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Meaning of Hinduism - Definition of the term Hinduism
Meaning of the word Hinduism
Hinduism, the word having its roots in Indus (the river), refers to the religion
and philosophies that were prospering in the land around and beyond the river
Indus. Hinduism originally was spread throughout the world (1), but at some
later periods of time it has been practiced only in the Indian subcontinent.
The discipline having no founder for itself and is in existence from the time
undefined does not refer to itself as Hinduism. It was the people from
outside who discovered this practice called it by this name Hinduism and now
that has been generally referred to by this name only.
What was Hinduism originally called?
Originally the names that were used to
refer to this discipline are vaidIka dharma (meaning discipline of
vedas) and sanAtana dharma (meaning eternal discipline).
If the religions practiced in the subcontinent are referred to as
Hinduism it would mean a broad umbrella, which includes the Jainism, Buddhism
and various other religions that took birth in this land and then spread to
the other parts. These religions share many of the common roots with the
sanAtana dharma. Hinduism being an open framework and these philosophies and
customs are very closely associated with the main streams, it may not be wrong
all together to call them so. However, as Hinduism is vaidika dharma - based on vedas,
and since Jainism and Buddhism do not base their doctrines on vedas,
in these sections generally Hinduism would mean the core Hindu discipline - based on
It is quite important to note the fact that it is a discipline and
not a religion by the terms as defined for most other religions. As already
said, it is actually, a framework where different
religions and philosophies build on the core knowledge and grow.
To the Lord Who is already Eternal, let us hail, "Long Live".
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