Hindu Samskruti Sanskriti
Literally Hindu Samskruti means Hindu Religion and Culture. And the phrase Sanatana Dharma denotes the traditional and customary rules of social and religious norms of Indian Hindu Society. Indian religion is ingrained in the minds of all Indians so much so that people follow the rules of Dharma as if they know what is written in the scriptures without reading them.
And the country in which Sanatana Hindu Dharma was born and followed is called as Bharatavarsha. It is also variously called as Jambudweepa, Bharatakhanda, Brahmavarta, Saptadweepa, Manidweepa, Aryavarta, Satyalok, Rishidesh, etc.
Our ancient Hindu texts revere our land as Satyalok and Rishidesh. Etimologically both the words Satya and Rishi/Rushi mean the same. It is Truth. Rishis are called as Sages in English. Satya is translated as Truth in English. And our Upanishadic adage says that “Satyameva Jayate” meaning Truth Prevails ultimately. Indirectly telling that truth wins over the evil and the untruth.
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Let us know that this is not mythology. Indians practiced tooth and nail the truthfulness in their daily routine lives. Truthfulness was their way of life. See what foreign observers told about ancient India and Indians.
Indians are so honest that they neither required locks in their doors nor they reduce their agreements into writing to bind them. – STRABO (63 BCE-24 ACE)
The Indians are innumerable, like grains of sand free from deceit and violence. They fear neither death nor life. And,
You must know that Indians are the best merchants in the world and the most truthful for they would not tell a lie for anything on earth. – MARCO POLO (1254-1295 ACE)
The Hindus are admirers of Truth and of unbounded fidelity in all their dealings. – ABUL FAZAL (1551-1602 ACE)
It was love of truth that struck all the peoples who came in contact with India as the prominent feature in the national character of the inhabitants. – MAX MULLER(1823-1900 ACE)
Unlike other Religions of the World, Hindu religion is not founded on a single religious text. Nor it is controlled by any clergy of a Religious Congress. Indian society has evolved over thousands of years. There is no regidity of tenets for practicing Hindu Religion. Manu Smriti says that laws must change according to Desa (country), Kalamana (times and time measure), and Paristhiti (practical situation). But Humane of course. That is the essence of Indian Religion. It is based on the principles of Achara Paramo Dharma (meaning: A particular People’s customs should prevail over general Dharma strictures .) Now, India is home for almost all the races and religions of the world. India accommodated all kinds of communities in its fold without disurbing its Social Fabric. About 7 Centuries of Islamic and two centuries of Christian presence in India could not change the Religious face of India. Less than 2% Christians and about 14% Muslims contribute to the populace of India. Prior to 1890 there were no significant Religous conflicts in India. Because Hindus adopt the spirit of assimilation not the acculturation of new peoples. Indians are and were free people always. It is not correct to draw parallels with other dogmatic religions practiced elsewhere in the world outside India.
Some people practice Vaishnavism some Saivism some Buddhism and some Jainism. Even ancient Persian religion is practiced without any hindrance. In addition everyone in a village revere and worship a Village deity, a female mother Goddess. There is no denial that there occurred fights between different religious sects. But they were sporadic and as time passes the differences get evened out.
For Vaishnava people Vishnu Purana is a sacred text. For Saiva people Siva purana is a sacred text. For the purpose of law of inheritance scriptures like Mitakshari and Manusmriti are referred. For the purpose of day to day religious practices Kalpa Sutras are referred. There are so many scriptures which are subject specific. For example, Bharata’s Natya Shastra is referred to learn and practice the art of Dance. For Yoga Shastra Patanjali, for Sanskrit learning Panini, and so on. Apart from these there are four Vedas. These are Atharva Veda, Rig Veda, Yajur Veda and Sama Veda. Rig Vedic hymns or slokas are chanted along with Yajurveda hymns during the conduct of Yajnas/Homas. Sama Veda is a musical rendition of Rig Veda. And Atharvana veda and Rig Veda share about 30% of hymns among them, that is, 30% of hymns in Atharvana Veda and Rig Veda are same.
It appears ridiculous to say that Rig Veda was older and others were written later. Because history says that Veda Vyasa segregated the hymns of Vedas and categorized them into four Vedas. Accordingly, Atharva Veda contains Loukika (lively things) aspects. It covers every aspect of life including religion.
Ayurvedic doctors Charaka and Sushruta claimed that they borrowed so much medical knowledge from Atharvana Veda. It also deals with War, Statecraft, Social well being, marriage and what not?!
- Fundamental rights
- Basic features of the Constitution
- Freedom Movement
- Jawaharlal Nehru 1889-1940
- Mahatma Gandhi 1869-1915
And it is also ridiculous to say that Bhagavadgita (Bhagavat Gita) is a Hindu text similar to Bible or Quran of Christian and Islam religions. There is no doubt that Bhagavat Gita is the essence of Upanishads. But it is one of the Hindu religious scriptures. We can find the same subject in every Purana.
Crucible of Cultures and Mozaic of Races
And Culture and Civilization of Hindus is followed and carried forward by Hindus from generation to generation through the texts of Smruti and Sruti which are remembered and written in Chaste Sanskrit hymns. It is said that India is a crucible of cultures and mosaic of races and was a vast country. The Country is thus multilingual and multi racial. Geographically, India is a Sub Continent. No race is unrepresented in India and no religion is not seen on Indian soil. Every stock which turned up into Indian soil in the course of time became sons of the soil and upheld rich cultural traditions of the country.
Borobudur and Bagan
It is interesting to note that Largest Hindu Temple complex is situated not in India but in Indonesia at Borobudur and also at Bagan in Myanmar. And societies and peoples of China,Japan,etc,. follow Buddhism, which is an offshoot of Hinduism.
Notwithstanding his inclination and patronage for Buddhism Emperor Asoka has donated dwelling places (caves) and material to Ajivikwhich was in fact a rival sect to Buddhists.
Tipu Sultan of Mysore
And Tipu Sultan ( a Muslim ruler of Mysore ) donated Gold to make Saraswati idol at Sringeri Math. And till 1875 the English (Christians) boasted themselves as champions of Hinduism. Spirit of Accommodation is the base of Social Culture of India. So I say, Hindu Religion must be preserved for the very survival of other religions on Indian soil.
Religious heads never became Political heads in India, still India is a Punya Bhumi ( Pious Country ). Indian Society survived for at least 9000 years without a strong political organization or any Religious Head. Whereas,Western Christian societies collapse without a strong State (Kingship). (It should be noted that it was Nepolean Bounaparte who was the first King to cut off the Yoke of the Christian Church with the State/Kingdom.)
It must be noted that Indian Culture is Social not Political. ( Kings and Kingdoms came and gone but Society survives for ever. ) Social Culture is different from Political Culture. Political authority runs under the threat of Force. Whereas Social authority runs on the principles of common good and Humanity, spirit of Accommodation for the Tranquility of the Social systems.
People(s) of India are Culturally united throughout length and breadth of the Country. Co-existence of Races and Cultures was and is possible only because of the Unique Indian Hindu spirit of Accommodation.