Is Hindu Dharma good and Hindutva bad?

 My article “When Germany is Christian, is India Hindu?” got amazingly good response with thousands of facebook likes. However, some readers felt I made a mistake by not distinguishing between good, tolerant Hinduism, which is a private belief, and bad, intolerant Hindutva, which stands for the ‘communal agenda of an extreme right Hindu party’ that wants to force uniform Hinduism on this vast country, an act which is completely un-Hindu and against the pluralism of India.

Is Hindutva really different from Hindu Dharma and dangerous? Or have those, which coined the term, an interest in making it look like that? No doubt, Hindutva has a bad name in the eyes of many, in spite of the ruling of the Supreme Court in 1995:

“Hindutva is indicative more of the way of life of the Indian people. …Considering Hindutva as hostile, inimical, or intolerant of other faiths, or as communal proceeds from an improper appreciation of its true meaning.”

I would like to explain from a personal angle, why I came to the conclusion that it is indeed ‘an improper appreciation of its true meaning’, when Hindutva is branded as communal and dangerous.

For many years I lived in ‘spiritual India’ without any idea how important the terms ‘’secular’ and ’communal’ were. The people I met were appreciative of India’s great heritage. They gave me tips which texts to read, which sants to meet, which mantras to learn, etc., and I wrote about it for German readers. I used to think that all Indians are genuinely proud of their ancestors, who had stunningly deep insights into what is true about us and the universe and who left a huge legacy of precious ancient texts unparalleled in the world.

However, when I settled in a ‘normal’ environment away from ashrams and pilgrimage places and connected with the English speaking middle class including some foreign wives, I was shocked that several of my new friends with Hindu names were ridiculing Hinduism without knowing much about it. They had not even read the Bhagavad-Gita, but pronounced severe judgment. They gave the impression as if Hinduism was the most depraved and violent of all religions and responsible for all the ills India is facing. The caste system and crude rules of Manusmiti were quoted as proof. Reading newspapers and watching TV, I also discovered an inexplicable, yet clear anti Hindu stand.

My new acquaintances had expected me to join them in denouncing ‘primitive’ Hinduism which I could not do as I knew too much, not only form reading extensively, but also from doing sadhana. They were not amused and declared that I had read the wrong books. They asked me to read the right books, which would give me the ‘correct’ understanding. They obviously did not doubt their own view to be the correct one. However, instead of coming around by reading Romila Thapar and co, I rather got the impression that there was an intention behind the negative portrayal of Hinduism: Christianity and Islam were meant to look good in comparison. My neighbour, a writer with communist leanings, henceforth introduced me to his friends as “the local RSS pracharak”. Many ‘secular’ Indians consider the RSS as Hindu fundamentalists, occasionally equating it even with Islamic terror groups. So no surprise that an elderly lady once retorted, “In this case I am not pleased to meet you.”

What was my ‘fault’? I dared to say that I love Hindu Dharma, as it (its off- springs Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism included) is the only religion that is inclusive and not divisive, whereas Christianity and Islam divide humanity into those who have the ‘true faith’ and those who are wrong and will pay for it eternally in hell, if not already on earth. Standing up for Hindu Dharma (and not only following it in private) indicted me as belonging to the ‘Hindutva brigade’ that is shunned by mainstream media. Of course my stand is neither communal nor dangerous for India. Hindu Dharma is indeed inclusive, and needs to gain strength at the expense of Christianity and Islam, which are exclusive and therefore communal.

No doubt something is seriously wrong about the public discourse on ‘secular’ and ‘communal’ in India. I can’t believe that those media anchors and invited guests don’t know it. Indians are intelligent. So why would they get secular and communal wrong?

