Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Hinduism outside India

Its is a very common question ppl ask "why Hinduism did not go outside India"

The answer to this is a sum of three factors:

Factor 1:
Hinduism does not believe in names, but gives importance to essence. So even though the Indian thought has permeated to every part of the earth, it does not try to attach its labels and call it Hinduism etc.

The Chinese life in deeply influenced by Hindu-Buddhist philosophies. As a Chinede ambassador to India once correctly observed "Indian ruled China for more that 2000 years, without sending even a single soldier across the border"

The Indian thought has also deeply influenced the Egptian and Mesapatomian civilizations, with which it has trade links from the anceint times.

When the Greeks attacked India under the leadership of Alexander, the Indian thought too had its influence in reverse on the greek thikiers. It is said that the famous Alexandria library there were many Sanskrit books.

Or even in the present times, there are thousands of Americans who are practicing Yoga. But they are may have never even entered a Hindu temple.

From all these examples, we can infer that the Hinduism had always had its influence in the world, but it cared more about the essence than the details. As Swami Vivekananda once said "Like the gentle dew that falls unseen and unheard, and yet brings into blossom the fairest of roses has been the influence of India upon the world. Silent, unperceived, yet omnipotent in its effect, it has revolutionized the thought of the world… "

Factor 2:
Traditionally what was referred as Bahrat has undergone numerous number of divisions. Bharat was the land which was surrounded by Himalayas in the North and the Indian Oncean in the South. The traditional Baharat is now in the form of 10 different countries, namely:

1. India
2. Pakistan
3. Bangladesh
4. Afganistan
5. Nepal
6. Butan
7. Tibet
8. Sri Lanka
9. Myanmar
10. Maldives

All there were part of what was originally known as the "land of hindus". So even the original land area in which Hinduism was there itself was very vast.

Factor 3:
It not entirely true that Hinduism never went outside India. There are still many countries which are very proud of their Hindu past. The Cholas conquered a powerful empire by name 'Sri Vijayam' comprising today's Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand. They already had Hindu kingdoms and were a great threat to Chola trade. So, during the reign of Rajendra Chola, the powerful Chola navy subdued Sri Vijaya empire.

Some intresting pictures:

1. Indonesia currency having a picture of Vinayaka on it.
2. Angkor Wat, world's largest Hindu temple.
3. A statue of Sri Krishna teaching Gita to Arjuna in front of Indonesian Parliament in Jakarta.


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