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The historical origins of hindu and Hinduism




A hindu knows in his heart who a hindu is

 

Today, although there is a lot of confusion among many foreign scholars about what constitutes Hinduism and what does not, there is no confusion among the native Indians about the identity or the faith of a hindu. Many hindus may not be able to define correctly Hinduism or explain what the word hindu means but they clearly know in their heart what they practice or represent. Without studying any religious texts or doing scholarly analysis, they can instantly recognize and accept fellow hindus, even if they may not speak the same language or belong to the same region. The hindu community is diverse. They belong to numerous national and ethnic identities, represent different countries and regions, speak different languages, fall into different economic and social divisions, but know that they represent a distinct religious identity. They may oppose each other politically or may not even live each other personally due to ideological or ethical or ethnic reasons, but they do not fail to experience a sense of unity with fellow hindus. They know clearly that the tradition to which they belong is unique in the world and it is the same tradition which their ancestors practices for generations. They also feel obligated to continue it for posterity. In essence this is what Hinduism is. It is a living tradition which communicates through the hearts, minds and spirits of its millions of adherents. The word hindu is secular in its origin, but it is now deeply associated with the religious identity of more than a billion people in various parts of the world. The world is also associated with numerous institutions, religious movements and philosophies. Barring a few extreme adherents, hindus are known for their tolerance towards other faiths and belief systems. In the same hindu family, you may find people following different paths and worshipping different gods. It is also true that with increased awareness, religious extremism is also on the rise in the hindu community, while a few believe that hindus are discriminated and their leaders are disrespected not only abroad but also within india itself. Today if some hindu groups are becoming increasingly aggressive or defensive about their faith, which is an unfortunate development, it should be viewed as a reaction against those who are intent upon converting hindus or spreading misinformation about it. Let us hope that it would be a temporary phenomenon.

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