HINDUISM AND SANATAN DHARMA

Hinduism,Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.

Hindu means Dharm

ABOUT THE NAME “HINDU”

THE NAME “HINDU”

For hundreds of years we used the name Trivandrum. But Trivandrum had nothing to with Drum. It was Thiru [‘Sri’ in Tamil] Ananta Puram [श्री अनन्तपुरम्], ‘The Sacred City of Sri Ananta’. We were never bothered to mispronounce a great name. Again, we used the name Baroda but it was a land of the huge sacred Vata vriksha [Gujarati “vada” tree] in its heart. Vata, the immortal tree, with so many stories and so much power to bestow health and longeivity. The importance of Vata or Vada tree can never be exaggerated.

And then we come to the term “hindu”.

You see unending discussions about the name of your dharma, ‘Hindu’. Many ‘highly qualified’ and popular Hindus will make fun of the fact that Hindus had to borrow their name from some mispronunciation. And to some, the very name “hindu” is shocking. Even many Hindus are uncomfortable with the term.

So what is it all about?

The correct name of your dharma is neither Hindu dharma or Hinduism. The correct name of your dharma is just DHARMA. Yes. Dharma, that’s it. If you are the only child of your parents, why call you “eldest child” or “youngest” child? It is ancient and eternal because knowledge or Veda is eternal. So there is the prefix, “sanātana”. Thus your dharma becomes Sanātana Dharma.

SO WHAT IS “HINDU”?

If that is the case, what about “Hindu”? What about the famous story of mispronunciation of sindhu as hindu?

Hindu is a geographical prefix. That is all. The term “hindu”, like “hind”, was used popularly for many things coming out of the land on the other side of the River Sindhu since 1000s of years. “Hindu” is no recent word. Please note that Sindhu is a river, but also Sindhu means the ocean. The Rig Veda 10 Mandala [75 sukta] is absolutely about the River Sindhu and its people. Not just “north” Indians or “east” Indians. It is about the various races living on one side of the River Sindhu.

If you look at the map, you can see how the River Sindhu completely divides two lands. It is like a knife has run through a cake. So, if you were a traveller on foot or animals from, say, Persia towards India, you had a water-barricade. From top to bottom, from Manasa-Sarovar to Arabian Sea there was this water. In the absence of planes, the means of transport being road, and “countries” not yet being as they are today, it was natural that people had the concept of “this side of Sindhu” and “that side of Sindhu”. Or, it is even possible that the two banks became Sind and Hind.

THE ANTIQUITY OF THE TERM “HIND”

One this is certain. All material bought from the expansive India was termed material from Hind—clothes, spices, medicines, horses, camels, gold, metals, everything. Medical books became kitab-i-hind. As early as the 8th century, Sushruta Samhita was translated in Baghdad under the name ‘Kitab Shah Shun al-Hindi’. Brahmagupta’s glorious astronomical work, a masterpiece, called Brahma-sphuta-Siddhanta, was translated as ‘Sind-hind’.

So the word ‘Hind’ or ‘Hindu’ is not a recent word. It a geographical term, and has a history of at least 1200 years. If it is not in your holy books, it is just fine.

It is merely a matter of geography. The name of your dharma is Dharma or Sanatana Dharma or Vaidika Dharma or Vedanta Dharma.

IMPORTANCE OF GEOGRAPHICAL NAME “HINDU”

IF “HINDU” is merely geographical, why should we use the term for our ancient dharma? Is it correct to use it for our dharma?

The answer is this: Yes, it is perfectly okay, because your Dharma is “Hindu Dharma”, the Dharma that was nourished and nurtured for a long long long time on this side of the River Sindhu [see map]. The word “Hindu” itself might be of uncertain origin, but geography is geography. However, “this side” of Sindhu means, starting from the tip of the Himalayas, from the Kailasa and Manasa Sarovar [where Sindhu takes birth] till the last rock of Kanyakumari, every inch is included. Nothing is excluded. Geographically, Dharma was cultivated on this side of the River Sindhu. So, “Hindu” is perfectly okay. “Religions”, Christianity, Islam etc, were born on the other side of the River Sindhu.

Secondly, to distinguish dharma from other groups and religions, it is perfectly fine to use the word Hindu—a collective term for the numerous paths and religions within the land. Furthermore, as we have said, Sri Ramakrishna, used the term Hindu, The Prophet, Swami Vivekananda, declared to the World about Hindu Dharma from the Parliament of Religions! So there is this stamp of supreme authority.

OTHER NAMES OF INDIA

Hindustan was called Ilāvarta [इळावर्तः ইলাবর্ত] in very remote past. This is the Vedic name. The land of Bharata was spread wherever land was. Mesopotomia also had similar culture. In fact, the name Mesopotomia comes from “People living between two rivers”.

Since the Vedic times. Ilāvarta included all the land till the end of Turkey and Syria. Then the name Âryavarta became popular. Here, please note that no Aryans “invaded India or came into India”. Those people of different races, who lived on this side of the River Sindhu, on the banks of different rivers like Kaveri, Godavari, Ganga, Yamuna, etc, were Aryas. From today’s Kanyakumari to the Himalayas. All are Aryans.

This same Bhārata or Âryavarta was called Airyana Vaeja [The root or seed or land of Aryans] in Avestan language. That is, Aryavarta was the Original land of the Aryas. To this Âryavarta must have come Avestans to try to preach their religion of Zarathushtra in the past. This is because, Yasht (13.143 & 144) of Zoroastrians mention that they discussed with Vravashis [Rishis], who were illumined masters. There also came Yavanas from Greece. All had to somehow cross the River Sindhu to reach the “hind” people. But Aryans were Hindus.

