Dharma (righteousness) is what a man ought to be. It is the law that man must follow for his own spiritual evolution. Sanatana Dharma - is the law of being and it is the religion of humanity. It is not a special privilege of the Hindu only.
Righteousness opens the way for God-realisation. The treasure of dharma is accumulated by plain living and high thinking.
Truth, austerity, knowledge, sacrifice and consecration are the pillars on which dharma rests. These are the great, eternal laws that uphold the earth.
There are ten attributes of dharma. They are: patience or courage, forgiveness, self-restraint, non-stealing, purity, control of the senses, thoughtfulness, knowledge, truthfulness and angerlessness.
Dharma assumes the shape of the moral law that differentiates between good and evil, that impels right action and not wrong action. The rightness or wrongness depends only on what will help or hinder a man's spiritual progress. Human existence has four values. They are: dharma - the ethical value of life; artha - the material value; kama the vital value; moksa - the infinite value.
No one can lead a life of adharma (unrighteousness) and be happy. This is because happiness is the nature of the atman and dharma too is an expression of the law of the self.
That which elevates you is virtue (dharma) and that which pulls you down is vice (adharma) or sin. That which makes you worldly is sin. That which helps you to attain Godhead is virtue. That which hurls you into the dark abyss of ignorance is sin and that which leads you to illumination is virtue.
That which causes intoxication is sin and that which purifies the heart is virtue. That which gives you peace, joy, satisfaction, exhilaration, expansion of the heart is virtue and that which brings restlessness, dissatisfaction, depression and contraction is vice.
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