What is Hindu Identity?

Here is the transcript of a talk on Hindu identity by Rajiv Malhotra of Infinity Foundation at the 23rd Anniversary of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam in Saylorsburg, PA, USA on Sep 14, 2008.
 

Hindu Identity

Transcript of a talk given by Rajiv Malhotra

Over the past few months, I have conducted several brain-storms and workshops on issues concerning Hindus, both in US and India, including among the youth. Listening to a large number of people in these meetings, I have crystallized the specific issues that we Hindus face so that discussions can start in a very crisp way about these.

The central overriding issue that I have identified from these interactions is the issue of Hindu identity. I divide the issue of Hindu identity into three further issues. First is the very important question: “Why do we even need a Hindu identity?” This is a very important point that comes up over and over again. And I will focus on this but let me briefly deal with the other two.

Once a person has crossed the first hurdle of “why do we need a Hindu identity?” then the second question arises: “What is the Hindu identity? What does it mean to be a Hindu?”

We Hindus don’t have one historical event which is the defining event of our faith. We don’t have a canon that is frozen and fixed in time. We Hindus don’t have a canon or a single historical event as a definable concept of our religion.

But we have many sacred texts, not one. Some people ask me, what is your book? And I tell them, we don’t have a single book, we have a whole library! Because of the very nature of revelation, the experiences of our ‘rishis’ and idea of living enlightenment in our tradition, we have an inexhaustible supply of enlightened gurus all through our history. Hence, we Hindus have a huge corpus of spiritual knowledge.

So what exactly is my Hindu identity? Is it about a deity? Is it about a Purana? Is it about Vedas? Is it about Yoga? This is an important second issue that arises only after we have crossed the first hurdle of “Do we even need a Hindu identity?”

Once a person is sure he needs a Hindu identity and has gone through the second process of defining what is that Hindu identity, the third issue arises, which is “How do we project this Hindu identity in a respectable manner as Americans, as modern people, as post-modern people, and so on?”

So these are the three issues: Why Hindu identity is needed, what is the Hindu identity, and how do we project it? The ‘what, why and how’ of Hindu identity are the important issues that I feel Hindus have not dealt with enough.

The first of these three issues is “Why do we need a Hindu identity?” This is what I would like to spend a couple of minutes on. I find that there are three major blockages when you discuss with Hindus the Hindu identity.

The first blockage is: “Will Hindu identity be a source of tension and divisiveness? Will it divide us? Will it create a conflict in society?” In response to this, what I want to offer to you to think about is the following.

Hinduism Offers Mutual Respect, Not Merely Tolerance

There indeed are certain kinds of identities in this world which are divisive. This is because they claim exclusivity. If an identity claims exclusivity, it argues that: “For me to be valid, you cannot be valid. For me to be right, for my sacred book to be valid, anything that’s different must be invalidated. It has to be dealt with, maybe by violence, maybe by non-violence, but it has to be dealt with and it cannot be considered valid.”

Such an identity of course creates conflict. And such an identity can at best offer tolerance of others who are different. But ‘tolerance’ is a very patronizing term. It means that “I don’t really think you are legitimate but I will put up with you.” This is what tolerance is. Luckily, Hinduism does not have this problem because Hindus do not claim exclusivity. Instead, they offer mutual respect rather than just tolerance.

In fact, in many inter-faith dialogues that I have attended, they try to have a resolution where everyone says they will offer tolerance and that “we will tolerate each other.” And invariably I stand up and say let us edit that phrase, remove the word tolerance and put in the word mutual respect. It is amazing how much controversy this creates.

People are simply not willing to offer mutual respect because they believe “for offering you respect for your religion, I have validated your religion. And when I have validated your religion, I can no longer claim my exclusivity. And for no longer claiming my exclusivity, I am going to be blamed by people in my faith for violating one of my injunctions, one of my requirements.”

