Dharma has multiple meanings. Above are few examples.
Dharma ([dʱəɾmə]; Sanskrit: धर्म dharma, About this sound listen (help·info); Pali: धम्म dhamma) is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religions — Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. There is no single word translation for dharma in western languages.
In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviours that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible,[note 1] and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’. In Buddhism dharma means "cosmic law and order", but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for "phenomena".[note 2] Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of tirthankara (Jina) and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharm means the path of righteousness and proper religious practice.
The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which has a meaning of "to hold, maintain, keep".[note 3] The word "dharma" was already in use in the historical Vedic religion, and its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. The antonym of dharma is adharma.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Definition
- 3 History
- 4 Hinduism
- 5 Buddhism
- 6 Jainism
- 7 Sikhism
- 8 Dharma in symbols
- 9 Quotes
- 10 Notes
- 11 References
- 12 Books
- 13 External links
The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma is a derivation from the root dhṛ, which means "to hold, maintain, keep",[note 3] and takes a meaning of "what is established or firm", and hence "law". It is derived from an older Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman-, with a literal meaning of "bearer, supporter", in a religious sense conceived as an aspect of Rta.
In the Rigveda, the word appears as an n-stem, dhárman-, with a range of meanings encompassing "something established or firm" (in the literal sense of prods or poles). Figuratively, it means "sustainer" and "supporter" (of deities). It is semantically similar to the Greek Ethos ("fixed decree, statute, law"). In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic: dharma-.
The word dharma derives from Proto-Indo-European root *dʰer- ("to hold"), which in Sanskrit is reflected as class-1 root √dhṛ. Etymologically it is related to Avestan √dar- ("to hold"), Latin firmus ("steadfast, stable, powerful"), Lithuanian derė́ti ("to be suited, fit"), Lithuanian dermė ("agreement") and darna ("harmony") and Old Church Slavonic drъžati ("to hold, possess"). Classical Sanskrit word dharmas would formally match with Latin o-stem firmus from Proto-Indo-European *dʰer-mo-s "holding", were it not for its historical development from earlier Rigvedic n-stem.
In Classical Sanskrit, and in the Vedic Sanskrit of the Atharvaveda, the stem is thematic: dhárma- (Devanāgarī: धर्म). In Pāli, it is rendered dhamma. In some contemporary Indian languages and dialects it alternatively occurs as dharm.
Dharma is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. It has multiple meanings in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. It is difficult to provide a single concise definition for dharma, as the word has a long and varied history and straddles a complex set of meanings and interpretations. There is no equivalent single word translation for dharma in western languages.
There have been numerous, conflicting attempts to translate ancient Sanskrit literature with the word dharma into German, English and French. The concept, claims Paul Horsch, has caused exceptional difficulties for modern commentators and translators. For example, while Grassmann translation of Rig-veda identifies seven different meanings of dharma, Karl Friedrich Geldner in his translation of the Rig-veda employs 20 different translations for dharma, including meanings such as ‘law’, ‘order’, ‘duty’, ‘custom’, ‘quality’, ‘model’, among others.
Dharma root is "dhri", which means ‘to support, hold, or bear’. It is the thing that regulates the course of change by not participating in change, but that principle which remains constant. Monier-Williams, the widely cited resource for definitions and explanation of Sanskrit words and concepts of Hinduism, offers numerous definitions of the word dharma: such as that which is established or firm, steadfast decree, statute, law, practice, custom, duty, right, justice, virtue, morality, ethics, religion, religious merit, good works, nature, character, quality, property. Yet, each of these definitions is incomplete, while combination of these translations do not convey the total sense of the word. In common parlance, dharma means ‘right way of living’ and ‘path of rightness’.
The meaning of word “dharma” depends on the context, and its meaning evolved as ideas of Hinduism developed over its long history. In earliest texts and ancient myths of Hinduism, dharma meant cosmic law, the rules that created the universe from chaos, as well as rituals; In later Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and the Epics, the meaning became refined, richer, complex and the word dharma was applied to diverse contexts. In certain contexts, dharma designates human behaviours considered necessary for order of things in the universe, principles that prevent chaos, behaviours and action necessary to all life in nature, society, family as well as at the individual level.[note 1] Dharma encompasses ideas such as duty, rights, character, vocation, religion, customs and all behaviour considered appropriate, correct or morally upright.
The antonym of dharma is adharma (Sanskrit: अधर्म), meaning that which is “not dharma”. As with dharma, the word adharma includes and implies many ideas; in common parlance, adharma means that which is against nature, immoral, unethical, wrong or unlawful.
In Buddhism, dharma incorporates the teachings and doctrines of the founder of Buddhism, the Buddha.
According to the authoritative book History of Dharmasastra, in the hymns of the Rigveda the word Dharma appears at least fifty-six times, as an adjective or noun. According to Paul Horsch, the word Dharma has its origin in the myths of Vedic Hinduism. The Brahman (whom all the gods make up), claim the hymns of the Rig Veda, created the universe from chaos, they hold (dhar-) the earth and sun and stars apart, they support (dhar-) the sky away and distinct from earth, and they stabilise (dhar-) the quaking mountains and plains. The gods, mainly Indra, then deliver and hold order from disorder, harmony from chaos, stability from instability - actions recited in the Veda with the root of word dharma. In hymns composed after the mythological verses, the word dharma takes expanded meaning as a cosmic principle and appears in verses independent of gods. It evolves into a concept, claims Paul Horsch, that has a dynamic functional sense in Atharvaveda for example, where it becomes the cosmic law that links cause and effect through a subject. Dharma, in these ancient texts, also takes a ritual meaning. The ritual is connected to the cosmic, and ‘‘dharmani’’ is equated to ceremonial devotion to the principles that gods used to create order from disorder, the world from chaos. Past the ritual and cosmic sense of dharma that link the current world to mythical universe, the concept extends to ethical-social sense that links human beings to each other and to other life forms. It is here that dharma as a concept of law emerges in Hinduism.