Secular means worldly in contrast to sacred or religious, and secularism is a western concept.  State and religion were intertwined since Christianity became state religion in the Roman Empire. The Church declared what is the truth, for example that that Jesus is the only way or that the earth is flat, and everyone had to agree. If scientists disagreed, they were in serious trouble. Not without reason those centuries of Church domination are called ‘dark ages’ and the liberation from her tight embrace is called the era of ‘Enlightenment’. For Christian Europe, it was a great and hard fought achievement to get ‘secular’ states, where the Church could not push anymore her agenda through state laws. Several centuries ago, even the Sunday mass was obligatory in German kingdoms. Nobody was allowed to leave Christianity. The blasphemy laws kept the flock in check. Heresy was punished severely. Jews suffered discrimination and persecution all through history being branded as the killers of Jesus.

After Martin Luther split the Church into Protestants and Catholics, fierce wars were fought over supremacy which destroyed much of central Europe. In 1648, after 30 years of fighting, a compromise was found: the subjects of a region had to follow the religion of their ruler. Only in 1847, a Prussian king introduced a law for ‘negative religious freedom’, which meant, his subjects had the right to leave the Catholic or Protestant Church. Ever since, the Churches are losing sheep from their flock. It points to the fact that Christianity did not grow because its dogmas were convincing. It gained strength because those born in the faith could not leave it. The blasphemy laws propped up Christianity.

India has a completely different story. Sanatana Dharma was never based on unreasonable dogmas and did not need state oppression to keep believers in check. It was not in opposition to science. It was helpful to society as a whole by giving guidelines for an ideal life that acknowledges the invisible, conscious essence in the visible universe. It did not straight jacket people into an unbelievable belief system. It allowed freedom of thought and many parallel streams with different ways to connect to this essence emerged. “Hinduism is a way of life”, is often said. Following Hindu Dharma is actually an ideal way of life.

Since I grew up in the Catholic Church and know the narrow mindedness that is indoctrinated into children, I wonder why on earth Indians would prefer dogmatic religions to their ancient, benign Dharma. Don’t they see the real communal danger? Those ‘secular’ friends, who fiercely defend the right of the religious minorities to assert their exclusive identity, don’t seem to realise that both, Christianity and Islam cannot live with others peacefully. Both religions need to dominate. And both are very powerful worldwide, politically and financially. As long as they have not yet the numbers in India, they may downplay the central tenet of exclusiveness in their ideologies. But exist it does.

Secularism has dented the influence of Christianity in the west. But the Church did not give up its goal to make the whole mankind believe in Christ, and focusses now on the huge mass of Hindus. In Islam, the clergy still has a hold on the faithful and in several Muslim countries leaving Islam is punishable by death. As the Quran itself forbids the followers to leave the faith, it is difficult to forego the blasphemy laws.

The Indian secularists seem to fight for the right of Christianity and Islam to be communal and for their followers not to integrate into the Indian society, but to stress their separate identity. And what is this separate identity? It is merely an unverifiable belief that gravely impacts the mind-set. This mind-set not only creates outsiders, but it creates outsiders that are looked down upon. How can educated Indians be blind to the danger and risk having in future more partitions on the basis of unsubstantiated religious beliefs, including the risk of more terrible bloodshed?

Strangely, the dogmatic, exclusive religions are not accused of being divisive, but Hinduism is. Why? Hindus are required to see Brahman, the one Godhead, in everyone, never mind how he connects to his creator. In contrast, the followers of dogmatic religions are not required to respect those who reject their respective ‘true religion’. They are even allowed to hate them. The ease, with which Christians and Muslims killed unbelievers, is frightening. Only 70 years ago six million Jews were murdered in cold blood in gas chambers in Germany. Only a little over 40 years ago, hundred thousands, if not millions, of Hindus were butchered in Bangladesh. There are many more examples. Humanity needs to win over such madness. How? Hindu Dharma has the key: acknowledge that we are all members of one family – coming from the same source with the same blood as it were…

By Maria Wirth


  1. In one line this can said as ‘Vasudeva Kudumbakam” meaning ‘One World One family’ – that is the nutshell of Hinduism.

  2. I wish you were writing in one of the mainstream English language newspapers in India. We flaunt our supposed freedom of expression and freedom of press – but it’s strange that very few in the Indian press question this “secular” narrative dominating our political discourse.

    Which makes me think that perhaps there is a method in this madness – since it’s not logical to believe that all of the journalists and intellectuals crying hoarse about “secularism” in India are idiots.

    The Indian media houses are not obliged to reveal their source of funding and they pretend to be equi-distant from all political parties. Yet the kind of narrative they broadcast relentlessly – backed by the very Nehruvian, Left-leaning intelligentsia in India – is spurious at best and dangerously motivated against the interests of India at worst.

    Thanks for a good, hard-hitting post.

    1. Dear Sampurna ji

      After a long time, I could read a better and decent comment and the way you perceived the ideologies of Indian politicians and Indian meaning of secularism. Well mentioned Sampurna ji. Best wishes.

      1. Thanks

    2. Jadu Mandir · · Reply

      Many moons ago, Kanchi Shankaracharya Jayendra Saraswati, arrested in Andhra Pradesh accused of murder. I was talking to a relative in Chennai who happens to be a Brahmin about the unfairness of the arrest citing lack of evidence. The relative bluntly told me that the Shankaracharya must be guilty! I was stunned. This relative was IIT ‘educated’. So much for education!

  3. Panner · · Reply

    Another excellent piece of thought from Maria.

    As Hinduism does not preach proselytising like Christianity and Islam, we are indeed easily subjected to pressure to convert. Also, as it does not preach superiority, many Hindus develop a very positive and humane approach to other thoughts. This attitude has been taken advantage up for centuries and continues even to this day.

    It is indeed high time that Hindus take pride in what is one of the world’s most tolerant religion


    1. Petronius · · Reply

      According to you, Hinduism “as it does not preach superiority,” . If that be so , why some caste like Brahminism is considered superior to the other three castes? Correct me if I am wrong, didn’t Shivaji , born in a lower caste, promote himself as a Brahmin one fine morning ? While Hinduism may not preach superiority per se, the average illiterate Hindu may feel inferior when he enters a clean place of worship, a Church for example, where there is orderliness and brightness in the sanctum Santorum .

      1. Dear Petronuis,

        In literal meaning, every person who is interested in ‘Brahm’ – the Supreme One – is a Brahmin.
        The caste system was originally setup to identify people having different skills, to build up an ideal society. The idea was never to oppress. People could switch castes based on their skill-set, and there are several such examples available.

        Unfortunately, with the passage of time the caste became hereditary, as due to closely-knit family culture in India, children would often end up undertaking their parents’ skills and profession. Slowly the caste system got ugly as people in powerful positions starting exploiting those less fortunate. But remember, this is not what Hinduism preached, it happened over a period of time.

        Now it’s high time Hindus wake up and identify their own glory, rather than behaving like apologists for being Hindus. We need to clean our house and save our house before it gets destroyed by those with ulterior motives.

        Sarve bhavantu sukhinah, Sarve santu niramayah, sarve bhadrani pashyantu, ma kashchid dukh bhagbhavet!!

      2. The cultural Hindu does in fact resort to ideas of superiority and inferiority – something that is manifest in the caste system. But what Maria Wirth writes is about Hindu philosophy, and not its cultural tectonics that is the cause and effect of many centuries of upheavals and abuse.

        In Hindu philosophy work is worship and a person is advised to work according to one’s ability and aptitude. Aptitude is called “guna” and this is what decides the “caste”. When I say this, I’m referring to the Bhagavad Geeta – which is considered one of the seminal texts of Hindu philosophy – although you will find lesser texts (lesser in hierarchy and importance) such as the Manu Smriti that refer to caste as birth-based. Is there a conflict? Yes, and it’s natural that there would be conflict, because Hindu belief systems are not dogmatic. Hindu philosophy, jurisprudence, ideas of state, law, and much of everything is based on “argumentation” (called “mimansa”) which calls for learned people of varied dispositions to argue and the argument with the most merit is given recognition. This is something you will not find in any of the organised religions – which centres on bullying dogma and faith-based “willing suspension of disbelief”.

