Who is a Hindu?

via Dr. Shriharsha Sharma published on January 18, 2008

Who is a Hindu ? This question arises all the time in various situations and Hindus are unable to answer it exactly , precisely , satisfactorily and with confidence.I have asked this question to many people including eminent Hindu scholars, Sadhus, religious leaders, professors and Pandits but without a satisfactory reply. Fortunately I have found the most fitting, exact, precise and above all satisfying definition of a Hindu by a great revolutionary, author, orator, poet and patriot Veer Vinayak Rao Damodar Rao Savarkar. In 1905 while in the prison at Andamon- Nicobar Islands he thus wrote

Asindhu Sindhu Paryanta yashya Bharat Bhoomika,
Pitribhu Punya Bhuschaiva Sa vai Hindu Riti Smritah [1]

There is a vast land between river Sindhu and Hind Mahasagar called Bharat and those who accept that this is their fatherland or / and a holy land, land of pilgrimage are all Hindu.

This definition includes Sanatanis, Saivas, Vaishnavas, Buddhists, Jains, Zorostrians [Parsis] , Arya Samasis, Sikhs, Harijans, members/followers of International Society of Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON, Vanvasis, Tribes , Yogis , Sadhus, Dalits, followers of Swaminarayan, followers of Shri RamkrishnaParamhans, Panthis, Pagans, atheists and various other sects without exception are all Hindus .This is the first lesson the Hindu parents can give to their children. Parents, teachers, Sadhus and leaders must learn this definition and convey and spread the correct information to children and people to unify the Hindu society.

This is worth mentioning that acceptance of the Vedas with reverence, recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and realisation of the truth that number of gods to be worship is large, that indeed the distinguishing feature of the Hindu Religion.— Shri Balgangadhar Tilak.[ Quoted by Supreme Court of Bharat on 2 July 1995.]

Hindus believe in One God. There is no god but God .Hindus are truly monotheist but worship many gods and goddesses and see the same God in them. This needs to be realised at intellectual level by others but they have failed to understand this fact. For example snow, ice, icicle, dew, and vapour are all forms of water but we call them by different names similarly Hindus see the same God in all the gods and goddesses as well as in all the living and non living things this is the most simple thing , Hindus understand this and appreciate this. Hindu scriptures say it boldly, clearly, distinctly and most beautifully

Ekam Sadhvipra Bahuda Vadanti [2]

means that He is one but we call Him by various beautiful names.

Further to this it may be appropriate to mention the following verse which also gives clear message that Hindusthan means place[ sthan] of Hindus or land of Hindus or Hinduland [e.g. England ,land of English people, Ireland , land of Irish people ] .Hindusthan’s ancient name is Bharatvarsh.

Uttare cha Samudrashya Himadreshu cha Dakshinam,
Tadvarsha Bharat Nama Bharati Tatra Santati. [3]

The land which is north to the Hind Mahasagar[ Indian Ocean] and south to the mighty, magnificent Himalayas is Bharat, sons and daughters of this ancient land are called Bharati or Bbharatiya[Hindusthani]

Bharat also means knowdge or Gyan means away from ignorance or away from darkness so Bharat means land of source of light or knowledge. True knowledge is in the Ved so Bharat is also known as Ved Bhoomi.

Bhayam Ratam Bharatam [4]

means Bharat is submerged in light or is full of light so foundation and backbone of Bharat is knowledge where life is led by knowledge therefore ignorance and superstitions have no place in the land of Hindus.

What unite us are our spiritual and cultural heritage and its inner and most powerful strength since beginning of our civilisation.

Our heroes and heroines are supreme who inspire and guide us just remembering their names provide new and instant energy, strength, courage, hope and peace to name a few e.g. Raam, Krishna, Arjun, karn,Bhishma, Mahaveer, Buddha, Sri Raamkrishna, Dhruva,Prahalad, Hanuman,Sita, Radha,Tiruvallavur, Adi Sankaracharya, Guru Nanak, Samarth Guru Raamdas,Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Bhamasah, Sant Yogeshwar, Swaminarayan, Meera Bai, Tulsidas, Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Govind Singh, Valmiki, Vedavyas, Kalidas, Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekanand, Ramana Mahirishi, Srila Prabhupad, Valmiki, Soordas, Kabir,Subhas Chandra Bose, Khudi Ram Bose,Bhagat Singh,Chandra Shekhar TiwariAzad,, Bankim chandra chattopadhyaya, Sri Aurvindo, Dr.Hedegewar, Mangal Pandey,Sardar Ballabha Bhai Patel, Veer Savarkar, Dr. Ambedkar , Yogi Yoganand, Srila Prabhupad, Swami Chinmayanand, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,Sivaya Subramaiyaswami, Sai Baba, Sri Sri, Sri Ravishankar, Swami Ramdev, Swami Satyamitranand Giri, Sadhavi Umashree Bharati,Shri RameshBhai Oza and Sadhavi Ritambhara there is no end to this list and we are proud of them.

