To define Dharm, let us start with Manusmriti and work our way to other literature like Mimamsa, Upanishad, Yoga Sutras, and Itihasa:

“धरयैतअनेना :इति धर्मां”
“Dharyate anena iti dharma”
That which is the very basis on which the Natural, Social and Cosmic phenomenon sustains is Dharma. We will look at these aspects in detail.

Dharma Chakra Buddhist monument (Sanchi Hill, Madhya Pradesh, India). (2013)

There is no equivalent word for Ḍharma in English. Ḍharma is not a duty, nor responsibility, nor an obligation, nor a commandment. The entire Sanātana literature proclaims the concept of Ḍharma and the concept known as Ishwara (Iśvara). The meaning of Dharma keeps evolving as we discuss it, and it should also evolve during our exploration of life.

Let us examine Ḍharma from various angles. Countless great beings in the past have constantly explored Ḍharma their entire lives under the guidance of Gurus (Rishis/rśi), through the examination of Shastra (Śāstra Parishilana), and by making efforts to implement in one’s life (Dharm:anustanam). This attempt in life to explore and understand Dharma is called Ḍharma Sādhanā. Ḍharma can be defined as a message which explains an innate property of an entity (phenomenon); it also explains the choice of an appropriate option and a path to that option. Ḍharma, when performed as an action (or inaction), results in a consequence called sat:karmā. This consequence (sat:karmā) not only benefits the doer (Karta) but encompasses the cumulative well-being of the environment (Prakṛti) and becomes a means of reaching a higher consciousness. In other words, Ḍharma is that action that doesn’t disturb the natural flow of creation (Ṛta); rather, it sustains the natural order and harmony within creation. Hence Rishi Jaimini, who established the Mīmāṃsā School of philosophy and was a student of Veda Vyāsa, defined Ḍharma as:

“codaṇā-lakṣaṇaḥ arthaḥ dharmaḥ”
That which leads to the cumulative wellbeing of all the surroundings.

Mīmāṃsā (Rishi Jaimini)

This action/inaction (Ḍharma) performed is collective of the position (like ashram or upādhi) held by a being (karta) in a given situation in time (kālá). This action (karma), together with its consequence (phala), is called karmaphala. Ḍharma is also a default inbuilt property of a being/entity that one must not override for the sake of personal desire. For example, the Ḍharma of fire is combustion, the Ḍharma of water is to flow and stick together, and the Ḍharma of air or wind is to spread. In this way, Ḍharma is an inherent nature bestowed by Prakruti (Prakṛti) (nature/creation) that an entity follows, and exists in accordance with Prakṛti. Now, let us ask a question. If Prakṛti bestowed an inherent nature in all elements of creation, then we – as human beings – are also made up of these five elements (Pancha bhūta). Then shouldn’t we be inheriting their properties? It is only a human who, due to intellect (buddhi) clouded by desire (rāga-dveṣa) and self-defined identity (Aham), chooses a path that appeals to one’s own satisfaction, and not the cumulative well-being of everything. Because of individual identity and selfish desire, a human creates a false notion that one is independent of creation and the environment. Human beings fail to realize that we are a part of the same Prakṛti and our will (desire) is finite within the will of Prakṛti; it is only our consciousness that is boundless. So, an action in line with Ḍharma of the being in a given situation leads to sat:karmā, else leads to dush:karmā. So, the closest English equivalent phrase for Ḍharma is “a natural or universal order which, when followed, results in sat:karmā”. Hence, one of the two Itihāsas, Mahābhāratam, Karna Parva 69:58, compiled by Vyāsa says:

dhāraṇād dharma ityāhuḥ dharmo dhārayate prajāḥ |
ya syād dhāraṇa samyuktaḥ sa dharma iti niścayaḥ ||

The word Ḍharma comes from the word “dhāraṇā” which refers to sustenance, maintenance, and retention of the collective (samyuktaḥ) wellbeing and balance in nature.

Mahābhāratam, Karna Parva 69:58

By the actions of the Bhūtas on the Indriyas that sensuous perception takes place. What is the action of Bhūtas? Obviously, to the physical and chemical properties of different kinds of matter. It is these properties which make us see colors, hear sounds, produce the innumerable sensations which form the raw material of our mental life. It is these properties which are inherent in matter and appear under different conditions which are the specific instruments of Bhūtas and by their actions on the Indriyas produce all kinds of sensuous perceptions. These properties in their totality are called Dharma in the present context.

