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Dharma  is a key concept with multiple meanings in the Indian religionsHinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and JainismThere is no single word translation for dharma in Western languages. Usually it means virtuous, proper, moral life.

In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be in accord with rta, the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and ‘‘right way of living’’.

In Buddhism dharma means “cosmic law and order”, but is also applied to the teachings of the BuddhaIn Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for “phenomena“.


Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of tirthankara (Jinaand the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings.

In the picture – symbol of dharma in Jainism

For Sikhs, the word dharm means the path of righteousness and proper religious practice.

In the picture – the symbol of  Dharm in Sikhism

The word “dharma” was already in use in the historical Vedic religion, and its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia. The antonym of dharma is adharma.

The importance of dharma to Indian sentiments is illustrated by India’s decision in 1947 to include the Ashoka Chakra, a depiction of the dharmachakra ( the “wheel of dharma”), as the central motif on its flag.

Source of information – Wikipedia online encyclopedia

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