The word is derived from “dhr” to uphold, sustain or nourish. “That which supports, that which holds together the peoples (of the universe), that is Dharma.” The seers often use it in close association with “rta” and “satya.”
Dharma is not merely a set of beliefs having no necessary connection with the daily life of humanity, bat it is the very principles of a healthy and beneficent life. Therefore to know those principles and act upon them is to be a true
follower of Vaidika Dharma, and to tread the sure road to happiness, individual as well as general.
“ Vaidika” means “pertaining to the Veda or Perfect Knowledge.” Hence Vaidika Dharma means “ the Path of Perfect Knowledge.” [Mahabharata. Kana Parva. Ixix, 59]
One of the most remarkable things in the Dharma Path is the way in which it has laid down a complete scheme of knowledge, and has then crowned it with a Philosophy composed of six faces, but governed by one idea and leading to one goal. No such comprehensive and orderly view of human knowledge is elsewhere to be found.
In Patanjali’s Mahabhashya mentions 21 shakhas of the Rig Veda, 100 of the Yajur Veda, 1000 of the Sama Veda and 9 of the Athatva Veda. [Charan Vyuha]
“ The Vedas, along with the Puranas, the Nyayas, the Mimansas, the Dharmashastras and the Angas, are the fourteen sources of knowledge and Dharma. (The student should) expound the Vedas with (the help of) the Itihasas and
“ Two knowledges are to be known, thus say the knowers of Brahman the supreme and the lower. The lower : Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda, Atharvaveda, the Method of Study, the Method of Ritual, Grammar, Dictionary [ Philology ] Prosody, Astrology. The supreme, whereby That Eternal (Sanatana) is reached.”