Patanjali Yoga Sutras 3.13 Vibhuti Pada, Science of Yoga by I.K.Taimni

“ढ्रुयतेव जननाना:इति धर्मां”
“Dhruyateva Jannana:ithi Dharmam”

Amarakoshah, a Sanskrit text encompassing Sanskrit vyakaran (grammar) and vocabulary, composed by the scholar Amarasimha.

Though we have used the word “Law”, there are flaws in calling it so. Why? Because a law (self-made or natural) can be evaded and the violation concealed from the eyes of the enforcer of the law, but Ḍharma is such a law that is free to be chosen depending upon the will of man. A path chosen against the property of a being or a path chosen just out of personal satisfaction causes Karmā to come into play. However, what can’t be evaded or fled from is its consequence (karmāphala). The second flaw is, if dharma becomes law, then it also becomes a commandment, which makes it unchangeable and, in turn, makes it a religion. But, both Ḍharma and karmā are always changing, hence can’t be a hard rule or commandment, which leads to choice. Let us examine this. The result of sat:karmā is experienced by a being in the form of puńya; the reverse is pápa. Meaning, one creates a situation and has the responsibility to face that situation. In other words, a situation is brought upon oneself. Hence, Iśvara is not a judge or jury to punish a being for disobeying His commandments. He is karmā:akarmā:phala:pradatha, meaning He both gives the fruit for karmā and also devours that fruit in the form of puńya or pápa. He, as a parent, takes responsibility for His children’s actions. How? It is through various formulas embedded into kṣhetras (temples) and kalpa (pūjās) through which one can lessen the effects of their karmā:phala, wherein Iśvara shields us from our own karmā and takes the hit on our behalf, as a parent. Well, let us put an example to this explanation. Both Devatas and Asuras were unhappy with what they had, and so asked for immortality. Iśvara answered their prayers by suggesting kṣīrā:sagara:madanam (an event recorded in Śrīmad Bhagavatam),., When they couldn’t do it, He (Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu) became a turtle to bear the burden. When Halāhala/kālakūṭa (anti-creation element) emerged, Pārama:Śiva, as the parent, again answered their prayers and drank it to save them. When the time came to distribute the amṛta (elixir of immortality), Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu, as the preserver of creation, manifested as Mohini to make sure this amṛta didn’t fall in the wrong hands. So if Ḍharma keeps changing, the only unchangeable dharma is Sanātana Ḍharma, meaning that Dharma which is anantam (eternal). But this unchangeable Dharma is also free to be chosen depending upon the will of man. Hence, Dharma is more of a path in line with the natural order, rather than a duty, rule, or law; hence Ḍharma is not a commandment. So the question is, a path to what end? This path is to Satyam which is the one unchangeable and ever constant, which is nothing but Ishwara (Iśvara). Hence the sloka from Taittiriya Upanishad:

“सत्यं वद धर्मं चर”  
“Sathyam Vade, Dharmam chara

Taittiriya Upaniṣhad

Let us explore dharma from a different angle by exploring the following sloka:

“deshey desheya acharyaka paramparya kramagathaka
amnayai avi:rudhasya sa:dharmas parikrithithaha”

