Dharmika Jivana Vidhana (धार्मिकजीवनविधानम्)

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Dharmika jivana vidhana (Samskrit : धार्मिकजीवनविधानम् । Dharmika life style) comprises of different jivana vidhanas or lifestyle approaches to lead a holistic life as prescribed by ancient texts of Sanatana Dharma. Our present society is witness to immense changes in upbringing our newer generations with distorted moral and ethical values, disharmony in relationships within and outside communities, insensitivity towards others needs, national strife and international conflicts apart from the many other 'diseases of the society'. Mahopanishad, one of the minor upanishad, drives home the concept of unity by the establishment of harmonious relations between all the Jivatmas.

अयं बन्धुरयं नेति गणना लघुचेतसाम् । उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥ ७१॥[1]

ayaṁ bandhurayaṁ nēti gaṇanā laghucētasām । udāracaritānāṁ tu vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam ॥ 71॥

While our rishis promulgated शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ or peace for the वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥ vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam, at present our global society is व्याधिग्रस्थ वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥ vyādhigrastha vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam, meaning a 'diseased global family'. All the troubles which make us unhappy, the wars, poverty, starvation, suppression of the weak, competition for survival, property, corruption and the countless evils that surround us, are all the diseases of this Humanity. Individually the diseased state stems from the Mind or Manas, which can be corrected by re-sensitizing the peoples of the world to the dharmika paths given by our seers to live a peaceful life leading ultimately to Moksha.[2]

परिचयः || Introduction

Man or Jiva is a Composite being, a Jivatma enclosed in various sheaths (Panchakoshas, namely Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya, Anandamaya) is always in connection with one of the visible or invisible worlds and therefore with the inhabitants of these worlds. All yajnas, rites and ceremonies, samskaras etc ordained by the seers are intended to aid the Jivatma in reducing his koshas, to obedience, in purifying them and strengthen them against evil, to shape the man's external conditions or environment for his benefit and support. The conduct of man has reference to his surroundings as well as himself. Dharma lays down these codes of conduct of a man, as a directive to how he should act for the welfare of beings around him.

The object of morality, ethics is to bring establish a harmonious relationship and environment between all Jivatmas that belong to any special area.

Ethic is 'the principles of harmonious relations' built on the recognition of Unity of the Self amid the Diversity of the Not-self.[2]

Roots of Dharma

That Dharma was advocated from the earliest times is seen in Rigveda, the oldest known book, in the roots of speaking Satya and following Rta. Later texts Upanishads, Puranas abound with the call for people to follow Dharma.


From the very ancient times Truth is exalted above everything else. The conception of rta in the Rigveda is a sublime one and is the germ of the later doctrine of the rule of dharma. Rigveda (7.104.12) says

सुविज्ञानं चिकितुषे जनाय सच्चासच्च वचसी पस्पृधाते । तयोर्यत्सत्यं यतरदृजीयस्तदित्सोमोऽवति हन्त्यासत् ॥१२॥

suvijñānaṁ cikituṣe janāya saccāsacca vacasī paspr̥dhāte । tayoryatsatyaṁ yataradr̥jīyastaditsomo'vati hantyāsat ॥12॥

There exists a competition between Satya and Asatya speech. Soma protects out of the two what is true and what is very straight-forward and strikes down what is false.[3]


The famous words of Taittiriya Upanishad may be recollected where at the end of the student's vedic education the teacher should instruct thus :

वेदमनूच्याचार्योऽन्तेवासिनमनुशास्ति । सत्यं वद । धर्मं चर । स्वाध्यायान्मा प्रमदः ।... सत्यान्न प्रमदितव्यम्। धर्मान्न प्रमदितव्यम् । कुशलान्न प्रमदितव्यम् । भूत्यै न प्रमदितव्यम् । स्वाध्यायप्रवचनाभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम् । देवपितृकार्याभ्यां न प्रमदितव्यम् ॥ १ ॥ मातृदेवो भव । पितृदेवो भव । आचार्यदेवो भव । अतिथिदेवो भव । (Tait. Upan. Shik. 11.1-2)[4]

vēdamanūcyācāryō'ntēvāsinamanuśāsti । satyaṁ vada । dharmaṁ cara । svādhyāyānmā pramadaḥ ।... satyānna pramaditavyam। dharmānna pramaditavyam । kuśalānna pramaditavyam । bhūtyai na pramaditavyam । svādhyāyapravacanābhyāṁ na pramaditavyam । dēvapitr̥kāryābhyāṁ na pramaditavyam ॥ 1 ॥ mātr̥dēvō bhava । pitr̥dēvō bhava । ācāryadēvō bhava । atithidēvō bhava ।

