Dharma: A Path of Righteousness


Dharma is a Sanskrit word which simply is a path of righteousness. The classical meaning of Dharma is “ to hold, maintain, keep “.


According to the legends of Vedic Hinduism , the origin of Dharma came to exist from the oldest Vedic literature of Hinduism . The root of Dharma is “ Dhri “ which means “ to support, hold, or order “. It is believed that the gods created the universe and hold the earth and sun and stars apart and they support the sky distinct from the earth and keep the quaking mountains and plains in the earth. It is also believed that the gods, particularly the god Indra hold the order from disorder, maintaining the law and order that are believed to be the actions of Dharma .

“ O Indra, lead us on the path of Rta, on the right path over all evils “- Rigveda

In ancient myths as well as texts of Hinduism, Dharma meant cosmic law, rules which created the universe from the chaos. But in later Vedas, Puranas, and epics, the meaning of Dharma became more diversified, complex, and richer. Dharma holds important roles in the literature of Indian Religions and also holds the central figure in newly founded religion like Buddhism , Jainism. Dharma considered the behavior of human beings a necessity for the law and order of the Universe that encompasses duty, rights, religion .

Dharma in Hinduism

Dharma is believed to be originated from the ancient Hindu scriptures, Vedas , and texts. It is believed that Dharma is the foundation of all human goals which refers to obligations, conduct, as well as moral duties. It is described as the moral laws of the universe and without Dharma (law of being), things cannot exist. All human beings must accept and respect so that law and order can be sustained in the world.

“ 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. “

An ancient sage Manu prescribes 10 important rules for the observance of Dharma . They are patience, self-control, reason, forgiveness, sanctity, honesty, truthfulness, knowledge of learning, control of senses, and an absence of anger.

According to some texts of Hinduism , there exist three sources which help to discover Dharma in Hinduism . First source is to learn knowledge with the help from a teacher studying various Sanskrit literatures. Second is through observance of behavior of good and noble people. Third is when one follows his hearts and respect his own feeling.

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