        As for your assumption of “the average illiterate Hindu’s” feeling of inferiority in a sparkling clean Church – has it ever occurred to you what this illiterate Hindu would think about your Church and its ideology when he/she learns that this edifice stands on 2000 years of slaughter and conversion that has seen the extinction of the aboriginals of both the Americas, Australia, and the entire pre-Christian history and civilization of Europe? Or conversely, has it ever occurred to you what an average illiterate white American Christian, an average illiterate white Muslim from Algeria, or the average illiterate brown Saudi Arabian thinks of a sparkling clean smelling-of-incense mandir? They will have different thoughts – and perhaps compete with yours in their “average” level of ignorant hate-mongering.

  4. Maria’s writing is based on a deep understanding of the Hindu consciousness, and of india and her current plight. Unfortunately, our English language press, weighed down as it is by its colonial mind-set, prefers to exist in its ignorant cocoon of privilege, and accordingly promotes Wendy Doniger without providing a counterpoint, even if that is also Western. It doesn’t fit their colored view both of their country & religion, as well as of themselves. I hope India’s youngsters read Maria Wirth, for a clearer and more accurate understanding of their country, culture,and themselves.

  5. Hear hear! At last some sensibility. But maybe it’s the wrong forum. Sensibility is often not welcome when opinions have attached themselves like leeches.

    1. My reply is in response to Nail Truth’s comments.

  6. raghuraman · · Reply

    There is no discrimination toward other religions in Hinduism. Hinduism views all authentic religions with a potential to raise the consciousness of its followers to a higher level of understanding God, themselves, and humanity. This is merely one of the beautiful aspects of Hinduism; that it provides the greatest latitude of diversity in the ways of understanding God. That is why you can mix Hindus with anyone, and they can peacefully coexist, just as you presently have Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs, and others all living together peacefully. But as soon as you mix those of other religions who are dogmatic in their views, there is trouble. The reason is that there is no room for diversity of thought in such people. They think that in the eyes of God no one else is saved. They think they must “save” everyone by making everyone else just like them. And the way that is done is by converting all others to their own dogmatic beliefs. Thus, they give no credence or understanding toward any religion but their own.
    The world could be a peaceful place if it were not for the constant attempt by various groups to control and convert. It is on this account that there have been so many years of bloodshed, slaughter and torture to force others to be of only one religion. Such religions cause themselves not to be united with God, but to stand separated from God for not providing the way to see the spiritual nature and Divinity in all beings. Such religions actually create disharmony between man and God because of forcing their followers to focus on our superficial differences rather than our deeper unity and commonality as beings of one common God.
    In this way, Sanatana-Dharma is not a religion that stands separate from others. It is not that Hinduism or Vedic culture opposes other spiritual paths. But it represents and provides the means through which anyone can attain the highest spiritual understanding possible. It helps one understand who and what we really are, above and beyond all the superficialities that are often found in the fundamental and materialistic religions. Therefore, once again, anyone, no matter what religion or culture one may be, can still use the Vedic path to increase his or her overall understanding of him or herself, the universe, and God, and awaken our natural spiritual love for one and all.

    courtesy: Stephen Knapp

    1. Panner · · Reply

      Beautifully said, Raghuraman.



  7. raghuraman · · Reply

    Thanks Panner !!

  8. raghuraman · · Reply

    The explanations given by Balaji are very simple, lucid and excellent!!!!

    1. Thanks Raghuraman, Sarvam Krushnaarpanam!

  9. Excellent Article..pls keep it up.

  10. […]      Media know only Engl, colonial version of Hinduism, that’s #WhyMediaIsAntiHindu. If only they knew more, for example …   […]

  11. “tanSEN was bengali my dear friend, so were a lot of other people! want to see the entire list as it stands today? so was subash chandra bose and sri aurobindo 🙂 and i can name a million others and i am proud to say our greateness can be exerted beyond our national borders. we are the fifth largest speakers!

    we bengalis have won pretty much every award in the world stage you name it we have it and we are damn proud of what we have 🙂

    its the only country in the world which took rebellion because it couldn’t speak its mother tongue and it won! and won so hard that the UN had to adopt that day as the international language day, which celebrates languages from all over the world.

    did you know that the FAMOUS SEARS TOWER is architectured by another bengali?”

