Nothing is higher than Dharma. The weak overcomes the stronger by Dharma, as over a king. Truly that Dharma is the Truth(Satya); Therefore, when a man speaks the Truth, they say, “He speaks the Dharma”; and if he speaks Dharma, they say, “He speaks the Truth!” For both are one.”

Dharma Wheel
Dharma Wheel

Namaste!

Welcome to the world of resolute readings at www.onindianpath.com. I am sure today’s blog on Dharma is going to be a meaningful and enlightening endeavor.

Introduction

In simple words, Dharma is spiritual maturity with devotion, piety, duties and reverence towards the fellow human beings.

Literally speaking, Dharma is a Sanskrit word which means – a path of righteousness. Hinduism has prevalent and most cognitive position for Dharma in its practices since ancient times. It is not only confined to Hinduism but also used as concept in Buddhism and Jainism and has different meanings accordingly.

Dharma Significance in Hinduism

Ancient texts suggests us the true meaning. And the meaning of Dharma is “to hold, maintain, keep”. Also, Dharma means the behaviour that makes the life and universe possible with Dhri, the order.

Apparently, Dharma holds a great significance in Hinduism. It is a moral law that guides our life when combined with spiritual discipline.

Infact, Dharma teaches us to be abide by the cosmic law, rules which created the universe from the chaos.

Further, Dharma holds important roles in our ancient text, viz, Vedas, Puranas, Upangas, Upnishads explaing all the rights and duties of human existence as per dharma.

Apart from Dharma , we have three more principle path of Hinduism as

  • Arth
  • Kaam
  • Moksha

which we are going to discuss in our upcoming blogs.

Historical Background of Dharma

Do you know, why it is called Hinduism? Hinduism is a religion which is oldest and one of the largely followed till date. It was called SANATANA DHARMA and was given name Hinduism by the West. Actually, Aryans used to live near river Indus. Instead of calling people living near the Indus valley, Indu, they started calling HINDU. Hence, the name Hinduism was given.

Now, you must be wondering why it is related to Sanatana Dharma? So, let me tell you the meaning and relevance of Dharma in it.

Infact, Dharma or Dharm is considered the behavior of human beings a necessity for the law and order of the Universe that encompasses duty, rights and religion. Sanatana means sach or eternal truth. Sanatana Dharma provides a way of life, entire world view and a coherent and rational view of reality.

Moreover, Dharma is a value system and code of conduct which has spiritual freedom and tells us the right way to live life.

Similarly, we have texts like Rigveda and other supporting holy text, but we do not have any particular date of historical foundation. Yet, it has a system of rules and laws based on experience not on beliefs.

Dharma has inclusivity for all and exclusivity for none. It is inherent to love all beings with compassion.

Key Principles of Dharma

Hindu dharma has distinctive identity with following key features:

There are many other parts of deep research and interpretation, we are going to discuss in future blogs.

Examples and references of Dharma

And, as you all must have read or heard about the Epics of Hinduism, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. I am going to cite examples of Dharma from these two greatest epics. Infact, Lord Rama always followed dharma and called Maryada purshottam. While in Mahabharata, Yudhishthar, one of the protagonist followed the path of Dharma throughout his life. Contrarily, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna the path of Dharma as per the requirements of time, place and circumstances.

To create a spiritually balanced and morally right world, one needs to follow Dharma. Although the nature and degree of Dharma may precede over other. For example, a teacher has to teach his students professionally. But, as a father and husband, he has to perform his duties towards his kids and wife too. Many a time a situation may arise, where he needs to be with family first later at his work. Hence, these sets of rules or ethics by Dharma are cultivated in us for our spiritual growth and uplifting ourselves to the divine purpose.

Niyama of Dharma

Further, I have discussed the yama and niyama of Hinduism in our previous blog.

Hinduism has explained code of ethics to its followers through its sacred text. It contains Yama and Niyama. Yama talks about the personal conduct which refrains oneself from wrong doing by the following actions-Ahimsa, Satya, Ashteya, Aparigrah, Brahmacharya, Kshama, Daya, Shakahari Ahaar, Arjava and Vivek.

And, Niyama are the code of ethics which help one to follow the spiritual path with dutiful observance. It includes Saucha, Santosh, Tapas, Swadhyaa, Ishawara Pranidhara, Danam, Japa and Yagna.

Types of Dharma

Consequently there are following types of Dharma:

a) Samanya Dharma

Samanya Dharma includes Mercy, truth, control over mind, purity, offerings, control over senses, non violence, compassion, honesty, loyalty and compassion to other and abstaining oneself from the greed.

b) Varna Dharma

Here the society is classified into four varnas. according to their Varna the dharam is assignedto them. And the four varna are

  • Brahman
  • Kshtriya
  • Vaishya
  • Shudra

c) Guna Dharma

Dharma is carried out according to the qualitiesor gunas. Like water has coolness as its quality and a soldier has strength as his quality and it his Dharma to protect his country.

d) Apad Dharma

This set of rules to be followed at the time of apadi means calamity. As per the need of hour during an adversity, karma can be charged as per the change in dharma. A farmer can also carries ammunition to protect his country during a war.

e) Shruta Dharma

As per vedas, shruti dharam to be followed includes puja of Agni and yagya. All codes of ethics are described in shrutis.

f) Smarta Dharma

Here, the rules and ethics are edefined by smruti of Vedas and Upvedas.

g) Shishta Dharma

this includes the rules and laws as designed from the inspirations taken fr9m renowned personalities of society.

h) Stri Dharma

Stri is a Hindi word of woman. It defines the set of rules to be followed by the female counterparts of society at different age groups and at different parts of life like a daughter, wife, sister and a mother.

i) Vyashti Dharma

As we have read about the Nivriti and Pravriti in our previous blogs. Dharma is symptomatic in dual ways – Nivriti and Pravriti. Vyashti means all about one self. The set of laws and ethics are designed to incline the personal and spiritualegrowth of an individual.

j) Samayasti Dharma

Samyashti refers to the sake of society. Howerever, an individual has to work for the betterment and growth of the society as whole.

Although the concept of Rashtra dharma also comes under this head. Whereby, a citizen should always put the efforts to elevate the growth of Rashtra aka nation.

Conclusion

Thus, dharma link the current world to mythical universe, the concept extends to an ethical-social sense that links human beings to each other and to other life forms. We can manifest a better world and a better self, spiritually and ethically by following the dharma of Hinduism. Have a blessed time ahead.

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