Dharma and related words are found in the oldest Vedic literature of Hinduism, in later Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, and the Epics; the word dharma also plays a central role in the literature of other Indian religions founded later, such as Buddhism and Jainism. According to Brereton, Dharman occurs 63 times in Rig-veda; in addition, words related to Dharman also appear in Rig-veda, for example once as dharmakrt, 6 times as satyadharman, and once as dharmavant, 4 times as dharman and twice as dhariman. There is no Iranian equivalent in old Persian for Dharma, suggesting the word dharman had origins in Indo-Aryan culture outside of Persia, or it is a concept that is indigenous to India. However, ideas in parts overlapping to Dharma are found in other ancient cultures: such as Chinese Tao, Egyptian Maat, Sumerian Me.
Eusebeia and dharma
In mid 20th century, an inscription of the Indian Emperor Asoka from the year 258 BC was discovered in Afghanistan. This rock inscription contained Sanskrit, Aramaic and Greek text. According to Paul Hacker, on the rock appears a Greek rendering for the Sanskrit word dharma: the word eusebeia. Scholars of Hellenistic Greece explain eusebeia as a complex concept. Eusebia means not only to venerate gods, but also spiritual maturity, a reverential attitude toward life, and includes the right conduct toward one’s parents, siblings and children, the right conduct between husband and wife, and the conduct between biologically unrelated people. This rock inscription, concludes Paul Hacker, suggests dharma in India, about 2300 years ago, was a central concept and meant not only religious ideas, but ideas of right, of good, of one’s duty toward the human community.
Rta, Maya and Dharma
The evolving literature of Hinduism linked Dharma to two other important concepts: Ṛta and Māyā. Ṛta in Vedas is the truth and cosmic principle which regulates and coordinates the operation of the universe and everything within it. Māyā in Rig-veda and later literature means illusion, fraud, deception, magic that misleads and creates disorder, thus is contrary to reality, laws and rules that establish order, predictability and harmony. Paul Horsch suggests Ṛta and Dharma are parallel concepts, the former being a cosmic principle, the latter being of moral social sphere; while Māyā and Dharma are also analogous concepts, the former being that which corrupts law and moral life, the later being that which strengthens law and moral life.
Day proposes Dharma is a manifestation of Ṛta, but suggests Ṛta may have been subsumed into a more complex concept of Dharma, as the idea developed in ancient India over time in a nonlinear manner. The following verse from the Rigveda is an example where rta and dharma are linked:
O Indra, lead us on the path of Rta, on the right path over all evils— RV 10.133.6
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Dharma in Hinduism, is an organising principle that applies to human beings in solitude, in their interaction with human beings and nature, as well as between inanimate objects, to all of cosmos and its parts. It refers to the order and customs which make life and universe possible, and includes behaviours, rituals, rules that govern society, and ethics.[note 1] Hindu dharma includes the religious duties, moral rights and duties of each individual, as well as behaviours that enable social order, right conduct, and those that are virtuous. Dharma, according to Van Buitenen, is that which all existing beings must accept and respect to sustain harmony and order in the world. It is neither the act nor the result, but the natural laws that guide the act and create the result to prevent chaos in the world. It is innate characteristic, that makes the being what it is. It is, claims Van Buitenen, the pursuit and execution of one’s nature and true calling, thus playing one’s role in cosmic concert. In Hinduism, it is the dharma of the bee to make honey, of cow to give milk, of sun to radiate sunshine, of river to flow. In terms of humanity, dharma is the need for, the effect of and essence of service and interconnectedness of all life.
Dharma in Vedas and Upanishads
The history section of this article discusses the development of dharma concept in Vedas. This development continued in the Upanishads and later ancient scripts of Hinduism. In Upanishads, the concept of dharma continues as universal principle of law, order, harmony, and truth. It acts as the regulatory moral principle of the Universe. It is explained as law of righteousness and equated to satya (Sanskrit: सत्यं, truth), in hymn 1.4.14 of Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, as follows:
धर्मः तस्माद्धर्मात् परं नास्त्य् अथो अबलीयान् बलीयाँसमाशँसते धर्मेण यथा राज्ञैवम् ।
यो वै स धर्मः सत्यं वै तत् तस्मात्सत्यं वदन्तमाहुर् धर्मं वदतीति धर्मं वा वदन्तँ सत्यं वदतीत्य् एतद्ध्येवैतदुभयं भवति ।।
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 in the Epics
In the Second Book of Ramayana, for example, a peasant asks the King to do what dharma morally requires of him, the King agrees and does so even though his compliance with the law of dharma costs him dearly. Similarly, dharma is at the centre of all major events in the life of Rama, Sita, and Lakshman in Ramayana, claims Daniel Ingall. Each episode of Ramayana presents life situations and ethical questions in symbolic terms. The issue is debated by the characters, finally the right prevails over wrong, the good over evil. For this reason, in Hindu Epics, the good, morally upright, law-abiding king is referred to ‘‘dharmaraja’’.
