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Classical Hindu ThoughtAn Introduction$
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Arvind Sharma

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195658712

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195658712.001.0001

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(p.103) Chapter XIII Dharma
Classical Hindu Thought

Arvind Sharma

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the concept of dharma. The notion of dharma embodies the tradition of the pursuit of moral values, and constitutes one of the most distinct and essential aspects of Hinduism and Indian culture. Embodied in rules and institutions, and illustrated by popular character-types from epic stories, Puranic myths and legends, and folk-tales, the notion of dharma reaches every man: the illiterate peasant and housewife as much as the learned philosopher and minister. Dharma is that which maintains, gives cohesion, and thus strength to any given thing, and ultimately to the three worlds of nature, society, and the Transcendent (triloka). Dharma is the order behind the entirety of reality; it is that which both keeps the world together and maintains each thing according to its nature. It is, thus, the moral internalization of the cosmological notion of rta, the ordered course of things.

Keywords:   Dharma, Hinduism, Hindu thought, nature, society, triloka, moral values, transcendent reality

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