सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Dharma literature>"


Dharma literature


In General

Manusmriti and Yajnavalkya smriti says that, there are fourteen Texts which forms the Pramana sastras to guide a person to follow Dharma. The chaturdasa vidya Dharmasthanas or dharmapramana texts of Sanathana Dharma are: the four Vedas, the six Vedangas then Mimamsa, Nyaya, the Puranas and Dharmasastra.

Vedas are the Basic text for all activities, but it is difficult to understand. The Vedanga literatures like Kalpa sutras by various Rishis are also very terse, so, to define and develop the ideas, an explanatory literature called Smriti (like Manusmriti, a code of law) become inevitable. The smriti also lay down the daily routine to be followed by all of us. Smriti in short, tell us about ones duty in detail, the do’s and don’ts, and how the religious and social customs are to be performed. It also tells us what to do if something wrong have been committed. The worldly life is a mix of right and wrong; so Smriti gives the correction mechanism for wrongful acts. A personnel effort for expiation of Sin as well as the punishment one has to undergo under a governing body is illustrated in Smriti. These kind of details are not subject of study of Vedas.

So, as the word Dharma has a wide connotation, every Hindu text can be considered as a dharmic text. But the Smriti, Kalpasutra and local custom are the literature or guiding forces in particular which deal with Dharma.


The Vedas are the revealed texts which form the basis of Sanathan Dharma. Since the symbols used in Vedas are very scholarly its practical performance is commented upon in the remaining literature of Vedic origin. The ideas said in Vedas are to be understood and accomplished mentally, intellectually and spiritually.

The intelligible symbols in Vedas are to be understood by developing ones capabilities. The Vedanga literatures are academic studies on grammar, etymology, philology, prosody, aesthetics, mathematics, geometry, astrology, astronomy, psychology, philosophy etc. One of the six Vedanga literatures called Kalpa is the text for dharma from the Vedic point of view.

The exact word ‘dharma’ is not found in Samhita part of Vedas. Vedas use the word Sathyam and Rtam which means more or less the same meaning as dharma.


Puranas and Itihasa are the literature for dharma for an ordinary Hindu. Puranas and Itihasa is meant to teach Dharma to the common man 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 unparallel moral dictate over the masses.

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Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana