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Kinds of Dharma

Dharma can be classified under two heads: (i) Samanya or the general, universal Dharma and (ii) Visesha or the specific, personal Dharma. Contentment, forgiveness, self-restraint, non-stealing, purity, control of senses, discrimination between right and wrong, between the real and the unreal, spiritual knowledge, truthfulness and absence of anger come under the -general or universal Dharma. The rules of the castes and orders of life are specific Dharmas. These are the tenfold characteristics of Dharma according to Manu.

Dharma assumes various kinds: Sanatana Dharma (Eternal Law), Samanya Dharma (general duty), Visesha Dharma, (special duty), Varnasrama Dharma (duties of Caste and Order), Svadharma (one's own duty), Yuga Dharma (duty of the Age), Kula Dharma (duty of family), Manava Dharma (duty of man), Purusha Dharma (duty of male), Stri Dharma (duty of female), Raja Dharma (duty of king), Praja Dharma (duty of subjects), Pravritti Dharma (duty in worldly life) and Nivritti Dharma (duty in spiritual life).

The Hindu social system has insisted on the harmony and cooperation of Human beings, In society every individual belongs to a particular group and cultivates a specific nature duties required by Dharma. There are certain functions and duties which each individual has to perform irrespective of his nature and class affiliation. Performance and fulfillment of such duties is general and applicable to all human beings, which is called Manavadharama. On the other hand performance of duties prescribed for a class individual is called Varnadharma. In addition to this, there is Svadharma, which defines the specific law of individual life. The Gita is so strong in its insistence upon the law of Svadharma, "Better is death in one's own law (Svadharma); for to follow another's law is perilous."

Each Individual has his own Svadharma. The life of the householder or the ascetic, the goal of wealth or devotion, were all integrated into the religious organization of life
All were seeking release from Karma and transmigration. Devotion tended to be practiced in addition to basic rituals and caste rules, although during some of the practices of the devotional movements, such as pilgrimages, caste, distinctions, they were sometimes temporarily set aside. Svadharma applies to all levels of existence. Therefore, great significance has been given to sacraments in Hindu society, since they are regarded as a part of the religion. Because of this special feature of the sacraments, their sociological significance is constantly increasing.

In the contest of the Hindu Society, sacrament means the activity that helps to achieve purity and as a result of which the complete development of the personality of the individual is made. Sacrament has been adopted as a means in Hindu society and is connected with physical and non physical aspects of man. This helps the sociological progress of the individual and develops in him respect for sacraments, virtue and duty.Although sacraments exist in all religious as sunnat among Muslims and Baptism among the Christians, but in Hindu society, they are related to the age, occasion and ashramas of the individual. Sacrament, according to Hindu view, is that activity the performance of which makes a matter or person fit for use and develops ability in the person. According to Vir Mitrodaya, sacraments are that ability which arises by the performance of the activities, which through mental and intellectual refinements may develop complete personality of the individual. Sacraments are performed from birth to death. In Hindu religion, there is no provision for natural development of the personality. Sixteen sacraments of the Hindus are connected with some or the other aspects (physical, mental, social or educational) of personality and help their development.




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