What is Hinduism ?The puraanas tell that Himalayam samaarabhya yaavath indu sarovaram tham deva nirmitham desam hindustanam prachakshathey.The nation which starts from Himalayas and ends in Indian ocean and which is created by the god is known as Hindustanam. And those who are living there are Hindus.
How the Hindus are defined ?Aa sindo sindu paryantham yasya bhartha bhoomikam maathru bhoo pitru bhoo schaiva sa vai hindu riti smruthaaThose who consider and respect the country which extends from Indus valley ( sindu river ) up to Indian ocean as their motherland, father land or holy land, they are the Hindus. ( all those consider bhratham as their own mother/father/holy land they are the Hindus)
Why it is said that Hinduism is not a religion ?It is not created by an individual / prophet/ Rishi . So it is not the opinion (matham) or advise of an individual. So it is not a religion. It is the contribution of thousands of Rishies.
Who created Hinduism?Thousands of Rishies, during the course of thousands of years could formulate a perfect style/way of thinking and practicing various aspects and concepts in the life. Those are codified as the customs and rituals or in short acharas. These acharas combined together forms the dharma . Dharma is the way of life. So Hinduism is the way of life.
Why it is known as sanathana dharma?Sanaathana word means ( according to Bhagavath geetha) as the one which cannot be destroyed by any method and the one which is ever existing in everything. The one which is immovable, and non perishable is the sanaathanam. So this dharma is ever existing and it cannot be destroyed . So it is sanaathanam.
Is it not true that something which has a beginning , has an end also ?It is true for which has a beginning. This dharma does not have a beginning so it will not have an end also. If it started decaying someone /avathara will come to protect and energise to bring back the dharma with all its positive results as it is told in Bhagavath Geetha.
What is the meaning of Dharma ?Dharma is the one which is guiding, protecting, supporting, …you . Dharanaath dharma …the one which is protecting you is dharma.
Are Hinduism and sanaathana dharma the same ?Yes! They are the same and remember that there is nothing like Hinduism . It is an English word created by the British or someone . There communism, socialism, capitalism etc but nothing like Hinduism.
Why some people call it a religion?When all other way of life are known as ‘religion’ like the one based on Jesus, Mohammed and so on form religions, if similar name used it may be easy to others to understand. Hence people started, particularly the British started using the word Hinduism and it came into practice. Now every Indian is also using the same.
Is the word Indian and Hindu synonym ?Definitely yes. According to the definition, the Indian word is same as Hindu. Majority of the minority and politicians may not agree with that. Because they are full of wrong impressions created during 250 years of foreign rule.
Then where the Indian Christians and Muslim will fit in ?They are also Hindus. They are Hindu Christians and Hindu Muslims. Just like we say American Christian, Pakistani Muslim, etc.
When was Hindu dharma started?None knows the answer. According the archeological evidence, the Vedas might have got composed something like 6000 - 8000 BC, in the present form. So the dharma might have formed earlier to this. Since it is a way of life, none can trace the beginning point of the dharma. If it would have been a contribution of some individual, we can say from the period of that individual.
What the archeological evidences say ?The archeological studies carried out in Kalibhangan, Bhagavan pura, Mehargarh, etc shows that the oldest artifacts available are of the period BC 8250. So the Hindu civilization or the one something similar to that started blooming during then.
Is the Indus valley civilization same as the Hindu dharma civilisation?Definitely all the proofs available say so. Particularly those are available very recently. Even though foreigners and the so called Indian intellectuals wanted to distort the true history and wanted to prove wrongly that they are different from Hindu dharma, the conclusion is that both are the same.
But many people say against it why ?There was an intentional conspiracy to distort the facts which was spearheaded and created by the British to confuse Indians through the Aryan invasion theory and create a feeling among Indians that they are also the invaders like the British ( to Indian subcontinent). So they wanted to prove that Indus valley, Harappan civilization etc are entirely different from the Vedic civilization and Hindu culture . This was fully utilized by our pseudo intellectuals and also the so called secularists for creating a complex in the Indian mind.
Who are the Aryans ?The word Aryan does not have any meaning of race or a group of people. But it means only the scholarly people. You know arya vaidya sala, aryaavartham, aryavepu, aryaputra all meant for ‘scholarly’ meaning.
Where can we see the use of this word in Vedas?In Vedas there are a number of places where the Arya word is used as “krunvantho viswam aryam = let us make the world a glorious one. Srunvanthu viswe amruthasya putraa aaye dhamaani divyaani thasthu = the children of immortals, let us come together and chant the great songs, here too the message is arya. Every wife used to call her husband of royal family as aryaputra.
