Dharma—the practice of virtue; Swami Nishpapananda

My perspective is Neo-Vedanta or Neo-Hinduism, one of the primary responses within Hinduism to the challenge of modernity. It was first articulated by Swami Vivekananda in 1893 at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago. Dharma is a comprehensive term that means etymologically, ‘that which holds a person or thing’. We will start with the fundamental insight of the Hindu ethos about the nature of reality, using that as a key to understand dharma. We will then examine various aspects of dharma: physical, intra-personal, moral, and spiritual. Finally we‘ll look at dharma as both the stable basis of secular life and the foundation of spiritual life.

Swami Nishpapananda is a monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India, and an assistant minister at the Vedanta Society of St Louis, where he has resided since 1974. He became interested in Vedanta through college course work, joined the Order in 1981 and received final monastic vows in India in 1995. A graduate of Washington University, Swami Nishpapananda manages the book and multi-media publications of the Vedanta Society and is active in inter-faith work in the St Louis area.