Rituals and rites of passage[1]
Yoga, personal behaviours[2]
Virtues such as Ahimsa (non-violence)[3]
Law and justice[4]
Sannyasa and stages of life[5]
Duties, such as learning from teachers[6]

Dharma (ə/;[7] Sanskrit: धर्म, translit. dharma, pronounced [dʱəɾmə] (About this soundlisten); Pali: धम्म, translit. dhamma, translit. dhamma) is a key concept with multiple meanings in Indian religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and others.[8] There is no single-word translation for dharma in Western languages.[9]

In Hinduism, dharma signifies behaviours that are considered to be in accord with Ṛta, the order that makes life and universe possible,[10][note 1] and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and "right way of living".[11] In Buddhism, dharma means "cosmic law and order",[10] and is also applied to the teachings of the Buddha.[10] In Buddhist philosophy, dhamma/dharma is also the term for "phenomena".[12][note 2] Dharma in Jainism refers to the teachings of tirthankara (Jina)[10] and the body of doctrine pertaining to the purification and moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharm means the path of righteousness and proper religious practice.[13]

The word dharma was already in use in the historical Vedic religion, and its meaning and conceptual scope has evolved over several millennia.[14] The antonym of dharma is adharma.


The Prakrit word "Dha-ṃ-ma"/𑀥𑀁𑀫 (Sanskrit: Dharma धर्म) in the Brahmi script, as inscribed by Emperor Ashoka in his Edicts of Ashoka (3rd century BCE).

The Classical Sanskrit noun dharma (धर्म) or the Prakrit Dhaṃma (𑀥𑀁𑀫) are a derivation from the root dhṛ, which means "to hold, maintain, keep",[note 3] and takes a meaning of "what is established or firm", and hence "law". It is derived from an older Vedic Sanskrit n-stem dharman-, with a literal meaning of "bearer, supporter", in a religious sense conceived as an aspect of Rta.[16]

In the Rigveda, the word appears as an n-stem, dhárman-, with a range of meanings encompassing "something established or firm" (in the literal sense of prods or poles). Figuratively, it means "sustainer" and "supporter" (of deities). It is semantically similar to the Greek Themis ("fixed decree, statute, law").[17] In Classical Sanskrit, the noun becomes thematic: dharma-.

The word dharma derives from Proto-Indo-European root

In Classical Sanskrit, and in the Vedic Sanskrit of the Atharvaveda, the stem is thematic: dhárma- (Devanāgarī: धर्म). In Prakrit and Pāli, it is rendered dhamma. In some contemporary Indian languages and dialects it alternatively occurs as dharm.

Ancient translations

When the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka wanted in the 3rd century BCE to translate the word "Dharma" (he used Prakrit word Dhaṃma) into Greek and Aramaic, he used the Greek word Eusebeia (εὐσέβεια, piety, spiritual maturity, or godliness) in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription and the Kandahar Greek Edicts, and the Aramaic word Qsyt ("Truth") in the Kandahar Bilingual Rock Inscription.[20]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Dharma
العربية: دارما
asturianu: Dharma
беларуская: Дхарма
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Дгарма
भोजपुरी: धर्म
български: Дхарма
བོད་ཡིག: ལྷ་ཆོས།
català: Dharma
čeština: Dharma
dansk: Dharma
Deutsch: Dharma
eesti: Dharma
Ελληνικά: Ντάρμα
español: Dharma
Esperanto: Darmo
euskara: Dharma
فارسی: درمه
français: Dharma
հայերեն: Դհարմա
हिन्दी: धर्म
hrvatski: Dharma
Bahasa Indonesia: Dharma
íslenska: Dharma
italiano: Dharma
עברית: דהרמה
ಕನ್ನಡ: ಧರ್ಮ
ქართული: დჰარმა
қазақша: Дхарма
Кыргызча: Дхарма
latviešu: Darma
Lëtzebuergesch: Dharma
lietuvių: Dharma
मैथिली: धर्म
македонски: Дарма
मराठी: धम्म
მარგალური: დჰარმა
мокшень: Дхарма
Nederlands: Dharma
norsk: Dharma
norsk nynorsk: Dharma
occitan: Darma
پنجابی: تعرم
پښتو: دهرما
ភាសាខ្មែរ: ព្រះធម៌
polski: Dharma
português: Darma
română: Dharma
русский: Дхарма
संस्कृतम्: धर्मः
sardu: Dharma
Scots: Dharma
Simple English: Dharma
سنڌي: ڌرم
slovenčina: Dharma
کوردی: دارما
српски / srpski: Дарма
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Darma
suomi: Dharma
svenska: Dharma
Tagalog: Dharma
தமிழ்: தருமம்
తెలుగు: ధర్మము
ไทย: ธรรม
Türkçe: Dharma
тыва дыл: Дхарма
українська: Дгарма
اردو: دھرم
Tiếng Việt: Pháp (Phật giáo)