There are few words in Sanskrit which does not have a literal
translation in English language.
One such word is Dharma.
That which sustains the peace of the society is called Dharma.
The word Dharma has many meanings, out of which four are considered to
Duties, Rituals, Attitudes and Values are denoted by the word Dharma.
Dharma is one of the four human goals. (The other three being wealth,
entertainment and absolute freedom).
The first portion of the Veda (called Vedapurva) talks about Dharma.
Based on the Vedas, Smiritis, Itihasas and Puranas, Dharma Sutras are written.
They are also sources of Dharma. The entire Dharma Sastra is like an ocean.
Dharma is broadly classified into two - Samanya Dharma and Vishesha Dharma.
What is Samanya Dharma?
That Dharma which is common to all - all human beings irrespective of
caste, creed, nationality, race etc.,
A famous sloka defines Samanya Dharma in a nutshell.
"slokardhena pravakshyami yaduktam grantakotishu
paropakaraaya punyaya paapaya parapidanam
The essence of hundreds of scriptures can be put in half a sentence -
Doing good to others brings Punya and doing harm to others brings papa.
Samanya Dharma can be understood in a very simple manner.
Whatever I want to be done to me, I should do to others.
Whatever I do not want to be done to me, I should not do to others.
I want to be loved by all.
I want to be treated with respect.
I want to be praised for my accomplishments.
I want to be forgiven for my mistakes.
So, I should love all, treat everyone with respect, praise others and
forgive others' mistakes.
I don't like anybody telling lies to me.
I don't want to listen to harsh words.
I don't want to be ill-treated, humiliated.
I don't want to be cheated, robbed etc.,
I don't want to be exploited.
I don't want anyone to take undue advantage of me.
So, I should not tell lies to anyone, I should speak kind words, I
should treat everyone with dignity, I should not even think of taking
over others' possessions. I should not exploit others. I should not
take undue advantage of anyone.
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