Friday, April 1, 2011

The Religion without a name

The Religion without a name

                        We speak of the "Hindu Religion", but the religion denoted by the term did not in fact have such a name originally. According to some, the word "Hindu" means "Love"; according to some others a Hindu is one who disapproves ahimsa or violence. This may be an ingenious way of explaining the word.

                        In none of our ancient sastras does the term "Hindu Religion" occur. The name "Hindu" was given us by foreigner. People from countries to our west came to our land across Sindhu river which they called "Indus" or "Hind" and the land adjacent to it by the name "India". The religion of this land came to be "Hindu". The name of a neighboring country is sometimes applied to the land adjacent to it. Let me tell you an interesting story in this connection.

                        In the north people readily give alms to anybody calling himself a Bairaagi. The bairagis have a grievance against southerners because they do not follow the same practice. "Illa po po kahe telungi" is one of their ditties. "Telugus do not give us alms but drive us away": this is the meaning of the line. Actually, Telugus do not say "po, po" but "vellu, vellu" for "go,go". "Po" is a Tamil word. Then how would you explain the line quoted above? During their journey South, the bairagis had first to pass through Telugu country (Andhra); so they thought that the land further South also belonged to the Telugus.

                         There is also the same logic behind the Telugus themselves referred to Tamil Nadu as "Arava Nadu" from the fact that a small area south of Andhra Pradesh is called "Arva". Similarly, foreigners who came to the land of the Sindhus called all Bhaarata beyond also by the same name.

                         However it be, "Hinduism" was not the name of our religion in the different past. Nor was it known as "Vaidhika Matham" (Vedic Religion) or as "Sanaathana Dharma" (the ancient or timeless religion). Our basic texts do not refer to our faith by any name. When i thought about it, I felt that there was something deficient about our religion...............                        (To Be Continued)............


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