From its use often in close association with two other words namely
"Rita and Satya" we can gather the underlying conception of Dharma. All these
three words "Rita", "Satya" and "Dharma" have a very ancient
history going back to Rigveda. The words Rita and Satya are found in the Rigveda in the
following texts and in the upanishad. Explaining the meaning of the word "Rita",
Vidyaranya, the great commentator of Rigveda says "it is the mental perception and
realisation of truth". "Maanasam yatharthsankalpam".
The word "Satya" and "Dharma
" are found together in the following lines in the Taittiriya Upanishad:
"Sathyam vadha! Dharmam Chara!!"
In the Brhadaranyakopanishad both the word
Satya and Dharma are used in the following text and the intimate connection between Satya
and Dharma are also clearly pointed out therein. In his commentary on this text Sankara
explains Satya and Dharma thus: "Satya is the speaking of truth while Dharma is the
observance of truth in action". An analysis of the significance of these three words
brings out clearly to us the fundamental basis of Dharma as the ideal for an individual.