So this business of shifting the discussion from tolerance to mutual respect can have a huge cascading effect. And I would like all of you to try it. Whenever you go to an inter-faith meet, talk about mutual respect and explain why it is not the same thing as tolerance. Because mutual respect means: “You are legitimate in what you are doing and I want you to consider me legitimate too for what I am doing in my faith.” And this is something that the Hindus can contribute to the world very proudly as one of the most important things that the world needs right now.

Hinduism has mutual respect to offer to other faiths, not merely tolerance. So this resolves the first major hurdle to having a Hindu identity. It provides the answer to the question: “Will Hindu identity be a source of divisiveness, tension and conflict?” In fact, with more Hindus claiming a Hindu identity which sets the example of positive mutual respect for each other, that would actually help reduce tensions.

Hindus can take the moral high ground and ask other religions to match us and do the same and offer mutual respect. If everybody in the world starts doing this, it would actually reduce tensions. So claiming Hindu identity that includes mutual respect for other faith systems is not a problem at all.

Hyphenated Identities are Acceptable

The second blockage among Hindus for having a Hindu identity comes up a lot in conversations. This blockage says: “We are all Americans. Why does it matter if we are Indians or Japanese or Chinese or Hindus or Muslims? It shouldn’t matter because we are all Americans now. So let us all be just Americans. Why do we need a separate identity at all?”

This is an important discussion on the nature of America. First of all, America respects and expects hyphenated identities. As far as national identities in America are concerned, there are Irish Americans, Italian Americans, Hispanic Americans, Japanese Americans, Indian Americans, and so on. This is not considered a problem at all in the American society.

The hyphenated identity of American citizens actually constitutes the very fabric of America. This is what makes America distinct and unique. So, for Hindus to have a hyphenated identity as “Hindu Americans” is not a problem or contradiction at all.

Secondly, as far as religious identities are concerned, again America is very pluralistic. It expects people to have a positive religious identity. It is perfectly all right for a person to say “I am a Jewish American” or “I am a Buddhist or Muslim American or Presybitarian or Catholic or Methodist or Baptist.”

Therefore it is perfectly ok for you as a bonafide American to be a Hindu at the same time. It does not undermine your ‘American-ness.’

Assert Your Identity as a Hindu

A lot of my work involves engaging and correcting stereotypes and biases about India and Hindus. Many a times, I have come across very well meaning offers from Americans, such as from schools and media, to speak about the Hindu identity.

The Americans say that they are very happy to have finally fond a Hindu who wants to meet them to discuss what Hinduism means. They complain that there are simply not enough Hindus in America who want to claim their Hindu identity and explain to them what it is all about.

The problems in explaining Hindu identity to other people is not from the Americans’ side, but from our side because we Hindus shy away from asserting our religious identity. This is essentially a problem from the Hindu side. We have deliberately chosen not to talk about our identity with people of other faiths.

You should go to the local media, schools and colleges and participate in a religious dialogue as a Hindu. Take care to identify yourself very explicitly as a Hindu and not in terms of some generic universal spirituality and New Age stuff where you are really hiding because you are shameful or fearful of your Hindu identity.

Even if you positively assert that you are a Hindu and that is what you stand for, I don’t think in most cases you will experience any resistance from the Americans. In fact, you will be welcomed by them in discussions.

Is Hinduism Against Identities?

The third blockage among Hindus for asserting their Hindu identity that I come across is the most serious blockage of all because it comes internally, from within our own tradition. There are many Hindus who have this confusion and many Hindu ‘acharyas’ and gurus propagate this confusion. This confusion has to do with the following.

In a recent dialogue about Hinduism organized to involve Hindu kids, most of them raised their hands and asked: “But we were told that everything in this world is ‘maya.’ So why do I have to be a Hindu? I could be a Christian or a Muslim tomorrow. Does it matter? It is all a “mithya” and “maya anyway. This whole world is an illusion.”