In Mahabharata, the other major Indian epic, similarly, dharma is central, and it is presented with symbolism and metaphors. Near the end of the epic, the god Yama, referred to as Dharma in the text, is portrayed as taking the form of a dog to test the compassion of Yudishthira, who is told he may not enter paradise with such an animal, but refuses to abandon his companion, for which decision he is then praised by Dharma. The value and appeal of the Mahabharata is not as much in its complex and rushed presentation of metaphysics in the 12th book, claims Ingall, because Indian metaphysics is more eloquently presented in other Sanskrit scriptures; the appeal of Mahabharata, like Ramayana, is in its presentation of a series of moral problems and life situations, to which there are usually three answers given, according to Ingall: one answer is of Bhima, which is the answer of brute force, an individual angle representing materialism, egoism, and self; the second answer is of Yudhishthira, which is always an appeal to piety and gods, of social virtue and of tradition; the third answer is of introspective Arjuna, which falls between the two extremes, and who, claims Ingall, symbolically reveals the finest moral qualities of man. The Epics of Hinduism are a symbolic treatise about life, virtues, customs, morals, ethics, law, and other aspects of Dharma. There is extensive discussion of Dharma at the individual level in the Epics of Hinduism, observes Ingall; for example, on free will versus destiny, when and why human beings believe in either, ultimately concluding that the strong and prosperous naturally uphold free will, while those facing grief or frustration naturally lean towards destiny. The Epics of Hinduism illustrate various aspects of Dharma, they are a means of communicating Dharma with metaphors.
Dharma according to 4th century Vatsyayana
According to Klaus Klostermaier, 4th century Hindu scholar Vātsyāyana explained dharma by contrasting it with adharma. Vātsyāyana suggested that Dharma is not merely in one’s actions, but also in words one speaks or writes, and in thought. According to Vātsyāyana:
- Adharma of body: hinsa (violence), steya (steal, theft), pratisiddha maithuna (sexual indulgence with someone other than one’s partner)
- Dharma of body: dana (charity), paritrana (succor of the distressed) and paricarana (rendering service to others)
- Adharma from words one speaks or writes: mithya (falsehood), parusa (caustic talk), sucana (calumny) and asambaddha (absurd talk)
- Dharma from words one speaks or writes: satya (truth and facts), hitavacana (talking with good intention), priyavacana (gentle, kind talk), svadhyaya (self study)
- Adharma of mind: paradroha (ill will to anyone), paradravyabhipsa (covetousness), nastikya (denial of the existence of morals and religiosity)
- Dharma of mind: daya (compassion), asprha (disinterestedness), and sraddha (faith in others)
Dharma according to Patanjali Yoga
In the Yoga system the dharma is real ; in the Vedanta it is unreal.
Dharma is part of yoga, suggests Patanjali; the elements of Hindu Dharma are the attributes, qualities and aspects of yoga. Patanjali explained dharma in two categories: yama (restraints) and niyama (observances).
The five yama, according to Patanjali, are: abstain from injury to all living creatures (ahimsa), abstain from falsehood (satya), abstain from unauthorised appropriation of things-of-value from another (acastrapurvaka), abstain from coveting or sexually cheating on your partner, and abstain from expecting or accepting gifts from others. The five yama apply in action, speech and mind. In explaining yama, Patanjali clarifies that certain professions and situations may require qualification in conduct. For example, a fisherman must injure a fish, but he must attempt to do this with least trauma to fish and the fisherman must try to injure no other creature as he fishes.
The five niyama (observances) are cleanliness by eating pure food and removing impure thoughts (such as arrogance or jealousy or pride), contentment in one’s means, meditation and silent reflection regardless of circumstances one faces, study and pursuit of historic knowledge, and devotion of all actions to the Supreme Teacher to achieve perfection of concentration.
Sources of Dharma
Dharma and Adharma do not go around saying, ‘‘That is us.’’ Neither do gods, nor gandharvas, nor ancestors declare what is Dharma and what is Adharma.— Apastamba Dharmasutra
In other texts, three sources and means to discover Dharma in Hinduism are described. These, according to Paul Hacker, are: First, learning historical knowledge such as Vedas, Upanishads, the Epics and other Sanskrit literature with the help of one’s teacher. Second, observing the behavior and example of good people. The third source applies when neither one’s education nor example exemplary conduct is known. In this case, ‘‘atmatusti’’ is the source of dharma in Hinduism, that is the good person reflects and follows what satisfies his heart, his own inner feeling, what he feels driven to.
Some texts of Hinduism outline Dharma for society and at the individual level. Of these, the most cited one is Manusmriti, which describes the four Varnas, their rights and duties. Most texts of Hinduism, however, discuss Dharma with no mention of Varna (caste). Other Dharma texts and Smritis differ from Manusmriti on the nature and structure of Varnas. Yet, other texts question the very existence of varna. Bhrigu, in the Epics, for example, presents the theory that dharma does not require any varnas. In practice, medieval India is widely believed to be a socially stratified society, with each social strata inheriting a profession and being endogamous. Varna was not absolute in Hindu Dharma; individuals had the right to renounce and leave their Varna, as well as their asramas of life, in search of moksa. While neither Manusmriti nor succeeding Smritis of Hinduism ever use the word varnadharma (that is, the dharma of varnas), or varnasramadharma (that is, the dharma of varnas and asramas), the scholarly commentary on Manusmriti use these words, and thus associate dharma with varna system of India. In 6th century India, even Buddhist kings called themselves ‘protectors of varnasramadharma’ - that is, dharma of varna and asramas of life.
At the individual level, some texts of Hinduism outline four āśramas, or stages of life as individual’s dharma. These are: (1) brahmacārya, the life of preparation as a student, (2) gṛhastha, the life of the householder with family and other social roles, (3) vānprastha or aranyaka, the life of the forest-dweller, transitioning from worldly occupations to reflection and renunciation, and (4) sannyāsa, the life of giving away all property, becoming a recluse and devotion to moksa, spiritual matters.
