In the book "American Veda" - How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, by author Philip Goldberg, there is a fabulous explanation on the term "Hinduism" and how it came about.

 

This passage was taken from the book's introduction under its subheading: "Why Not Hinduism?"

 

' The origin of the word Hindu is more geographic than religious. It initially denoted the land on the other side of the Indus River (originally the Sindhu). Successive invaders - Persians, Muslims, Britons - called the inhabitants of the region Hindus and eventually named its dominant religious strain Hinduism. In fact, what we think of as one religion is a multifarious collection of sects, traditions, beliefs, and practices that evolved from the Vedas, the world's oldest sacred texts, and took shape across the vast Indian subcontinent over the course of many centuries. The other three religions born in India - Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism - share the same ancient source.

 

Varun Soni, dean of religious life at the University of Southern California, calls Hinduism "the oldest and youngest religious tradition" - old because of its ancient origins, and young because "it was codified as an ism by colonial Brits more for administrative and political reasons than theological." In many ways Hinduism is more diverse than the sum of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, which, if history had been reversed, might have been lumped together as Jordanism, after the river valley in which those traditions were born. Hinduism has no central authority, no founding figure, no historical starting point, no single creed or canonical doctrine, and many holy books rather than one - all reasons why it has been called the world's largest disorganized religion. Our understanding of it has been shaped mainly by Western scholars to fit their own system of religious classification. Many adherents prefer the original term, Sanatana Dharma, which is commonly translated as "eternal path" or "eternal way."  '

 

HCCV feels that this describes the term Hinduism very well.

 

 

 

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