An idea persists among Hindus that the Advaita philosophy has taught us non-dualism and therefore there is no such thing as my individual identity. We are told that this identity is a stumbling block and we should get rid of it. Indeed, we can quote Advaita to actually reach that conclusion. And the unfortunate thing is that a lot of Hindus do that. They quote the Advaita philosophy to claim that we should not have any worldly identity.

A lot of non-Hindus when they are discussing against a Hindu quickly put the latter on the defensive by saying: “Aha! But see, you are not supposed to have an identity because you believe in Advaita. So there is nothing for you to defend because you believe in the non-dualism of Advaita.” The Hindu becomes very nervous. This is a theological and philosophical issue that our gurus and acharyas really need to take up.

In response to this argument of “dualism means no identity,” the Hindus should argue that in the Gita, Arjuna is asked by Krishna to take claim of an identity. There are Kauravas and Pandavas. To carry out his dharma, Arjuna has to be a Kshatriya. All these are identities. Being a Kaurava or Pandava is an identity. Being a Kshatriya is an identity. Arjuna is in fact told by Krishna that you have work to do and you cannot run away from your work and duty in the name of non-dualism. This is the message of Gita.

Most Hindus I know are very competitive people in their mundane day-to-day lives. They do not tell their kids to flunk their exams because it is all ‘mithya.’ If a Hindu is a surgeon, he does not argue that whether the patient lives or dies does not matter because the whole world is an illusion! We do not say that it doesn’t matter if we end up in prison because the prison is just ‘maya.’ I don’t think that Hindus are such naïve or moronic people when it comes to their personal lives. In fact, Hindus are very competitive. They are very sharp businessmen. They are very skilful negotiators for their own personal stake. When it comes to his own personal interest, the Hindu is very clear about these matters.

The solution to this obstacle is that we have to bring our spiritual knowledge into our daily lives and perform a ‘lila.’ In a lila, you have to have an identity because you are performing God’s work in this world that is only possible through adopting a unique identity. Imagine that you are taking part in a theater and have been casted by the director to perform a certain role. You cannot get mixed up and say to him: “Well, I will perform all the roles or any role that I want.” It is understood that you have to perform only the role that you have been given by the director.

Think of this life as a lila (theatre) in which you have been given a particular role by God, the overall director.  You will realize that your role has a particular identity that you have to adopt and defend throughout. If we don’t get this point, we will simply turn into schizophrenic Hindus.

What will then happen is that you will be forced to restrict Hinduism to ashrams and turn off your Hindu self while operating in the real world. This is because you would think that to live and work in the real world, you have to be practical and be able to compete, which in turn requires taking up various real-world identities.

But since Hinduism negates all self-identities, you will conclude that you will have to switch off your Hindu self in day-to-day life and become somebody else. Then when you go back to an ashram or spiritual retreat, you will become a non-dualistic Hindu again who does not believe in any identity.

This confusion has created a bipolar type of society and a lot of Hindus suffer from this confusion. They think that having a unique worldly identity is somehow incompatible with Hinduism because of advaiata!

This issue involves living the full life, not only the spiritual life but also the social life. It involves carrying out one’s dharma, playing the lila in this world and performing a particular role which involves having an identity. There is an ultimate reality which is non-dual and there is also a provisional reality (material word) which is our kurushetra, karmashetra and dharmashetra where we have to perform roles and therefore we have to have an identity.

I think this is the central issue, the central source of confusion which is preventing a lot of people from claiming a Hindu identity. The sooner a conversation starts to clarify these points in the minds of the Hindus, the better.

12 Comments

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12 responses to “What is Hindu Identity?

  1. Incognito

    Alignment problem in the prev post. Please delete that post.
    The aligned text is here.
    —————

    Rajiv Malhotra has brought out, in his characteristic fashion, a thought provoking
    subject for discussion through his talk.

    I attended Mr Rajiv Malhotra’s presentation on ‘ Where does India stand in the
    encounter of Civilisations’ this monday in Delhi which was organised as part of
    Ramakrishna Hegde Memorial Lecture series.
    A very rewarding presentation.

