From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Svadharma literally means ‘one’s own duty’.

This is a word that has been specially used in the Bhagavadgītā.[1][2][3][4] It is generally interpreted as sva-varṇa-āśrama-dharma. It means the duties that accrue to one as a result of his belonging to a particular varṇa[5] and āśrama[6]

Arjuna was kṣattriya and a gṛhastha or a householder. It was his svadharma or ordained duty to fight the evil forces and defend the good. It is noteworthy that svadharma should be on the righteous means of dharma, otherwise a thief may declare that stealing is his svadharma.


  1. Bhagavadgītā 2.31
  2. Bhagavadgītā 33
  3. Bhagavadgītā 3.35
  4. Bhagavadgītā 18.47
  5. Varṇa means caste.
  6. Āśrama means station in life.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore