Is Hinduism really a Religion?

“Bala, what according to you is Hinduism? Any explanation that I give seems to be insufficient.” A question that someone asked me recently.

I said, “So your question is how to explain Hinduism to others”.


“Christianity and Islam seem easier to explain. Judaism as well. We struggle when it comes to explaining Hinduism”.

“Is it because Hinduism is a complex religion?”.

“Firstly, Hinduism is not the right word. It is Sanatana Dharma. Sanatana means eternal”.

“Sanatana Dharma should be easier to explain. The complexity is not with Sanatana Dharma but with our understanding”.

“What does this mean? Is Sanatana Dharma a religion?”.

“Well, you can call Sanatana Dharma as no religion at all or a religion that is an amalgamation of nine billion minds”.

“What is nine billion?”.

“Nine billion is the population on this planet”.

I continued.

“Look, we exist in pairs of opposites. For example, when we say that we are happy, we mean we are not sad. What we say as night means it is not day. I can quote numerous such examples in our daily lives”.

“In the pair of opposites, one exists because of the other. Happiness exists because of misery. Both coexist and are interdependent. There is happiness hiding in misery and vice-versa. Each one is waiting to make an appearance when conditions are favourable”.

“Most religions seem to propagate and exist in the pair of opposites”.

“There is god because there is devil. There is heaven because there is a hell. There are believers in this world because there are infidels. Theists exist because of atheists. Each one compliments the other. This is what I call as pair of opposites”.

“Are you saying that god exists because of devil?”

“Let us park this question for a moment. I will address this later. Let us discuss Sanata Dharma”.

“Sanatana Dharma says there is an absolute reality. This absolute reality does not have a pair of opposite”.

“The pairs of opposites are nothing but illusion. We call them Mithya or Maya. Like the sea and the waves. Waves cannot exist without the sea. But sea can exist independently. The waves have dependent existence. It is the sea that appears as waves and creates the illusion”.

“God and devil exist as pair of opposites are illusions only”.

“They have dependent existence on this absolute reality. Like the waves that are dependent on the sea”.

“This absolute reality should be called godliness and not god like we understand and say”.

“Ok, it is interesting explanation. How do you summarise Sanatana Dharma?”

“Sanatana Dharma is for every human mind. It is for minds that exists today and for those that will exist in the future”.

“It is for both believers and infidels. It is for theists and atheists. It is for the devil and our idea of god. It is for heaven and hell. In essence, it is for everyone”.

“The aim of Sanatana Dharma is to help you to transcend from living in the pair of opposites to the realm of absolute reality. Sanatana Dharma is about becoming one with the absolute reality”.

“The absolute reality is one without a second. The pair of opposites are many and illusions only.

“Sanatana Dharma is about universal oneness”.

“This is how Sanatana Dharma or what you call as Hinduism should be explained”.

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