Garikipati Narasimha Rao is an Indian Avadhani 

Meaning, based on the geography of the dweller, their conduct (achara) passed on as lineage, constitutes a family’s tradition. Abiding by that tradition becomes their Ḍharma. Now, is dharma just a family tradition? If so, each geography has its own customs, and each location has its own climatic and geographic challenges causing so many diverse variations in tradition. Does this mean dharma has no standard? To address this, the second phase of this sloka states that, this so-called family tradition should not be against the Vedā. Hence, Vedā always takes precedence. Even more, a Guru’s word takes precedence, but a Guru will always abide by the Vedā, in return making Vedā the foundation. As time and civilization progress, does the message of the Vedā change? Is the knowledge given forth in the Veda applicable over time? The answer is Yes because the Vedā is nothing but the compilation of the phenomena of nature (Prakṛti) and its constraints. These phenomena are personified or conceptualized as various divine entities like Varuna, Agni, Soma, Indra, and more. The Puranas (Puráńas) further personify these Vedic concepts into a Supreme Personality so that a sect of like-minded people can perform Sādhanā in a focused way to move closer (upāsanā) towards that personification. Vedās are not commandments, they are not principles that put forth good vs bad or right vs wrong. Let us explore this from the history (Itihasa) of Mahābhāratam. Once a Yaksha (yakṣa) asked Dharmarāja Yudhiṣṭhira about dharma. Yudhiṣṭhira said that the concept of dharma is not a constant rule and is always changing, based on time, situation, and the actor. For those new to this, it can be like exploring a dark deep cave. Because of many variables in play, there can’t be a fixed set of commandments. Many sages, rishis (rśi), and enlightened beings gave forth commentary of the Vedā and its concepts; these commentaries became Siddhānta (branches/approaches) or smṛitis. Yajñámalka smṛiti, Manu smṛiti, Gouthama smṛiti are a few such examples. However, each approach (Siddhānta/smṛiti) was presented specifically to the situation of the beings in that era. Relativity being a fundamental aspect towards the comprehension of any topic (using analogies), caused the siddhānta to be customized depending on the level of comprehension of the masses. Though various smṛitis have been given forth till date, one smṛiti becomes the pramana (basis) for each yuga. This being Kali Yuga, the pramana is Parāśara smṛiti. Similarly, during Treta Yuga, Gouthama smṛiti was considered pramana. In Kali Yuga, Yajñámalka smṛiti can also be taken as pramana (basis). Coming back to the story of Yaksha and Yudhiṣṭhira, the Yaksha then asked, if dharma was always changing and the comprehension of Vedā being difficult for a common man, what was the simplest approach for a being to abide was? For this Yudhiṣṭhira said the following sloka:

“maha:jano ena gathas sapandha”

Meaning, one who is unable to comprehend the Vedā or yet to explore them should abide by the teaching and the path given forth by the enlightened beings, such as Gurus, Rishis, Avataras of that era. But, how does one determine these so-called enlightened beings? With honesty to oneself, using self-conscience (antaḥkaraṇa) as pramana (basis), leaving behind personal gain and desires (rāga-dveṣa), one can determine one’s Guru, through whom the entire surroundings and environment become prosperous. The concept of Antahkarana Pramana can be explored on this portal under Antahkarana/Chitta/Buddhi/Manas.

Let us come back to karmā. This so-called action is not necessarily physical in nature; it could be Vachika, meaning verbal, Manasa, meaning by thought or feeling leading to a decision, and finally, Sharira, meaning an action that involves the physical body (Sthula Sharira). Please note that even inaction is a choice made by thought out of a feeling, so it still constitutes an action of manas. Some regard dharma as a righteous path. Dharma is a path for sure, but who defines this path to be right vs wrong, good vs evil, and moral vs immoral for it to be righteous? This very exploration is what Sanātana Ḍharma is all about. This so-called path is not to please supernatural beings or to reach heaven. In the case of Sri Rama, the convenient path to retrieving Devi Sita from Ravana was to simply make friends with Bali; rather, He chose Sugriva, not because He wanted to please some divine entity or go to heaven. It was because He understood His dharma and the dharma of Bali. So, let us not try to find synonyms in English to collectively define dharma. Exploring and understanding the fundamentals of dharma itself is a part of our dharma; however, after learning one’s dharma, not implementing it in one’s life is not dharma or a:dharma. The very foundation of Sat:karmā is to abide by the dharma of one’s respective ashram. Both Rama and Ravana explored and knew dharma. Rama implemented it and lived by it, whereas Ravana lived according to his own convenience and enforced his choice and will over others. Dharma doesn’t define good and bad, as the outcome of an action can be both simultaneously. In some cases, the outcome is favorable to some and so might be considered good, but unfavorable to others and hence might be conceived as bad. If dharma is to define good and bad then there was no need for Sri Krishna to explain to Arjuna (Partha) his dharma (not duty) on the battlefield of Kurukshetra. Yet, a conscious attempt to explain dharma is what Śāstra has put forward, which is a lifestyle for each one in his/her respective Ashram leading to Sat:karmā. Now here comes the real question…. which Dharma?