    The moderator of the lecture Dr Amit Mitra introduced the speaker as a non-hindutva hindu.

    To me there appeared to be something incongruent in such a definition. As if one is
    ashamed of hindutva, or apologetic about it, feeling guilt about it, yet feeling proud to be
    a hindu… that set me thinking why.
    What is there about hindutva that is wrong and what is about hindu that is good.

    I wrote to Mr Malhotra about the conclusions I drew, expressing interest in listening to
    more of his such talks. The mail is reproduced below. He thanked me for the feedback
    and suggested that he will be happy to conduct workshops/lectures if they are
    organised with seriously interested people attending them.

    ” Dear Sir,

    I was fortunate to listen to your illuminating lecture on ‘ Where does India stand in the
    encounter of civilisations’ on Monday at India Habitat Centre.

    Dr Amit Mitra introduced you as one who defines himself as a non-Hindutva Hindu.

    I have not come across the word Hindu in our scriptures.
    As I understand, that word was used by Persians to call the people living beside the river Indus.
    So is ‘Hinduism’ not defined in any of our scriptures. My guess is that Hinduism was
    coined by some Britisher.

    Metaphorically speaking I see that as shackles made by somebody else. Shackles
    bearing the name ‘Hindu’ which is entirely undefined in our scripture.

    By accepting to label ourselves as Hindu we begin to travel in paths untrodden by our
    ancestors- the sages who travelled this earth before us. And thus break away from our
    anscestors and make of ourselves orphans.

    When we accept for ourselves a label that somebody else has given us, then we have
    to inevitably accept the definition they give us. And the definition they have chosen for
    us is definitely to suit them and in no way complementary to us. In their definition Sati,
    Child marriages, Caste oppression, bigotry, blind beliefs, superstitions, gender
    inequality, erotic sex, etc., are the customs that defines this ‘religion’ they call
    Hinduism.

    These customs, I do not find in our scriptures. What I find in our scriptures is
    everything opposite of what they have defined.

    That being so, am I not doing a great disservice to myself and my children if I call
    myself by that name?

    What I have come across in our scriptures is the sage calling himself as Brahma – ‘
    Aham Brahmasmi, after achieving realisation. ‘I am Brahma- the supreme universal
    power.’
    Which is the exact opposite of what the westerner defines his religion ‘ Hinduism’.

    So if I have to call myself some name, let me call myself ‘Brahma’- the supreme
    universal truth- after self-realisation. Until then let me call myself ‘The Brahma in the
    making’. or ‘Trainee Brahma’.🙂

    You rightly pointed out the need for preserving one’s culture, traditions and national
    boundaries.
    There is often the question why the Yogi, who should be travelling the path to
    self-realisation be concerned about the mundane things such as worrying about the
    loss of our culture, traditions or national boundaries. A perception that Yogi should
    consider all these perceived threats to one’s culture as mere Maya that exists only in
    the mind.
    A perception that all these are anyway transient, the cultures, traditions and nation
    boundaries included. So do not worry about these, do not waste time or energy on
    these, be concerned only with living your life truthfully. Truth can be found everywhere
    and giving too much importance to culture, traditions or the nation are to be narrow
    minded.

    One way to approach this question is to view the nation as metaphorically the same as
    the body. For the enlightened Yogi, all this may be Maya, and the physical body and
    its needs may be matters of no concern. But for the vast majority of the people who are
    not yet enlightened, the body is a very important thing. Such a person’s very existance
    depends on its wellbeing.
    Similarly, the well-being of a nation and its boundaries are of paramount importance to
    the group of people who inhabit it- until they all achieve self-realisation.

    The culture and traditions of the country and its sense of history are also very very
    important. One can say, similar to the importance of mind, intellect and sense of past
    are to a person.

    So as long as a person has to take care of his bodily needs, he should take care of his
    country, culture, traditions, sense of history and so on.
    You also rightly pointed out that ‘culture rights’ are essentially as important or even
    more important than human rights since they affect a large no of humans.