We recite the following Slok while bathing which is so satisfying and unifying us from Himalayas to Hind Mahasagar and all the Hindus living anywhere in the world

Gange Cha Yamune Chaiva Godavari Saraswati,
Narmade Sindhu Kaveri Jalesminsannidhim kuru.[ 5]

A Hindu while chanting this Slok prays to sacred rivers e. g. Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada,Sindhu and Kaveri to come and join in the water being used for bath or shower. It is a unique and enlightening experience and at the same time so unifying which inspires me to say that one Hindu is for all and all Hindus are for one.

Origin of the word Hindu has been traced from an ancient scripture called Brihanardi Puran in which there is a verse

Himalayan Samabhya Yavat Bindusarovaram,
Hindusthanmati Gyatam Hii Antarakshar Ayogatah.[6]

It means the country between the Himalayas and Bindu Sarovar is Hindusthan so combining the first letter Hi of Himalayas and last compound letter Ndu of word Bindu forms Hindu so purely and simply this is a Sanskrit word. Our ancestors wrote so much including two largest epics Raamayan and Mahabharat and foreigners gave us the name Hindu cannot be accepted .This verse is also mentioned in the Nardeeya Puran Which is a short version of original Brihannardi Puran.

Hinam Nashyati Iti Hindu[ 7 ]

means those who uphold righteousness and fight ignobleness are Hindu.

Our motherland is also known as OM Bhoomi, Ved Bhoomi, Avatar Bhoomi, Devi Bhoomi, Devata Bhoomi, Punya Bhoomi, Rishi Bhoomi, Teerth Bhoomi, Gurukul Bhoomi, Guru Bhoomi, Sanskrit Bhoomi, Sanskriti Bhoomi,Sabhyata Bhoomi, Sant Bhoomi,Van Bhoomi, Veer Bhoomi,Raam Bhoomi, Krishna Bhoomi, Ras and Raas Bhoomi and Mahaveer Bhoomi, Buddha Bhoomi,Tiruvallavur Bhoomi, Kavi Bhoomi,Kavya Bhoomi, Sangeet Bhoomi,Nritya Bhoomi, Maharana Pratap Bhoomi, Shivaji Bhoomi, Lakshami Bai Bhoomi,Guru Nanak Bhoomi, Hedegewar Bhoomi, Sardar Patel Bhoomi, Veer Savarkar Bhoomi and above all Matru Bhoomi which inspired Shri Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyaya who wrote Vande Mataram.

I am a Hindu, my ancestors come from Hindusthan and my holy places or places of pilgrimage are in Hindusthan. In Hindusthan over many thousands of years the Dharma, culture, civilisation, traditions, philosophy,Yog vidya, Ayurved, music, literature, arts , fine arts, dance, and languages had developed without outside compulsion and force in total harmony with nature and eternal laws that is why it is so pure and unique and if you approach with open mind then you will love it and you will find vast treasure in it and that is the experience of many people around the world , so try to know more about it you will be spiritually, morally and culturally richer and peaceful.

Everything in Hindusthan is attached to word Hindu and greatest strength of Hindus has been the freedom of expression in thought, talk and action .The culture of this country is Hindu Culture, the history of this country is the history of Hindus, so is the architecture, literature, sculpture, folklore, poetry, dramas, stories, comics, sorrow and laughter, music, languages and heritage around us is all Hindu. Where ever Hindus went they took their culture and religion and people were attracted so adopted without compulsion or force so south east Asian countries fell in love with Hindu culture and the influence can be seen in these countries from Mangolia to Burma to Luthvania and now in Europe and America.

We must go a bit back and deeper and infact it has all its source from Sanatan Dharma. All the religions of Hindusthan are branches of Sanatana Dharma which is generally known as Hinduism .Hinduism has the capacity and capability to accommodate all those who believe in the freedom of individual in thought, talk and action following the eternal laws of equality, justice and freedom in development of humanity.

The time has come that Hindus must rename India officially as Hindusthan which is long over due, this will bring a new energy in Hindus and make them feel proud, bold, assertive, responsible and courageous. This is the demand of majority Hindus and cannot be ignored anymore.

A very simple fact I would like to mention here is this that anybody can become a Hindu according to the above definition so you do not have to be a born Hindu. Swami Dayanand Saraswati first started conversion of Muslims and Christians who were converted from Hindus and later Swami Vivekanand came in favour of this and promoted this and recently Swami Chinmayanand, Sivaya Subramaniya swami came in favour of this.

