Adharma, aka: Adharmā; 12 Definition(s)


Adharma means something in Hinduism, Sanskrit, Jainism, Prakrit, Marathi. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Hinduism

Shaivism (Shaiva philosophy)

Adharmā (अधर्मा):—Sixth of the eight Mātṛs born from the body of Ātmī, according to the Kubjikāmata-tantra. These eight sub-manifestations (mātṛ), including Adharmā, symbolize the different kinds of souls, as well as the impurities by which these souls are bound (except for Niṣkala or Śiva). They are presided over by the Bhairava Caṇḍa and his consort Brāhmī. Ātmī is the second of the Eight Mahāmātṛs, residing within the Mātṛcakra (third of the five cakras) and represents the ātman.

Source: Wisdom Library: Kubjikāmata-tantra
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Shaiva (शैव, śaiva) or Shaivism (śaivism) represents a tradition of Hinduism worshiping Shiva as the supreme being. Closely related to Shaktism, Shaiva literature includes a range of scriptures, including Tantras, while the root of this tradition may be traced back to the ancient Vedas.

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Purana and Itihasa (epic history)

Adharma in Purana glossary... « previous · [A] · next »

1) Adharma (अधर्म).—A description of the lineage of Adharma is found in Agni Purāṇa. Hiṃsā (violence) is the consort of Adharma. The couple procreated two children, Anṛta and Nikṛti, and from them sprang up Bhaya (fear), Naraka (Hell), Māyā (illusion), Vedanā (pain) etc. And, out of them Māyā brought forth Death, the destroyer of (all) objects. Vedanā, in its turn produced Sorrow and Grief out of Raurava. From Death were born Disease, Senility, Sorrow, Intense desire and Anger. (Agni Purāṇa, Chapter 20).

2) Adharma (अधर्म).—Adharma is a person who is an embodiment of Adharmas. (Mahābhārata Ādi Parva, Chapter 66, Verse 53). Adharma’s wife Nirṛti delivered 3 children; Bhaya, Mahābhaya and Mṛtyu. Adharma had another son, Darpa (conceit) born of Wealth. (Mahābhārata Śānti Parva, Chapter 90, Verse 27).

Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia

1a) Adharma (अधर्म).—A son of Brahmā, born of his back.1 Had for his wife Mrṣā.2 Three chief characteristics—pride, luxury and intoxication.3 His son was Dambha and daughter Māyā, both of whom were adopted later on by the childless Nirṛti.4 Five branches of: vidharma, paradharma, ābhāsa, upamā, and chala.5

  • 1) Bhāgavata-purāṇa III. 12. 25.
  • 2) Ib. IV. 8. 2.
  • 3) Ib. I. 17. 24.
  • 4) Ib. IV. 8. 2.
  • 5) Ib. VII. 15. 12-14.

1b) Wife, Hiṃsā; sons Nikṛti, Anṛta. (daughter Nikṛtī, Viṣṇu-purāṇa).*

  • * Brahmāṇḍa-purāṇa II. 9. 63; Vāyu-purāṇa 10. 39; Viṣṇu-purāṇa I. 7. 32.
Source: Cologne Digital Sanskrit Dictionaries: The Purana Index

Adharma (अधर्म) is a name mentioned in the Mahābhārata (cf. I.60.51) and represents one of the many proper names used for people and places. Note: The Mahābhārata (mentioning Adharma) is a Sanskrit epic poem consisting of 100,000 ślokas (metrical verses) and is over 2000 years old.

Source: JatLand: List of Mahabharata people and places
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The Purana (पुराण, purāṇas) refers to Sanskrit literature preserving ancient India’s vast cultural history, including historical legends, religious ceremonies, various arts and sciences. The eighteen mahapuranas total over 400,000 shlokas (metrical couplets) and date to at least several centuries BCE.

