Dharma is the foundational idea in Hinduism and its components are contained in the name “Sanatana Dharma”.
What is Dharma?
The word Dharma is originated from the root dhr which implies 'to support' or 'to maintain'; that which is the important nature of a being and the compromises of its ethical and spiritual support is called its Dharma. The word Dharma and its importance has been excessively mentioned in Vedic literature which we know have existed thousands of years before the mordern concept of religion was born.
"Dharma is the first Purushartha (Purushartha means the purpose of Human life) of the four Purusharth – Dharma, Artha, Kaam and Moksha."
Components of Dharma
Dharma is the lifestyle which directs and guides human being to nurture their living being.
Knowledge Or Wisdom
It is the component of "Gyana" which is mentioned in number of relisgiosu texts.
Work or Action
It is the component of "Karma" which is mentioned in number of religious texts.
Basis of Dharma
What is importance of Dharma?
The malice or prejudice that we confront towards others arises from critical behaviours established upon ignorance and a significance of separateness. Therefore the initial stage of Dharma practice is to alleviate ourselves of all preconceived beliefs and judgmental behaviours. Once we have discontinued all decisions we can then start the growth of absolute love and kindness which naturally result in benevolence, compassion and assistance to all. The greatest barrier to spiritual, social and universal wellbeing is the double standard factor. We see everything from a selfish, subjective, emotional perspective. Our spiritual, civic and political virtues are the best, our emotions, aspirations, downfalls and dissatisfactions are enormous than anyone else's. Our possessions are more valuable than those of others and our actions can be completely justified. The process of Dharma strives to turn "Selfishness" into "Altruism" where the others are recognized as valuable as, if not more, than ourselves.
12 Elements of Dharma
The first necessity of Dharma and the foundation is the cultivation of a sacred and healthy body and hence a pure and healthy mind. It is incumbent upon the Hindu to bathe twice a day or at least every morning and keep good hygiene. The laws of purity are quite complicated and cover everything from bodily hygiene and eating to ritual cleansing after such events as death and birth.
Worship of God through the ceremonies that are specified in the different sacred literatures (i.e. Vedas and Agamas)
It pertains to living with basic natural needs only with the discipline of meditation.
One should seek to control one's needs and behaviour, avoid excesses and cultivate self-discipline which is the purpose of civilisation.
This idea implies to the Scriptural Study (analysis into the Truth) through the Primary Scriptures - the Vedas and the Upanishads, the Secondary Scriptures - Puranas, and the epics - the Mahabharata and Ramayana, as well as self- study or contemplation, self-analysis and cultivation of understanding into one's true self.
Improvement of a relaxed tendency; being satisfied with little and abiding whatever comes to one; be it pleasant or undesirable, with equanimity.
One should abstain from resulting in any injury to other living beings through word, action or thought. The hypothesis is that the Self in all entities is the equivalent and hence one should treat all other lives with the maximum kindness as one would deal with oneself.
The process of truth in speech and harmony in activity at all times. One should speak only that which is true and acceptable, one should not needlessly say things that are painful even though they may be the truth.
This has a twofold connection; one is the providing of charity to the needy as well as social works for the help of society as a whole. The other connection is to the blessing of fearlessness to all creatures through the cultivation of complete non-injury (ahimsa) to any being in word, action, or thought.
One should abstain from taking anything that is not given.