    MBA, IMT Ghaziabad
    Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

  12. Reblogged this on prabhakaradas.

  13. You kept the title as if you are dealing exclusively with hindutva , hindu dharma and its merits and demerits. But why you drag other religions faults in to it. Its like comparitive study showing every religion has faults. Define it and give your opinions on how they effect society , instead you got diverted and tried to prove something else. Articles contains more of christian history than hindu dharma and hindutva. You got attention from one section of people. Any way nice work , try to justify the title.

  14. You are doubtless, unaware of the activities of the RSS, the Hindu Mahasabha and the right wing outfits.
    Maybe(and it’s a big maybe) Hindutva is conceptually good, but the versions that are preached by Togadia , Adityanath and their ilk are not.
    I don’t know if you’ve seen the twitter posts of the Hindutva right wing? Because you certainly write like you have not.

    1. Ashwin Rao · · Reply

      Not sure how narrow mindedness can cloud people; RSS Hindu Mahasabha and other right wing outfits are not completely representative of Hinduism and hindutva. I am an Hindu and I do not belong to any of those outfits. It is like saying Look at what ISIS is doing so All musims are terrorists or look at what the medieval church did to Galileo.. so all christians must be against science….Evaluating Hindutva based on what right wing outfits have to say is a very narrow way of defining hinduism…

      I think a lot of people have this misconception about Hinduism. Please understand that Hinduism is not a religion is the sense that Christianity or Islam or mst of the other religiosn are…. there are no dogmas to be followed… the concept of religion is post-hoc for the hindu way of life… you can even reject God and still be a Hindu…. Cant blame others when people in India themselves can’t understand what Hindutva and Hinduism is…

  15. Is it not a claim for Hindu Superiority asserted in this article, just like Christians or Islam seems to do with their own which you are worried about in this article?

    1. There is a difference. Both dogmatic religions claim that their story about God and his son or last prophet is the truth that everyone has to believe to have a chance to reach heaven or paradise otherwise he is damned to eternal hellfire. Those claims have no basis in reason, intuition or experience. They are claims that everyone who has not been brainwashed into as a child, will find difficult to believe, simply because they cannot be the truth – truth means here that what truly exists, the absolute truth of our existence.

      Indian rishis enquired into the absolute truth and realised the underlying oneness of the manifold appearance, including many different levels or worlds. They give hints how to purify your inner instruments to have a chance to perceive this blissful, aware one Presence. Mystics of even Christianity and Islam have discovered this oneness, but they were excommunicated or even killed.

      So what is superior? Why feel ashamed to point out the difference? The belief in the truth-claim of Christianity had to be enforced by state law, still is in many Islamic countries. Due to secularism, the Church can’t enforce it anymore in the west, that’s why there is a steady stream of people who leave the Church. Nobody had to enforce belief in Hindu Dharma. It lost out among many Indians, because they were consciously cut off from it and are ignorant now about it. Those who know it, and there are still many in India, treasure it.

  16. Hinduism is a great belief system. It is the “Hindu Taliban” in the guise of VHP and Bajrang Dal that are the threat to Hinduism.

    One also needs to bear in mind the divergence between belief and practice.

    The sacred texts require that we venerate Mother Earth and live sustainably. It is for good reason that the cow is looked upon as a sacred animal which helped our forefathers live sustainably.

    One must hope that the pro-Hindutva government and people do not mindlessly follow the western “development” model which has destroyed the environment – China is the glaring example of this model.

    By destroying the planet Hindus destroy the very foundations of their belief system.

