Religion Past and Present

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(275 words)

[German Version]

(from Sanskrit “support, foothold, sustainer”), with the general meaning “rule, order,” is a fun-damental concept of Hinduism and is based on the notion that the balance of the world can be maintained by establishing fixed rules. Accordingly, the Indian tradition defines dharma as a system of religious duties and of norms governing law as well as the behavior and actions of the individual as a member of an estate (varṇa) and of his caste (jāti). The observance or transgression of these duties and norms determines whether the form of the next rebirth wi…

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Schetelich, Maria, “Dharma”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 04 June 2020 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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