So…What’s Your Religion?
World has become a difficult place to live; People are fighting over anything and everything. But the most prominent factor which always remains ‘in’ for debates is the ‘religion’.
I was never told about my religion by anyone; it automatically got imprinted in my mind after being part of numerous rituals and customs. And one day when a form asked my religion, my hands didn’t pause, even for a second, to write ‘Hindu’ in the column. I didn’t hesitate because it’s the years-long conditioning and I never thought of asking, what’s the religion? What’s a Hindu? Partly because I believed, our religion is what we are born with. Hence, I kept following…the Hinduism.
And now that I am reading ‘The Geeta’, I wonder why I never noticed that ‘this’ word is not even mentioned in this ancient and highly respected scripture of Hindus! It is said that ‘Geeta’ is meant for all humankind and is not any religion specific but then again, do you ever hear people claiming it as a Global scripture? No!
My curiosity took me to Google and for the first time in my life, I googled, “the meaning of Hindu….”
First thing that got revealed to me was ‘Hindu is not a Sanskrit word!’ (Which explains its absence from ‘Geeta’).
The story behind the origin of word ‘Hindu’ is even more interesting! The credit for its formation goes to the Persians who were not comfortable with the pronunciation of ‘S’ and instead, said ‘H’.
At that time ‘Sindhu’ was the Sanskrit name of today’s Indus River, flowing partly in the northern part of today’s India (Bharat earlier) and partly in Pakistan. Instead of calling it ‘Sindhu’, the Persians mispronounced it as ‘Hindu’ and referred to all the people living beyond this river as HINDUS, irrespective of whatever religion they were practising.
Amazing! Isn’t it? So basically, the word HINDU originated as a Geographic name rather than a religion. So yes, I am a Hindu and technically, so are the other 1.2 billion people living on this side of ‘Sindhu’!
But that’s not the case. This land has its share of religious diversity where the people are trying their best to attain heavens in their respective ways, sometimes even demeaning the others.
How I wish that we all had a common religion—HUMANITY. Just imagine a time when there will be peace—No problems, No disputes, No bloodshed in the name of religion and no one would ever care to ask the question, ” what did you say your religion was?”