Can a Hindu boy marry a non-Hindu girl? The answer is yes but he must convert her as a Hindu by giving her a Hindu name and introducing her to Hinduism so that children have no confusion in their identity and bringing up.

Can a Hindu girl marry a non-Hindu boy? The answer is yes .The Hindu boys and girls must be bold, assertive, progressive and strong in their character. They must learn about their religion, culture and traditions only then it is possible and here the parents and guardians of society must play their roles with farsightedness and responsibility to teach them to survive and preserve the interest of their culture.

The reconversion work is going on in Hindusthan and all over to get Hindus back where they truly belong. This is a sacred duty of every Hindu to welcome these brothers and sisters whom we had lost and create a society so that we do not lose them to foreign faiths because we have been divided by these foreign faiths as a result our motherland was divided. Before the arrival of these invaders, Muslims and Christian we were the most prosperous, happy and peaceful this is the fact we must know.

I wish to quote a speech of Lord Macaulay given in British Parliament in 1835 regarding greatness, superiority and civilisation of Hindus.

“I have travelled across the length and breadth of Hindusthan[ India ] and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, . Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we
would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore , I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system , her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own , they will lose their self-esteem, their native self- culture and they will become what we want them, a truly a dominated nation.”

This was the most unfortunate strategy adopted by British government and they destroyed everything good in India which had taken her to develop thousands of years.

So India was looted, plundered, cheated, betrayed and divided by British rule. The conversion to Christianity of Hindus and tribes people began by Christian missionaries, moral values declined, people were divided on castes, race and religion for the benefit of British. English schools, universities were started to teach that everything native is inferior to English and a new class of people were trained to help the British to rule over India but none of them ever reached to the highest post. The English became the main language for administration ,education and elite .Everything native was pushed in the corner and people were forced to feel inferior comparing English or white and this mentality existing even today such has been the effect of foreign rule on Indians.
The British rule further divided the already divided people and created new castes of Anglo- Indian Christians and Christians were the most favoured in key jobs, and promotions.

Macaulay did the incalculable harm and succeeded in his plan to rule by destroying native way of life through English education in India but this poison is doing the harm to India even today so in order to reverse the process and make India great again we have to organise, plan and bring back the lost values, morals by establishing faith in our native culture and spiritualism. The key to bring good values in the society is to introduce Sanskrit and native languages in all schools and colleges that is where our ancient teaching are. It may take time but it is within our capacity and capability. We must take words of Sri Aurobindo and save ourselves by saving Sanatana Dharma/ Vaidic Dharma/ Hinduism and remember Dharmo rakshati rakshite means protect your Dharma and Dharma will protect you.

India would rise with rise of Sanatana Dharma, that India would Sink if Sanatana Dharma sank, and that India would die if it were at all possible for Sanatana Dharma to die. ——Sri Aurobindo.

This is the history that whoever came to our country until 8 th. century they all accepted Hinduism and our way of life and became Hindu without force and wherever we went we took our culture and message of Hinduism, they accepted it as a great gift and these countries became Hinduised and this is visible even today in South East Asia.

Buddhism a branch of Hinduism spread and established in Sri Lanka , Burma, Thailand, Vietnam , Bourneo, Java, Sumatra, Cambodia, Japan, Korea, Tibet and China where it established without a single conflict ,war or killing .Taoism,Confucianism and Buddhism have lived and progressed side by side for thousands of years without violence , so what is the secret of these great religions and cultures, because they have developed naturally following the eternal laws respecting each other and do not go for violence to convert or prove superiority . This is recorded that Buddhism had established itself in each and every village of China by year 65 A. D. without any force, violence or threat but with love, respect , help and understanding each others concerns for the sufferings around , to reduce or minimise the sorrow in order to make the world more peaceful and trouble free. Now Buddhism has spread in all the continents and so has Hinduism.

The world has changed a lot and for Hindus to survive they have to put a stop to conversion of Hindus to Islam and Christianity which has been going on in Hindusthan by force, cheating and all the dirty tricks by Muslims and Christians . First it happened during Islamic invasions and rule and now happening by the force of petrodollars . Later the conversion of Hindus started by Christian [ French, Portugguege, Dutch, English ] invaders and rulers. These conversions have been going on since arrival of Islam as invaders, later joined by Christians destroying everything native. The time has come to pass a law to stop conversion of Hindus. This is a great game of numbers and everyday Hindus are decreasing in number and if this goes on unchecked then Hindus would be in minority, this is a grave situation. This process can be controlled and reversed by the followings

One civil law for all without exception, One couple one child without exception, expel all the illegal immigrants, severe all the contacts with Pakistan and Bangladesh and expel foreign Christian missionaries, if you really wish Hindustan to be healthy, wealthy, strong, peaceful and developed .

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