The four stages of life complete the four human strivings in life, according to Hinduism. Dharma enables the individual to satisfy the striving for stability and order, a life that is lawful and harmonious, the striving to do the right thing, be good, be virtuous, earn religious merit, be helpful to others, interact successfully with society. The other three strivings are Artha - the striving for means of life such as food, shelter, power, security, material wealth, etc.; Kama - the striving for sex, desire, pleasure, love, emotional fulfillment, etc.; and Moksa - the striving for spiritual meaning, liberation from life-rebirth cycle, self-realisation in this life, etc. The four stages are neither independent nor exclusionary in Hindu Dharma.
Dharma and poverty
Dharma while being necessary for individual and society, is dependent on poverty and prosperity in a society, according to Hindu Dharma scriptures. For example, according to Adam Bowles, Shatapatha Brahmana 18.104.22.168 links social prosperity and Dharma through water. Waters come from rains, it claims; when rains are abundant there is prosperity on the earth, and this prosperity enables people to follow Dharma - moral and lawful life. In times of distress, of drought, of poverty, everything suffers including relations between human beings and the human ability to live according to Dharma.
In Rajadharmaparvan 91.34-8, the relationship between poverty and dharma reaches a full circle. A land with less moral and lawful life suffers distress, and as distress rises it causes more immoral and unlawful life, which further increases distress. Those in power must follow the raja dharma (that is, dharma of rulers), because this enables the society and the individual to follow dharma and achieve prosperity.
Dharma and law
The notion of Dharma as duty or propriety is found in India's ancient legal and religious texts. In Hindu philosophy, justice, social harmony, and happiness requires that people live per dharma. The Dharmashastra is a record of these guidelines and rules. The available evidence suggest India once had a large collection of dharma related literature (sutras, shastras); four of the sutras survive and these are now referred to as Dharmasutras. Along with laws of Manu in Dharmasutras, exist parallel and different compendium of laws, such as the laws of Narada and other ancient scholars. These different and conflicting law books are neither exclusive, nor do they supersede other sources of Dharma in Hinduism. These Dharmasutras include instructions on education of the young, their rites of passage, customs, religious rites and rituals, marital rights and obligations, death and ancestral rites, laws and administration of justice, crimes, punishments, rules and types of evidence, duties of a king, as well as morality.
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In Buddhism dharma means cosmic law and order, but is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha. In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for "phenomena": In East Asia, the translation for dharma is 法, pronounced fǎ in Mandarin, choe ཆོས་ in Tibetan, beop in Korean, hō in Japanese, and pháp in Vietnamese. However, the term dharma can also be transliterated from its original form.
For practicing Buddhists, references to "dharma" (dhamma in Pali) particularly as "the Dharma", generally means the teachings of the Buddha, commonly known throughout the East as Buddha-Dharma. It includes especially the discourses on the fundamental principles (such as the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path), as opposed to the parables and to the poems.
The status of Dharma is regarded variably by different Buddhist traditions. Some regard it as an ultimate truth, or as the fount of all things which lies beyond the "three realms" (Sanskrit: tridhatu) and the "wheel of becoming" (Sanskrit: bhavacakra), somewhat like the pagan Greek and Christian logos: this is known as Dharmakaya (Sanskrit). Others, who regard the Buddha as simply an enlightened human being, see the Dharma as the essence of the "84,000 different aspects of the teaching" (Tibetan: chos-sgo brgyad-khri bzhi strong) that the Buddha gave to various types of people, based upon their individual propensities and capabilities.
Dharma refers not only to the sayings of the Buddha, but also to the later traditions of interpretation and addition that the various schools of Buddhism have developed to help explain and to expand upon the Buddha's teachings. For others still, they see the Dharma as referring to the "truth," or the ultimate reality of "the way that things really are" (Tib. Cho).
The Dharma is one of the Three Jewels of Buddhism in which practitioners of Buddhism seek refuge, or that upon which one relies for his or her lasting happiness. The Three Jewels of Buddhism are the Buddha, meaning the mind's perfection of enlightenment, the Dharma, meaning the teachings and the methods of the Buddha, and the Sangha, meaning the monastic community who provide guidance and support to followers of the Buddha.
East Asian Buddhism
The word Dharma in Jainism is found in all its key texts. It has a contextual meaning and refers to a number of ideas. In the broadest sense, it means the teachings of the Jinas, or teachings of any competing spiritual school, a supreme path, socio-religious duty, and that which is the highest mangala (holy).
The term dharma also has a specific ontological and soteriological meaning in Jainism, as a part of its theory of six dravya (substance or a reality). In the Jain tradition, existence consists of jiva (soul, atman) and ajiva (non-soul), the latter consisting of five categories: inert non-sentient atomic matter (pudgala), space (akasha), time (kala), principle of motion (dharma), and principle of rest (adharma). The use of the term dharma to mean motion and to refer to an ontological sub-category is peculiar to Jainism, and not found in the metaphysics of Buddhism and various schools of Hinduism.
The major Jain text, Tattvartha Sutra mentions Das-dharma with the meaning of "ten righteous virtues". These are forbearance, modesty, straightforwardness, purity, truthfulness, self-restraint, austerity, renunciation, non-attachment, and celibacy. Acārya Amṛtacandra, author of the Jain text, Puruṣārthasiddhyupāya writes:
A right believer should constantly meditate on virtues of dharma, like supreme modesty, in order to protect the soul from all contrary dispositions. He should also cover up the shortcomings of others.— Puruṣārthasiddhyupāya (27)
For Sikhs, the word Dharm means the path of righteousness and proper religious practice. Sikh Dharma is a distinct religion revealed through the teachings of ten Gurus who are accepted by the followers as if they were spiritually the same. In Sikhism, God is described as both Nirgun (transcendent) and Sargun (immanent). Guru Granth Sahib in hymn 1353 connotes dharma as duty. The 3HO movement in Western culture, which has incorporated certain Sikh beliefs, defines Sikh Dharma broadly as all that constitutes religion, moral duty and way of life.