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Vaisheshika (school of philosophy)

Adharma (अधर्म, “demerit”) is one of the additional guṇas (‘qualities’) added by Praśastapāda, on top of the seventeen guṇas in the Vaiśeṣika-sūtras. These guṇas are considered as a category of padārtha (“metaphysical correlate”). These padārthas represent everything that exists which can be cognized and named. Together with their subdivisions, they attempt to explain the nature of the universe and the existence of living beings.

Source: Wisdom Library: Vaiśeṣika
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Vaisheshika (वैशेषिक, vaiśeṣika) refers to a school of orthodox Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. Vaisheshika deals with subjects such as logic, epistemology, philosophy and expounds concepts similar to Buddhism in nature

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Pancaratra (worship of Nārāyaṇa)

Adharma (अधर्म) or Adharmamudrā is the name of a mudrā described in the Īśvarasaṃhitā 50-53.—Accordingly, “the two hands are to be kept apart and then the index fingers are to be joined face to face; leaving this formation for the two middle fingers; the ring fingers shall be left out, this shall be done to the two little fingers. This shall be done to the two thumbs while forming each. These four mudrās are for dharma and others and adharma and others. The lotus that exists above them (dharma and others) was described before with mantras”.

Mūdra (eg., Adharma-mudrā) is so called as it gives joy to the tattvas in the form of karman for those who offer spotless worship, drive out the defects which move about within and without and sealing up of what is done.

Source: Isvara Samhita Vol 5
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Pancaratra (पाञ्चरात्र, pāñcarātra) represents a tradition of Hinduism where Narayana is revered and worshipped. Closeley related to Vaishnavism, the Pancaratra literature includes various Agamas and tantras incorporating many Vaishnava philosophies.

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Nyaya (school of philosophy)

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Adharma (अधर्म, “demerit”) and Adharma (demerit) refers to two of the twenty-four guṇas (qualities) according to Praśastapāda and all the modern works on Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika.—Dharma (merit) and adharma (demerit) constitute adṛṣṭa (destiny). Radhakrishnan says “Dharma and adharma are qualities of the soul by virtue of which it enjoys happiness or suffers misery. Adṛṣṭa is the unseen power produced by souls and things, which brings about the cosmic order and enables selves to reap the harvest of their past experiences”.

Praśastapāda points out that dharma is a quality of puruṣa i.e., the self. It produces happiness and liberation. It is caused by the contact of the self with the antaḥkaraṇa (inner organ), conditioned by pure thoughts and decisions. It is not perceptible by the senses and is destroyed by the experience of final happiness. Demerit (adharma), on the other hand, produces undesirable results. It is produced by doing prohibited action, not performing prescribed duties, neglect and impurity of motives. Viśvanātha describes dharma as that which leads to heaven etc. In his view, dharma consists of actions like bath in the gangas and sacrifices. Similarly, adharma is the cause of hell etc. It is produced by such actions which are condemnable. Viśvanātha also maintains that these two are produced by subtle impressions (vāsana) and are destroyed by knowledge also.

Dharma and adharma are the special qualities of the self and are imperceptible by the senses. According to Annaṃbhaṭṭa, among the aforementioned eight special qualities of the self, buddhi, icchā and prayatna are both eternal and noneternal. In case of īśvara these qualities are eternal and in case of the jīva these are non-eternal.

Source: Shodhganga: A study of Nyāya-vaiśeṣika categories
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Nyaya (न्याय, nyaya) refers to a school of Hindu philosophy (astika), drawing its subject-matter from the Upanishads. The Nyaya philosophy is known for its theories on logic, methodology and epistemology, however, it is closely related with Vaisheshika in terms of metaphysics.