Speak Satya (Truth). Practice Dharma (Righteousness). Make no mistake about the study of the Veda. Do not be inadvertent about the truth. Do not falter from Dharma. Show no neglect in performance of auspicious deeds. Do not be indifferent from duties towards other beings.[5]


Satya has 13 aspects and Mahabharata, Shantiparva explains those being non-injury to all beings in thought, word and deed, good will and charity are the eternal dharma of the good.[6]

अद्रोहः सर्वभूतेषु कर्मणा मनसा गिरा। अनुग्रहश्च दानं च सतां धर्मः सनातनः॥ (Maha. Sant. 12.162.21)

adrōhaḥ sarvabhūtēṣu karmaṇā manasā girā। anugrahaśca dānaṁ ca satāṁ dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ॥

Dharmika Jivana Drshti

The integral unity, unique aspects of vedas and shastras and the dharmika tattvajnana have been well discussed in Sanatana Dharma, we now focus on the perspective of life that should be adopted by a man invariably surrounded by the society. Lets see how the evolution of Jivatma takes place and the reason for following the dharmika vyavahara paddhati.

The vast school of dharmika teachings focusing on the Purusharthas serve as the ascending path of the evolution for the Jivatma towards the Paramapurushartha namely Moksha. The meanings of the Vedas, with its rituals and daily obligations, develops the Manas (mind) disciplines his Kama (desires and passions), evolves and directs his emotions. Manas, joined with Kama, gradually gets purified by a life led according to Vaidika rules. Such a Manas, becomes pure and upon training becomes capable to understand the higher philosophical thoughts.

To a Manas trained to see and to understand the many manifestations (of other jivas), the Veda unfolds its deeper occult meanings such as those the intellect could master and apply. Thus the purpose of the Vedic and Darshanic study and adhyayana was to make possible the evolution of Pure Reason, Buddhi. Darshana study develops the Pure Reason to see the One in the Many (unity of all manifestations) and this teaches the Jiva to overcome hatred and therefore arises the love for all (humanity).

To the Buddhi, thus unfolded to see the Oneness, the Veda unveils its adhyatmik meaning, its true end, the Vedanta, intelligible only to the pure compassionate Reason. Then, and then only, is Jivatma ready to reach the ultimate goal, the Paravidya is attained, Atma beholds itself. Thus, utterly rational, orderly and complete is the Sanatana Dharma, in guiding Jivatmas towards Moksha.[2]

Vaisheshika Darshana aptly puts forth Dharma as the path to Nihshreyasa (निःश्रेयसम्)

यतो ऽभ्युदयनिःश्रेयससिद्धिः स धर्मः । वैशेषिक-१,१.२ ।[7]

yatō 'bhyudayaniḥśrēyasasiddhiḥ sa dharmaḥ । vaiśēṣika-1,1.2 ।

Dharma is that from which results the accomplishment of Abhyudaya and Nihshreyasa or the ultimate good (which is the also the highest purushartha or moksha).[8]

Daivi and Asuri Sampada

The simplified version, a list of moral tendencies of Jiva were given by Sri Krishna, in Shrimad Bhagavadgita (षोडशोऽध्याय: दैवासुरसंपद्विभागयोग) under the two headings[2]

  • Daivi Sampada or Divine qualities are twenty-six in number as given below

अभयं सत्त्वसंशुद्धिर्ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः । दानं दमश्च यज्ञश्च स्वाध्यायस्तप आर्जवम् ॥१६- १॥

abhayaṁ sattvasaṁśuddhirjñānayōgavyavasthitiḥ । dānaṁ damaśca yajñaśca svādhyāyastapa ārjavam ॥16- 1॥

अहिंसा सत्यमक्रोधस्त्यागः शान्तिरपैशुनम् । दया भूतेष्वलोलुप्त्वं मार्दवं ह्रीरचापलम् ॥१६- २॥

ahiṁsā satyamakrōdhastyāgaḥ śāntirapaiśunam । dayā bhūtēṣvalōluptvaṁ mārdavaṁ hrīracāpalam ॥16- 2॥

तेजः क्षमा धृतिः शौचमद्रोहो नातिमानिता । भवन्ति संपदं दैवीमभिजातस्य भारत ॥१६- ३॥ (Bhag. Gita. 16.1-3)[9]

tējaḥ kṣamā dhr̥tiḥ śaucamadrōhō nātimānitā । bhavanti saṁpadaṁ daivīmabhijātasya bhārata ॥16- 3॥

