Svadharma

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By Swami Harshananda

Svadharma literally means ‘one’s own duty’.

This is a word that has been specially used in the Bhagavadgītā.[1][2][3][4] It is generally interpreted as sva-varṇa-āśrama-dharma. It means the duties that accrue to one as a result of his belonging to a particular varṇa[5] and āśrama[6]

Arjuna was kṣattriya and a gṛhastha or a householder. It was his svadharma or ordained duty to fight the evil forces and defend the good. It is noteworthy that svadharma should be on the righteous means of dharma, otherwise a thief may declare that stealing is his svadharma.


References

  1. Bhagavadgītā 2.31
  2. Bhagavadgītā 33
  3. Bhagavadgītā 3.35
  4. Bhagavadgītā 18.47
  5. Varṇa means caste.
  6. Āśrama means station in life.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore