HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "dharma"

Word

Dharma

Sanskrit

धर्म

IAST

dharma

In General

Dharma means righteousness and is one of the four Purushartha , the other three being Artha Kama and Moksha. Dharma denotes all the moral and religious principles that constitute the means to obtain fullness of life as Moksha

Dharma is the righteousness itself and it forms the basis of all the worldly and spiritual values. In the practical sense it is the rights, duty and law that constitute the custom and usages. In truth we can never do in life anything other than Dharma; each and every normal work and responsibility we undertake is brought under the Dharmic code. Dharmic codes help us to do all the necessary customary work and then the special work for particular occasions in the right way with added perfection. The Vedas and whole Hindu lore stand for dharma but in strict technical terms Smriti and Dharma Sutra are the texts for Dharmic rules.

Veda

The nature of the Vedic dharma is such that even the mundane affairs are inspired by the overwhelming religious spirit. Thus the worldly life and religious life are together integrated and harmonized.

Vedas use the word Rtam which means order or Dharma. The exact word dharma is not found in Samhita part of Vedas.

Purana

Apart from the Vedas other literatures like Purana, Itihasa also contribute for Hindhu Dharma with each has its own functional method. Puranas and Itihasa is meant to teach Dharma to the common man including the underprivileged and uneducated by stories of worthy life of great personalities. The moral stories told thus in Purana and itihasa has gone to the root of the society and they naturally got an unparalleled moral dictate over the masses. It is very common that every ordinary man while talking about Dharma always quote Rama or some other characters from Ramayana or similar texts

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