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Srila Prabhupada on "Hinduism"

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When we are on the material platform, there are different types of religions—Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and so on. These are instituted for a particular time, a particular country or a particular person. Consequently there are differences. Christian principles are different from Hindu principles, and Hindu principles are different from Muslim and Buddhist principles. These may be considered on the material platform, but when we come to the platform of transcendental devotional service, there are no such considerations. The transcendental service of the Lord (sädhana-bhakti) is above these principles. The world is anxious for religious unity, and that common platform can be achieved in transcendental devotional service, the verdict of Çré Caitanya Mahäprabhu. When one becomes a Vaiñëava, he becomes transcendental to all these limited considerations.


Puñöa Kåñëa: "The traditional charge against Hinduism is that it is fatalistic, it inhibits progress by making people slaves to the inevitability of what is to happen. How far is this charge true?"

Çréla Prabhupäda: The charge is false. Those who have made that charge do not know what "Hinduism" is. First of all, the Vedic scriptures make no mention of such a thing as "Hinduism." but they do mention sanätana-dharma, the eternal and universal religion, and also varëäçrama-dharma, the natural organization of human society. That we can find in the Vedic scriptures.It is a false charge that the Vedic system inhibits the progress of mankind. What is that "progress"? A dog is running here and there on four legs, and you are running on four wheels. Is that progress?


Pusta Krsna: Question number three. "It is said that the greatest strength of Hinduism is its catholicity, or breadth of outlook, but that this is also its greatest weakness, in that there are very few common prescribed religious observances which are obligatory for all, as in other religions. Is it necessary and possible to outline certain basic minimum observances for all Hindus?"


Srila Prabhupäda: So far as the Vedic religion is concerned, it is not simply for the so-called Hindus. This is sanätana-dharma, the eternal and universal nature and duty of every living being. It is for all living entities. That is why it is called sanätana-dharma. The living entity is sanätana, or eternal; God is sanätana; and there is sanätana-dhäma, the Lord's eternal abode. As Kåñëa describes in the Bhagavad-gitä [8.20] "Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal." Krsna Himself is described as sanätanaù, the supreme eternal. So actually, the Vedic system is called sanätana-dharma, not Hindu dharma. This is a wrong conception. This sanätana-dharma is meant for all, not just the so-called Hindus. The very term "Hindu" is a misconception. The Muslims referred to the Indian people, who lived on the other side of the river Sind, as "Sindus"—actually, due to the peculiarities of pronunciation, as "Hindus." In any case, the Muslims called India "Hindustan," which means "the land on the other side of the river Sind, or 'Hind.'" Otherwise, "Hindustan" has no Vedic reference. So this "Hindu dharma" has no Vedic reference.The real Vedic dharma is sanätana-dharma, or varnasrama-dharma. Sanätana-dharma, or Vedic dharma, is being disobeyed, distorted, and misrepresented and come to be misunderstood as "Hinduism." That is a fake understanding. Study sanätana-dharma, or varëäçrama-dharma. Then we'll understand what the Vedic religion is.Every living entity is eternal, sanätana. God is also eternal, and we can live with God in His sanätana-dhäma, His eternal abode. This reciprocation is called sanätana-dharma, the eternal nature and duty of the living being. So Vedic religion means this sanätana-dharma, not "Hindu dharma."


India, like the rest of the world, has given up the real religious system—sanätana or varnasrama-dharma..India has accepted a hodgepodge thing called "Hinduism." So there is trouble. Everywhere, but in India especially, people should know that the real religion is this Vedic system. Vedic religion means varnäsrama-dharma. Krsna says—God says—cätur-varnyam mayä srstam: [bg. 4.13] "For spiritual and material progress, the four occupational divisions of society have been set up by Me." So that is obligatory, just as the state law is obligatory. You cannot say, "I don't accept this law." No. You have to accept it if you want to have a happy life. You cannot become an outlaw. Then you'll not be happy. You'll be punished.


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