Monday, July 29, 2019

Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism

.  The term "Hindu" is Persian, and derived from the Greek name for the Indus (Sanskrit Sindhu) river, Indos (from which we get the word "India").   Originally it simply meant "People of, and beyond (i.e. East of),  the Indus river".  The Moslem invaders of the eleventh and thirteenth centuries used the term to designate those Indians who would not convert to Islam, and who were not Buddhists.  This Islamic use of the word was not as a religious label, but a term of separation from Islam and Buddhism.  Only in the sixteenth century was the word first used by European merchants and missionaries to refer to the non-Moslem majority in India as a specific religion, the "Hindus" [Hans Küng, Christianity and the World Religions, pp.140-1].

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