Dharma in symbols
The importance of dharma to Indian sentiments is illustrated by India’s decision in 1947 to include the Ashoka Chakra, a depiction of the dharmachakra ( the "wheel of dharma"), as the central motif on its flag.
- At no time in early and medieval India was there an absolute, thoughtless acceptance of tradition, even by different followers of a single tradition... Nor are grammatical, exegetical or logical systems made solely as maidservants to Vedic tradition. 
- Beloved-of-the-Gods, King Piyadasi, does not consider glory and fame to be of great account unless they are achieved through having my subjects respect Dhamma and practice Dhamma, both now and in the future.
- Dhamma is good, but what constitutes Dhamma? (It includes) little evil, much good, kindness, generosity, truthfulness and purity.
- Ashoka, in Edicts of Ashoka (c. 257 BC)
- This progress among the people through Dhamma has been done by two means, by Dhamma regulations and by persuasion. Of these, Dhamma regulation is of little effect, while persuasion has much more effect. The Dhamma regulations I have given are that various animals must be protected. And I have given many other Dhamma regulations also. But it is by persuasion that progress among the people through Dhamma has had a greater effect in respect of harmlessness to living beings and non-killing of living beings.
- Ashoka, in Edicts of Ashoka (c. 257 BC)
- It has been said that democracy is based on the rights of man; it has been replied that it should rather take its stand on the duties of man; but both rights and duties are European ideas. Dharma is the Indian conception in which rights and duties lose the artificial antagonism created by a view of the world which makes selfishness the root of action, and regain their deep and eternal unity. Dharma is the basis of democracy which Asia must recognise, for in this lies the distinction between the soul of Asia and the soul of Europe.
- Once Soma, having returned from her alms round
- and having eaten her meal, entered the woods to meditate.
- Deep in the woods, she sat down under a tree.
- The tempter Mara, desirous and capable of arousing fear, wavering and dread,
- and wishing her to interrupt her focused meditation, came to her and said,
- Your intent is difficult, even for the sages;
- Completion cannot be reached by a woman regardless the wisdom reaped."
- Then Soma thought, "Who is this speaking, human or nonhuman?
- Surely it is evil Mara desiring to interrupt my focused meditation."
- Knowing that it was Mara, she said,
- "What does gender matter with regard to a well-composed mind,
- which experiences insight in the light of the dharma?"
- The evil Mara thought, "Soma knows me"
- and sorrowful for the evil, instantly vanished into darkness.
- Gautama Buddha Soma and Mara An adapation of a translation by C.A.F. Rhys-Davids
- Where dharma prevails, there will be the rule of law and justice, and the king who follows the path of dharma is known as 'dharma raja'. Even the Machiavellian Arthashastra teaches the ideal king to "establish the rule of Dharma by commands and directives, and discipline among the people by the extension of education." The most powerful ruler or his minister could not place himself above Dharma — his subjects would immediately know his violations and chastise him.
- Gurcharan Das, The Difficulty of Being Good : On the Subtle Art of Dharma (2010), p. 58
- धर्मो रक्षति रक्षितः
- Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah
- Dharma protected protects
- Manusmṛti, Ch. 8, verse 15
- Variant translation: Dharma protects those who protect Dharma.
- Dharma protected protects
- Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah
- To me, Dharma had always been a matter of moral norms, external rules and regulations, do's and don'ts, enforced on life by an act of will. Now I was made to see Dharma as a multi dimensional movement of man's inner law of being, his psychic evolution, his spiritual growth, and his spontaneous building of an outer life for himself and the community in which he lived.
- Sita Ram Goel How I became a Hindu (1982)
- One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one's self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Yielding to desire and acting differently, one becomes guilty of adharma.
- Do not spend your life committing sinful deeds;
It is good for you to practice holy Dharma.
- Milarepa, in "Song to the Hunter" as translated in The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa: The Life-Story and Teaching of the Greatest Poet-Saint Ever to Appear in the History of Buddhism (1999) edited by Garma C. C. Chang
- No language is perfect. There is no proper equivalent word in English for the Sanskrit term Dharma.
Dharma is generally defined as righteousness or duty. Dharma is the principle of righteousness. It is the principle of holiness. It is also the principle of Unity. … If you protect it, it will protect you. It is your sole companion after death. It is the sole refuge of humanity.
That which elevates one is Dharma. This is another definition. Dharma is that which leads you to the path of perfection and glory. Self-realisation is the highest Dharma. Dharma is the heart of Hindu ethics.
- Swami Sivananda, as quoted in All about Hinduism (1977) by the Divine Life Society, p. 51
- The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions: "In Hinduism, dharma is a fundamental concept, referring to the order and custom which make life and a universe possible, and thus to the behaviours appropriate to the maintenance of that order."
- David Kalupahana: "The old Indian term dharma was retained by the Buddha to refer to phenomena or things. However, he was always careful to define this dharma as "dependently arisen phenomena" (paticca-samuppanna-dhamma) ... In order to distinguish this notion of dhamma from the Indian conception where the term dharma meant reality (atman), in an ontological sense, the Buddha utilised the conception of result or consequence or fruit (attha, Sk. artha) to bring out the pragmatic meaning of dhamma."