    Christians & Muslims believe in a far away heaven.

    Hindus believe they are destined to be re-born on this planet. We must ensure the planet survives and thrives.

    Let India start by prooving she can clean Mother Ganga.

  17. maria, i just wanted to add that you are not alone. a lot of indians do think as you do, and for them, regardless of whether they believe in god or not, the personal journey/yoga is important.

    there is a power differential in india rooted in colonial times that prevents the expression of culture by a thoughtful hindu. in fact, if i even acknowledge that there is a power dynamic at work here, that makes me a “fundamentalist” and “rss pracharak” and i would get shouted down without getting a word in. which doesn’t mean we give up. we live by our beliefs, and “fight” back by our principled living—therefore, show by example.

    it is not going to be easy, but nothing ever is. sooner or later, truth comes out no matter how powerful someone is. the caricature of beliefs and the agenda of putting hinduism as a violent, caste-centric belief do not stand up to closer rational scrutiny. they are only dominant among the elite because a lot of power is used to prop up the house of cards—not least by nipping any challenge by silencing them. but power is finite. sooner or later, they will lose the ability to “silence the natives”.

    1. yes it is a small but very vocal group that props up ‘the house of cards’ and they need to shout down other voices as they have no arguments.

  18. Absolutely brilliant information shared here. Main Stream Media should be discussing, rather, debating the substance of this Narrative instead of running behind manufactured beef politics!!

  19. Thank you Maria for the most beautifully worded discourse on being a Hindu Hinduism & Hindutva. Am a very proud Hindu having read Bhagwad Gita and listening to real pious learned once. The invasions from Miskem
    Marauders than the English it was the English who decidedly demeaned Hindu way of life & today’s so called secularist libertards English speaking (!) very pseudos without a clue denigrate a great way of life. It’s a pity that these uncouth a bearing beautiful Hindu Sanskrit names are oblivious of a great heritage. I would also blame Gandhi & Nehru who did a huge damage.

    1. agree with you that Engl education is still doing a lot of damage…
      did you see this?

  20. Madam, your insight in Hinduism is awesome. Why don’t you extend your knowledge in assisting our HRD Madam. She is dynamic and dashing. She requires helping/advising minds. Implementation will be taken care of by her, come what may.

  21. Reblogged this on sarikanandacerebrate and commented:
    I wish the clarity to spread like I see in Maria…

  22. Really like what you are saying here. Agree with you on pretty much everything. Hindus, Hindutva, Sanatan Dharam, is not perfect but what makes it strong and worth following is that it acknowledges it isn’t perfect. Knowledge and it’s pursuit has no limits, no ends. Now for a shameless plug, if i may:

  23. […] The article first appeared as- […]

  24. Maria hindutva has been given a bad name by the so called anti hindu mindset also dome of which is in india . u should read the works of ramkrishn also the speech n writings given by vivekanand mostly in america . also u should read bhagavad gita by paramhans yoganand which he wrote in america . it has lot of insights and answers . n u would be stunned to know that jesus was a yogi in himalayas in his early age . as i think from 15 to 25 years he was absent . in thimpu monastery it is mentioned that so n so person lived here n mahavatar babaji had initiated him in kriya yog . yoganand gita has lot of answers abt wat jesus said n wat lord krishna spokr to arjun at kurukshetra. Jesus made a path for whoever there wanted to follow but it got blown out of proportion n wat not happened . n acharya rajneesh has said that jesus never died on the cross . after the jews put him on cross n mayb in evening after lot of damage happend to him his followers got him out n helped him leave . he somehow reached himalayas . n he lived there for 125 years of age n after he left his body it was buried east facing like that of yogis . but the people who wanted power gave distorted facts n said he disapeared n got buried n all that . anyway u are lucky to meet devrah baba . he wanted to make ppl aware of cow protection n that it is full of divinity . but unfortunaly in india it doesnt seem to be of value . mayb thats why there is so much of chaos . devraha baba had said that if i tell my age to ppl then entire police wont b able to stop the ppl of the country who come here .

