All religions that grew from Indian soil — Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism — refer to dharma. In Hinduism, dharma signifies the ‘‘right way of living’’, aligned with rta — the order that sustains life and maintains the universe. In Buddhism, dharma means “cosmic law and order”. In Jainism, dharma refers to the teachings of the Jinas, for moral transformation of human beings. For Sikhs, the word dharma means the “path of righteousness” and hymn 1353 of Guru Granth Sahib refers to dharma as duty.
Dharma” is a unique Indian concept, a gift of Indian civilisation to humanity. It has provided the compass for right action and right livelihood. There is no equivalent word in Western languages. The concept of dharma is not limited to religion — as has often been erroneously done — dharma is a concept that runs through the many spiritual threads that together weave our culture. It is the “path of righteousness”.