- Monier Williams, A Sanskrit Dictionary (1899): "to hold , bear (also bring forth) , carry , maintain , preserve, keep , possess , have , use , employ , practise , undergo"
- Gavin Flood (1994), Hinduism, in Jean Holm, John Bowker (Editors) - Rites of Passages, ISBN 1-85567-102-6, Chapter 3; Quote - "Rites of passage are dharma in action."; "Rites of passage, a category of rituals,..."
- David Frawley (2009), Yoga and Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization, ISBN 978-0-9149-5581-8; Quote: "Yoga is a dharmic approach to the spiritual life...";
- Mark Harvey (1986), The Secular as Sacred?, Modern Asian Studies, 20(2), pp 321-331
- see below:
- J. A. B. van Buitenen (1957), Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, 7(1/2), pp 33-40;
- James Fitzgerald (2004), Dharma and its Translation in the Mahābhārata, Journal of Indian philosophy, 32(5), pp 671-685; Quote - "virtues enter the general topic of dharma as 'common, or general, dharma,'..."
- Bernard S. Jackson (1975), From dharma to law, The American Journal of Comparative Law, Vol. 23, No. 3 (Summer, 1975), pp. 490-512
- Harold Coward (2004), Hindu bioethics for the twenty-first century, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 291(22), pp 2759-2760; Quote - "Hindu stages of life approach (ashrama dharma)..."
- Austin Creel (1975), The Reexamination of Dharma in Hindu Ethics, Philosophy East and West, 25(2), pp 161-173; Quote - "Dharma pointed to duty, and specified duties..";
- Gisela Trommsdorff (2012), Development of “agentic” regulation in cultural context: the role of self and world views, Child Development Perspectives, 6(1), pp 19-26.; Quote - "Neglect of one's duties (dharma — sacred duties toward oneself, the family, the community, and humanity) is seen as an indicator of immaturity."
- Dharma, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. (2013), Columbia University Press, Gale, ISBN 978-0787650155;
- Steven Rosen (2006), Essential Hinduism, Praeger, ISBN 0-275-99006-0, Chapter 3
- "Dharma". ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA. Retrieved 2016-08-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Ludo Rocher (2003), The Dharmasastra, Chapter 4, in Gavin Flood (Editor), The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism, ISBN 978-0631215356
- Alban G. Widgery, The Principles of Hindu Ethics, International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Jan., 1930), pp. 232-245
- The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions, Dharma
- David Kalupahana. The Philosophy of the Middle Way. SUNY Press, 1986, pages 15–16
- Robin Rinehart (2014), in Pashaura Singh, Louis E. Fenech (Editors), The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies, ISBN 978-0199699308, Oxford University Press, pp. 138-139
- English translated version by Jarrod Whitaker (2004): Paul Horsch - From Creation Myth to World Law: the Early History of Dharma, Journal of Indian Philosophy, December 2004, Volume 32, Issue 5-6, pp 423-448; Original peer reviewed publication in German: Paul Horsch, ‘Vom Schoepfungsmythos zum Weltgesetz’, in Asiatische Studien: Zeitschrift der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft für Asiankunde, Volume 21 (Francke: 1967), pp 31–61;
- English translated version by Donald R. Davis (2006): Paul Hacker - Dharma in Hinduism, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 479–496; Original peer reviewed publication in German: Paul Hacker, “Dharma im Hinduismus” in Zeitschrift für Missionswissenschaft und Religionswissenschaft 49 (1965): pp 93–106
- Monier Willams
- Day 1982, p. 42-45.
- Brereton, Joel P. (December 2004). "Dhárman In The Rgveda". Journal of Indian Philosophy. 32 (5–6): 449–489. doi:10.1007/s10781-004-8631-8. ISSN 0022-1791.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Rix, Helmut, ed. (2001). Lexikon der indogermanischen Verben (in German) (2nd ed.). Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag. p. 145.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Karl Brugmann, Elements of the Comparative Grammar of the Indo-Germanic languages, Volume III, B. Westermann & Co., New York, 1892, p. 100
- Dhand, Arti (17 December 2002). "The Dharma of Ethics, the Ethics of Dharma: Quizzing the Ideals of Hinduism". Journal of Religious Ethics. 30 (3): 351. doi:10.1111/1467-9795.00113. ISSN 1467-9795.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- J. A. B. Van Buitenen, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Volume 7, Number 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), page 36
- Paul Horsch - From Creation Myth to World Law: the Early History of Dharma, Journal of Indian Philosophy, December 2004, Volume 32, Issue 5-6, pp 423-448
- Hermann Grassmann, Worterbuch zum Rig-veda (German Edition), Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120816367
- Steven Rosen (2006), Essential Hinduism, Praeger, ISBN 0-275-99006-0, page 34-45
