[an error occurred while processing this directive]
connections are more important in the spiritual life because spirituality is more
intimate, more interior and less capable of being transmitted in an outer, mechanical or
mass-produced way than other aspects of culture. Some people argue that the name Hindu is
inappropriate because it is not traditional. After all the great rishis and yogis
didnt call themselves Hindus but simply spoke of truth and dharma. The reason for
this lack of definition is that Hinduism is an open tradition.
It is not defined versus an other as are Biblical traditions
that reflect a dichotomy of Christian-pagan or Muslim-kafir. Many Hindus have only become
conscious of being Hindu because of the negativity they have encountered from Christians
and Muslims trying to convert them. Sanatana Dharma or the universal dharma is a more
correct term and reflects the broader basis of the Hindu tradition. Unfortunately, it is
cumbersome and unfamiliar. The terms "dharmic" and "native" traditions
are also helpful because Hinduism grows out of the land and is connected with life itself.
But Hinduism is the convenient term; whatever limitations may be associated with it.
So we must define it in an appropriate manner. This
is to face our own prejudices about Hinduism, which are probably more deep-seated than we
would think. Why should we object to the term Hindu for such a broad tradition, while
accepting the names for much narrower religions?