  1. Abhaya (अभय: । Fearlessness)
  2. Sattvasamshuddhi (सत्त्वसंशुद्धिः । Sattvic purity)
  3. Jnanayogavyavasthiti (ज्ञानयोगव्यवस्थितिः । Steadfast Pursuit of Wisdom)
  4. Dana (दानम् । Charity)
  5. Dama (दमः । Control of Sense Organs )
  6. Yajnas (यज्ञः)
  7. Svadhyaya (स्वाध्यायः । Study of Vedic texts)
  8. Tapas (तपः । austerity)
  9. Arjava (आर्जवम् । Uprightness)
  10. Ahimsa (अहिंसा । harmlessness)
  11. Satya (सत्यम् । Truthfulness)
  12. Akrodha (अक्रोधम् । Absence of Anger)
  13. Tyaga (त्यागः । Renunciation)
  14. Shanti (शान्तिः । Calmness of Mind)
  15. Apaishuna (अपैशुनम् । Avoidance of Calumny)
  16. Bhuteshu Daya (भूतेषु दया। Compassion for all beings )
  17. Aloluptva (अलोलुप्त्वम् ।Absence of Greed)
  18. Mardava (मार्दवम् । Gentleness)
  19. Hrih (ह्रीः । Modesty)
  20. Achapala (अचापलम् । Absence of Restlessness)
  21. Tejas (तेजः । Radiance)
  22. Kshama (क्षमा । Forgiveness )
  23. Dhrti (धृतिः। Endurance)
  24. Shoucha (शौच । Purity)
  25. Adroha (अद्रोहः। Freedom from hatred)
  26. Na Atimanita (नातिमानिता । Free from Pride)
  • Asuri Sampada or Infernal qualities, in them Sri Krishna places all the opposite vices - all that tend to divide the Jivatmas. They include qualities that promote the feeling of Egotism, of the separated Self. These are described to have their root in and develop out of delusion of separateness.[2]

दम्भो दर्पोऽभिमानश्च क्रोधः पारुष्यमेव च । अज्ञानं चाभिजातस्य पार्थ संपदमासुरीम् ॥१६- ४॥ (Bhag. Gita. 16.4)[9]

dambho darpo'bhimānaśca krodhaḥ pāruṣyameva ca । ajñānaṁ cābhijātasya pārtha saṁpadamāsurīm ॥16- 4॥

  1. Dambha (दंभः । Hypocrisy)
  2. Darpa (दर्पः। Arrogance and Conceit)
  3. Abhimana (अभिमानः । Pride)
  4. Krodha (क्रोधः। Anger)
  5. Parushya (पारुष्यम् । Harshness)
  6. Ajnana (अज्ञानम् । Ignorance)

आत्मसंभाविताः स्तब्धा धनमानमदान्विताः । यजन्ते नामयज्ञैस्ते दम्भेनाविधिपूर्वकम् ॥१६- १७॥ (Bhag. Gita. 16.17)

ātmasaṁbhāvitāḥ stabdhā dhanamānamadānvitāḥ । yajante nāmayajñaiste dambhenāvidhipūrvakam ॥16- 17॥

अहंकारं बलं दर्पं कामं क्रोधं च संश्रिताः । मामात्मपरदेहेषु प्रद्विषन्तोऽभ्यसूयकाः ॥१६- १८॥ (Bhag. Gita. 16.18)

ahaṁkāraṁ balaṁ darpaṁ kāmaṁ krodhaṁ ca saṁśritāḥ । māmātmaparadeheṣu pradviṣanto'bhyasūyakāḥ ॥16- 18॥

त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मनः । कामः क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत् ॥१६- २१॥ (Bhag. Gita. 16.19)

trividhaṁ narakasyedaṁ dvāraṁ nāśanamātmanaḥ । kāmaḥ krodhastathā lobhastasmādetattrayaṁ tyajet ॥16- 21॥

Summary : Sri Krishna appraises Arjuna, further, about the Asuric qualities as given in above shlokas. Self-Important (आत्मसंभावितः । Atmasambhavita ) and Obstinate (स्तब्धा । Stabdha) they are filled with Pride and Arrogance due to wealth (धनमानमदान्विताः। Dhanamanamadanvita) and perform name-sake yajnas for pomp and ostentation, against the vidhis laid down in the texts.

Completely taken over by Ahamkara (अहंकारम्) or Egotism, Bala (strength for violence), Darpa (Conceit), Kama (lust), Krodha (Wrath) these malicious ones ever despise Me on the bodies of others as well as their own.

Three are the gates to hell, destructive of the Self - Lust, Wrath and Greed; therefore let these be renounced.[2]

Simply put, Sri Krishna clearly spelt out those qualities a man should cultivate in himself and those which ought to be renounced.

