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Showing posts from November 23, 2008

The meaning of Dharma – What Dharma means? By Swami Chinmayananda

The term Dharma is one of the most intractable terms in Hindu philosophy. Derived from the root dhar (Dhri) to uphold, sustain, support, the term Dharma denotes ‘that which hold together the different aspects and qualities of an object into a whole.’ (Dharanat Dharmam Ithayahu, Dharmena Vidhritah Prajah.’Ordinarily, the term Dharma has been translated as religious code, as righteousness, as a system of morality, as duty, as charity etc. But the original Sanskrit term has a special connotation of its own which is not captured by any one of these renderings. The best rendering of the term Dharma that I have met with so far is, ‘the Law of Being’ meaning, ‘that which makes a thing or being what it is.’ For example, it is the Dharma of the fire to burn, of the sun to shine, etc.Dharma means, therefore, not merely righteousness or goodness but it indicates the essential nature of anything, without which it cannot retain its independent existence. For example, a cold dark sun is impossible,…