Category Archives: Dharma – What is Dharma?

Dharma – What is Dharma?


Dharma Chakra

The seven steps of Dharma are actually a play on words. There are no seven steps to Dharma, it was how I organized my thoughts to discuss the meaning of Dharma.

On Dharma —–

Is Dharma telling someone what “their” Dharma is?  Example what he or she should be donating/doing and not doing?

Does “Dharma” only apply to rich people? or people of class?

What exactly is Dharma for poor people? :)

Is Dharma what I decide is righteous? How I spend my time towards that cause?

What exactly is the Dharmic principal? Is it doing what is right? Following the “right conduct”

Doing what is just? or Is it doing your duty?

Dharma is:

1.  It is doing what is right/just.  It is the code of right conduct.

2. It is doing your duty to your family.

3. It is doing your duty for the society.

4. It is doing your duty with purpose, understanding karma.

5. It is following the principles of right conduct (Dharma) — a way of life.

6. It is upholding Dharma  — The principles of justice and fairness.

7. It is not done with selfish motives but with action in mind.


1. Doing what is right and just and following the right code of conduct.

What does that look like?  It is following the right conduct by doing what is right.  One cannot mistreat a person based on caste, creed and status. That is not “right” in terms of Dharma.  One cannot mistreat a person for their obstacles in life. That is not Dharma. One cannot be involved in scandalous behavior and participate in activities that are not right for the mind and body.  All of these behaviors promote adharma.  All those adhering to the right behaviors, character and thinking, they promote Dharma.

2. It is doing your duty to your family.

How do you uphold your duty to your family. How do you do that? By taking responsibility in your family duty you uphold the dharma. By doing your duty to your family you uphold one’s family values and Dharma that is duty.

3. It is doing your duty for the society.

Helping the poor, volunteering, and donating food is one’s Dharma.  It is done for the common good of the society. Does one’s place in society define their duty for society? Always yes! Sometimes being blessed with status allows for people to contribute to the society. However, one also needs to have a mentality or the mind frame for it.  It is dharma of an educated person in society.  Doing your duty for the society for the good of others, shows your real value in the society, it shapes your buddhi (intellect) and”perhaps” karma.

4.  It is doing your duty with purpose and understanding karma.

Dharma is not a spiritual progression like karma, Jna, Bhakti, siddhi and buddhi.  Dharma is purpose driven. Each individual has a purpose, should see their life with purpose.  A life that does not uphold or take responsibility for themselves, body and behaviors will eventually face that karma.  For a person to be in the spiritual progression they need to do their duty and what it is they treasure about life inorder to have good karma in life. Doing duty for an aspect in life that one teasures with purpose and understanding has influence on ones karmanas. Having and doing duty with purpose shapes the the evolution of one’s consciousness and makes Dharma possible.


5. It is following the principles of right conduct (Dharma) — a way of life.

Dharma is upholding the religious, cultural values and a way of life.  Is education only good for buying luxuries and living a comfortable life? What good is education that we value so much when people cannot uphold the religious principles and it’s Dharma.  Dharma comes from walking on the ground.  Even in Ramayan, the princes had plough the ground, and went begging for food.  Therefore it is important to see and honor the surface, the ground that you walk on to understand Dharma.  An educated way of life is not necessarily “THE” way of life with necessities and luxuries. For a Hindu, that education has lost it’s purpose. It is understanding the principles of truthful living and righteousness or right conduct.  And essentially seeing the surface you walk on and align it with Dharmic life.

6. It is upholding Dharma — The principles of fairness and justice.

Dharma is Just. It is right.  It is just because it follows the right rules of conduct or behavior.  How can one follow the right rules of conduct or behavior?  You hold the principal of fairness and justice and standing up for it. In Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna had to uphold dharma, for himself, for his family and for the country. To do what is right in his life.  What is done wrongful in other’s part, Dharma has to stand up for it.  Dharma is not a coward, it is righteousness and truthful living. In the case of Arjuna he had to take it upon himself to uphold the Dharma — principles of justice. It happens in action. It is seen in action, done in action. It is more than a duty/responsibility, it is UPHOLDING it. How else can one uphold the principles of a country if not for standing up for that country’s Dharma and its beliefs and principles of justice?

When I think of the words “upholding the dharma” I think of the verse yada yada hi dharmasya (4.7).  God says, where there is adharma (injustice), or mistreatment I shall come again and again to rise for justice. One verse, I have come to love.

7. It is not done with selfish motives but action in mind.

To uphold a religious principle like Dharma one cannot be selfish or self-centered. Dharma does not work that way. There is no I, and Dharma is not self centeredness or has selfish motive or desire. The motive is for common good/benefit of society and happens on the higher plane spiritually speaking. Dharma is dependent on I to perform action but it is not to show independence, it is to show action and motives for greater good and for a value.

In essence, however you look at Dharma, it stands for the eternal law of this universe, and how our matter manifests in this universe.