Some people say the Vedic civilization and Hindu civilization are different. Is it correct?Vedic civilization itself is the Hindu civilization, there is no difference. There is nothing like Hindu civilization. It is only the Vedic.
When was the Vedas written?Vedas are known as anaadi which means the date of origin is not known. It is also said that it existed from time immemorial. But the Veda Vyasa compiled it in the present form.
What is the real meaning of the word Veda?Veda was formed from vid means knowledge. ( more details will be available when we discuss about Vedas separately)
What the Vedas say about the date of its origin?Brihaspati prathamam jaayamaanam thishyam nakshatram abhisambhaboova . The delta cancri (thishyam)star when got occulted by Jupiter planet, and when the planet moved forward, it looked as the star was born newly.. This is an astronomical phenomenon. The computer simulation studies showed that this occulting might have taken place almost during BC 4275 or so. If this vedic line was written after seeing this phenomenon, then this line coming in the last part of RigVeda (partly) might have been written about 6250 years ago. So the last part of Rig Veda might have composed during this period. If this is true the first part might have got composed about 2 to 3 thousand more years ago. So the Vedas may be more than 7 - 8 thousand years old
Does this agree with the scholars’ opinion ?No This is not agreeing with Indian scholars Opinion. Indian scholars means like Balagangadhara thilak, Jnanaanda saraswati, dayananda sarawati, and so on put the period of Vedas 20 to 50 thousand years ago. The pseudo scholars fix the period like their Gurus of west, around 1000 BC or so.
Does it agree with foreign scholars?Some of them think this may be correct. Some of them even conclude that Vedas are of 2 to 3 thousands old. Now a rethinking is picking up fast. Some of Them also fixed the period as many thousand years ago.
Does it mean that Hindu dharma is the oldest religion?Because all other religion was of later origin! If you want to label Hindu as a religion or otherwise also , Hindu dharma is the oldest religion in the world and Rig Veda is the oldest literature.
How the messages of Hinduism spread from generation to generation?This dharma spread from place to place and generation to generations through acharas seen and heard from the parents, books, illustrations, etc.
Did Hindu dharma spead outside India ?Yes it spread through the world, including African contenent, American continents and so on.
Should we blindly follow the Hindu dharma ?You can critically or blindly follow/accept the messages of dharma or reject the dharma. Freedom is yours. Nothing is strict. Every part of the Hindu acharas are left to the freedom of the individual.
What is meant by the freedom of the Individual ?In sanathana dharma the followers have the freedom for criticizing the negatives, evaluating the merits, correcting the superstitions and mistakes, modifying the ideas based on desa ( place), kaala (time) and the condition of the practitioner. Adding any novel ideas beneficial for human beings, deleting which are irrelevant and obsolete , accepting anything good for the benefit of individuals/family/society/nation, from everywhere rejecting any outdated practices are the main principle.
Have the Hindus got the freedom to change the basic books ?They can make their own recensions /sakhas of any book. The old will remain the same. New used to be known in the name of the composer. Any of the Hindu beliefs, thoughts, books, faiths, rituals, customs, concepts, can be subjected to the above process of refining through addition, deletion, correction and modification.
Why our dharma is not rigid ?Because of the above freedom Hindus have as many as 1280 basic dharmic books as (matha granthas with tens of thousands of commentaries) where as the people of other religion have only one book. Nothing rigid or strict and followed without refining cannot exist in the world for long. As long as you have the freedom to think, till then flexibility is inevitable and growth is part of it.
Why this oldest religion still survives?Because of the great freedom given by our Rishies for taking good from everywhere and rejecting bad at any time, Hindu dharma still remain strong even after more than a thousand years of foreign aggression and massacre.
Who is the final authority of Hindu dharma? Is there anyone like pope?One should remember that there is no final authority for Hindu dharma whose words are the final answers for coming to a conclusion on anything. You know other civilizations like Mesopotamia, Greek, Egyptians, Babylonia ,,,,, ,etc got wiped out from the surface of the globe Earth. Bharatheeya dharma did not die. It is giving light to billions of people world over. Its contributions have become a great subject for learning and practicing now. Because everyone has the freedom to add, subtract, delete, correct and modify the ideas and practices. None can be labeled as the final authority to direct or impose the rule.
Why we have so many books whereas Christians and Muslims have only one each?All the knowledge required for the progress of the human beings cannot be included in one book, nor one saint can contribute all the required knowledge. Hence our forefathers wrote hundreds of books for the benefit of the human beings world over. In short sanathana dharma is based on more than 1280 books and tens of thousands of commentaries as our dharma granthas