Post By: Vishwanath Iyer Published on: December 24, 2016 Reading time: 4 minutes
Generic natural-state or sāmānya-dharma can be defined as those characteristics which are common to any family or genus of entities.
For example: Gold has specific characteristics which are different from lead or silver. However, all of them come under a common category of metals. All metals have a common natural state. They are solid and have the same properties such as malleability, tensile strength etc. and this is called sāmānya-dharma.
Also, metals as a category, exhibit characteristics which are different from animals, trees, fishes or humans. This specific defining character which defines each category, family or genus is called sāmānya-dharma.
Unique natural-state or viśeṣa-dharma is the natural-state of individual entities within a category.
For example: Within metals, gold is different from copper, silver or iron.
In wood, teak is different from oak or rubber. The family of wood will conform to the category of sāmānya-dharma. However, the unique natural-state (viśeṣa-dharma) of teak will be different from oak, sandalwood or rosewood.
This logic can be expanded in multiple directions. For instance, the unique natural-state (viśeṣa-dharma) of a table will be different from that of a chair or sofa, even though they may both be made from the same tree. Thus, all tables will exhibit a unique natural-state, regardless of the material used to make them.
In fact, this concept is applicable to all entities. A heart has a unique natural-state, regardless of the body. It and cannot do the job of the stomach, even though both may be in the same body.
Each of us behaves differently. This is on account of conditioning brought about by DNA, family, upbringing, societal norms, diet and habits. Consequently, this allows individuals to select information, analyse and process it in a unique manner and behave in the way they do.
This specific characteristics of capability at an individual level is called svadharma (sva = self + dharma = conditioning). Since this natural-state is unique to each of us, it becomes our conditioning.
Dharma covers operation of all animate and inanimate entities, including planets, galaxies and nations.
Everything can be classified under generic, unique or personal natural-state. This concept is universal in its applicability; hence it is called universal natural-state or sanātana-dharma.
For example – the natural state of the earth is position, shape, atmosphere and ability to sustain life. In the case of a nation, its dharma can possibly be its constitution, flag, states, people etc.
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