An imaginary conversation with a person asking me my religion:-
Q: What is your name?
Q: Your religion?
Me: I am a Hindu.
Q: Which religion Hindus follow?
Me(confused): Mmm people say that the name of our religion is Hinduism.
Q: What do your religious books talk about being Hindu and following Hinduism?
Me(caught): Mmmmm… Actually their is no word as ‘Hindu’ or ‘Hinduism’ in our books.
Q(Shocked): What, then how the hell you say that you are a Hindu?
Me(trying to find a balance): The ancient Persians(Zoroastrians) gave us this name. They called people living beyond the river Sindhu as ‘Hindu’. They can’t spell ‘S’ instead they spell it ‘H’.
Q(making a point): So Hindu is no religion then. It’s a name given to people of India.
Me(nodding): Yes, Sir.
Q(more curious now): Then how did your religion got named “Hinduism”?
Me(caught again): Mmmm.. Britishers gave us this name.
Q(confused and angry): Were you morons or tribal people that you didn’t have an organized religion. Learn from other religions. See how organized and simple they are. Were you so stupid and backward that everything needs to given to you by outsiders. First, Hindu and then Hinduism.
Me(embarrassed for not having religion like other established religions):
Q(now showing sympathy): Ok, don’t worry. Atleast now you people have a name and religion, just like other religions.
Q(curiously): But you might have a name in your religious books to describe you. Their might be an indigenous name for your culture mentioned in your religious books. There must be some name to distinguish you from those who don’t believe in your culture and ideology.
Me(thinking hard): Mmm… Yes we have 😀
Me(feeling that I have nailed it): We have the word ‘Arya’ , ‘Bharata’ and ‘Sanatan Dharma’.
Q(happy to know we have something indigenous to call us): Great! So like followers of the religion, say, Islam, are called Muslims. Therefore, your religion is Sanatan Dharma and you people are called Aryas.
Q(feeling proud of his intelligence that he made me show my indigenous religion): So we have found your religion. HI5!
Me(caught again): Mmmm… Actually, the word ‘Arya’ means a ‘noble person‘ and ‘Sanatan Dharma’ is not a religion but a culture which is based on the laws of universe/nature. It is not a religion but DHARMA.
Q(scratching his head in confusion): What’s the difference between Religion and Dharma? Aren’t they synonyms.
Me(laughing and taking pride in my knowledge of Dharma): No, Sir. Dharma and religion are not same. The basic meaning of Dharma can be taken as ‘behaviour/nature’ of a thing. The rules of universe are same and binding on every being, be it living or non-living, be it human or animal. They don’t see what are your beliefs. If you live by the rules of nature/universe you will lead a happy life. There is no discrimination.
Q(still scratching his head): Mmmm.. Can you give a simple example?
Me(confident): Let’s take example of ‘fire’. The nature/Dharma of fire is to provide heat. You can cook food in it and you can even cook a man in it. If you put your hand in fire, your hand will burn. Fire won’t see whether you are a christian, a muslim, a sikh, a buddhist or a hindu. Fire won’t see whether you believe in the concept of one God, or many Gods or no God. Fire won’t discriminate you based on caste, color,gender. It won’t even see if you are a human or an animal or a living/non-living being.
Fire is bounded by the rules of universe which will be applied to every being. There is no discrimination.
Q(understanding the concept slightly): Then what about your religious books. What about Bhagvad Gita, Vedas etc? If your culture is based on Dharma then why these religious books exist? Why do Gods like Bramha, Shiva, Vishnu exist? Doesn’t it brings contradiction?
Me(smiling): Sir, have you ever read the Vedas and Bhagvad Gita?
Q(indifferent): I don’t read religious books of other religion? Mine are enough. But I have heard that Vedas are stupid books. Your country’s Bharat Ratna winner BR Ambedkar said that vedas are stupid books. They should be burnt.
“The Vedas are a worthless set of books. There is no reason either to call them sacred or infallible. Nobody has had the courage to ask why these worthless books which contain nothing but invocation to tribal gods to destroy the enemies, loot their property and give it to their followers, have been made sacred and infallible.”
Me(smiling and inside laughing at his ignorance): Sir, you heard about Vedas from people who couldn’t understand Vedas. Maybe they never read Vedas and just like you had heard bad things about Vedas, they too wrote it. You see the chain can go so long.
Q(mocking): So you think you understand Vedas? Like they are some kind of superior religious books? Like they are superior from the rest of the religious books? Huh!
Me(smiling): Sir, have you heard about Vedas from the great scientists like Nikola Tesla, who discovered AC currents and made breakthrough inventions in scalar energy. Have you heard about scientist like Einstein, Hesinberg(greatest physicist, co-founder of quantum physics, received Nobel Price),Carl Sagan(famous astrophysicist), Schroedinger(Nobel prize for invention of wave mechanics) and many great scientists who greatly applauded Vedas and didn’t forget to pay their regards to Vedas for their breakthrough scientific inventions. Sir, do you know that many of these scientist like Einstein, Tesla were cremated though being born in religions who buries the dead.
Me(filled with pride thinking “aaya unth pahaad k neeche 8) “): Sir, we are Hindus and it is true that this word is not our creation. But there is a reason why we take up this name. Every Indian is a descendant of our Vedic seers. Many have changed their religions with time. Some were forced by sword, some by sops, some by conspiracy and some follow different sects. But the fact remains that we all descends from the same ancestry.
We use the term Hindu with us given by outsiders. We agree that Hindu is a race and it depicts the people of India. In true form we belong to nation Bharat and can be called Bharatvanshi. But when the world moved to the formation of religions, many invaders came to India for conversions. First came Muslim invaders. They used swords to convert. Those Hindus who got converted started calling themselves Muslims, giving up the term Hindu. Then came the White invaders. They converted by divide and rule. They injected poison in our cultural books, made us self loathing thus easy prey for conversion. All those who got converted to a religion gave up the word Hindu.
Religions have strict rituals and a religious book and a prophet to whom every believer must believe. These rituals and religious book are important to maintain a separate identity of that religion. For me, religion is from belief to blind belief. It makes the believer of one religion think that he is superior/special than the non-believers
Those who saved the Muslim and white invaders attack didn’t give up the term Hindu. In this new age where religion is must we Hindus find ourselves outdated. Our books don’t define religion. Our Vedas, Bhagwad Gita defines Dharma but no religion. That’s why to fit ourselves with new age terminology we Hindus borrowed name Hinduism from Britishers. Every Hindu who tries to find what his/her religion is will be disappointed.
I am a Hindu and I have no religion. Vedas don’t tell me my religion. They reveal the law of universe. They create a culture, a way of life to live according to the laws of Universe. They teach Dharma. They create rituals which are not for maintaining any identity. They are backed up by science which follows laws of universe. The Gods in Hindu culture are field forces which the scientists understood. Vedas are no religious book and neither is Bhagwad Gita. To all the Hindus, be proud of your culture, be grateful to your ancestry. We are not the followers of any religion but only of Dharma, making BHARAT, the land of Dharma.
Our journey is from belief to self-realization.
A proud Hindu, a proud Indian.
Be happy 🙂