Sri Krishna’s insight on Dharma

Sri Maha Vishnu In Yoga Nidra (Ananga Tantram) (Shesashvai Vishnu, 2015)

After the war of Kurukshetra, Krishna (Kṛṣṇa) went back to Dwaraka, and on a certain day He took an afternoon nap – next to Him was Satyabhama – during which He entered a conscious dream. This nap was not an ordinary sleep, it was a metaphorical nap, similar to the yogic sleep (yoga nidra) that Śrī Mahā Viṣṇu himself takes during the period of Dakshinayana. In this dream, He witnessed an endless procession of people coming in and heard them discuss dharma. They were talking and asking about dharma, specifically human choices. Sri Krishna, in this dream, felt that even His own answers about dharma weren’t satisfactory. So, He looked back at all the events during the war and before. Śrī Krishna (Kṛṣṇa), in His life, always made sure to experience a part of the events that happened to people around Him; He never shielded Himself from their joy or suffering. He did so to witness His own dharma towards them; otherwise, it would become a barren and lifeless Dharma. He took into His experience a part of the pain of Panchali, the victims of war, the pain of the Pandavas, the people He fought, and the people He helped. Such was the intensity of His life. All these experiences took expression in the form of a dream. In this dream, Krishna asked these people one by one what their dharma was.

The first to come was a skinflint (miser), a profit-stricken man who said, my dharma is making a profit; and taking whatever I can with my skill, I accumulate and seek more. Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of greed, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

The second came and said, I am pious, I never stole, murdered, nor hoarded, never committed pápa, so my way is the only righteous one, so, this is Dharma; for this Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of fear, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Another came, a daredevil, and said, I fought and destroyed my enemies and proclaimed victory, whoever opposed me committed pápa, I performed sacrifices and gave charity, I fed the brahmins and was praised by them, so my way is Dharma; for this Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of vanity, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Another came, who was meek and gentle, and said, I know dharma, it is humility, I suffer wrongs and pain cheerfully without resisting, I bear cold, heat, hunger, thirst without complaint. This is my way, and so this is Dharma; for this Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of a slave, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

A man cunning and sly like a fox said, I avoid risky actions and always stay on the beaten path of safety, I never anger the supernatural beings, hence this is dharma; for this Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of cowardice, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Another came and said, I always try to please the Devatas in return for their grants and favors of wealth, I preach the hope of salvation and prosperity to those who have not. Immersed in my preaching, they get drunk in belief and dance in joy, this is Dharma; Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of fraud, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Then came another with a condescending tone of superiority and said, I resist the colors and drama of life, live in seclusion, suppress the longings of my body, and revere in detachment, this makes me superior; hence, this is Dharma. Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of arrogance, I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Another came, satisfied and confident in himself, and said, I give money to the poor in order to accumulate puńya, I keep a list of my charities, which I will collect with interest from the Devatas (Chitraguptha) in order to get pleasures in the afterlife. Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of business and trade (vyapara). I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Then came a wicked man who was a murderer, a robber, and with a desire to avenge, one who did not care about his actions and said, the Divine is merciful, and I will be forgiven when I chant and sing the glories of the divine. Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of deceit and deception. I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Then came another with words of wisdom and the attire of a saint and said, I endure all pain and suffering in silence and do not fight back against evil. In silence, I let the time pass. The wicked and evil can seek their own desired destination as it is not of any concern to me, whereas I will reach Swarga loka. Krishna said, your Dharma is the child of inaction. I know you are not. But, I shall let you pass.

Finally, came a cynical man, smug, with a smirk, an egocentric, with glamorous attire bursting with fragrance and glitter and said, there is no such thing as Dharma, it is an illusion created to suppress our desires. I enjoy my senses and feed them what they wish. I dwell in desire and seek comfort and pleasure as my highest goal. I worship my body as a temple as it is the only means to all pleasure. There is nothing before and nothing after me. I live in my own conclusions as this life and creation are for me to enjoy and squeeze all the pleasures by whatever means. For this Krishna said, you are a child of a demon; I shall never let you pass.

About this metaphorical nap of Sri Krishna, Sadhguru says, “Śrī Kṛṣṇa is not talking as a living man; He made his humanity sleep and His divinity speaks in His sleep”.

(Sadhguru K.I.O.D. 2017)

As we have seen above, Dharma is not a rule or a set of rules, nor a set of commandments. Dharma is an ingrained property in all entities, in all phenomena, in all choices and their consequent actions. Dharma is not just for one, it is for all. The great Bhisma himself fell short of Dharma and its comprehension. However, this is not something to be demotivated about, as Dharma is a vibrant spectrum that one has to slowly try and comprehend, grow, cultivate, learn, and implement. The comprehension grows gradually in life, but as it grows, one has to implement and strive; this is called Ḍharma Sādhanā and Ḍharma Anustana and Ḍharma Anveshana. The one Ḍharma that all entities have ingrained in them to seek that divinity in all shapes and forms is the one Sanātana Ḍharma, the one everlasting, and eternal dharma.