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General definition (in Hinduism)

Adharma (अधर्म, “sin”):—In Vedic hinduism, he represents Unrighteousness and is the husband of Nirṛti. They have three sons:

  1. Mṛtyu,
  2. Bhaya
  3. and Mahābhaya
Source: Wisdom Library: Hinduism

In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

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Adharma (अधर्म) refers to the “medium of rest” according to the 2nd-century Tattvārthasūtra 5.17.—The functions of the media of motion (dharma) and rest (adharma) are to assist (upagraha) motion (gati) and rest respectively. The function of the medium of motion (dharma) is to support / assist in the motion of moving objects (living beings and matter). The function of the medium of rest (adharma) is to support the state of rest of objects (living beings and matter).

Source: Encyclopedia of Jainism: Tattvartha Sutra 5: The category of the non-living
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Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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Languages of India and abroad

Marathi-English dictionary

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adharma (अधर्म).—m (S) Unrighteousness, iniquity, sin; all behaviour contrary to the śruti and smṛti or religious and legal institutes. 2 A sin, a crime, a wrong deed.

Source: DDSA: The Molesworth Marathi and English Dictionary

adharma (अधर्म).—m Unrighteousness, a sin, a crime.

Source: DDSA: The Aryabhusan school dictionary, Marathi-English
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Marathi is an Indo-European language having over 70 million native speakers people in (predominantly) Maharashtra India. Marathi, like many other Indo-Aryan languages, evolved from early forms of Prakrit, which itself is a subset of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of the world.

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Sanskrit-English dictionary

Adharma (अधर्म).—[na. ta.]

1) Unrighteousness, irreligion, impiousness, wickedness, injustice; °दण्डनम् (daṇḍanam) Ms.8.127 unjust punishment; अधर्मेण (adharmeṇa) unjustly, in an improper way; यश्चाधर्मेण पृच्छति (yaścādharmeṇa pṛcchati) Ms.2.111; an unjust act; a guilty or wicked deed; sin; °चारिन् (cārin) committing unjust or unrighteous deeds; so °आत्मन् (ātman) of an irreligious spirit; तदा कथम्° भीरुः (tadā katham° bhīruḥ) Ś.5; °मय (maya) full of wickedness or sin; for definitions &c. of धर्म (dharma) and अधर्म (adharma) See Tarka K. P.19. (dharma and adharma are two of the 24 qualities mentioned in Nyāya, and they pertain only to the soul. They are the peculiar causes of pleasure and pain respectively. They are imperceptible, but inferred from reasoning and from transmigration.)

2) Name of a Prajāpati or of an attendant of the sun.

-rmā Unrighteousness personified.

-rmam Devoid of attributes, an epithet of ब्रह्म (brahma)

Derivable forms: adharmaḥ (अधर्मः).

Source: DDSA: The practical Sanskrit-English dictionary
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Sanskrit, also spelled संस्कृतम् (saṃskṛtam), is an ancient language of India commonly seen as the grandmother of the Indo-European language family. Closely allied with Prakrit and Pali, Sanskrit is more exhaustive in both grammar and terms and has the most extensive collection of literature in the world, greatly surpassing its sister-languages Greek and Latin.

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Relevant definitions

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Adharmāstikāya (अधर्मास्तिकाय).—the category of अधर्म (adharma), See अस्तिकाय (astikāya).Deriva...
Adharmamudrā (अधर्ममुद्रा) or simply Adharma is the name of a mudrā described in the Īśvarasaṃh...
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Guṇa (गुण) refers to the three deities (Viṣṇu, Rudra and Brahmā), according to the Śivapurāṇa 2...
Mṛtyu (मृत्यु).—mfn. Subst. (-tyuḥ-tyuḥ-tyu) Death, dying. m. (-tyuḥ) Yama, the judge of the de...
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1) Māyā (माया) refers to the “power of illusion”, according to the Śivapurāṇa chapter 2.1.2:—“[...
Varuṇa (वरुण) refers to one of the eight direction-guardians (dikpāla) of the Guṇacakra, accord...
Nirṛti (निरृति).—mfn. (-tiḥ-tiḥ-ti) Free from violence, tyranny, &c. m. (-tiḥ) A demi-god a...
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