[ From: Dr. Jai Maharaj [ Subject: WHAT MAKES ONE A HINDU? [ Date: December 22, 2002
Who is a Hindu?
Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshiped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of the Hindu religion." B. G. Tilak's definition of what makes one a basic Hindu, as quoted by India's Supreme Court. On July 2, 1995, the Court referred to it as an "adequate and satisfactory formula. Source - http://www.hinduismtoday.com
Jai Maharaj comments:
I would say that there are no more than 20-40 million Hindus in our Bharatvarsh. But geographically, every person who lives in, and is from the subcontinent is a Hindu -- by the definition of the term "Hindu":
"HINDU" DOES NOT COME FROM "SINDHU"
How many times have you explained that the name of your religion is a concoction invented by the Persians who called the people who lived beyond the Sindhu River "Hindus," mispronouncing the "S"?
A. Krishna Kumar of Hyderabad, India, explains. "This [Sindhu/Hindu] view is untenable since Indians at that time enviably ranked highest in the world in terms of civilization and wealth would not have been without a name. They were not the unknown aborigines waiting to be discovered, identified and Christened by foreigners."
He cites a more solid argument from the book Self- Government in India by N. B. Pavgee, published in 1912. The author tells of an old Swami and Sanskrit scholar Mangal Nathji, who found an ancient Puran known as Brihannaradi in the Sham village, Hoshiarpur, Punjab. It contained the verse:
HIMALAYAM SAMARABHYA YAVAT BINDUSAROVARAM HINDUSTHANAMITI QYATAM HI ANTARAKSHARAYOGATAH
Kumar translates it as:
"The country lying between the Himalayan mountain and Bindu Sarovara (Cape Comorin sea) is known as Hindusthan by combination of the first letter 'hi' of 'Himalaya' and the last compound letter 'ndu' of the word 'Bindu."'
A true Hindu accepts and possesses, and continues to increase his or her knowledge, understanding and realization of all of the following:
o The existence of Paramatma, or Divine Supreme Soul;
o The existence of a soul as distinct from the body;
o The Ved, with reverence;
o The existence of the finitizing principle known as avidya or maya;
o The principle of matter -- prakriti or maya;
o The principle of karm, reincarnation and transmigration;
o The indispensable guidance of a guru to guide the spiritual aspirant towards the realization of Paramatma;
o The principle of moksh, or liberation, as the goal of mortal existence;
o The indispensable necessity of temple worship in spiritual and material life;
o Graded forms of spiritual practices, both internal and external, until one realizes and is eternally reunited with Paramatma;
o The principle of ahinsa, nonviolence, as the greatest dharm, virtue and duty;
o Mental and physical purity as indispensable factors for spiritual progress;
o The concept of idol worship and the worship of Paramatma in nirgun as well as sagun form;
o The wearing of sacred marks on the forehead;
o The cremation of the mortal remains of those who have passed on;
o The principle of diversity of the means and ways to salvation within the Hindu dharm;
I have edited and based the above list on our scriptures, as well as the work of Shri K. Navaratnam, Shri Jayendra Sarasvati, Shri B. G. Tilak, the Supreme Court of Bharat, and Hinduism Today. The list is consistent with what has been taught in my own family through the generations in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Indraprasth aka New Delhi. Many people meet the definition of "Hindu" at a given point in the Hindu timeline of Bharat.