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Brahmanyan
15-12-2013, 10:56 AM
Dharma.
What is this word Dharma which is commonly used by us on many occasions? Let me share my understanding of the word. Dharma is the moral values are inherent in creation.
Dharayati iti dharmaha, which translates as "Dharma is that which upholds".
But in Tamil is is called Aram (அறம்)

In the Mahabharata, Yudhistira asks Bhishma Pitamaha to explain the meaning and scope of Dharma. Bhishma replies:

Tadrisho ayam anuprashno yatra dharmaha sudurlabaha
Dushkamha pralisankhyatum tatkenatra vysvasyathi
Prabhavarthaya bhutanam dharmapravachanam kritam
Yasyat prabhavasamyuktaha sa dharma iti nischayaha.

It is most difficult to define Dharma. Dharma has been explained to be that which helps the upliftment of living beings. Therefore, that which ensures the welfare of living beings is surely Dharma. The learned rishis have declared that that which sustains is Dharma.

Again in the Karna Parva, in Mahabharata Lord Krishna explains Dharma to Arjuna in the following words:
Dharanat dharma mityahu dharmo dhara-yate prajaha
Yat syad dharanasamyuktam sa dharma iti nischayaha.

Dharma sustains the society. Dharma maintains the social order. Dharma ensures well being and progress of humanity. Dharma is surely that which fulfills these objectives.

It is the Cosmic order that none can isolate themselves. Whole universe is sustained by this discipline. It is also the Vedic idea of Ritam. Individuals have to conform to a certain universal order of behavioral norms, to contribute in the sustenance and the upliftment of societal order and thus the society itself. On the other hand, if any of the universal norms are transgressed, then a chain of actions and reactions takes place, creating chaotic disorder and destruction.

I shall feel happy to hear from other members on this subject.

Brahmanyan,
Bangalore.

R.Varadarajan
15-12-2013, 03:35 PM
Brief and to the point Sir,.
Varadarajan.
On the same topic some more information is given below.


DHARMA


What is Dharma?

Dharma is one of the most important themes within Hinduism. One often sees dharma translated as religion, duty, or even righteousness, but in fact, there is no single direct translation for dharma. Religion, duty and righteousness are not wrong; they are simply included within the idea of dharma. The word "dharma" comes from the Sanskrit root dhri, meaning to "uphold" or to "sustain." From this perspective, the best way to think of dharma is to say, "that which upholds or sustains the positive order of things: the nation, the community, the family and ultimately even the universe." At a social level, every individual has a particular dharma according to their place in life. Children have a dharma, parents have a dharma, teachers have a dharma, the police have a dharma and even the head of a nation has a dharma. One of the dharmas of a child, for example, is to obey parents and to study. Parents have a dharma to protect and look after children: to make sure they are educated, fed, housed and trained. It is sometimes written on the sides of police cars: To Serve and to Protect. This is a statement of dharma for police. A head of state has a dharma to protect the country and to provide a secure environment for its citizens. If everyone performs their dharma: children obey parents, parents look after children, citizens uphold the laws of the land, the police enforce the law, a head of state protects the nation, then the family, the community and the nation are "upheld" and there can be prosperity. This is dharma, and it all follows from the idea of dhri, to uphold.

The opposite of dharma is "a-dharma." What this means is obvious. If children fail to obey parents, if parents do not train and discipline children, if the police misuse their power and fail to protect, if the head of state fails to act in the interest of the nation, then adharma exists, and when there is too much adharma, there will be a break down of the family, society or the nation. The nation, the community, the family and even individuals cannot prosper when too much adharma reigns. There is a saying, "Protect dharma and dharma will protect you."
"Dharmo rakshathi rakshithah"

Individuals have different dharmas at different times in their lives. A child has a certain dharma that we mentioned above, but the same person as an adult has different dharmas to focus upon. And still later in life, there are other dharmas that need to be stressed. When one is married, one should not live according to the dharma of a child. If an adult adopts the dharma of a child this is adharma. A child cannot follow the dharma of the police. If an ordinary citizen tries to follow the dharma of the a head of state it results in adharma.


The word dharma is also used in a different way within Hindu philosophy that can also be understood from the root dhri. Every constituent of matter: liquids, metals, gases, fire, and so on have different dharmas. For example, the dharma of water is liquidity and wetness. The dharma of ice is solidity and coldness. The dharma of fire is heat and light. In other words, whatever it is that makes water, water or ice, ice, or fire, fire; what "upholds" the state of being water-ness, ice-ness, or fire-ness, etc., is dharma. These ideas occupies an important part of Hindu philosophy and even though they are subtle, I think the reader can see how even this use of dharma comes from the root dhri Indeed, the idea of dharma is paramount within both Hindu religion and philosophy.