Dharmika Vyavahar Sutras

Sadly today's world is driven by Svartha Drshti (स्वार्थदृष्टिः) and the Purushartha Drshti (पुरुषार्थदृष्टिः) is gradually losing ground with the advancement of Kaliyuga. With Dharma well rooted in Vedic principles, texts such as Dharmashastras have been loud and clear in explaining the Purushartha Drsthi in the Dharmika Vyavahara sutras of conduct of one man towards other animate and inanimate beings. Society and rules for living in the society started to change based on time and yugas, and there is a need to bring back the focus to Purushartha Drshti. Some elements of the dharmika codes of conduct that (dharmik vyavahar sutra) are aligned with above given dharmika perspective of life include

  1. कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम् । kr̥ṇvanto viśvamāryam । (Rig. Veda. 9.63.5)
  2. सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः । sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ sarve santu nirāmayāḥ । (Brhdaranyaka Upanishad)
  3. वसुधैव कुटुम्बकम् ॥ ७१॥ vasudhaiva kuṭumbakam ॥ 71॥
  4. सुखस्य मूलं धर्मः । sukhasya mūlaṁ dharmaḥ। (Chan. Niti. 1)[10]
  5. सर्वस्य भूषणं विनयः | sarvasya bhūṣaṇaṁ vinayaḥ | (Chan. Niti. 428 )[10]
  6. परोपकारः पुण्याय पापाय परपीडनम् | paropakāraḥ puṇyāya pāpāya parapīḍanam |

Dharmika Vyavastha

Classification of dharma was primarily based on Shrutis (Vedic texts and rites) and Smritis (associated texts like Manusmrti), thus exist

  1. Shrauta Dharmas
  2. Smarta Dharmas

Manifold are the topics that have been included under the Vedas and Dharmashastras from very ancient times. While Shrauta Dharmas are pertinent more for the Shrauta karmas like conducting Yajnas, Smarta Dharmas are the codes of conduct widely followed even in the present Dharmika communities. The Dharmasutras of Gautama, Baudhayana, Apastamba, and Vasishtha deal in greater or less detail principally the following subjects: [11]

  1. Varna Dharmas (four classes)
  2. Ashrama Dharmas (Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa)
  3. Samskaras (performed on an individual)
  4. Panchamahayajnas (yajnas to expiate the 5 debts of man)
  5. Shuddhi (Purification of persons, vessals, clothes)
  6. Dana (Charity)
  7. Ashaucha (impurity during birth and death)
  8. Antyesthi (performed on the deceased)
  9. Shraddha (performed for deceased ancestors and relatives)
  10. Stridharma (special duties of women)
  11. Stri-Purusha Dharmas (duties of husband and wife)
  12. Vyavahara (judicial procedures and laws)
  13. Apaddharmas (actions permitted in extreme difficulties)
  14. Prayashchitta (sins and how to expiate them)
  15. Karmavipaka (results of evil deeds in past lives)
  16. Shanti prakriya (rites for propitiating planets)

From the above list it can be understood that the concept of Dharma is a far reaching one, embracing the whole life of man. The propounders of Dharmashastra meant by Dharma not a creed or religion but a mode of life or a code of conduct, which regulated a man's work and activities as a member of society and as an individual. Dharma was intended to bring about the gradual development of a man and enable him to reach what was deemed to be the goal of human existence. From this standpoint various divisions of dharma were suggested.


  1. Mahopanishad
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Sanatana Dharma : An Advanced Textbook of Hindu Religion and Ethics. (1903) Benares : The Board of Trustees, Central Hindu College
  3. Pt. Shripada Damodar Satvalekar. (1985) Rigved Ka Subodh Bhashya, Volume 3 (Mandalas 6 to 8) Hindi Translation Parady: Svadhyaya Mandal. Courtesy Vedic Heritage Portal
  4. Taittriya Upanishad (Shiksha Valli Anuvaka 11)
  5. N. S. Ananta Rangacharya (2003) Principal Upanishads (Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandookya, Taittiriya, Mahanarayana, Svetasvatara) Volume 1. Bangalore : Sri Rama Printers
  6. Kane, Pandurang Vaman. (1962) History of Dharmasastra (Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law). Volume 5 Part 2. Poona : Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute
  7. Vaiseshika Sutras
  8. Pt. Nandalal Sinha. (1923) The Vaiseshika Sutras of Kanada. Allahabad : The Panini Office
  9. 9.0 9.1 Shrimad Bhagavadgita (Adhyaya 16)
  10. 10.0 10.1 Pt. Shriramavatar Vidyabhaskar. (1946) Chanakyasutrani Arth aur Vivaran Sahit. Parady : Svadhyaya Mandal
  11. Kane, Pandurang Vaman. (1930) History of Dharmasastra (Ancient and Medieval Religious and Civil Law), Volume 1. Poona : Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute