There is no such religion as ‘Hinduism’

In the last 11 years ever since I came back from my 20 years abroad, I realised that the British had coined a word called ‘Hinduism’ like ‘communism’ and ‘fascism’. But unlike the latter two there was no such thing as Hinduism.

From ancient times, even before the advent of the proselytising religions the books and thoughts of Hindus existed but were not recognised . When our Vedas were read and interpreted by European intellects they found it so profound, so true and intellectually challenging that they said there must have been a race just like ours who took Sanskrit the most perfect language from the North of Europe to Bharat.

Thus came about the Aryan Invasion theory and the birth of the Indo- European languages. Growing up in Bharat there was nothing to dispel this theory. In Fact our history was Delhi centric and I learnt more about the Islamic invaders than the Cholas, the Vijaynagar Empire, and the great Kingdoms of our ancient lands that spread all through South and East Asia.

I only realised this when I travelled to Indonesia and saw so much of my culture and traditions there as well as in Angkor Wat, in Cambodia and then China where there is the oldest Buddhist monastery where they still teach martial arts and say proudly that we got this from Bharat.

But we were brought up to believe in the later aspects of a strange religion called ‘Hinduism’ – something that never existed apart from the minds of our invaders. After all they said they were people of a book but we could not or did not tell them we were the people of a library. We did not just have the ancient wisdom of the Vedas but so much more.

Somehow we could not explain to them that our philosophy was 5000 years old and it was about the Universal Truth – Sanatana Dharma that all mankind should aspire for.

This philosophy was so unique, so very different from Islam and Christianity that it dared to say we were all one. We each had the ‘God Particle’ in us and there was no heaven or hell just ‘Universal Energy’, a higher consciousness that we could all connect to if we wanted.

Some of the greatest scientists and thinkers in the West, including Thoreau, Einstein, Oppenheimer, Schrodinger, the co-creator of quantum theory, was inspired by the Vedic texts and he along with Heisenberg built theories which were consistent with Vedantic concepts. These are just a few.

English writer, novelist, and philosopher, Aldous Huxley was a prominent member of the Huxley family. He was the one who took Vedanta and Upanishads to Huxley family, as well as implemented the principle of ‘ahimsa’ in the family. He was also a Vedantist in the circle of Hindu Swami Prabhavananda and is known for his philosophical book ‘The Perennial Philosophy’, which talks about the mystics of Hindu Dharma.

Here are some of the instances:

  • “The Bhagavad-Gita is the most systematic statement of spiritual evolution of endowing value to mankind. It is one of the clearest and comprehensive summaries of perennial philosophy ever revealed; hence its enduring value is subject not only to Bharat but to all of the humanity.” [“Sacred Jewels of Yoga: Wisdom from India’s Beloved Scriptures, Teachers, Masters, and Monk”]
  • “The Bhagavad-Gita is perhaps the most systematic scriptural statement of the Perennial Philosophy. To the world at war, a world that, because it lacks the intellectual and spiritual prerequisites to peace, can only hope to patch up some kind of precarious armed truce, it stands to point, clearly and unmistakably, to the only road of escape from the self-imposed necessity of self-destruction.”

These are the great thinkers from the West that we were not taught about regarding their thoughts on the greatest philosophy given to them by Bharat.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was greatly influenced by Hindu scriptures and even challenged the Christian scriptures.

Now that we have the internet we can easily look up the Western thinkers who were inspired by what we can finally call Sanatan Dharma or Hindu Dharma – the Universal Truth. As Bharatiyas, we can finally be proud of our heritage and what we gave to humanity.

-by ASHALI VARMA

(This article was first published on Times of India- blogs)


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