Dharma-Adharma & Paap-Punya looks similar.

What is the difference between them ?

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  • Papa or punya arises out of action or karma. Check vivkta answer
    – Prasanna R
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 3:44

2 Answers 2


Paapam arises if any act is not in concordance with Dharma.

Dharma is defined in smrithis as ,

Manusmṛti, 2.6 says

vedo’khilo dharmamūlaṃ

The entire Veda is the source of Dharma;

Mimamsa scholar Kumarila bhatta defines sadācāraḥ as

when good people act according to certain rules and no motive or goal is apparent in the realm of the observable, then this is to be understood as Dharma.(translation Wikipedia)

Yājñavalkyasmṛti, 1.7 says

śrutiḥ smṛtiḥ sadācāraḥ, svasya ca priyamātmanaḥ/ samyaksaṃkalpajaḥ kāmo dharmamūlamidaṃ smṛtam//

Shruthi (Vedas), the Smṛtis, virtuous deeds or approved act of those who follow sadhachaara, what is agreeable to one’s own conscience , arising from perfect or proper determination which should not be against the scriptures, as the traditionally recognised sources of Dharma

Patanjali says in his yoga Sutra 2.3


responsible for all suffering in life.

Avidya (ignorance) · Asmita (egoism) · Raga (intense attachment) · Dvesha (intense aversion) · Abhinivesha (clinging to life).


Swami Sivananda in his commentary on Srimad Bhagavad Gita 4.7 says -

Dharma is that which sustains and holds together. There is no proper equivalent for this term in the English language.

  • That which helps a man to attain to Moksha or salvation is Dharma. That which makes a man irreligious or unrighteous is Adharma.

  • That which elevates a man and helps him reach the goal of life and attain knowledge is Dharma that which drags him and hurls him down in the abyss of worldliness and ignorance is Adharma.


  • Dharma is what pushes the jiva in towards the path to Salvation. Adharma is what detours one away from the path.

  • As regards, paap-punya difference, actions based on Dharma maybe termed punya, while those on Adharma as paap. However, a reading of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam Purāṇa Verse 11.21.16, might be more helpful in this regard.

  • Downvotes? Why please? :(
    – Vivikta
    Commented May 4, 2022 at 13:35
  • 1
    Same as madhvacharya madhva told the same thing hat which makes one towards god is dharma one which keeps away from god us adharma
    – Prasanna R
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 3:42
  • Can you locate in which of his works did he say that? @PrasannaR
    – Vivikta
    Commented May 5, 2022 at 13:18

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