    However, I tend to differ where you gave the Gandhian approach as one of the solution
    for the Yogi to prevail. I think the belief that Gandhian approach achieved independence
    for us is a myth created by Congress to appropriate freedom to themselves.

    Almost every other country got its independence in the immediate aftermath of WWII,
    primarily because, the imperialist powers were so much weakened by the war that it
    was not feasible for them to maintain their hold over the colonies.
    The effectiveness of Gandhi’s approach is very debatable in my view; and giving it any
    further strength through your efforts, IMHO may be really weakening everything that you
    strive for.

    You appeared to skip the Sudra capital in one of your slides while mentioning the other
    varnas.
    True Brahmanas(knower of Brahma) and Kshatriyas (fighters for righteousness)
    probably amount to less than 1% in our country today, which is also being over
    optimistic. Even the police and our military are merely the likes of guardsmen that the
    kings used to have in earlier days. By occupation they are more like the Sudras.
    As for the politicians, by no means should one consider them as Kshatriya.
    They come under the Vaishya class by occupation as they are in the business of
    buying and selling of vote-banks in practice. Our nation is mainly comprised of the
    majority Sudras by practice who are governed by Vaishya class both politically and
    economically.
    As for Brahmanas, please do not bracket the academicians in this class.
    Academicians today merely comprise of Sudras and Vaishyas. No original thinkers
    there.

    I woud love to attend any future talk that you may give in Delhi in the immediate future.
    But I recommend that you conduct a full day session because you have so much to
    convey.

    Thank you once again Sir, for a very rewarding evening.
    May God bless you and strengthen you more.

    your’s respectfully ”

    Although my mail above was in response to a different presentation, I think it also
    addresses the issues raised in this post by Mr Malhotra. That is why I pasted it here.
    Malhotra identifies three blockages associated with the question ‘Why do we need a
    Hindu identity?” viz., “Will Hindu identity be a source of tension and divisiveness? Will
    it divide us? Will it create a conflict in society?” and he uses very valid points to lay
    these blockages to rest.

    In discussing the resistance from within the community, he says-“…An idea persists
    among Hindus that the Advaita philosophy has taught us non-dualism and therefore
    there is no such thing as my individual identity. We are told that this identity is a
    stumbling block and we should get rid of it… ”

    Issue here is that Advaita philosophy does not ‘teach’ anybody non-dualism.

    The Advaitic non-dualism is the realisation of the sage who has attained enlightenment.
    The realisation which is expressed in Upanishads as ‘Aham Brahmasmi’.
    It is something that cannot be taught nor can be learnt, only realised by each individual
    by himself.
    This fact is very important.

    A person who has not realised the non-duality, which is the case with most people,
    should not talk about it, because the concept is meaningless without ‘realisation’.

    “…. They quote the Advaita philosophy to claim that we should not have any worldly
    identity…”

    Realisation of the Advaita philosophy of non-duality indeed dissolves all identities.
    Identities exist in relation to another.
    Realisation that all creation are creations of the mind, that there is no ‘other’ is the
    realisation of non-duality.
    With that realisation, any identity is indeed meaningless.
    But, without that realisation, to quote Advaita is meaningless.

    “…A lot of non-Hindus when they are discussing against a Hindu quickly put the latter
    on the defensive by saying: “Aha! But see, you are not supposed to have an identity
    because you believe in Advaita. So there is nothing for you to defend because you
    believe in the non-dualism of Advaita.” …”

    It is a fallacy if a person tells another ” …you believe in Advaita.”
    Advaita, as explained above, is not a belief.
    It is an experience. realisation.

    If someone quotes Advaita to deny another person identity, that talk is rubbish. It is similar to the jackal in Hitopadesa who quotes “Vasudhaiva
    Kutumbakam’ of Vedanta to the chicken to entice it to come out of its hiding place
    so that he can eat it.

    “…The Hindu becomes very nervous. …”

    There is no call to become nervous on the face of such ridiculous stuff.

