India i.e. Bharat we find people calling themselves as Saivites,
Vaishnavites, Madhvas, Sakteyas, Dwaitas, Adwaitas and Visistadwaitas
etc. besides Arya Samajikas, Brahma Samajikas, Jains, Buddhists
and many others all calling themselves as Hindus. Are all
these, Hindu Religions or only one among them is Hindu Religion?
No, it is not possible to say that all or any one of them
is Hindu Religion. Then, can it be said decisively that this
is Hindu Religion? Yes, it can be said decisively. How can
it be said? Hindu Religion has certain definite and precise
characteristics and whichever religion has all these characteristics
can only be called rightly as Hindu Religion. What are these
Characteristics? They are - 1) Aatma Nirnayam, 2) Janmantara
Visvasam, 3) Karmanustanam, 4) Eswara Nirnayam, 5) Vigraharadhanam,
6) Paraloka Satyatvam, 7) Punya Papa Visvasam, 8)Varnasrama
Dharmam and 9) Veda Pramanyam. These are explained herein.
that religion professing all the above nine characteristics
can be called Hindu religion and others not. It is also called
"Asthika Matam" or one, which believes in the
existence of God or the Ultimate Reality.
should know, realize or believe that the results of the good
or bad actions done by him in this birth have to be experienced
by him alone i.e. his "Atma" alone either in
the next birth or in the other world. "Atma"
means self only - say Charvakas that "Sareeram" or
body is only "Atma" but not different from it.
If that is so, then this "Atma" or self also
should get destroyed along with the body. Then it has to be
accepted, that the result of all his actions good or bad will
also be destroyed along with the body. In that case he has
to agree that there is no "Punyam" or "Papam"
i.e. good or bad which is ridiculous. Therefore to
say or believe that there is neither "Punya" nor
"Papa" cannot be called as Hindu Religion or
"Astika Matam". Therefore the first foundation
stone for "Astika Matam" or Siddhanta is "Atma
Nirnayam". That his self or "Atma" is
different from his body - is the first characteristic for
second characteristic is, to believe that his self has to
take on another birth after rejecting the present body. This
is called "Janmantara Visvasam".
Third characteristic is, to believe that "Karma" or
action is the root cause for taking another birth. The Hindu
religion in its wisdom prescribes and tells at length the
good deeds or actions to be performed by the self during one's
life. This is stated in fourteen books popularly called as
"Chaturdasa Vidyasthanams". These are the four Vedas - Rig
veda, Yajurveda, Atharvana Veda, Sama Veda and Six Vedangas
- Siksha, Vyakaranam, Kalpam, Niruktam, Jyotisham, and Chandas
and four Upangas - Mimamsa, Nyaya Sastra, the Puranas and
Dharmasastras - total fourteen, Chaturdasa Vidyasthanams.
Fourth characteristic is, to believe that there is God to
confer the result of one's actions done in this birth.
fifth characteristic is to pray or serve God in the shape
of "Vigraham" or idol form, called idol worship.
All most all religions of the world are following the idol
worship in one form or the other.
Sixth characteristic is, to believe firmly that there is another
world or "Paralokam" to experience the result
of all actions good or bad done in this world and in this
Seventh characteristic is, to believe in the existence of
"Punya" and "Papa" or the results
for doing good deeds or actions and bad deeds or committing
Eighth characteristic is, to follow scrupulously the duties
ordained by the Vedas to each of the people born in the four
varnas namely Brahmana, Kshtriya, Vaisya and Sudra in their
four Asramams, i.e. Brahmacharya, Grihasta, Vanaprasta and
Sanyas Asramams, applicable to all of them.
Ninth and the most important characteristic is, to believe
in the sayings of the Vedas prescribing dos and dont's for
the good of the people, protecting them from committing sins.
the educated persons are fully aware of "Astika Tatvam"
and characteristics of the Hindu religion they are
following, they cannot do justice either to themselves or
to the society at large. Again instead of brushing aside religion,
as creating headache, it is necessary for one and all to know
the Hindu religion as stated by God Almighty and later expounded
by Veda Vyasa and other Maharshis, which prescribes certain
duties or Dharmas to be performed for living happily in this
birth and for getting "Bhakti" and "Jnanam"
to get "Mukti" or salvation ultimately.