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Who is a Hindu? 
Contributed By Dr. Shriharsha Sharma
 

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 island 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 defination includes Sanatanis, Saivas, Vaishnavas, Buddhists, Jains, Arya Samasis, Sikhs, Harijans, members of International Society of Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON, Adibasis, Tribes, Yogis, Sadhus,  Dalits, followers of  Swaminarayan, atheists and various other sects without exception are all Hindus . This is the first lesson the Hindu parents can give to their children. Teachers and  leaders must learn   this  definition  and  covey and spread the correct information 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 and all those who  have failed to understand this fact. For example snow, ice,  icecle, 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 ] 

Hindusthanís 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 lead by knowledge therefore ignorance and superstitions have no place in the land of Hindus.

What unites us is 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, Mahaveer, Buddha, Sri raamkrishna, Dhruva,Prahalad, Hanuman,Sita, Radha,Tiruvallavur, Adi Sankaracharya, Ramana Maharshi,, Guru Nanak, Samarth Guru Raamdas,Shivaji, Maharana Pratap, Sant Yogeshwar, Swaminarayan Meera Bai, Tulsidas, Guru Tegh Babadur, Guru Govind Singh, Valmiki, Vedavyas, Kalidas, Swami Dayanand, Swami Vivekanand, Soordas, Kabir,Subhas Chandra Bose,Bhagat Singh,Chandra Shekhar, Bankim chadra chattopadhyaya, Sri  Arvindo, Sardar Ballabha Bhai Patel, Veer Savarkar, Mahatma Gandhi and Sai Baba 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  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  Binusarovaram,
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 a  name cannot be accepted  .This verse is also mentioned in the Nardeeya Puran

Which is a short version of original Brihannardi Puran. 

Our  motherland is also known as Ved  Bhoomi, Rishi Bhoomi, Sanskrit Bhoomi, Sanskriti Bhoomi,Sabhyata Bhoomi, Sant Bhoomi,  Veer Bhoomi,Raam Bhoomi, Krishna Bhoomi, Mahaveer Bhoomi, Bddha Bhoomi,Tiruvallavur Bhoomi, Guru Bhoomi,  Maharana Pratap Bhoomi, Shivaji Bhoomi, Lakshami Bai Bhoomi,Guru Nanak Bhoomi, Hedegewar Bhoomi, Sardar Patel, Veer Savarkar Bhoomi the list is unending. 

 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 so try to know more about it you will be spiritually 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. 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 Sanatan  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  them and make them feel proud, bold, assertive, responsible and courageous . This is the demand of majority Hindus and cannot be ignored anymore. 

Avery simple fact I would like to mention 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. The reconversion work is going on in Hndusthan 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 we were the  most prosperous, happy and peaceful this is the fact we must  know. I wish  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 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 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 British rule further divided the already divided people and created  new castes of Anglo-IndiansChristians and Christians who 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 his poison is still doing the harm to  India  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. 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. 

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 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  the 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 Chiana  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 , 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. 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 then  they will be  in minority, this is  a grave situation. This process can be controlled and reversed by the followings to make India strong and a developed nation. 

 I..    One civil law for all without exception.
 
2.   One couple two children without exception.

Jai Hind!

 

 


 

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