Hinduism appears in this light as an anachronism, something that was out of date even in the
Middle Ages. This is the only side of Hinduism that those in our culture
who are not open to the spiritual life can see. Compared to such ethnic
Hinduism, Christianity appears enlightened and humane and modern science and western
intellectual culture appears exalted.
Given these two sides what is the truth of this great ancient religion?
The first thing we discover as we inquire into this issue is that the
term Hinduism is not found in any of the classical teachings of the so-called Hindu religion. It comes
from the Persians and was adapted by the Greeks as a name for the people of India, which they
contacted mainly along the banks of the Indus river.
Persian Hindu is Greek Indus, the name of a river, nothing more. It is a
geographical term. The religion we call Hinduism is itself largely a
religion without a name. It teaches that truth is beyond names and forms and all paths that lead to the
Divine are good. As the oldest of religions, the mother of all religions,
it accepts all religions. In its long history, going perhaps into prehistoric times, it has seen
many other religions come and go.