Dharma, Karma, and Samsara

The notions of dharma, karma, and samsara constitute the conceptual space within which an orthodox Hindu mindful of the classical Brahmanical tradition lives out his or her adult life. Dharma is the expression in the affairs of human beings of cosmic harmony and stability (rita). Literally, it means that which maintains, sustains, and supports. It includes the ideas of natural law, moral righteousness, and religion as these terms are generally understood. Concretely, dharma refers to the complex of duties that a person should discharge in the course of everyday life. While certain duties such as truthfulness are binding universally (sādhāaran dharma), most are context sensitive, varying according to the actor's social status (varna, jati, or caste) and the stage of life (student, householder, retiree, or ...

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