You are on page 1of 5

• •

The definition "Hinasti doshan sa Hinduh" is a floating one of unknown origin and date. But in my opinion it serves as a good starting point for any debate on Hinduism. The second definition "Himsaya duyate sa Hinduh" with two sub clauses: "sadacharana tatparah" and "veda-go-pratima sevi" comes from a Dharmashastra text called "Vriddhasmriti" from medieval period.

I have found few more definitions of Hindu and its connection with Hindusthan. I provide them below for your reference. Most of the texts cannot be dated before 800. Six definitions of Hindu By Shrinivas Tilak In most scholarly accounts of Hinduism (and in courses on Hinduism taught in Western universities) the term Hindu is generally explained in the popularly accepted sense as a derivative of Sindhu. Persians are said to refer to the people who inhabited the region along the river Sindhu as 'Hindu.' How Hindus themselves traditionally explained and understood the term Hindu is not discussed. Etymology of Hindu can be accounted for internally, from within the tradition, on the strength of a rule laid by Panini in his Asthadhyayi "sarhyapicca" (3:4.57). The sibilant 'sa,' states Panini, 'may optionally be replaced by aspirant 'h.' Many later Sanskrit lexicons or literary texts also provide various definitions of Hindu ranging from universal and ethical to more sectarian and religious (see "Arya Sanskriti" by Shridhar Swami; Mumbai K.B. Dhavale & Co, 1991: 12-14). (1) Hinam dushyati iti hinduh - Hindu is any one who categorically rejects all that is inferior and crude1. (2) From Adbhutakosha2: The two forms of the term Hindu (written with a short or long 'u' ) imply enemy of antigods (daityas), harasser of the wicked, and handsome/beautiful to behold (Hindur hinduscha pumsi dvau dushtanam ca vigharshane; rupashalini daityarau). (3) From Ramakosha2: A Hindu cannot be evil, ignoble or untrustworthy. As follower and protector of shruti and dharma, he/she aspires to be sagacious and discerning (Hindurdushto na bhavati nanaryo na vidushakah; Saddharmapalako vidvan shrautadharma parayanah). (4) From Kavikosha2: Any devotee of Narayana and other deities may be identified as a Hindu (Hindurhi narayanadidevata bhaktah). (5) From Parijataharana Nataka2: He/she who (1) eradicates all defects and evil from the body and mind by engaging in ascetic practices and (2) destroys the wicked enemy with sharp weapons is Hindu (Hinasti tapasa papan daihikan dushtamanasan; hetibhih shatruvargam ca sa hindurabhidhiyate). (6) From Madhavadigvijaya2: He/she is Hindu who (1) acknowledges the sacred 'aum' to be the root of all mantras; (2) firmly believes in rebirth; (3) adores the cow; (4) venerates the tenets of [Bharata] dharma as the supreme guru; and (5) abhors and abjures all violence (Omkara mulamantradhyah punarjanma dridhashayah; gobhakto bharataguruh; hindurhi himsadushakah). The Brihaspati Agama posits an organic relation between Hindu and Hindusthana. The landmass of India (Hindusthana) is a divine creation that extends from the Himalayas to Indu Lake (near Kanyakumari): Himalayam samarabhya yavadindu sarovaram; tam devanirmitam desham hindusthanam prachakshate) References: 1. Sanskrit dictionary compiled by Raja Deb (1784-1867) and edited by Karunasindhu Vidyanidhi 2. Medieval Sanskrit text

Sikhs and people of many different sects within the Hindu ethos. . . practice. and in reincarnation (Punarjanma). Baudhhas. Hindus are all those who believe.A Hindu is one who believes in a religion which has originated in India. Some define: .This is the definition by some. . Thus Hindu includes Jains.This is another definition given by some. is a Hindu.He who calls and considers himself a Hindu is a Hindu.He who accepts the Vedas. .He who is a follower of the Vedanta is a Hindu. the Smritis.A Hindu is one who regards India as his motherland and the most sacred spot on earth. .He who protects the cows and the Brahmins is a Hindu. Some others define: . or respect the spiritual and religious principles and practices having roots in Bharat.He who follows the Vedic or Sanatana-Dharma is a Hindu. the Puranas and the Tantras as the basis of religion and of the rule of conduct. . . Some define: .This is another definition given by some. and believes in one Supreme God (Brahman). in the Law of Karma or retributive justice. .A Hindu is he who believes that the Vedas contain self-evident and axiomatic truths. . Lokamanya Tilak said: .This is another definition given by some others According to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad.Hinduism: Who Is A Hindu By Sri Swami Sivananda Who Is A Hindu In a meeting of the Sanatana Dharma Sabha.Those who burn the dead are Hindus. The Hindu Maha Sabha has given another definition: .