OTHER NAMES OF DHARMA

As we have said, Dharma or Sanātana Dharma was the only dharma on the holy soil of Âryavarta. Dharma is NOT religion. When Jaina Tirthankaras began to manifest their glories, they gave the name “Rishi-mata” [ऋषिमतः, ঋষিমত] to Sanatana Dharma. Then came the Bauddhas who had different opinions about life and reality.

In any case, Sanātana Dharma, the beginningless Dharma, had several names from time to time and now the word Hindu Dharma has become popular.

WHAT WILL YOU SAY IF….

🌺1. What will you say if somebody asks you: “You are a Hindu. What does your religion teach you?”

Answer: “ Three points first:

A. Hinduism is not a “religion”. It is dharma.

B. Hindu Dharma teaches me that I am Divine. Yes! I am not this body. I am not the mind or the intellect. I am the deathless One. I am Divine. I am Divine Light. In Sanskrit, I am the Atman or Brahman. My body, my mind, my intellect, etc are all instruments I use.

C. For the Hindu, God is Ishvara—who is both within and without. He is not “God”, a bearded old man sitting somewhere and punishing children.”

🌺2. What will you say if somebody asks you: “What is the goal of Hindus?”

Answer: “Our goal is not enjoyment here or elsewhere in heaven. Why? All enjoyment comes to an end soon. All enjoyment is mixed with misery. So Hindu Dharma teaches me that the goal is to know who I am. This is the same as ‘knowing God’, knowing the Truth or Reality. By knowing who I am or by knowing Reality, I shall become free from ignorance. I shall realize true bliss. True bliss, called Ananda, is my eternal nature. No ordinary sense enjoyment can give me that true bliss. It is ignorance which makes me think that I am limited, I am this body, I have sorrow and suffering, I am miserable and so on. But I am the immortal Self full of eternal Ananda. Knowing this truth, I shall be free.”

🌺3. What will you say if somebody asks you: “What is the way of the Hindus?”

Answer: “Hindu Dharma does not insist that this alone is the way. It never asks us to do this only or that only. Hindu dharma respects the individual. We can pray, worship, meditate, sing, do selfless service, repeat God’s names—there are many ways to become pure and free.”

🌺4. What will you say if somebody asks you: “So your religion does not ask you to do anything at all?”

Answer: Hindu Dharma teaches me that I have five daily obligations called yajnas in Sanskrit. I must do these as far as is possible for me every day:

A.. Brahma yajna: I must study some spiritual book. Study removes ignorance and also helps preserve knowledge. Our dharma is based on Knowledge (Veda). Hindus don’t have any particular book or scripture. Veda is not just some book. It is universal knowledge. Based on the eternal knowledge, there are numerous scriptures like the Gita. We are advised to study any such book.

B. Deva Yajna: I must think or worship God as is in my capacity.

C. Pitr Yajna: I must think of the contributions of the ancient sages, spiritual masters, forefathers, etc to society.

D. Nri Yajna: I must serve the needy and feed guests.

E. Bhuta Yajna: I must serve animals and birds.

🌺🌺5. What will you say if somebody asks you: “Why does your Hinduism have so many gods and goddesses with funny figures?”

Answer:

Hindu Dharma never insists on one form of God or one type of worship. God is Infinite. We little humans cannot order God to be this alone or that alone. He can be formless or have any form He wants, or be without both. Who are we to order God to be this alone or that alone? So, Hinduism gives absolute freedom. A glass cup, of whatever shape, is glass cup alone. So our religion tells me, think of God in whatever form you wish, whatever way you wish. You think of Him alone.

Further,

a. My dharma teaches me that I should be positive, I should think positive, I should live positive life.

b. My religion teaches me that all knowledge, all power, all capacity, is within me—because I am the infinite Self. Remove limiting factors, and I shall shine.

This is my religion.

🌺6. What about casteism etc in Hinduism?

“A counter question. What about adulterated food? what about fake medicines? Does science teach that? Science gives the truth and ideals. People who utilize these truths can have perverse minds.

Sati, Casteism and hatred, are all social evils. They have nothing to do with Dharma. Hindu Dharma teaches me, “Ekam Sat—All is One”. Suppose your boss wears a dhoti and tilak and swindles money in your company. Is it a teaching of Hindu dharma?”

The glory of Hindu Dharma is, it is self-critical. Hindus always criticize themselves, remove social evils, and go forward.

🌺7. What is your religion’s contrubtuion to the world?

“Hindu dharma is actually Sanatana Dharma, It has a history of at least 25000 years. It is not Religion, because it has no prophet, particular book, or date of birth. Hindu dharma is also not a way of life. So what is Hindu dharma then? It is the Mother. It is the basis of all religions.

Hindu dharma is the only dharma which teaches you about the Atman or Brahman, going beyond the body-mind complex. Hindu dharma has contributed in all fields of science, technology, art, architecture, literature, health, etc. Hindu dharma has provided wealth to the whole world several times. It is because Hindu dharma is there, that there is peace and love and acceptance. Goodness, truthfulness, renunciation, service, the ideal of spiritual oneness [and thus all oneness] is all contribution of Hindu dharma.

Jai Maa Sarada

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