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What is really funny is that the word 'sindhu' simply means 'river'


"Most experts agree today that the name “India” was derived from the river Indus (in today’s Pakistan). But the name “Indus” itself has a fascinating history behind it.

In ancient times, the entire Indus river system (along with its seven tributaries - Chenab, Ravi, Sutlej, Jhelum, Beas and the now extinct River Saraswati) and the area it covered, used to be called “Sapta Sindhu[ii]” i.e. the land of seven rivers (“Sindhu” means river in Sanskrit).

The word “Sindhu” not only referred to the river system and adjoining area but also became the label to denote the culture that had developed along its valleys (In fact, continuing archaeological evidence suggests that the “Indus Valley Civilization” should more accurately be called the Saraswati-Sindhu Civilization considering the land mass where it developed).

The corruption of “Sindhu” into “Hindu” can be traced back to journeys made by early Persian explorers from the Northwest who due to the peculiarities of their own language aspirated the “S” sound in “Sindhu” to make the word “Hindu”

Thus to world beyond, the area around the Saraswati-Sindhu rivers and its culture became to be known as the area of “Hindus” (thus the name Hindustan which literally means the land of “Hindus”)

This nomenclature stuck and became particularly prevalent after the invasion and conquest of “India” by Mughals. The Mughals (based on the earlier Persian terminology) used the term “Hindu” to refer to the original inhabitants of the land and this label became the way to distinguish native/indigenous/ancient culture form that of the invaders.

About 2500 years ago, when the Greeks first reached the river plains of Punjab, they borrowed the name of the region from the Persians and simply modified it to “Indos”. “Indos” later morphed into “Indus” in Latin – by which name the river is still known in the West. The Romans began to call the whole land mass after this river and thus the name “India” came to stay – which has been the form used by Europeans over the ages.

It is clear from the above that the word “Hindu” simply meant (someone living in India) “Indian” or (something) related to India.

The term Hindu did not signify any religion or set of religious beliefs but was really a label for a specific landmass. At best the word simply implied someone associated with (or dwelling in) the geographical area the boundaries of which were roughly covered by the Saraswati-Sindhu rivers and their tributaries." http://satyameva-jayate.org/2006/05/27/hindu-india-and-bharat-word-origins/

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In this well written essay by Sri Nandanandana prabhu it says,


"Furthermore, a Persian dictionary titled Lughet-e-Kishwari, published in Lucknow in 1964, gives the meaning of the word Hindu as “chore [thief], dakoo [dacoit], raahzan [waylayer], and ghulam [slave].” In another dictionary, Urdu-Feroze-ul-Laghat (Part One, p. 615) the Persian meaning of the word Hindu is further described as barda (obedient servant), sia faam (balck color) and kaalaa (black). So these are all derogatory expressions for the translation of the term hindu in the Persian label of the people of India."


What raises the question why is there a http://hinduism.iskcon.com/ ????

Could be that the faux-pas word "Hindu" has become so much a common term that we have to learn accepting it.

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Goto india and tell an indian his not, really a hindu. Prabhupada also said no such thing as muslims, christians, we all servants of god,




Guess Prabhupada never used the term Hindu but how to change this today?



1964: March, 13 Delhi


SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM is very dear to all Vaisnavites and especially to the Vallabha and the Gaudiya Vaisnavas. The glories of Vrindaban and Mathura are magnified by these two Sampradayas and the undersigned as an humble servant of all Vaisnavas, has tried his best to render it into elaborate English version for its publicity all over the world.

The first and second volumes of the publication are already out and there are still 58 fifty eight parts to be published to finish this mighty project.

I am therefore appealing to the Vallabha Vaisnavites specifically to help me in this mighty project. I am a Sannyasi and as duty bound I have attempted this heavy task for benefit of all human beings and I am seeking your valued cooperation.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

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Significance of Hindu and Hindu dharma (Hinduism)


There is a tendency on the part of some scholars to indicate that the word Hindu might have been created from Sindhu (in Sanskrit meaning ocean or river, especially in the west of India) due to lack of certain letters in old (Vedic) Sanskrit. Another misconception is that when certain foreigners (Greeks, Arabs and Persians) first arrived in India, they were unable to pronounce the word Sindhu properly and their mispronunciation of Sindhu led to the creation of Hindu. Thus it is quite common to come across different stories about the origin of the name Hindu. This article discusses why Hindu could not have evolved from Sindhu and looks into other explanations for Hindu and Hindu dharma.