    “…In response to this argument of “dualism(sic) means no identity,” the Hindus should argue that in the Gita, Arjuna is asked by Krishna to take claim of an identity….”

    Such response will only legitimize an argument that is fallacious in the first place and borne out of ignorance.

    “…To carry out his dharma, Arjuna has to be a Kshatriya. …”

    Arjuna IS a Kshatriya, by temperament, inclination and occupation. His dharma is therefore the Kshatriya dharma of upholding righteousness, fighting for it when necessary.

    “…Being a Kshatriya is an identity….”

    A person who by temperament and inclination upholds righteousness and fights for it, IS a Kshatriya.
    It is inherent nature.
    Identity, by contrast, is a label given or accepted.
    You ARE the former. You CHOOSE the latter.

    “…Think of this life as a lila (theatre) in which you have been given a particular role by God, the overall director. You will realize that your role has a particular identity that you have to adopt and defend throughout….”

    Does this mean we are ‘given’ a ‘role’, but it has ‘a particular identity’ that we are not given, but which we have to realize ourselves(how?) and then adopt it(how?), and then defend it(how, against whom?).
    Is this ‘role’ defined by God or by humans?

    The thought process here is what differentiates between the Indian and Western thought system.

    The Western system heavily influenced by the Church/Islam believes that ‘God’ has ordained the world in certain ways, which Church/Islam propagates as given in the Bible/Quran. You have a particular role to play as revealed by ‘God’ through his ‘Prophet’ in the Bible/ Quran. So you have to ‘adopt’ that ‘particular identity'(Christian /Muslim) and defend it throughout against pagans/kafirs so that you will have a place in ‘Kingdom of Heaven’ which is going to come to earth ‘sometime in the future’.

    Indian philospohy by contrast lays down no such rigid dogmatic thoughts.
    What it has is the sage realising himself as the supreme Brahma.

    So if we go about ‘adopting’ a particular identity and ‘defending’ it, we will be merely abandoning Indian thought system and aping the west under their influence but without any legitimate claim to God’s sanction which they claim through Bible/Quran.

    There is grave danger here for what is left of Indian civilisation.

    • Ram

      Amazing views o Hinduism. Can you please let me know if you received any reply from Mr. Malhotra? If yes, do you mind sharing it with us? I am on the path of becoming a true Hindu (as per your definition and I hope you understand what I mean🙂 ). I agree with every point you raised. Though I have not read Vedas or Gita, I certainly believe that Hinduism (the term we use to differentiate our life process from other religions) is more of a pure science rather some tradition or culture. I have listened to many of speeches from Sadhguru and Osho. I have not realised the ultimate truth so far but at least on the path of it. I can witness the changes that are happening in my mind and body. They are amazing. Anyway, I am eager to read through Mr. Malhotra’s responses to your questions because I want to understand his view or definition of Hinduism. Thank you!
      Ram

  2. sanjaychoudhry

    Incognito, I was there at Rajiv Malhotra’s lecture too at India Habitat Centre in Delhi. It was a brilliant presentation and I will be producing transcript of Rajiv’s speech here soon. However the quality of questions asked to Rajiv by the audiences after his presentation left much to be desired.

  3. sanjaychoudhry

    Incognito:

    Pls read my post about “How Old is the Word Hindu?”

    https://indianrealist.wordpress.com/2008/12/25/how-old-is-the-word-hindu-2/

  4. Incognito

    “…the quality of questions asked to Rajiv by the audiences after his presentation left much to be desired….”

    Although we are a billion strong, original thinkers form a negligible part of our society, probably because of restrictions imposed on free speech for the past 1000 years of Mughal and British rule that may have stifled free thinking. The congress rule of post independence has not really changed that effect. In fact they have propagated that trend to remain in power for a major part of this period, so much so that it has become the way of politics in India.

    It is always striking that people such as Rajiv Malhotra, Rajiv Sreenivasan and others who have been exposed to the relatively more free thinking available in US, barring some exceptions, produce such contrasting, innovative, thought provoking, ideas.

