धर्म Dharma literally in Sanskrit is a Conscious way of living that sustains us and the World around us.
Dharma is not just a set of codified Laws we have to follow, like Ethics or Morals, or any Religious creed.
Dharma expects a certain Intelligence, for like all other thought in this site, it is Subjective.
Dharma is Intelligence
Living in Dharma requires us to constantly enquire whether certain thoughts or actions are Sustainable, and since proper Questioning is the Root of all Intelligence, we can even say that Dharma forms the Buddhi for Brhman.
The Universe & the Self
Yes, the Universe as a Conscious Being, then surely has a Dharma to follow, its unconditioned Intelligence, and this is सनातन धर्म Sanātana Dharma, literally an Infinitely long view of Dharma, as an Eternal way of life.
When our personal Sva-Dharma and the Universe’s Sanātana Dharma are in alignment that is indeed the fullest embodied expression of Dharma.
Dharma comes alive
In the Yogic view Dharma, like any other well-formed mental construct, literally comes alive as we continuously contemplate it.
Thus deified, Dharma returns the favor by empowering our fundamental human aspirations for Wealth, Pleasure, and eventual Liberation from all fetters - all in sustainable fashion.
Artha in Sanskrit is not just money, but is best translated as material abundance. Notice how it sounds like the English word “Earth”. Anything on Earth is essentially Artha!
When we pursue Wealth without heeding Dharma (sustainability), then it eventually backfires, unable to scale without unwanted side-effects.
With Dharma in mind, the manifestation of Artha is a very different matter.
Many know have heard of the Kāmasutra, which is much more than just an erotic pleasure manual, but it is a full exposition on the finer aspects of Life, and how to enjoy them in a sustained manner.
Again, the emphasis on Dharma (sustainability) is important. The general assumption is that we have long lives, might as well learn to enjoy it properly, through the entire lifespan.
Eventually, of course, we also have to learn to let go of our material bondages and achieve Moksha, or liberation.
Cultivating this attitude, psychologically, on a continuous basis makes it much less stressful when we set out on the path of Artha and Kāma also.
We have to get comfortable holding two separate Thoughts in our head at the same time - one is to manifest, and the second is letting it go.
Isn’t that what they say about Unconditional Love - we want to hold on, yet we need to let it go!
Dharma is not Passive
अधर्मिक aDhārmic, or non-Dhārmic aggressors, that lay waste to Earth’s resources, or to our lives or Minds, as exemplified by Asuras & Rākshasas, are to be resisted, if necessary by Force - and that too is considered Dharma.
Enquiring into Dharma is definitely not a passive way of living.
As Dharma is based on Enquiry it is best understood as we dive into the nature of Thought itself.