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By Swami Harshananda

sadharanadharma (‘dharma [that is] common to all’)

The word ‘dharma’ has been used in the Hindu scriptures in several senses out of which the meaning ‘duties and good conduct’ is the most common one.

Dharma is usually classified into two categories: sādhāraṇa-(or sāmānya-) dharma and viśeṣa-dharma.

The first being common to all walks of life, pertains to all persons without exception.

It is generally described as comprising the following ten qualities: ahiriisā (not harming others), satya (truth), asteya (non-stealing), dāna (giving gifts), kṣānti (forbearance), dama (self-control), śama (keeping the mind at peace), akārpaṇya (not demeaning oneself), śauca (cleanliness and purity) and tapas (austere life) [Vāmanapurāna 14.1 and 2],

Other virtues included in such lists given by other sources are: nābhimānitā (absence of arrogance and pride), anāyāsa (avoiding too much of exertion), priya-vāditā (gentle speech), maitrī (friendly feeling), aspṛhā (absence of greed), anasūyā (absence of jealousy), guruśuśrūsā (serving the elders), tirthānusaraṇa (going on a pilgrimage) and devabrāhmaṇapūjana (worship of God and brāhmaṇas) [Visnu-dharmasūtrās 2.16, 17],

See also DHARMA.


  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore