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What Are the Problems Associated with Attempting to Define Hinduism?

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What Are The Problems Associated With Attempting To Define Hinduism?

What is Hinduism? Who are the Hindus? Why is there this problem of association within this religion? This paper will try to give a few simple reasons to answer this question: a brief Hindu history, the multiplicity of faith, a comparison made with Christianity (the dominant worldwide religion ). However, when trying to define, or describe, something, it is always best to start from the beginning and so let us look at Hinduism in Context.

Hinduism, perhaps the oldest religion in existence, in today’s recorded history, can be traced back to the Rig-Veda , to today’s one billion followers, most of whom still inhabit the Indian subcontinent. In fact, the word Hindu was given by Greek, British and/or Persian explorers to describe a set of people who lived on the other side of the river in the Indus Valley, whom all shared a similar set of beliefs. As Christianity spread across Europe as the religion, it would only make sense that a people on the same (sub)-continent would also have a unifying religion. This is perhaps the biggest problem when it comes to trying to define Hinduism: an historical event that set the wheels in motion to trying to coin the Western interpretation of the word religion to the Eastern. Although they are both spelt the same, both have very different meanings.

As mentioned before, Hinduism was an archaic term for a collection of people all of whom shared similar beliefs, but are these believes similar, compatible or contradictory? Within Hinduism there are four Veda which can be classed as the most authoritative texts, as these are regarded as śruti (that which has been heard (by the sages) from the eternal sound (Bani Ram Naam )). However unlike the Bible, these were not written by man, nor were they written through man via the Word of God, but they came into…...

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