It is difficult to imagine that Vedic Sanskrit, due perhaps to a lack of certain letters and sounds in its alphabet, caused Sindhu to change into Hindu. Since the letters (sounds) 's' and 'dh' in Sanskrit have existed right from the outset, there would be no need to replace them, respectively, with 'h' and 'd' thus transforming Sindhu into Hindu. Moreover, because the words Sindhu and Hindu continued to coexist simultaneously even after the supposed transformation, clearly indicates that such change never occurred. Had such a substitution really taken place, the word Sindhu would most likely disappear. Thus it is clear that the word Hindu was not derived from Sindhu due to any deficiency in the Sanskrit alphabets.


The idea that the word Hindu was used for the first time by Alexander the Great and his soldiers during their invasion of India seems quite absurd. It is said that the invading Greeks and Macedonians found it difficult to pronounce the word Sindhu, and therefore dropped S at the beginning of Sindhu in favor of H giving rise to Hindu. It is hard to believe that any native speaker of Greek, a language having at least the letter Sigma for 's' sound, would experience any difficulty or uncertainty in pronouncing Sindhu with 's' sound. Moreover, these foreigners must already be familiar in the use of structurally, linguistically and phonetically more complex words (names) in their native Greek than the simple Sindhu. Thus they would have no reason or need to invent the word Hindu, accidentally or otherwise.


Similarly Muslims (Arabic or Persian speakers) would not suddenly, upon their arrival in India for the first time, start calling Sindhu River as Hindu River. Being quite familiar with 's' sound (expressed by letters Sad and Sin in their native languages), they would have no problem correctly pronouncing the word Sindhu.


Note that whenever a person goes to a different place or a country, his first communications with the locals are generally of verbal nature using words and sounds. These utterances (indicating names, places etc.) are usually imitated or copied while trying not to distort the original words in any manner. Therefore a foreigner (ancient Greek, Arab or Persian), who was quite familiar with 's' sound, would not be confused or encumbered into pronouncing Sindhu as Hindu after arriving in India and hearing it from the locals.



Thus it is clear from the above that the word Hindu has been there for a long time (perhaps since the beginning) and was not derived from Sindhu, and its roots lie elsewhere in ancient rituals and yajnas. The Moon (also known as Indu) and its light, for example, long ago used to be considered as the enhancer (or catalyst) of quality (taste and aroma etc.) and quantity of juices in plants -- including those from which Soma-juice was derived. Indu was thus a name given to Soma-juice<SUP>+</SUP> and nectar in addition to being used for the Moon. As several Vedic hymns suggest, Soma-juice (Indu) was also the libation for Vedic rituals, yajnas and worships. It was offered to God, and consumed afterwards by people (worshippers etc.) for health, life, prosperity and progeny. Moreover, its use would imply propitiation for the user or Hindu -- a person propitiated by Indu (the Vedic libation). Note, Hindu -- a compound word with Sanskrit roots (i.e. H + indu) -- indicates a liaison between H (sounding 'H' as in Hut, and implying auspiciousness or delight) and Indu or indu (meaning Vedic libation). Thus note that indu was a normal soma juice. Offering it (indu or soma juice) as libation to God (during a Vedic yajna or sacrifice) made it auspicious, and its use (drinking / accepting by people) afterwards signified a person as Hindu . someone propitiated by indu (Vedic libation).


Similarly, dharma was considered long ago as a person's duty or commitment. Moreover, he would undertake or try to fulfil (properly complete) his obligations preferably in the witness of or as a dedication to a deity (such as indicated also in the Gita: Ch. 18 - V. 66). This association with deity most likely gave rise to the divine aspect in one's dharma. Note also in this regard that religion essentially involves relying on or being in obligation to god and living and acting accordingly. Thus, dharma and religion seem somewhat similar in meaning and function, and may even be used interchangeably.


