Dharma is the individual’s natural, selfless duty, a responsibility towards self, parents, family, society, community, environment, and humanity. Dharma is pronounced as Dh-r-m. Dharma is divine in origin and deals with universal natural principles. The connotations are spiritual and metaphysical. Mahabharata (12-31-7) described Dharma as follows: “That conduct which sustains, protects, harmonizes all human beings including family, society, nation, nature, and the cosmos”. An individual who goes out of the way to help others is said to have undertaken Dharma. Kanad Rishi in Vaisesika Darsan describes Dharma as follows: “Dharma is that righteous conduct which elevates a human being to a higher level of interaction; thereby, one attains selflessness and is free from selfishness.” Dharma is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Dharana,’ the root word, Dhr. ‘Dharana’, means ‘to uphold,’ or to sustain. One who upholds these destined natural duties is said to have undertaken Dharma. For example, the Dharma of the sun is to shine. The Dharma of the earth is to rotate, and a learned person should guide others in the righteous direction. The great lawgiver sage, Manu Ji , described ten characteristics of Dharma as follows: “The ten characteristics of a person who upholds Dharma are 1.धृति -या धैर्य Dhrati-Fortitude,2.क्षमा Kshama-means ability to forgive ,3. दम Damah-Control over mind and desires, 4.अस्तेय Asteyam-Non stealing, 5.शौच Shouch-Purity, 6.इन्द्रियनिग्रह Indriya Nigrah-Control of sensory organs ,7. धी Dhi-Wisdom , 8.विद्या Vidya-Knowledge, 9.सत्य Satyam-Truthfulness, 10.अक्रोध Akrodh-Absence of anger .
In essence Dharma means “natural righteous, conducts, and duties that help one to rise higher to become a better person ओ३म् .
Dr.Deen B Chandora