- Dharma Monier Monier-Williams, Monier Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary (2008 revision), pp 543-544;
- Carl Cappeller (1999), Monier-Williams: A Sanskrit-English Dictionary, Etymological and Philologically Arranged with Special Reference to Cognate Indo-European Languages, Asian Educational Services, ISBN 978-8120603691, pp 510-512
- "...the order and custom which make life and a universe possible, and thus to the behaviours appropriate to the maintenance of that order." citation in The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions
- Britannica Concise Encyclopedia 2007
- Albrecht Wezler, Dharma in the Veda and the Dharmaśāstras, Journal of Indian Philosophy, December 2004, Volume 32, Issue 5-6, pp 629-654
- Johannes Heesterman (1978). ‘Veda and Dharma’, in W.D.O’ Flaherty (Ed.), The Concept of Duty in South Asia, New Delhi: Vikas, ISBN 978-0728600324, pp 80-95
- K.L. Seshagiri Rao (1997), Practitioners of Hindu Law: Ancient and Modern, Fordham Law Review, Volume 66, pp 1185-1199
- Gavin Flood (1998), Making moral decisions, in Paul Bowen (Editor), Themes and issues in Hinduism, ISBN 978-0304338511, Chapter 2, pp 30-54 and pp 151-152;
- Coward, H. (2004), Hindu bioethics for the twenty-first century, JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 291(22), pp 2759-2760;
- J. A. B. Van Buitenen, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Volume 7, Number 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), page 37
- RgVeda 6.70.1, 8.41.10, 10.44.8, for secondary source see Karl Friedrich Geldner, Der Rigveda in Auswahl (2 vols.), Stuttgart; and Harvard Oriental Series, 33-36, Bd.1-3: 1951
- Paul Horsch - From Creation Myth to World Law: the Early History of Dharma, Journal of Indian Philosophy, December 2004, Volume 32, Issue 5-6, pp 430-431
- P. Thieme, Gedichte aus dem Rig-Veda, Reclam Universal-Bibliothek Nr. 8930, pp. 52
- Paul Horsch - From Creation Myth to World Law: the Early History of Dharma, Journal of Indian Philosophy, December 2004, Volume 32, Issue 5-6, pp 430-432
- Joel Brereton (2004), Dharman in the RgVeda, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 32, pp 449-489
- Paul Hacker (1965), Dharma in Hinduism, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 479–496 (English translated version by Donald R. Davis (2006))
- Etienne Lamotte, Bibliotheque du Museon 43, Louvain, 1958, pp. 249
- Barbara Holdrege (2004), "Dharma" in: Mittal & Thursby (Editors) The Hindu World, New York: Routledge, ISBN 0-415-21527-7, pp. 213–248
- Koller, J. M. (1972), Dharma: an expression of universal order. Philosophy East and West, 22(2), pp 136-142
- Māyā Monier-Williams Sanskrit English Dictionary, ISBN 978-8120603691
- Northrop, F. S. C. (1949), Naturalistic and cultural foundations for a more effective international law, Yale Law Journal, 59, pp 1430-1441
- Day 1982, p. 42-44.
- Dharma, The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th Ed. (2013), Columbia University Press, Gale, ISBN 978-0787650155
- J. A. B. Van Buitenen, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp 33-40
- Charles Johnston, The Mukhya Upanishads: Books of Hidden Wisdom, Kshetra, ISBN 978-1495946530, page 481, for discussion: pages 478-505
- Paul Horsch (Translated by Jarrod Whitaker), From Creation Myth to World Law: The early history of Dharma, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Vol 32, pages 423–448, (2004)
- Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp. 43
- Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp. 41-48
- The Mahābhārata: Book 11: The Book of the Women; Book 12: The Book of Peace, Part 1 By Johannes Adrianus Bernardus Buitenen, James L. Fitzgerald p.124
- "The Mahabharata, Book 17: Mahaprasthanika Parva: Section 3".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- There is considerable amount of literature on dharma-related discussion in Hindu Epics: of Egoism versus Altruism, Individualism versus Social Virtues and Tradition; for examples, see:
- Johann Jakob Meyer (1989), Sexual life in ancient India, ISBN 8120806387, Motilal Banarsidass, pp. 92-93; Quote - “In Indian literature, especially in Mahabharata over and over again is heard the energetic cry - Each is alone. None belongs to anyone else, we are all but strangers to strangers; (...), none knows the other, the self belongs only to self. Man is born alone, alone he lives, alone he dies, alone he tastes the fruit of his deeds and his ways, it is only his work that bears him company. (...) Our body and spiritual organism is ever changing; what belongs, then, to us? (...) Thus, too, there is really no teacher or leader for anyone, each is his own Guru, and must go along the road to happiness alone. Only the self is the friend of man, only the self is the foe of man; from others nothing comes to him. Therefore what must be done is to honor, to assert one’s self...”; Quote - “(in parts of the epic), the most thoroughgoing egoism and individualism is stressed...”