Religion (dharma) based on the Vedas (and involving Vedic rituals, practices, customs and way of life since the very beginning of civilization) has long been identified as the Vedic dharma. Moreover, note that as the knowledge contained in the Vedas has withstood the test of time, it is considered eternal (sanatan): these scriptures are therefore considered as divinely inspired and dharma based on them as the Sanatan dharma (eternal religion). There have also been other names used for this religion. For example, it was once also called Bhagvata dharma after the Vedic god Bhaga or Bhagvan -- the bestower of auspicious blessings and possessing the power of goodness (Ref.: Indian Philosophy, Vol. 2, S. Radhakrishnan, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 667). Similarly, it is known as Hindu dharma (Hindu religion or Hinduism) because of its association with Hindu (people expiated by Indu -- libation in Vedic rituals and practices). Needless to say, Hindu dharma (dharma associated with Hindu) has its roots in the Vedas and is truly the Vedic dharma. It is clear therefore that Vedic dharma (dharma according to the Vedas), Sanatan dharma (dharma based on the Sanatan or eternal knowledge of the Vedas) and Hindu dharma (dharma representing the Vedic dharmic rituals, practices and expiation etc.) are interchangeable expressions.


Finally, it is clear from the above that the word Hindu (not signifying any particular area or region) was in existence for a long time before the foreigners arrived in India. Moreover, even the word Hindustan (meaning the area or land belonging to the Hindu) could have been easily created by the locals (living in the present-day India) or the outsiders by simply adding stan or sthan (area) to the pre-existing local word Hindu. Likewise, the word Hind (or the land of Hindu) was most likely also rooted in the word Hindu -- with u (sounding as 'oo' in tooth) dropped from it.


By: Dr. Subhash C. Sharma

Jai Shree Krishna

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Sp used the term all the time.

Using the word means nothing. It is the context of how a word is used that is important.



Srila Prabhupada - “The Americans are very intelligent and qualified boys and girls so they understand the principles as genuine and thus they accept them. They understand that Krsna Consciousness Movement is neither Indian nor Hindu, but it is a cultural movement for the whole human society although of course because it is coming from India it has [an] Indian and Hindu touch.” Los Angeles, July 16th, 1970,


More of Srila Prabhupada's thought on the matter can be found here in post 1:



Try to understand the self is free from all material designations like animal, human, Muslim,Hindu, Earthling or Martian.


This is preliminary knowledge that marks the boundary between jnana and ajnana.

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I thought Hindu is actually a vedic term for a faith that has ahimsa as its central tenet. The term, I believe, finds mention in some ancient text. If I find the exact reference, I will post it here.


If that is the case, it would be logical to call Buddhists and Jains as Hindus as well. However, I don't mind being 'Hindu', its got a nice ring to it.

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Free from designations? Theist. So Vaishnava is also a designation?


Nope, it's only for naming conventions...

Vaishnavism means end of all designations.


The word need not exist, but in this material world, we do need a name to call someone.


What does the name holds should be the real question.

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Dear Dark Warrior,


"I thought Hindu is actually a vedic term for a faith that has ahimsa as its central tenet"



The above as well as belief in the VEDAS which is "THE CENTRAL TENENT" of Hindus . Therefore JAINS & BHUDISTS are not part of Hinduism because they have rejected the VEDAS.


If the Vaishnavs reject the VEDAS than they are not Hindus ... but they hold the VEDAS in the highest esteem and therefore they are "A PART AND PARCEL OF A COLLECTIVE PEOPLE CALLED HINDUS "


as Theist says "It is the context of how a word is used that is important"


My humble opinion !...not meant to hurt anyones feelings



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Yeah Amlesh, Same for Muslims, Christians etc, we all need a name. TILL we realize spirituality. Or oneness that everybody is servant of God.
Aditi Garg suggests to change Hunduism into Hindutva.


From Hinduism to Hindutva

by Aditi Garg



Hindutva: Exploring the Idea of Hindu Nationalism

by Jyotirmaya Sharma. Penguin. Pages 205. Rs 350.


bk4.jpgTRUE religion is the foundation of society, the basis on which all true civil government rests, and from which power derives its authority, laws their efficacy and both their sanction. If it is once shaken by contempt, the whole fabric cannot be stable or lasting. These words of William Burke ring as true in the present scenario as they did at his time. In India, the one religion that has exerted the maximum influence on the evolution of society is Hinduism. So any study of this country and its people is incomplete without the inclusion of Hinduism and its interaction with other major religions in India. Hinduism has been practised in this country for so long now that it has acquired a wider meaning that goes beyond merely religious connotations.