  25. Thank you Maria for your article. Some people may be ignorant of Hinduism or Sanatana dharma but some are intentionally defaming and maligning it without knowing the deeper meaning of sastra (religious texts). We have to understand their motive and work accordingly

  26. What a great read! You are from Germany and perhaps it’s German Scholar Max Muller who has been hugely responsible for distorting Hinduism in the West. Swastika which was used by Nazi’s to kill millions of Jews is a sacred Hindu sign. Ironically, one country where Jews were not assassinated was India, a Hindu country!
    Doesn’t this prove how West has distorted Hinduism?
    Unfortunately, the same ideas were propagated and taught even to Indians by Britishers and then our own education policy makers who were perhaps too lazy or too thoughtless to correct.
    Saying that, yes we do need to work on improving so many things and India is such a diverse country that it’s not going to be easy.
    But, no other country in the whole world can survive like we have survived for thousands of years with so much diversity!

    1. was off internet, sorry for putting your comment up late…

  27. So Maria finally did u meet RSS pracharak if not I can help

  28. A good read. While many would allege bias because of self-declared belief, the arguments produced are informative, lucid & logical. Also kind of in your face. Coming from a born christian lends it much more credence. I would say – Thanks Maria.

  29. Sanjay Bhat · · Reply

    This is such a brilliant insightful analysis. Dharma by it’s definition in Hinduism is beyond religion. However we exist in this current phase of inverted logic in India where to not respect the rights of communalism and divisiveness is consider … insecular!!! The true current victory of communalism at present in India is in their level of success in redefining the word secular to mean exactly opposite of what it is.

  30. […] February 25, 2014 · by MW · in Uncategorized · 132 Comments […]

  31. […] Good article, nice, bold and informative. Most people fail to understand the difference between ‘Dharm’ and ‘Religion’ ! Parhaps the nearest equivalent word in english is ‘Righteousness’. Religions demand Bakti and surrender, are INNUMERABLE and give DICTATES that are widely different in nature, often contradictory to each other. Religions mandate their followers to believe in ALMIGHTY in a form and manner strictly prescribed by individual religions ! Dharm helps people to seek and try to understand the ALMIGHTY. Dharm even allow people to remain Non-believers without becoming an ‘Adharmee’ ! To believe or not in existence of a ‘Supreme Power’ is secondary, to insult and ridicule any other person’s beliefs is indeed ‘Adharm’ ! Nearest Hindi word for Religion is ‘Panth’ ! ‘Hindu Dham’ allow freedom of diverging thoughts and therefore respects a ‘Panth’ or ‘Religion’ so long as it is within the framework of being ‘Dham Sangat’ ie in accordance with ‘Dharm’ . Dharm lays down principles that help a person to make ‘RIGHT CHOICES’ and sellect ‘RIGHT ACTION under the given circumstances. Religions tell followers to surrender to DESTINY, Dharm helps a person to shape ones destiny. The word ‘Hinduism’ is a misleading word invented by englishmen to insult and downgrade ‘Hindu Dham’ ! There can be COUNTLESS WRONG WAYS, but will only be one RIGHT way. There’s one and only ONE Dharm. […]

  32. Chitrankan kumar · · Reply

    Each and every article of yours so hear touching you exactly write my points. अत्यंत सुंदर अनुच्छेद है आपका भारत माता की जय वंदे मातरम

  33. Atul Mathur · · Reply

    Maria I am a ‘English speaking urban Hindu’ but a HUGE fan of your writing. More strength to your elbow-I wish you an enormous readership.

    1. Thank you

  34. I have been reading Maria’s letter for some years now and continue to be impressed by the extent and depth of her understanding of everything related to India. As a follower (and contributor) of Advaita Vedanta, I keep learning from her not finding the slightest error or misjudgment in her writings – this is no doubt explained by the fact that she practises faithfully the sadhana of Hindu religion.

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