How does dharma and karma affect the way Hindus live their lives as opposed to without any duties to live by?
How does dharma bring everyone in a social class together? If some people do not do their duties, will it break the harmony of the society? What are the consequences if you do not do your duty and follow the law? How does karma keep Hindus on their toes and make them do what they should do? How does karma affect the way Hindus think of their lives?
Dharma stands for law, obligation and duty. Following Vedas, each social class, or caste, (varna) has different duties. This includes the Brahmins being priests and religious scholars and Shudras being being servants, farmers and laborers. Each social class has different duties, therefore the people in the same social class would do similar duties. Each class can be described as one group of people doing the same thing (sort of). All Hindus have a common set of values, which includes the importance of marriage, sharing food and caring for one's soul.
Hinduism is not a strict religion, but a way of living instead. Anything done in life is acceptable in the Hinduism religion. There is no incorrect way of living, so people can do other things besides live according to dharma. If you willingly do a wrong action, an act of evil some may say, you will suffer a consequence, but dharma shouldn't stop you from doing anything else in life. Therefore, if dharma isn't always followed, it wouldn't completely break the harmony of the Hindu society.
The law of karma determines which caste (social class) each Hindu is born into. Therefore, if Hindus wish to be reborn into a higher caste and not an animal, they would live by their dharma. Back in the day, this system seemed fair as to which social class each person was in. However, later Hindus begun to criticize this law, saying how it wasn't fair that people couldn't change social classes and had to stay in the caste they were in just because of the wrongdoings in their previous lives. Those who didn't wish to be turned into an animal or be reborn in a lower caste did their duties and followed the law, allowing them to be hopefully reborn into a higher caste.