he/she aspires to be sagacious and discerning (Hindurdusto na bhavati nanaryo na vidusakah/ Saddharmopalako vidvan srautdharma parayanah). I came across following definitions of Hindu derived from traditional Sanskrit lexicons or texts.57)--the sibilant "sa" may be replaced by the aspirant "ha. I would request members of this list to provide more information about the texts from which Shridhar Swami has culled his information. (6)From Madhavadigvijaya: He/she ia Hindu who (1) acknowledges the sacred syllable (aum) to . Dhawale & Co. As a follower of shruti and dharma. (1) From Shabda-kalpa-druma: Hindu is one who categorically rejects all that is inferior and crude (hinam dushyatiti hinduh) (2) From Adbhutakosha: The term Hindu (with a short or long "u" and in the masculine gender) implies the enemy of antigods (daityas). It is said to refer to those who originally inhabited the region along the river Sindhu. (4) From Kavikosha: A devotee of Narayana and other deities is a Hindu (Hindurhi narayanadidevata bhaktah). 1991: 12-14).In most scholarly accounts of Hinduism (as well as in courses on Hinduism taught on North American campuses)the term Hindu is usually explained as a derivative of Sindhu. ignoble or untrustworthy. How Hindus themselves have traditionally explained or understood this label is not discussed. and metaphysical nuances. In a book "Arya Samskrti" by Shridhar Swami (Mumbai: K.B. (5) From Parijataharana Nataka: He/she who (1) eradicates all defects and evil from the body/mind by engaging in ascetic practices and (2) destroys enemies with sharp weapons may be called a Hindu (Hinsasti tapasa papan daihikan dustamanasan/Hetibhih satruvargam ca sa hindurabhidhiyate). Shridhar Swami begins by observing that assuming that the popular etymology of Hindu is valid. rupashalini daityarau) (3) From Ramakosha: A Hindu cannot be evil. it still can be accounted for internally on the strength of Panini's sutra "serhyapicca" (3:4. and handsome [?] to behold (Hindur hindusca pumsi dvau dustanam ca vigharsane. Scholars or teachers of Hinduism need to engage with these definitions supplied from within the tradition in order to provide a more balanced account of Hindu self-identity and character analysis. harasser of the wicked. moral." He then analyzes the following definitions of Hindu that seem to reveal a broad range of religious. however.

In the Rig Veda. the /s/ of the Indic branch (as represented by Sanskrit) is cognate with the /h/ sound of Iranian (as represented by Avestan and Old Persian).. Shrinivas Tilak Hinduism . In modern Persian and Arabic. and Hind or Al-Hind is used to denote the Republic of India. possibly due to Iranian influence — in the sense of people of India — is used in some early-medieval Sanskrit texts like Bhavishya Purāna. Arabic. the term Hindu is generally accepted to be derived from the name of the Sindhu (िसन्धु. As evidenced by its structure. If his compilation of the above definitions of Hindu stands up to scholarly the source of all the mantras. (4) venerates the tenets of [Bharata]dharma as supreme guru. Mohan-jo-Daro civilization is documented to be around five thousand years old. but unofficially called Hindustan or Hind in Hindi. In this region. Some scholars. Rāmakosha. Hindu (In-du or In-tu in China) is still used in some languages to denote an Indian or India. /h/ became lost as in later Greek there was no character for "h". the term Hindustan denotes the Indian subcontinent.Etymology Though linguists and historians haven't reached a consensus. and (5) abhors and abjures all violence (Omkara mulamantradhyah punarjanma drdhasayah / Gobhakto bharatagurur hindur himsanadusakah). in some form. we will have to revise Wilfred Cantwell Smith's claim that with the exception of Islam.18). Hindi. using the analogy of the Bible being the basis of Christianity and the Koran being the Muslim scripture. and English. Merutantra. probably existed long before that. descriptive labels of major world religions and their practitioners were supplied by the outsiders. (3) adores the cow. Hinduism. along the lines of Christianity or Islam. etc. When the British government started periodic censuses and established a legal system. the need arose to define Hinduism as a distinct religion. The term was used for people that lived around or beyond the Sindhu. the Indo-Aryans mention their expanse as sapta sindhu (the land of seven rivers). which is known as Hindu in Persian. In the Iranian linguistic branch. The Greek term "India" was originally pronounced Hindia. i. This became the term Hapta-Hindu in Avesta (Vendidad: Fargard 1. the Indus) river. Until about 19th century the term Hindu implied a culture and ethnicity and not a religion. Born in the former state of Hyderabd.. The word Hindu (िहन्दु). Note that the word Hindustan also has other meanings. (2) firmly believes in rebirth. Shridhar Swami (1908-73) was very popular in Maharshtra and Karnataka and wrote profusely in Marathi.e. this was a very advanced civilization. . India is also traditionally. Kannada. Kālikā Purāna. defined it as a religion based on the Vedas. Persian. Hemanta-kavikosha and Adbhutarūpa-kosha. such as Bal Gangadhar Tilak.

respect and follow Dharma . Vana Parva: Canto 313. Dharma eva hato hanti Dharmo rakshati rakshitah One who destroys Dharma is annihiliated One who protects Dharma is protected (by Dharma) .Mahabhaarat.vhp. VHP Definition ( Definition of Hindu: The term "HINDU" refers to all those people who believe in. it is actually an extremely diverse and complicated river of evolving philosophies and ancient Verse 128 .a code of conduct based on the eternal and spiritual values of life that have originated in Bhaarat.That even an atheist may be called a Hindu is an example of the fact that Hinduism is far more than a simple religious system.