  5. Incognito

    The epigraphic evidence given in the old post “how-old-is-the-word-hindu” mostly cites references out of India.
    When those people talks about a Hindu, they are referring to a people restricted to a geographic area.
    With such geographic restriction inherent in such a label, would it not be the more appropriate to replace it with the term ‘Indian’ in the modern context?

    “…The Asokan inscriptions (3rd century B.C.) repeatedly use expressions like ‘Hida’ for ‘India’ and ‘Hida loka’ for ‘Indian nation’….”

    Might the ‘Hida’ of Ashoka’s inscriptions be similar to the Hitha of Hithopadesha which might mean Good. so Hida loka = Good place(?).

    “…This misconception can be dispelled by quoting from Sanskrit works15 : Meru tantra (es#rU=) (4th to 6th century A.D.), a Shaiva text,..”
    “…The same idea is expressed in Shabda Kalpadruma…”
    “…Brihaspati Agam says,…”
    “…Parijat Haran Natak ..”
    “…Vriddha Smriti …”
    “…Kalika Puran, Bhavishya Puran, Adbhut Kosh, Medini Kosh, Ram Kosh etc. Even Kalidas …”

    The sanskrit literature cited as evidences are of quite recent vintage and considered to be outside of the Sruti- the Vedas and Upanishads.

    The thing about labels or identities is that ‘limits’ are inherent to such identification.
    While geographic limits have relevance in politics, limits really should have no relevance in spiritual thoughts.
    But limits are definitely part of the philosophy of non-Indian thought systems such as Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Communism etc.. which I guess is the root cause of conflicts associated with such thought systems.

    This is the grave danger associated with creating artificial identities that we need to ponder upon before accepting such things for ourselves.

  6. VVS Sarma

    If Hindu is a valid word, for the millions professing the indegenous religion and
    culture, its abstraction Hindutva – (Hinduness
    or Hinduhood) is an equally valid cocept, equivalent to Indianness or Bharatiyata. -ta
    and -tva are equivalent suffixes sanctioned by
    Indian logic or Nyaya Sastra. It cannot be a concept trade-marked by a political party.
    The thoughts of Rajiv Malhotra are a perfectly valid and useful questions to be put to all Hindus. Two generations of Indians have unfortunately been confused by Nehruvian and later Congress secularism and forgot that Hindus are the unique community of India – whether they are from North or South.

  7. Ours is Bharata Jati
    Ours is Sanatana Jyothi
    That is Sri Rama Raksa
    for the humanity as a whole

  8. JGN

    Hinduism is not a religion in its narrow sense. it is a conglomeration of various beliefs and even non-belief (ahteism). Atheists existed even in Vedic era and were known as “Charvakas or Chaturvedis”. Depite of short-comings, Hinduism is dynamic enough to change with the time. Change with time or time will change you. That is the rule of the nature. Those who swear by ONE BOOK do not have the freedom enjoyed by the Hindus. They are at the mercy of their Priests/Clerics right from birth thru death.

  9. Bharat Nair

    Pls stop this “Hinduism is not a religion” nonsense.

    Hear what Sw.Chinmayananda says about this.

  10. Incognito

    Bharat,

    Fact is that the scriptures which are considered to be the basis of Indian culture, such as the Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and other popular texts such as Ramayana and Mahabharata do not mention that word.

    You do not find an asnwer to ‘what is the definition of a hindu’ in those scriptures.

    It leads to the conclusion that ancient Indian culture did not segregate people on the basis of belief systems.

    I think that is very important.
    To see man as man.
    nothing else.

    And that gives a lot of lattitude and freedom to engage in true spiritual advancement.

    • Karan

      Dear Incognito,

      I appreciate the points you brought forward.

      I would like to get in touch personally since I feel you could answer several questions that I have.
      I realize that this thread of comments is three and half years old. But if you do happen to see this, my email address is karan.a.makhija@gmail.com

      Thanks

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