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  • Category: Hinduism

    Calling or treating Hinduism as a religion?


    Interested in understanding more about Hinduism? Wondering why it is called a religion or a way of life? Here, on this page you can find all the answers you are looking for and understand Hinduism in detail.

    When was the first time people started calling or treating Hinduism a religion in its literal sense?
    Moreover, was it the original idea to treat Hinduism as a religion?
    Why do we call it a way of life then?
    What is the difference between the way of life and the religion?
  • #146232
    Hinduism is not a religion which is followed by some. It is the way of life. Why? This particular religion teaches the people how to live in. What is good and what is bad How to live, what are to be followed what is not to be followed. How our way of life brings in health to us. How to live without hurting anybody? all these points are very well discussed in Hindu Purana. Bhagavadgita the book of Hinduism tell all the matters in detail. As a human being, what are the good deeds we have to do, how we can get moksha and become birthless? So It is told that It is a way of life. All the matters related to living were very nicely explained in this book. If one can read it and understand he will know how to live in. SO I strongly feel Hinduism is not a religion but it is a way of life.
    drrao
    always confident

  • #146236

    For the people of ancient India,-whatever name it was known then, which was quite vaster in extent than the present Republic nation- the way of life they followed by the teachings and traditions, was Sanaatana Dharma or the eternal way of life. There was no question of calling it as religion, becauseit was just Dharam or Dharma ,the way people are supposed to live right. When people of other Dharam or ways of life different from those practised by the Sanaatana Dharma,those people onlystarted seing, treating the Sanaatana Dharma as different.
    These newcomers to the then vast Bhaarat (Bharata Khanda or Bharat subcontinent)called the local people who also followed a life different from the newcomers, as Hindoos .That could have from the words Sindhu of Sindhu river . It was later by the influx of the Europeans that the Sanatana Dharma was treated as a religion.The British government rulers wanted to differentiate the Christianity followers, Islam followers and Sanaatan Dharma followers in their records and that would have started tabulating and treating the Sanatana Dharma as Hinduism or Hindu religion. By then the country had got followers of many other ways and beliefs. So it became in vogue to treat them as religions.

    So I am of the view that it was the British rulers who stamped the Sanaatan Dharma as Hindu Religion.
    Usually a Religion wil have a starter who originated that. Like Chrisitianity related to Chris, Mohammedans related t Mohammed Budhist related to Budhdha etc. However there is no one specific who can be shown as starter or originator of Sanatana Dharma. There are a lot of rather a stream of rishis, Achaaryas ,Gurus or scholars who made contribution for the explanation, simplification,refinement, improvement and updation of the Sanaatana Dharma tenets and principles to be effectively followed by the people. Such explanations are referred to such and such explanatory or 'Bhaashyakaar' or Rishi .(Example Shakaracharya, Sayana). Similarly the formulas or practical guides followed when needed are referred to the 'Sutrakaar' example Bdhaayana etc.

    That is, there is no single person to whom the authority of origination of Sanatana Dharma is attributed to . Hence it is not a religion in the sense of present day Religion. However due to the compelling reasons made by the British rulers and the same copied and followed as system in new independent nation government also Hinduism is finding its place instead of Sanaatana Dharma and the it has come to stay and Sanaatana Dharma is just made to be forgotten.

    Thus what is known or twisted as Hinduism in the last two centuries was actually Sanaatana Dharma and everyone in the subcontinent was following the eternal value- based life in the landmass of the subcontinent many hundred years before entry of mass invaders and occupiers who first came in the guise of guests and then became occupants. The tenets and principles of Sanaatana Dharma is applicable to every human being , as they are basic values .Hence Sanaatana Dharma encompasses everyone who lives with basic human values and righteousness. It is important to mention that Sanaatana Dharma has also given space to accommodate those who have different thought options within the ambit of Sanatana Dharma.

  • #146242

    Hinduism is not a religion but a way of life because it doesn't enforce a particular god to be worshiped on you it gives you an independence to worship whatever the way you choose to worship your god.
    There are 33 crore gods and goddess in Hinduism why because it gave you the freedom to worship anything a cow, a tree or even the earth if you can visualize and have faith you can find god in anything. And even if you want to worship a single entity as a god you can worship it no one is going to question your faith. There may be a little resistance at the start of anything new but later everything got acceptance in Hinduism to the extent that Hindus worship Lord Buddha, Mahavir Jain as their Hindu god which was once resisted.
    The acceptance of Hinduism is what makes it different from the term religion and thus get a reference as a "way of life". As far as the etymology of the term is considered it was because of the foreigner accent which used to call the people Sindhu residing near the river Sindhu but called it Hindu so even this term was not meant for a particular religion but for the whole civilization.


    "It is hardest thing in the world to be good thinker without being a good self examiner"

  • #146243
    Every religion is unique in itself. Every religion has a philosophy. People interpret their religions in a manner which insists that their religion is the best. We only say Hinduism is a way of life.

    Why this special importance is given to religion? More precisely to that matter to any religion. If we go back in time and try to find the genesis of a religion, we find that it was the most primitive way a tribe used to worship the nature.

    With advancement in human civilization and culture the original religion bifurcated in different branches. Different religious leaders started to present their branch in a different way to impress its disciples.

    Subsequently people were known as per their religion and not as per their individual characteristics or traits.

    Unfortunately it created hatred and fight between different communities and everyone was rigid as per the guidelines given by their religious leaders. The result was the people were religiously driven to certain acts which were not acceptable from human angles.

    Anyway during the evolution some religions became more and more rigid while others were soft and cordial to others. Hinduism belongs to the latter category.

    Knowledge is power.


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