If we think of Hinduism in a limited context, we may think of it as a religion and then whoever is born in that religion would be considered a Hindu, i.e. a Hindu by birth or a JanmaHindu. However, in reality Hindu Dharma is an attitude; and it is far more than a religious ideology. This article goes by the definition of Hindu given in the Hindu Holy text the Merutantra, which essentially shows, that to be a Hindu is an attitude.
In the Holy text the Merutantra, the word ‘Hindu’ is defined as ‘Hinani Gunani dushyati iti Hindu.’ Meaning that which destroys or dushyati the inferior Raja-Tama components or guns (subtle spiritual components) is a Hindu. Thus, to be a Hindu is to follow a way of life that enhances the spiritually pure Sattva component and Sattva predominant qualities like love, humility, courage, expansiveness, etc. and overcomes the spiritually impure Raja-Tama predominant attitudes like anger, attachment, jealousy, greed, lust, pride etc.
Sattva, Raja and Tama: The three subtle basic components of Sattva, Raja and Tama are the very fabric of creation. Unknown to modern sciences, they permeate through all living and non-living, tangible and intangible things. The vibrations emitted by anything are dependent on its predominant subtle basic component. They also influence the behavior of all things. The proportion of these components in human beings can only be changed by spiritual practice.
Hindu by birth and action
One can be a Hindu by his actions (karma) or birth (Janma).
Karma Hindu -> is a Hindu by his deeds and qualities or spiritual components
Janma Hindu -> is a Hindu by birth.
Since to be a Hindu is an attitude, a Karma Hindu is a true Hindu. He is Hindu by action and thought, a follower of Dharma and spreads Dharma, which is a sāttvik or spiritually pure way of life.
Sometimes, people who would like to follow the Hindu way of life or be called Hindu, inquire about ritualistic procedures, such as dikshā to convert into Hindu Dharma. From time to time we also hear about people being accepted into Hindu Dharma after such rituals, which are performed by Hindu Dhaarmik authorities. Here we present some teachings by Hindu Saints on who is a Hindu:
His Holiness Sree Gulabrao Mahārāj on who should be called a Hindu:
- “One who accepts the Vēds, Vendaangs, Purāṇs and related sects and one who has been born in a traditionally Hindu family.
- One who sincerely accepts the above (the Veds, Vendaangs, Puraṇs and related sects) is also called a Hindu by initiation (Diksha Hindu).
- One who does not accept either of the above, but has been born to Hindu parents is merely Hindu by birth (Janmaartha Hindu or Janma Hindu).
The best definition is if both factors are present (as in point a. above), but if only one of the factors is present (as in points b. and c. above), I consider the definition of a Hindu by initiation to be superior.”
His Holiness Kane Mahārāj on the definition of a Hindu:
- “One who despises Raja-Tama predominant, inferior attitudes, and the resulting inferior physical, verbal and mental actions,
- One who is immersed in a Sattva predominant attitude and hence, one who considers worship of the Divine (spiritual practice) as the sole purpose of life and attains God-realisation and
- One who follows the matchless path (Karmayoga) to guide society (in spiritual practice)
should be called a Hindu. This is an expansive definition of the word Hindu. Thus, Hindu is a spiritually pure (Sattva predominant) attitude. It means to be a seeker (sādhak) of the Divine.”