In fact the word ‘Hindu’ refers to dharma only and is not a religion. Like wise Buddism and others are only religions and not dharma. They might have propounded some permanent dharmas. One of the features of a religion is to have a religious book. ‘Tripeetakas’ for Buddism, ‘Bible’ for Christianity and ‘Khuran’ for Islam are the religious books. This way for a religion to have one prophet and one book is the main feature. There is no person like ‘Hindu’ for Hindu to become a religion. It is not a dharma told by a prophet called Hindu, as in the case of Christ and Mohammed. So Hindu is not a religion. Like wise there is no religious book for the Hindu religion. There are people who think ‘ Bhagavadgita’ as the religious book of Hindus, just as Bible and Khuran have become the religious books. It is not correct. Bhagavadgita is only a small portion in the Maha Bharata, from chapter 25 to chapter 42 of Bheeshma parva. A religious book is proper enough to be a complete book and can not be a small part in a book. So ‘Hindu’ does not belong to the category of religion. Hindu dharma is only the porper name. It is a universal dharma. It is the only one dharma for the entire humanity. Dharma is the one which shows the way only after examining the various methodes of practice, physical and spiritual development in all aspects, at the levels of individual and community levels. Religion is confined to spiritual development only. But dharma shows path for both worldly and spiritual pursuits.

Innumarable people, from illiterate to scholars, say ‘Hindu religion’. Is it wrong? We may ask. Here the thing which is to be known first is as to why Hindu dharma is being told as Hindu religion. Before the foreign religions entered this country, there was no mention of Hindu religion as such, except mentioning that Buddhisam, Jainisam, Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhwna theories which were born from Hindu dharma, as religious and all of them as part of Hindu dharma (sanatana dharma) only. In due course of time, after the advert of foreign religions, it has become a practice to describe those people in Hindu dharma, who are different from christians and
muslims, as belonging to Hindu religion, using the same word Hindu. Gradually that word ‘Hindu religion’ got stabilised and became acceptable to all people.So it is not wrong to say as Hindu religion, but when it comes to discussion on religions, we should know this difference by all means.

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Whether it is Hindu dharma or Hindu religion, ours is Hindu dharma and we are Hindus.Since the word Hindu religion has been taken by even the great people, we are also using the word Hindu religion and we continue to use it. In this book also the words ‘Hindu dharma’ and ‘Hindu religion’ are also used as alternative words, so we have to understand them as equal words.

Ours is the only religion which tells about the God and his nature very clearly. It is our sages only who stated that there is God and described his important incarnations. Any body can visualise God by penance, devotion, higher spiritual knowledge, meditation, yoga and samadhi (total absorption in divinity); with proper practice one can see God in this life time it self other religions have not given detailed definitions or descriptions of his form. They have also not shown the way to see him. Our sages saw everything and could explain in detail. How can we appreciate their extraordinary power of our sages like Vedavyasa who could make a mention in his
Bhavishya puranam about the birth of Christians and Islam religions thousands of years after him. It is said in Bhavishya puranam’ that even Mohammed also became a Siva bhakta – ‘ Mahamadastu santusto – gatva vai siva mandiram’ . It is a fact. In Mecca there used to be 360 Siva lingas. In the subsequent times they were destroyed. But even to day there is one big Siva linga there which could not be moved by even elephants. Unless muslim pilgrims visit this, their pilgrimage would not be complete. How great is the intellect of the Hindu sages who could tell about the full details of a religion even before it is born? (To be continued…)

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