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Hinduism Revision - Topic 1: Dharma

Definitions of Dharma

o Dharma is derived from the Vedic concept of RTA
Rta­ derived form the Rig Veda = the belief that a natural justice and harmony pervades the natural world
becomes manifested in rta - which is both 'nature's way' and the…

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o Very Specific ­ Traditional (Strict set of laws in how each person should live their life according to scripture ­
VS. modernity ­ has become looser but is STILL an important framework within Hinduism

Varna ­ the four social classes of society

o Varna ­ "Colour" ­ hierarchy that…

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Jati's ­ Craft based groups ­ 1000s

o Secondary aspect of the Caste system
o Believed to be more ancient than the Varna System ­ predates the Vedic period
o Jati's = thousands of trade groups, in which everyone is a member of by birth
o Examples include ­ Potters,…

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o Some Hindu's choose to stay in this stage for their whole lives ­ belief that the acquisition of knowledge is a
lifelong persuit ­ however the entering into the Grihastha stage through marriage is often encouraged

Grihastha stage (Householder)



Stridharma ­ Dharma of Women

o Stridharma - Duty of…

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39% of females attended school under the age of 14
Social issues ­ such as women being blamed for the failure of a marriage (single mothers not accepted) ­ men
in Vedic times were allowed to abandon them - 45% of women are beaten + 77% of males said that…

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Gita Ch. 1 Lines 40-41 ­ "when a family declines, ancient traditions are destroyed/ with them are
lost the spiritual foundations of life" ­ highlights the importance of fulfilling your Vivaha Dharma
o Marriage ­ Dharma = The procreation of children and continuation of family lineage
o Significant ­ marks…

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If divorced ­ the daughter will return home to her father's family (no obligation for husband to support)
o Remarriage of widows ­ particularly of that of upper-class is discouraged (Vedic Ideal ­ perform sati)


Dharma is an abstract ideal which cannot be applied to the everyday life of Hindus.'…

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