- Raymond F. Piper (1954), In Support of Altruism in Hinduism, Journal of Bible and Religion, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Jul., 1954), pp. 178-183
- J Ganeri (2010), A Return to the Self: Indians and Greeks on Life as Art and Philosophical Therapy, Royal Institute of Philosophy supplement, 85(66), pp. 119-135
- Daniel H. H. Ingalls, Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 7, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp. 44-45; Quote - “(...)In the Epic, free will has the upper hand. Only when a man’s effort is frustrated or when he is overcome with grief does he become a predestinarian (believer in destiny).”; quote - “This association of success with the doctrine of free will or human effort (purusakara) was felt so clearly that among the ways of bringing about a king’s downfall is given the following simple advice: “Belittle free will to him, and emphasise destiny.” (Mahabharata 12.106.20)
- Huston Smith, The World Religions, ISBN 978-0061660184, HarperOne (2009); For summary notes: Background to Hindu Literature
- Klaus Klostermaier, A survey of Hinduism,, SUNY Press, ISBN 0-88706-807-3, Chapter 3: Hindu dharma
- Jha, Nyayasutras with Vatsyayana Bhasya, 2 vols, Oriental Books (1939)
- The yoga-system of Patanjali The ancient Hindu doctrine of concentration of mind, embracing the mnemonic rules, called Yoga-sutras, James Haughton Woods (1914), Harvard University Press
- The yoga-system of Patanjali Yoga-sutras, James Haughton Woods (1914), Harvard University Press, pp 178-180
- The yoga-system of Patanjali Yoga-sutras, James Haughton Woods (1914), Harvard University Press, pp 180-181
- The yoga-system of Patanjali Yoga-sutras, James Haughton Woods (1914), Harvard University Press, pp 181-191
- Kumarila, Tantravarttika, Anandasramasamskrtagranthavalih, Vol. 97, p.204-205; For an English Translation, see Jha (1924), Bibliotheca Indica, Vol. 161, Vol. 1
- Patrick Olivelle, Dharmasūtras: The Law Codes of Ancient India, (Oxford World Classics, 1999)
- Paul Hacker (1965), Dharma in Hinduism, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 487–489 (English translated version by Donald R. Davis (2006))
- Alf Hiltebeitel (2011), Dharma: Its Early History in Law, Religion, and Narrative, ISBN 978-0195394238, Oxford University Press, pp 215-227
- Thapar, R. (1995), The first millennium BC in northern India, Recent perspectives of early Indian history, 80-141
- Thomas R. Trautmann (1964), On the Translation of the Term Varna, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 7, No. 2 (Jul., 1964), pp. 196-201
- J. A. B. Van Buitenen (1957), Dharma and Moksa, Philosophy East and West, Volume 7, Number 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1957), pp 38-39
- Koller, J. M. (1972), Dharma: an expression of universal order. Philosophy East and West, 22(2), pp 131-144
- Kane, P.V. (1962), History of Dharmasastra (Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law in India), Volume 1, pp 2-10
- Olivelle, P. (1993), The Asrama System: The history and hermeneutics of a religious institution, New York: Oxford University Press
- Alban G. Widgery, The Principles of Hindu Ethics, International Journal of Ethics, Vol. 40, No. 2 (Jan., 1930), pp. 232-245
- Koller, J. M. (1972), Dharma: an expression of universal order. Philosophy East and West, 22(2), pp 131-144;
- Karl H. Potter (1958), Dharma and Mokṣa from a Conversational Point of View, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 8, No. 1/2 (Apr. - Jul., 1958), pp. 49-63;
- William F. Goodwin, Ethics and Value in Indian Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 4, No. 4 (Jan., 1955), pp. 321-344
- Adam Bowles (2007), Dharma, Disorder, and the Political in Ancient India, Brill's Indological Library (Book 28), ISBN 978-9004158153, Chapter 3
- Derrett, J. D. M. (1959), Bhu-bharana, bhu-palana, bhu-bhojana: an Indian conundrum, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 22, pp 108-123
- Jan Gonda, Ancient Indian Kingship from the Religious Point of View, Numen, Vol. 3, Issue 1 (Jan., 1956), pp. 36-71
- Gächter, Othmar (1998). "Anthropos". Anthropos institute.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Patrick Olivelle (1999), The Dharmasutras: The law codes of ancient India, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-283882-2
- Donald Davis, Jr., A Realist View of Hindu Law, Ratio Juris. Vol. 19 No. 3 September 2006, pp 287–313
- Lariviere, Richard W. (2003), The Naradasmrti, Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass
- John E. Cort (2001). Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India. Oxford University Press. p. 100. ISBN 978-0-19-803037-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Peter B. Clarke; Peter Beyer (2009). The World's Religions: Continuities and Transformations. Taylor & Francis. p. 325. ISBN 978-1-135-21100-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Torkel Brekke (2002). Makers of Modern Indian Religion in the Late Nineteenth Century. Oxford University Press. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-19-925236-7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- John E. Cort (2001). Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India. Oxford University Press. pp. 192–194. ISBN 978-0-19-803037-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- John E. Cort (1998). Open Boundaries: Jain Communities and Cultures in Indian History. State University of New York Press. pp. 10–11. ISBN 978-0-7914-3786-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Paul Dundas (2003). The Jains (2 ed.). Routledge. pp. 93–95. ISBN 978-0415266055.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Jain 2011, p. 128.
- Jain 2012, p. 22.
- W. Owen Cole (2014), in Pashaura Singh, Louis E. Fenech (Editors), The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies, ISBN 978-0199699308, Oxford University Press, pp. 254
- Verne Dusenbery (2014), in Pashaura Singh and Louis E. Fenech (Editors), The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies, ISBN 978-0199699308, Oxford University Press, pp. 560-568
- Narula, S. (2006), International Journal of Constitutional Law, 4(4), pp 741-751
- George Cardona, Tradition and argumentation: tensions among some eraly thiners and their backgrounds, 2003.
- Sanatana Dharma: an advanced text book of Hindu religion and Ethics. Central Hindu College, Benaras. 1904.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Day, Terence P. (1982), The Conception of Punishment in Early Indian Literature, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, ISBN 0-919812-15-5<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Murthy, K. Krishna. "Dharma – Its Etymology." The Tibet Journal, Vol. XXI, No. 1, Spring 1966, pp. 84–87.
- Olivelle, Patrick (2009). Dharma: Studies in Its Semantic, Cultural and Religious History. Delhi: MLBD. ISBN 978-8120833388.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
- Jain, Vijay K. (2012), Acharya Amritchandra's Purushartha Siddhyupaya, Vikalp Printers, ISBN 81-903639-4-8,
- Jain, Vijay K. (2011), Acharya Umasvami's Tattvārthsūtra, Vikalp Printers, ISBN 978-81-903639-2-1,
- Rajiv Malhotra (2011), Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (Publisher: HarperCollins India; ISBN 978-9-350-29190-0)
- Rajiv Malhotra (2014), Indra's Net: Defending Hinduism's Philosophical Unity (Publisher: HarperCollins India; ISBN 978-9-351-36244-9)
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