Dharma should be taken as what it is and not as what people make it look like. Dharma is sacred and people should let it be that always. This world is a beautiful creation. Every creature in this world serves a purpose for some cause.
Dharma, etymologically the decree or the custom, means the way we choose to serve our purpose. The path we walk on for reaching our goal is Dharma. The way we do things for serving our purpose in this world is Dharma. The path of righteousness and living one’s life according to the codes of conduct which are right is Dharma. In Hinduism, Dharma signifies behaviors that are considered to be the order that makes life and universe possible, and includes duties, rights, laws, conduct, virtues and “right way of living”. Vedic scriptures describe dharma as the natural universal laws whose observance enables humans to be contented and happy, and to save themselves from degradation and suffering. Dharma is the moral law combined with spiritual discipline that guides one’s life. The Atharva Veda describes dharma symbolically: “Prithivi dharmana dhritam”, that is, this world is upheld by dharma anything that helps human being to reach god is dharma and anything that hinders human being from reaching god is Adharma.
Reaching god means getting salvation. In my perspective, one gets salvation when one knows himself fully. When the person is content with everything, and when the person understands everything and getting the internal peace. These days people try to find salvation by sticking to the orthodox guides and performing the rituals which no longer help. Dharma is not a religion but it is a way that binds a person towards following and practicing religion which in longer run attributes to the purification of one’s soul by bringing positiveness and removing negativity from its life. However, in today’s society, people confuse Dharma with religion.
The definition of Dharma has been changing since years. People think whatever is written in the holy books of the religion is Dharma. They think following rituals with no cross questioning is Dharma. They even think that whatever goes against the religion in any small way leads one to not Dharma or Adharma. An orthodox hindu family follows caste system. People still believe that an upper caste girl can’t marry a boy from lower caste. Love does not see castes, it happens.
At some places people still believe that marrying someone of a lower caste is “Adharma” or not Dharma. Honor killing was a popular crime in some parts of India some time ago, still people practice it at some place. Honour killing is defined as a death that is awarded to a woman of the family for marrying against the parent’s wishes, having extramarital and premarital relationships, marrying within the same gotra or outside one’s caste or marrying a cousin from a different caste. Whenever a girl married someone from different castes, societies used to force the family into having the girl and the boy killed in the name of Dharma. Dharma is justice while killing people is not. Dharma is the righteous way of living and how can a righteous way of living include murder that too of those in family. Dharma was never the exploitation of people on its name.
Dharma is so widely misunderstood. Honor killing is just one example. There are many more things that people do and shield themselves on the name of Dharma.