What is Dharma?

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What is Dharma?

There is nothing higher than dharma.
Verily, that which is dharma is Truth.
—Yajur Veda, Br. Upanishad 1.4.14

Dharma is God’s di vine law prevailing on
every level of existence, from the sustaining
cosmic order to religious and moral
laws which bind us in harmony with
that order. It is piety and ethi cal practice,
duty and ob ligation. Dharma is to the individual
what its normal development is to
a seed—the orderly fulfillment of an inherent
nature and destiny. Hindu dharma is embodied in the
ten yamas (restraints) and ten niyamas (observances). The yamas are
noninjury, truthfulness, nonstealing, sexual purity, patience, steadfastness,
compassion, straightforwardness and moderate appetite.
The niyamas are purity, remorse, contentment, giving, faith, worship,
scriptural study, cognition, vows, recitation and austerity. Noninjury,
ahimsâ, is the cardinal virtue, the mahâvrata.