Hindutva offers powerful insights into the transformation of Hinduism from a ‘soft’ religion to the extreme Hindutva. Jyotirmaya Sharma was till recently the resident editor of the Hyderabad edition of The Times of India. In this book, he seeks to answer the questions that have been raised in an era of militant Hindu nationalism. Quoting and discussing the ideologies of various nineteenth and twentieth century philosophers and politico-religious leaders, he puts forward the effect of their collective endeavours in constituting Hindutva in its contemporary guise. The author discusses the role of the Vedas and Upanishads in making Hindutva a codified, monochromatic and excluding entity. He delves into the writings of Swami Dayanand, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekanand and V. D. Sarvarkar to show how they caricatured Islam. He also talks of their tirades against Muslims, Jains, Buddhists and even separate sects within the Hindu religion.

Sharma defines Hindutva as being different from Hinduism, which he feels, is limited to the rituals and festivities of the Hindu religion, while the former encompasses Indian civilisation as a whole. In a country that is ravaged by inter-caste riots, people seek solutions and the author tries to offer some, though they might, at times, seem frivolous. He feels a need to tone down the extreme values, practices and vocabulary of Hindutva; revaluate Hinduism sympathetically, yet critically, and initiate dialogue between opponents. He also quickly adds that there can be no quick solutions. All the four thinkers believed that India lost its idyllic unity because of being oppressed under the Muslim and then the British rule. The caste system lost its original focus and confusion prevailed. He also contends that the move to demolish the Babri Masjid and build a Ram temple at Ayodhya was a consequence of extreme Hinduism as also the emergence of the BJP, the VHP, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal. He attributes the increased instances of communal conflagrations to this brand of Hinduism. All the philosophers he discusses had visions of a strong militant India.







Various Indologists have perceived India as insensitive to freedom and a picture of antiquity. In their quest to belittle Indians in comparison to Europeans, they were bent upon proving Hinduism as inferior to Christianity. Their perception of India strongly influenced the task of reformulating and restating Hinduism in nineteenth-century India.

The author quotes Swami Dayanand, Sri Aurobindo, Swami Vivekanand and V.D. Sarvarkar and goes to the extent of putting together the various ideas stated by them in point form. He first deals with the ideas of Swami Dayanand Saraswati. He perceives him as direct, acerbic, contentious and even abusive at times. He was a stickler for the Vedas and vehemently excluded any deviations, as he believed there could be only one whole truth. He verbally bashed the Muslims and Christians for being intolerant of other religion, upheld the divine origin of Vedas and did not concede that the Koran and the Bible were the works of intelligent men. Going a step further, he trashed the Tulsi Ramayan and idol worship and spared no one from Saint Kabir to Guru Nanak Dev. Ridiculing the Christian belief of Virgin birth, he equated it to Kunti bearing the child of Sun. In the same breath he also talked of the Prophet’s marriage and the Islamic practice of having four wives. Though he endorsed the caste system, he did not believe it to be an accident of birth, but something that was acquired by an individual through his own actions.

Sri Aurobindo was grand, dry and systematic — the quintessential philosopher. His upbringing and education was done mostly in the West and this brought him closer to India, much to the dislike of his father. He advocated the Sanatan Dharma and justified the use of violence as a means of achieving progress. While pushing the cause of Kshatriya-hood as a means of attaining manliness in Hinduism, he also advocated control without which even a Kshatriya could lapse into a demonic state. He upheld the tenets of the Bhagavadgita and emphasised the greatness of being. Sri Aurobindo propagated patriotism as a national religion and favoured Aryanisation of the society. He accepted Hindu-Muslim rivalry as a fact of history but still did not think that Hindu nationalism was the solution.

Jyotirmaya Sharma illustrates Swami Vivekanand as an inadequate model of ‘soft’ Hindutva. He is, perhaps, the most quoted by today’s politicians. Atal Bihari Vajpayee chose to quote him twice in Goa in December 2002, after the Gujrat riots and Narendra Modi’s subsequent win. In World Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, he addressed the perennially important questions of Hindu identity, Hindu nationalism and equal dialogue between Hindus and adherents of other faiths. He was slightly more tolerant of the Muslims but at the same time thought of them as a violent and narrow-minded people. The author points out that though Vivekananda claimed to be anti-caste, evidence proves otherwise. Inspite of being a dualist himself, he preached the existence of one God. He called Buddha the George Washington of religions. His philosophy of non-killing, according to the author, ruined India.

V.D. Sarvarkar, the author states, represented the high watermark of thought and action driven towards the establishment of a Hindu nation. It was he who coined the term ‘Hindutva’. He politicised religion and advocated extreme Hinduism. His writings are very much like the utterances of the BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal, Narendra Modi and Praveen Togadia. Sarvarkar transformed Hindutva into the very image of Islam he found so intolerably objectionable. He justified killings, even massacres, if done for the sake of revenge.


