Hindu Hinduism Foreign Words and the missionary Babble

The common rhetoric that Hinduism and Hindu are foreign words

In many of my debates with alleged atheists and proselytizers, I come across this argument that

1.The word Hindu is of foreign origin and hence we must call our faith by a different name.

2. Hinduism was not an umbrella faith until the British attempted the feat. (citing the fact that the British added the -ism to the already known term Hindu in the 18th century)

let us examine these arguments in the wake of historical and archaeological evidences.

Let’s first bust argument number 1.

Many Christians don’t know that Christianity got it’s name from foreigners too!

The followers of Jesus were just called disciples. It was the Romans who first called these disciples as Christians.

Don’t believe me? let’s hear it from Bible

“And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.”  King James (Act: 11:26)

Now would it be any wise to say that Christianity did not exist until Romans christened it’s adherents as Christians?   ….NO!
How wise it would be for a Christian to NOW call himself/herself a Disciple instead of a Christian?  Very foolish I would say(and you would agree)

Similarly it is unwise to say that the various sects within the fold of  Hinduism did not exist before the coinage of the term.

Nor is it wise to hunt for a new umbrella term (By the way, the other more appropriate name : Sanatana Dharma is known to many Hindus but not a popular term).

Now let’s examine argument number 2

(This argument has started surfacing after the biased representation of Hinduism on Encyclopaedia Britannica’s site. The article on Hinduism has been written by the controversial Dr. Wendy Doniger who is ill famous for applying the unscientific psycho analysis methods to Hindu Scriptures so that erotica to could be extracted out of them. She refuses to get psychoanalyzed herself! To know how biased Encyclopaedia Britannica has been against Hinduism ..read this brilliant case exposing the same by Mr. Amit Raj Dhawan )

Any ways, the cartel of Wendy Donigers and Michael Witzels are getting exposed in the academia and scholarly circles and they would end up as missionary Max Mullers in the annals of history.so let them face their karma.

We can rather easily bust this argument #2 with historical and archeological evidences itself.

If the claim is that British (who came in the 17th century) organized the various sects within Hinduism, How come
Al Beruni (1030 AD) documents this collective place of worship ?

Alberuni’s India. An account of the religion, philosophy, literature, geography, chronology, astronomy,customs, laws and astrology of India about A.D. 1030″

“Rama gave very long and tedious instructions. Further, he ordered that servants and priests to minister to the idols should be nominated from different classes of the people. “To the idol of Vishnu are devoted the class called Bhagavata ; to the idol of the Sun, the Maga, i.e. the Magians ; to the idol of Mahadeva, a class of saints, anchorites with long hair, who cover their skin with ashes, hang on their persons the bones of dead people, and swim in the pools. The Brahmana are devoted to the Eight Mothers, the Shamanians to Buddha, to Arhant the class called Nagna. On the whole, to each idol certain people are devoted who constructed it, for those know best how to serve it.”

This clearly shows that the various sects within the fold of Hinduism were not only organized but co-existed in peaceful harmony at least 700 years before the British invasion

The ellora caves , elephanta caves and the various southeast Asian temples (Indonesia,Thailand,Malaysia) (5th century onwards ) are standing testimony to the existence and spread of various Hindu Deities across south Asia and south east Asia ..even before the whole of Europe converted to Christianity (6th century)

(*I am not embedding the photographs on this page as the images are copyright property of Huntington Archive. Clicking on the link takes you to the respective Huntington archive page in a new window)

Fourth Century Ganesha: UP : India

401 CE Ganesha: Udaygiri: India

Fifth Century Ganesha: West Bengal :India

Fifth Century classic sculpture showing Buddha, Indra and Brahma together!: sanchi :
Now is there anydoubt left as to the coexistence of various sects within Hinduism AT LEAST as far back as 5th century CE ?

Sixth Century Ganesha : Ellora :India

Sixth Century Ganesha: Deo Garh Vishnu Temple :India

Indrani, Chamunda, Ganesha : 7th-8th century :Alampur: India (This also confirms  that vedic deities co existed with puranic deities even in the eighth century)


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by milkyway on October 3, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Hi Kalki..

    There is a sect called Vishwakarma(after the vedic diety engineer) among Hindus, who are the people specialised in Shilpa shastra, Vastu Shastra etc.. These people have been building our temples and other structures.

    About the secular and tolerant co-existance, yes.. here in Karnataka, there are temples of Badami-Caves which have all dieties of Vishnu, Shiva and other vedic dieties, also Jain-teerthankaras.(dates back to 6th century.)
    But there was a certain period where even Jain kings persecuted Vaishnavas in the south.. Muslims were worst.

    Shiva is called as Rudra in vedas, Vishnu is mentioned many times in vedas..i don’t know why ppl on topix consider vishnu and shiva as non vedic?


    • Hi Milkyway!

      I could have cited more examples (as you rightly mentioned about the Badami caves) , but was lazy enough to stop when i felt that i have provided more than ample evidence to my opponents

      And thanks for giving me a new topic to post here : Shiva & Vishnu vedic or non vedic !

      if you want an immediate answer, tell them about the Vishnu Dukta of Rig Veda and shut them up 🙂

      in a couple of days ..i’ll present all the suktas in which shiva and vishnu are mentioned along with links


      • Posted by milkyway on October 12, 2009 at 10:53 am

        Hi Kalki!

        Are you working on this?? ‘Shiva & Vishnu vedic or non vedic !’ is like a missing-link!
        By the time you’re done with this, i’ll dig Ganapathi..myths and facts, origin in Vedas.

      • Hi Miky Way

        I am almost done with the references on Vishnu & Shiva in the Vedas.
        hopefully, I’d be able to post the article tomorrow

  2. Posted by milkyway on November 29, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Kalki, i did some research about ganapati..
    1) Its a myth that Vyasa made Ganapati to write mahabharata, because it was still oral those days and Vyasa has also narrated to Shuka. And evidences we have about scripts is just brahmi which isn’t as old.
    2)Ganapati makes appearence at two places in rgveda. These two mantras are popular..
    Here ganapati doesn’t get the meaning of the popular image of today. Ganapati here means the owner of indriya-gana(group of indriyas) meaning God. In this regard, vaishnavas have some equivalent status for vishvaksena. Also notice the relation of the number 21 with the ganapati puja.
    3)In puranas Ganapati’s story differs at many places. So it has no historical context, but symbolic.
    Puranas use 3 different languages– samadhi bhasha, darshana bhasha, guhya bhasha..
    its in the 4th page.
    interpretation of ganesha’s creation: Shiva(parvati is inseperable), devata of tamasa ahankara is responsible for the creation of akasha tatva. Akashatatva’s devata is ganapati. this is in line with upanishads. And akasha tatva is the one responsible to make spaces, so hez called vighneshwara. akasha center is in the stomach, so he has large stomach in the picture. Snake around stomach represrents kundalini snake, meaning ganapati raises the consciousness(kundalini) from the lower material centres to spiritual centres, clearing the space.
    Ganesha’s form is the one as seen by rshis(darshana), doesn’t mean that it is the only form he can take.


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