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Dharma is the moral law combined with spiritual discipline that guides one's life. Hindus consider dharma the very foundation of life. It means "thatwhich holds" the people of this world and the whole creation. Dharma is the and "law of being"; without which things cannot exist.

Ashtottaram 59

(Dharma: Virtue, duty, code of conduct; Chakra: Wheel)

In the middle of our National Flag, is a wheel which is dharma chakra- a symbol ofprogress and dharma. It has 24 spokes. This is also called Dharma Chakra of Aśhoka, one of theemperors of India. It reminds us to be dhārmic, in every minute of our life. Our scriptures are fullof praise for dharma. Dharma is that which upholds or supports. What is this dharma aboutwhich our scriptures and great men have waxed so eloquently throughout history? As is the casewith many other Sanskrit words, it is rather difficult to give the exact translation of the word. Ithas been variously translated as religion, law, duty, religious ordinance or rite, code of conductand so on. It can mean any one or more or all of these, depending upon the context.

The wheel also symbolizes the wheel of saṃsāra and reminds us not to get caught in thewheel of birth and death. This wheel is also the wheel of time in which the 24 spokes represent24 hours of the day, progress to weeks, months, seasons and years; and rolls on as the timemoves on. In ancient times, our land has shown advancement in every field of secular as well asspiritual knowledge and ancient sages and seers have explored every aspect of life in every anglefor the advancement of humanity. When ancient western people were wearing animal skins andstruggling to make a living, our seers were performing yāgas, yajnams, and homams (fire ritualsand offerings) to please the gods, goddesses and Prakruti (goddess of nature). As far back as inṚigveda, the wheel symbolized the Sun god, because the sun represents the moving time. ShriVishṇu holds a discus in his right hand called Sudarśhana Chakra, which has 6 spokesrepresenting the 6 seasons.By placing the wheel at the center of the flag, we are reminded constantly, to moveforward in all spheres of life including spirituality. Death has no movement and is jada,motionless; however life is full of chaitanyam meaning awareness. The wheel tells us that wemust get rid of our stupidity, idiocy, nonsensical- senselessness, and move forward with open-mindedness, enthusiasm, tolerance and hard work. During the freedom movement, to protestBritish rulers imposing taxes on the fabric produced by our own cotton, in our own mills, by ourown people, Gandhi started spinning khadi on a spinning-wheel. As a reminder of that freedomStruggle, the wheel may have been included in our National flag.From so many angles, our national leaders thought of including a wheel at thecenter of the flag and our land is "Dharmachakra Bhūmi".


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