyle just for the sake of security, even though I may not have found my own.
  2. I have often dreamt of owning my own business and being financially independent. From an early age I have felt a need to provide and be provided for. I have a strong sense of the value of money and I don’t mind working long hours to generate security for myself and my family. I don’t pay much attention to my body, unless it is part of my business or I have the leisure time. I like giving and the feeling that it creates, but in this competitive world it is most important to secure my own and my family’s needs first. I have a good practical sense and know how to take care of mundane obligations. I believe that anyone can make it in today’s society if they’re willing to apply themselves. I am motivated and self-driven and can’t understand idealistic or so-called spiritual people who deny the importance of financial security.
  3. I like to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I believe in standing up for a good cause whether it is social, environmental, ecological, etc. Money is less important to me than securing justice in the world. I have strong convictions and character, and people often look to me for leadership. I have an inner strength that drives me to achieve. I can usually outperform others by sheer force of will. I have an eye for deception and can tell when someone is lying. I admire wisdom and like to associate with smart and educated people, though I may not have the time or opportunity to cultivate these qualities in myself. I can be highly disciplined and therefore acquire skills quickly. At my best I am courageous, noble, and self-sacrificing, but I can also be distracted, anger prone, and judgmental.
  4. I love the camaraderie of working with others to construct something useful. I am handy, skilled, practical, and not averse to work. I am devoted to friends and family, and though not an intellectual I have a good sense about things, though I can’t always explain it in words. My needs and tastes are simple, and it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy: good food, good company, and a solid roof over my head are the essentials in life. I like being of service and feeling needed. Being useful to someone is more important than how much money I make, though I don’t like to be cheated. I believe in hard work and don’t understand lazy people. I can be superstitious and have deep-seated beliefs about things that often stem from my childhood and cannot be easily rationalized.
  5. I prefer intellectual work to physical labor. I can be idealistic and focus on concepts and philosophies rather than living in the real world. I become disheartened by the ugliness and injustice of life and often lack energy to change it. I have always been smarter and more perceptive than most of my peers, though not inherently practical. I like to counsel others, though I don’t always practice what I preach. I have a knack for encouraging and finding the best in people, and as a result people come to me for advice. I don’t have a killer instinct and that’s a disadvantage if I try to compete in physical or other cutthroat professions. I like to live in a peaceful environment, rather than the hustle and bustle of the busy world. I often know what needs to be done but don’t necessarily have the energy or skills to do it. It is often easier for me to tell others what to do rather than to do it myself.
  6. I set strong standards for myself and expect to live up to them. I love competition, debate, and testing my limits. I even compete with myself when others are not around. I have a huge heart, and my generosity sometimes gets me in trouble. I like to lay down the law in my family and with others. From early on I was blessed with physical and mental strength, though I often abuse these by pushing too much—I play hard and party hard. I like to care for those who cannot fend for themselves: the innocent, the elderly, and the underprivileged.
  7. I hate constrictive social, religious, and moral institutions, and I feel it is my right to speak and act out against them. I also feel justified in flouting an unjust law and not conforming to artificial regulations. I am physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually different from others, and because of this I find it hard to fit in. I can see through people’s bullshit, and that makes me want to run away from society. Sometimes I resent normal people who were born with opportunities that I don’t have. I would rather overthrow the status quo to allow fresh growth than try to patch things up piece by piece. I respect an authority that allows me to be who I am and understands the gifts I have to offer.
  8. I am a devoted, loyal, patriotic person and have a deep connection to the things that are dearest to me: my family, friends, God, and country. I believe it is important to abide by the codes and principles of my country, church, and society. I love to build community. I guess you could say I’m sentimental about the things I value. A dutiful worker, I believe in getting a job done right and am faithful to my word. I am also very good at what I do and specialize in well-developed skills. I secretly admire widely read and cultured people and wish I were a bit more like them, but I just don’t have the time to waste on that and prefer to be better at what I do than to know a lot of trivia. I have to touch, see, hear, or feel something; otherwise it is not real for me.
  9. I love attention and being the life of the party. I am quick and clever and find it easy to get along with others. I can be very likable, though I don’t necessarily like other people and am more attached to the few people I can really trust—myself and my family. I am naturally glib and gregarious, and people tend to believe what I say. I have good taste and appreciation for the finer things in life, things that have beauty and value. However, I sometimes feel an emptiness that I have to fill with outside things, though it is never really filled until I give or do something for others. Sometimes I feel that I am not worth anything, and that if people really knew me they wouldn’t like me. Because of this I respect those who have raised and supported me, and I work hard to pay back their love in return. I am also very emotional and can go to extremes of depression and elation. This volatility may cost me in relationships and in my health, and I sometimes like to numb it with drugs, sex, and entertainment. I enjoy all sorts of fun, from performing for people and being the center of attention to watching others do the same.
  10. I consider myself a rather cultured, mild-mannered person. I don’t tolerate vulgarity or crass behavior. I have special food preferences and daily regimes that require me to be alone for parts of the day so I can tend to my rather delicate constitution. I tend to be solitary in my personal habits and prefer losing myself in a book more than engaging in the hustle and bustle of the world. I like the realm of ideas and concepts, though I am rarely able to embody them in the real world. I don’t have abundant physical energy, though I enjoy sports, games, and being in Nature for their recreational and inspirational value.

Answer Key for Self Test II

1 and 7:            Outsider

2 and 9:            Merchant

3 and 6:            Warrior

4 and 8:            Laborer

5 and 10:          Educator

Published by Jannat Marie

I am a 20+ Breast Cancer Survivor whose passion is culinary, literary, and Yogic principles of living the fullest and vibrant life under any circumstance.

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