Dharma, the basis for an action

Then why should Dharma be the basis for action? One can always claim that one’s own self-conscience and self-created principles are the basis for choosing the right approach and being a better judge. If that is the case, then each individual’s experience and understanding towards this creation is both different and limited, since a human lacks a holistic vision or a collective notion of all entities and factors that define our reality. A human lacks the ability to feel exactly what another human feels, nor can one visit or comprehend events beyond kaalam/kālá (time) (both from the past and the unforeseen future). Each event can foster different experiences and different perspectives in a human, and each era allows the same or different events to occur, providing even more possibilities or experiences. This approach will become a trial method making all our decisions based on guesses. If consciousness evolves from information and, in turn, helps us make better choices, then illiterates, the poor, the less fortunate, children, and many others are doomed to fall into a spiral of mistakes and misfortune. Even after that, it is very likely for a person to provide a justification for their actions that seems valid to them, and thus each person will end up creating one’s own philosophy to justify their actions. This is the very reason why one must seek a Guru because a Guru is a conduit for comprehending Iśvara. A Guru is not a promoter of Shastra (Śāstra), nor a representative or a proxy for Śāstra. A Guru is not bestowed with any responsibility or duty to teach or share Śāstra. A Guru is one who has passed beyond the comprehension of this reality by understanding the tatvama. A Guru is like a tree that doesn’t advertise its shade or its fruits; similarly, a Guru doesn’t advertise his wisdom. For such a gyani (knowledgeable), material comforts have no meaning, because a Guru is always in a joyful state (Brahmā:nandam) by understanding this reality and by overcoming all fear. If Dharma is not the basis, then what is left is either fear or convenience, as the motive for an action. If that’s the case, then there exists no room for mistakes and for us to learn and realize from them, or for us to evolve in conscience. If pity or sympathy was the basis, then Arjuna should have given up the fight with the Kauravas and surrendered, allowing the entire kingdom to be ruled by a selfish and egoistic person like Dhuryodhana and his siblings who abused pious women (Droupadi) in the midst of a courtroom and committed various other atrocities. This is the reason why Śrī Kṛṣṇa had to step in as a Jagad Guru and explain Dharma to Arjuna in the midst of the battlefield so that Arjuna wouldn’t give up because of emotional or personal preference. At the same time, Śrī Kṛṣṇa made sure that Arjuna did not fight out of hate or selfishness or vengeance. In the same way, Śrī Rama could have liberated Devi Sita from Ravana’s captivity by allying with Bali., He chose Sugriva because Bali committed the same adharma as Ravana by kidnapping someone else’s dharma patni (wife). Śrī Rama, after the battle, performed proper rites and rituals for the fallen soldiers of Ravana, because He didn’t fight the war with hate or vengeance, He, on occasion, admired the valor, strength, and skill of Ravana. Even after the war, Rama underwent penance for killing Ravana because, though Ravana performed many acts of adharma, he also performed various dharmic activities toward the well-being of his own kingdom and towards his respective ashram. By killing such a person for his adharma, Rama also prevented the dharmic activities that Ravana would have carried out if he had remained alive. It was Ravana who committed the monstrous act of kidnapping someone else’s dharma patni – who needs to be viewed as equal to a mother; hence the phrase “matruvat paradhareshu”  (मातृवत परधारेषु), meaning all women other than one’s dharma patni needs to be viewed and addressed as a mother. It is for such an act that Ravana brought the abomination upon himself, his family, and his kingdom. Hanuman in Śrī Vālmīki Ramayana, Sundara Kanda, Sarga (Chapter) 51, Sloka 28 and 29 says:

“न तु धर्म उपसम्हारम् अधर्म फल सम्हितम् ||
तत् एव फलम् अन्वेति धर्मः च अधर्म नाशनः |
प्राप्तम् धर्म फलम् तावत् भवता न अत्र संशयः ||
फलम् अस्य अपि अधर्मस्य क्षिप्रम् एव प्रपत्स्यसे |”

“na tu dharm(a) upasamhaaram a:dharm(a) phala samhitam ||
tat eva phalam anveti dharm(a)H ca a:dharm(a) naashanaH |
praaptam dharm(a) phalam taavat bhavataa na atra sanshayaH ||29
phalam asya api a:dharm(a)sya kShipram eva prapatsyase |”

 (Valmiki Ramayana. S.K. n.d.)

