Sunday, April 30, 2006

Lets define Hinduism

I see a lot of confusion even among Hindus about what is meant by the word Hindu and what is Hinduism.

People may ask what is the need to define things in the first place. It may be true that defining something restricts it. But we cannot deny that every religion should have a central focal point which keeps its followers together. We cannot be too vague in understanding ourselves. The idea of not confining ourselves is good, but cannot be taken to its extremity at the cost of losing our individuality and distinctiveness.

Some common origins of the word are that it was originally meant to refer to ppl who live on this side of Sindhu, or in other words whose motherland is India are Hindus.

But then this is a ooooold definition of the word. With time, lot of changes have taken place and there the very religions who invented this word Hindu to differentiate us from them have converts here. Also there are many Hindus who have migrated to other places. Then there are gora Hindus who converted to Hinduism. Also there are many ppl in places like Indonesia whose motherland is Indonesia but follow Hinduism.

The other suggestion is that those who follow Vedas be called Hindus. But then is it really fair when actually more than 90% of the Hindus probably do not know even a single verse from the Vedas?

The other definition of those who follow Santana Dharma is too generic to qualify as a definition.

Then it can said that those who follow the Hindu way of life are Hindus. But this too is a circular definition. We then are left with the task of defining the “Hindu way of life”

I suggest that we can define Hindus as “People who follow native Indic traditions”.

Thus this way all the Vedantins, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, Atheists, Animists, Tribals etc come under this. He may thus be anywhere in the world, but if he follows these which are native Indic, he is a Hindu.

Comments welcome!


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