The author illustrates how these thinkers did a volte-face as their thinking matured with time. He is, no doubt, courting controversy by being critical of people like Vivekanand, Dayanand, Aurobindo and Sarvarkar. He discusses the relevance and irrelevance of Hindutva in pre and post-independent India. Though the book holds the readers’ attention, the pace gets impeded by the language. At times it feels a bit like reading a textbook with remarks scribbled in the margins.


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Today's Subject:


Who cares about the source and use of the word hindu.


The only people who give a farthing for the source and use of the word hindu, are other Hindus.


Test to see if you give a farthing --by reading all these posts on this subject.


If you have been following along then you are a hindu.


If you can find a person or group of people who will take all the time required to explain the above explainations--then you have found a fellow Hindu. Hello Fellow Hindu, who do you do?


Bad news: No one else cares.


Good news: We all care and we're having a great time of it.


PS: No one knows Hare Krishnas are Hindu except peolple who study Hinduism and then find that the Hare Krishnas know more than the average Hindu immgrants' grandparents, whoa, that's a month full . . . wait there's more to explain . . .

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Free from designations? Theist. So Vaishnava is also a designation?


Great Pankaja. This is precisly the point that Prabhupada made over and over again. Vaisnava refers to the constituional position of the soul in the liberated state free from false designations AND engaged in the active loving service of the one Supreme Lord Vishnu free from personal motivation. This is the pure meaning of the word Vaisnava.


Now of course the word gets used in different ways. There is the level of 'mixed-vaisnava' which describes a soul who is in the process of waking up to his true identity as pure soul, servant of Krishna but hasn't fully awakened. That is us. Not Vaisnavas yet in the highest sense but the acaryas haved generously used this term to acknowledge our slight urge to become Krishna conscious.


Then there is the outsiders use of the word. I am speaking of academics and comparative religion types who by studying different beliefs held by different groups used the word vaisnava to distingush between tantrics, mayavadis, shakta worshipers and other known religious groups. And this is valid within it's context also.


But as aspiring transcendentalists we must focus on the highest transcendental meaning of the word.


" When our minds have passed out of the dense forest of delusion we will become indifferent to all that has been heard and all that is to be heard."- Gita


All lower mundane meaning of words will pass by us as water off the back of a duck and our only focus will be on the transcendental meaning.


In the meantime we struggle with confusion over points like this mistaking the transcendental meaning to be something mundane but the sooner we take wholehearted to the transcendental side of things the better off we will be.

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Or as Amlesh has more concisely and succintly given the answer in the next post:



Nope, it's only for naming conventions...

Vaishnavism means end of all designations.


The word need not exist, but in this material world, we do need a name to call someone.


What does the name holds should be the real question.

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PS: No one knows Hare Krishnas are Hindu except peolple who study Hinduism and then find that the Hare Krishnas know more than the average Hindu immgrants' grandparents, whoa, that's a month full . . . wait there's more to explain . . .


Wow, that's a bold claim. My experience with Hare Krishnas is that they are pretty ignorant of Vedic culture, up to and including the very scriptures (Gita, Bhagavata) they claim to follow. I also have observed that they often make claims like this about their knowledge base, yet are totally oblivious to logical discussion. They seem to think they know a lot about "Vedic" culture, but their perception of Vedic culture has nothing to do with the Vedas or even with traditional Vedic culture.


Arrogance is bad enough, but arrogance combined with ignorance is just intolerable.

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Hare Krishnas are beloved in the media.


Hare Krishnas are barred from soliciting money [in exchange for copies of sastra], along with all religious solicitations, at american Airports--and therefore it is obvious who is arrogant.


So many castes in India are demeaned by the next degree of uuper-caste that they prefer to hear nothing of caste aka Arrogance Hindu fellow-countrymen.


Lord Caitanya's Movement, which the Hare Krishnas represent, are

Proselytising the message of love of Godhead & "Who is Krishna".


The Indian Nation of Bharata-varsha should be doing this un-precidented work themselves--if they find the time to catch up to the Hare Krishnas members.


Maybe the people of Bharata-varsha are relieved to find other taking up the Banner of Hanuman, leaving the nation of of Bharata-varsha free to clean up else where in the Tirtha of of Bharata-varsha.

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