Different Gist of Dharma

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

There are various different inferences of Dharma in varied ancient scriptures. Even if the definition differs, the principal aspect of Dharma is the prime cause for prosperity and eternal bliss which does not differ. The overview of Dharma as per different ancient scriptures are as follows:

  • The word Dharma is formed from the verbal root ‘dhṛ’.
  • The etymological meaning is ‘to maintain the order[1] in the universe’.
  • The same meaning has been established by Sri AdiŚankara in the opening lines of his commentary of Bhagavad Gitā : ‘Sabhagavānsruṣṭvedamjagat, tasyasthitimchikīrṣuḥ, dharmam-grāhayāmāsa’.
  • According to tarkasañgraha dharma is defined as ‘a property of ātmā, born by performing rituals etc. prescribed by the Vedas’. Vihitakarmajanyodharmaḥ[2]
  • Dharma, according to pūrvamīmāmsā is the ritual prescribed by vedas.

Veda pratipādyḥ prayojanavadartho dharmah[3]

  • Haradatta, prominent scholar of dharmasāstra, defined dharma as ‘A property of ātma, bearing the name 'Apūrva' and the prime cause for prosperity and eternal bliss, born by performing prescribed rituals and good conduct’.
  • In Gautama Dharmasutra it is said "'Vākkarmajanyaḥabhyudayaniśreyasahetuḥapūrvākhyaḥātmaguṇodharmaḥ"'[4]


  1. It refers to the lack of chaos.
  2. https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_z_misc_major_works/tarka2.html?lang=sa
  3. Artha sansgraha, Chowkhamba sanskrit sanstha, Varanasi, Page No.11; https://archive.org/details/LogakshiBhaskarArthaSangrahaVachaspatiUpadhyaya/page/n79
  4. Gautama dharma sutra, Chowkhamba sanskrit series office, Varanasi, page No.01 ; https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.429882/page/n65