Dharma: the soul of Hindu jurisprudence

Nimisha Jha
Assistant Professor (Law),
Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal


When we talk about jurisprudence, we tend to remember only Western philosophers, jurists and schools of jurisprudence. On the other hand, our indigenous philosophers, jurists and schools remain untouched and unknown. Dharma has been associated with varied meanings today. The original meaning of the term is ‘duty’. The entire Hindu jurisprudence relies on this one word and its varied meanings. The paper tends to explore and educate the students on the ancient Hindu philosophies associated with jurisprudence. It is also surprising to find that the various schools of jurisprudence, which we study today, were already a part of ancient Hindu jurisprudence. In India, the development of jurisprudence and legal theory owes much to the ancient Hindu legal thinkers and legal philosophers. There have been great Indian jurists such as Narada, Jaimini, Yagnavalkya, Manu, Kautilya, Gautama etc. These legal thinkers founded and developed their own system of law and jurisprudence on sound principles of reasoning and human welfare, which excels in many aspects with other ancient legal systems. The Hindu jurisprudence is rooted in Hindu religion and custom. It is based on religious precepts and rituals. The fundamental truths of Hinduism are Brahma (God), Dharma (righteousness, the path which is in conformity with man’s inner and true nature and leads him on to salvation in his own unique, though also subtly universal way) and Karma (act accumulating merit or demerit according to the test of Dharma). The paper sheds light on the ancient practice of law and duty by different philosophers. The resting ground of law being equivalent to morality.

Keywords: Dharma, Hindu, Jurisprudence, Morality and law, Legal philosophers, Schools of law

Preferred Citation

Nimisha Jha, Dharma: The Soul of Hindu Jurisprudence, The Lex-Warrier: Online Law Journal (2018) 5, pp. 217 – 222, ISSN (O): 2319-8338

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