How is the Hindu religion still flourishing with all its diversity, when other religions that are as old or older, such as Egyptian, No

How is the Hindu religion still flourishing with all its diversity, when other religions that are as old or older, such as Egyptian, Norse, etc. have died out?

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  1. Sanatana Dharma is the original religion that comes down from the dawn of creation of this universe. What is Sanatana Dharma? Sanatana means eternal and Dharma means duty, activity or nature. Thus Sanatana Dharma means the eternal duty or the eternal activity or the eternal nature of the soul. (More about Sanatana Dharma and the eternal nature of the soul will be discussed in session 5 and 6 of this course). To awaken the eternal spiritual nature of the soul and realize God is the goal of all religions.
    Wouldn’t it be simple and less confusing if there was only one scripture teaching us of one God and one religion rather than all these varieties of God’s and scriptures? Yes, it would be less confusing but it would also be less accommodating to have only one level of scripture for everyone. This is because there are a wide variety of people on the planet.
    To cater to this huge variety of people at different levels, Sanatana Dharma or the details about the nature of God and the soul are given to the people according to the different times, places and circumstances. To the spiritually advanced more details are given and to the spiritually bankrupt only initial instructions are given.
    Let us consider the origin or the beginning of the major religions of the world with respect to 2011 AD:
    Sikhism: 600 yrs old. Founder: Guru Nanak. Scripture: Guru Grantha Sahib.
    Islam: 1300 yrs old. Founder:…
    Christianity: 2000 yrs….
    Buddhism: 2500 yrs…
    Bhagavad Gita: 5000 yrs old
    Hinduism: 6000 yrs…
    Each religion claims their monopoly on God. Each religion claims that they have the perfect knowledge of God and those who have faith in their brand of religion will go to heaven while all other souls will rot in this world or go to hell! Let us use a little common sense here. If any religion claims that their version of God is perfect, we can ask them, “Did God exist before the founder revealed the name of God and the details of his religious rituals?”
    To the people with Islamic faith, we can ask, “Was Allah created 1300 years ago by prophet Mohammed (pbuh)? Did Allah (God) exist before prophet Mohammed (pbuh) revealed the Islamic faith? How did the souls who appeared on the planet, before prophet Mohammed gave Islam, go back to Allah? If no one goes to Allah without following the Muslim type of religion, then is God so cruel or partial that He waited for billions and billions of years since He created the universe for the first souls to come to Him?”
    Similar questions can be asked to the Christians, “Were any souls forgiven for their sins before Christ since the beginning of creation? If only the Christians go to heaven and all others go to hell forever then what abut the billions and zillions of unlimited souls in the plants, birds, beasts, fishes etc? Will they never reach God?”
    Many Hindus claim that, “There are crores and crores of God’s and we can worship any one of them according to our choice and we shall get the same result.” Then what about the western religions? Well, the answer some broad-minded Hindu may prefer is, “They are also correct in their own way and they also ultimately achieve the same goal.” But they think that this worship of 33 crore God’s is blasphemy against their One God. This is a contradiction, how can both be true!
    A short note on Hinduism:
    Is Hinduism a religion? What is Hinduism? Many modern day Hindus are confused about the identity of their religious faith. Often we hear the answer, “Hinduism is not a religion. Hinduism is a way of life!” On further inquiry, “Oh, what is that way of life? What are the rules and regulations that each Hindu must follow as a part of their religious faith?” We may get more unclear and confused or even contradictory answers, “You can do what you like. As long as you are true to yourself and true to God, you need not follow any person or sect or religion and just do good and be good, then you’re a Hindu!”
    But one man’s good could be another man’s bad. So how do we really understand who is a true Hindu and define what is Hindusim?
    The word Hindu is derived from the Sanskrit word Sindhu, the historic local name for the Indus River in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent, part of Pakistan. The word Hindu was first used by Arab invaders and then went further west by the Arabic term al-Hind referring to the land of the people who live across river Indus and the Persian term Hindū referring to all Indians.
    By the 13th century, Hindustān emerged as a popular alternative name of India, meaning the “land of Hindus”. Originally this land was called Bharat and the religion Sanatana Dharma.
    Originally, the word “Hindu” was a secular (note: not a religion) term, which was used to describe all inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent (or Hindustan) irrespective of their religious affiliation. Thus, Hindu or Hinduism was simply a political or social word given by the Arab or Moghul invaders to the people living on the other side of Sindhu. For example, people living in Mumbai are called Mumbaikars, those living in Maharashtra or who speak Marathi are called Maharashtrians, those living in America as Americans etc.
    Can a political name, given to set of people, living in a particular tract of land, be called their religion? Interestingly the word Hindu is not found in any of the scriptures that they claim are sacred. There is no mention of the word Hindu in the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavad Gita, Vedanta Sutra or any other similar sanskrit scripture. Thus the term Hindu is a modern term, given by foreign Moghul invaders to people living in India. Indian and Hindu mean the same geographically.
    It was only towards the end of the 18th century that the European merchants and colonists referred collectively to the followers of Indian religions as Hindus. Eventually, it came to define a precisely religious identity that includes any person of Indian origin who is a follower of the Vedas.
    Thus a Hindu is one who neither practiced Abrahamic western religions (like Judaism, Christianity and Islam) nor non-Vedic Indian religions, such as Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism, thereby encompassing a wide range of religious beliefs and practices related to Sanātana Dharma. Hinduism is formed of diverse traditions and has no single founder. Among its roots is the Sanatana Dharma and as such Hinduism is often called the “oldest living religion”. (Source: Wikipedia)
    The conclusion is that Hinduism is a geographical or political word, given by foreigners and it has very little to do with religion. Therefore, most Hindus are confused about what Hinduism is or what it stands for. The original religion is called Sanatana Dharma as mentioned in the original Vedic literatures. Hindu religion today is simply like an external shadow of the true religion of the soul – Sanatana Dharma.
    The term Hinduism was introduced into the English language in the 19th century to denote the religious, philosophical, and cultural traditions native to India. Thus, Hindu culture according to modern historians may have originated about 6000 years ago as found in the Harappa civilization but the spiritual culture of Santana Dharma has existed since the beginning of creation.

  2. Hindu Dharma (it is not a religion of the Abrahamic type) has survived because it is not simply a belief system. It is really search for Truth using means like Yoga, dhyana, mantra japa etc. It is this experiential nature of the system that has allowed it to survive all through this time. You do not have to believe blindly but you can always try to find out if there is any truth in Hindu claims. I am not sure of the Egyptian system but the Norse system is merely a belief system and there comes a time when men stop believing.


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