In the above sloka Hanuman says to Ravana, it is because of your tapasya (penance) and your worship of Shiva (Śiva) that you have attained the Kingship of Kanchana Lanka (Golden and Royal Kingdom of Lanka) and prosperity since it was a karmā dictated by dharma, but the negative karmā, which is a:dharma, of kidnapping Sita Devi, will lead to your demise and the destruction of your kingdom. Among the a:dharma, kidnapping someone else’s wife who is a pativrata is a Muula-Ghati (meaning karmā punishable by death in the same life) and so Ravana would lose his body for this mistake.

Not following Dharma

What will happen if one doesn’t follow dharma, especially when it is very difficult? The level of difficulty depends on the strength of desire and our liking towards something. If a person chooses adharma because it is convenient or because it is profitable at that instance, then that person loses the opportunity to step up in one’s own conscience and foster one’s own inherent peace. If a person lies or falsifies to win a simple event in life out of selfishness, convenience, or desire, then that person cheats his/her own Jīva from uplifting itself and postpones that difficulty for a later time, which might result into a higher challenge. Kindly continue reading the topic of Fear & Choice for a holistic understanding of choice-making in life. It is through Bhakti and Yoga (including Dhyāna or meditation) that one can face the challenges to walk the path of dharma and gain the strength to endure one’s own karmā:phala and not submit oneself to momentary desires.
Now, let us ask a question. If one doesn’t follow this so-called lifestyle, what happens? Sanātana Ḍharma doesn’t enforce its concepts upon man, it shares the nature of this reality with us, and it explains the construct of this reality and also its constraints; hence, it is our choice to either explore its significance or not. Śāstra explains dharma as a path towards facing the constraint of this reality whether we like it or not, so dharma is not a choice, and its principles are not self-created nor are they based on opinions towards good or bad. Dharma applies irrespective of our choice, and the yoga put forth by Śāstra is for the well-being of a human towards aligning oneself with nature, and for the overall health of the body and mind, and so is not something that is enforced upon man. It is like this creation, this reality, and this existence that is not our choice, but it is here and we are here; hence, it is the will of the man to choose to either explore it and incorporate it or live by accident and trial. This is the reason why dharma is not a duty nor a responsibility that one can choose or resign oneself from. One can’t resign from being a son or a daughter. One can’t resign oneself from utilizing the Prakṛti as one’s abode. However, one with free will can choose not to abide by one’s dharma, leading to a certain karmā – the results of which one can’t stop from reaping. The term Duty equates close to the Sanskrit term Kartavya; however, kartavya is ingrained within Ḍharma. So the only real choice is, whether our actions are either in line with dharma or not. Rather than trying to define dharma, let us explore it through various vital topics in Sanātana Ḍharma literature like karmā, Kama, Iśvara, Janma, puńya, pápa, Aashrama, and more. Also, the concept of dharma can be understood through various examples of those who actually implemented them, such literature is the Puráńas. Finally, there are stotrams like Kanakadhara, which is a constant exploration of the essence of dharma and Iśvara. The origin of the concept of Dharma being Sanātana Dharma, Hinduism evolved out of it as a religion in the later stages of Kaliyuga and hence inherited its concepts mostly as rituals towards bhakti, but the difference can be explored in the topic of Sanātana Ḍharma on this portal. The dharma chakra put forth by Buddhism (also inherited from Sanātana Ḍharma) was later emulated by King Ashoka and eventually was used as a symbol on the current Indian Flag.

REFERENCE ENTRY (APA Style citation)

Sri Chaganti Koteshwar Rao (Orator). (n.d.). Kanaka Dhara Stotram [Audio Part 1-19, Recorded by Srichaganti.net]. Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. Retrieved from http://www.english.srichaganti.net/KanakaDharaStrotram.aspx

Dharma Chakra Buddhist monument (Sanchi Hill,Madhya Pradesh, India). (Feb 21, 2013). Wikimedia Commons File:Dharmachakra on Pillar – South Face – West Pillar – South Gateway – Stupa 1 – Sanchi Hill 2013-02-21 4355.JPG. Retrieved  from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b0/Dharmachakra_on_Pillar_-_South_Face_-_West_Pillar_-_South_Gateway_-_Stupa_1_-_Sanchi_Hill_2013-02-21_4355.JPG

PEARLS OF WISDOM FROM AMMA. Matruvani. File:february-english-matruvani-2003.pdf. Retrieved from:https://matruvani.in/sites/default/files/february-english-matruvani-2003.pdf

Valmiki Ramayana. (n.d.). Sundara Kanda. Retrieved from http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/sundara/sarga36/sundara_36_frame.htm

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