A discussion on Dharma by Benu

Dharma, there is no exact English word for it.

Sanskrit words when translated into English often need many words to convey their real meaning. When discussing Dharma, we can say righteousness, religion, moral and ethical living, virtuousness and so on. 

Dhar means to hold, from this root came Dharana (yoga sutra sixth limb), Dharamshala, DHARMA and many others. More precisely, holding a number of virtuous or moral values inside us (IN DNA/ IN MIND/IN BRAIN /IN CONSUOUSNESS).  Which will  reflect in our each and every moment,  action  and  word  (karma),  can be  defined  as  Dharma .

Virabhadrasana B
Virabhadrasana B
Virabhadrasana B

What is Dharma?

Practically, we can explain this aspect of Dharma in many ways.

Let’s look firstly at our own responsibilities.  As a human being, we have duties which we must perform from birth, these are called Dharma.

Take for example a Doctor, a professional Dharma is core to their values and the values society expects them to uphold. Now, the same Doctor when with her parents needs to perform Dharma of a daughter. With her Husband Dharma of a wife, to children Dharma of a Mother and lastly to herself she has another way of performing Dharma.

So, every day we have to perform multiple roles within each different situation so the Dharma must also be modified.

Look at the planets and sun. Millions of years revolving and rotating without asking for anything in return. Selflessly serving all life on the Earth. If, by chance, the sun took one day off, or even moved a centimeter in any direction, civilization as we know it would vanish from the Earth in seconds. 

It is clear to see Dharma in nature. When we watch a tree, we can see without question it knows what it must do, how it must be, it knows its Dharma. A river knows and performs perfectly (unless human beings block it).

Dharma of a female dog; she delivers maybe five puppies. Then watch how much she struggles to take care of these same puppies in the streets in slums. Searching in the streets for food. After a few weeks her puppies arrive. Then many disaster can happen; some get eaten, some get beaten, some get adopted by people. Still every year she does the same thing.  The dharma of a mother without any reward back, a perfect example from dogs, cats and monkeys.

What is Karma?

Now we understand that Dharma means what we hold. Karma means when what we hold comes through our hands, out into the world and others see it. Or simply, output of Dharma to the word is Karma (kar means hands,) a Dharmic life means never being greedy or disturbing others by our thoughts, actions and words. Never occupy others belongings, never cheat, never lie. Simple living, high thinking or less luggage more comfort.

Adharma means; against Dharma or contradictory to righteousness. As we say justice and injustice.  In Bhagavad Gita (it is a 5000 years old Indian scripture), it says whenever there is degradation or downfall of Dharma from society, and people with higher consciousness incarnate to re- establish it. One such incarnate person is enough to help one million people, that much potentiality they carry. If you need to call them any name call Jesus, Buddha, Rumi, Krishna and so on. The name doesn’t matter, which century they came doesn’t matter, what they spoke doesn’t matter, what language they used doesn’t matter. Just understand it.


How do we apply Dharma to yoga?

As a yoga teacher or a yoga student how we use this idea and terminology; in our center, in our yoga business, in our teachings, lets us come down to common life. A little percentage of our earnings shared through yoga to charity. Every month gained energy through postural and breathing practices shared for helping others. We should spread good values such as non-violence, non-lying and non-greediness. Yoga classes never hurt anyone’s holy or religious believers and faith.

The Dharma of a yoga teacher is to teach seriously and dedicatedly to their student’s. The students Dharma is to respect the Teacher and topic.

With the power of yoga we can help those who are not able to follow this financially, intellectually and in so many other ways. Yoga can be helpful to non-yoga people too. Not only human beings, animals, plants, rivers, ecology, politics and everywhere. We need to place good strong personalities with the right awareness, strong will power, high immunity and less greed.  Then see how society change as a heaven.  

My experience with the mystic:

Once I was almost collapsing down in Varanasi with a food poisoning (in 2001? I guess), I had no money to buy medicines and no other ways, not liking to beg either. I lay down near the Ganga River for three days. Unexpectedly  a mystic  came in front and took me,  kept me in his room  and provided some herbals and  booked  a train and  shifted me to upper Himalayas  from Varanasi. 15 days he kept me in a highest of 7000 feet, made special tea with some herbals which he powdered with original plants and I recovered   completely. I asked why you helped me — he told me   –“ Dharmo  rakshati rakshati Dharmaha “. One who protects Dharma, Dharma will protect them.  Still those words are vibrating in my brain. After he left to somewhere I left to Rishikesh.


Keep good values and never do crimes which disturb others.  When you need some help dharma will work through someone’s body or mind and approach you as help.


The Author is Benu Sreedhar, born and brought up in south India Kerala. A seeker of truth , a  traveler   a  writer  and  a lover of yogis, mystics and yoga , he spent  his  40 years life  in modern and ancient  education  now for a  basic needs  taking some  yoga classes in many courses  structured by alliance in many parts of India. STILL his journey continues.




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