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To start with, no hard feelings against anyone who subscribes to Islam or Christianity.

When the Muslims invaded 'Iran' or 'Egypt' they were able to convert the whole population to Islam in a few decades e.g., the present day Iran was largely Zoroastrian at that time. Also, when the Christians moved to the European region, they converted the whole population to Christianity in a few decades.

Although, India has faced centuries of Muslim invasion. This was followed by nearly two centuries of Christian domination (read British). Despite this, the population of our country is largely Hindu. How is that?

I know there would have been many historical reasons for that. Although, I am interested in the attributes of Hinduism that allowed it and us to survive.

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    In short since God himself is protecting the Sanatana Dharma it will survive all atrocities and opposition without doubt. – Rickross Apr 22 '16 at 6:25
  • @Rickross: Agreed, but God is also protecting Zoroastrians. That did not prevent them from being converted to Islam in Iran (in mere 15 years). There has to be something more in Hinduism, that ensured its protection. – Amit Saxena Apr 22 '16 at 11:47
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    God will protect only the true dharma.Now what is true dharma?What is the dharma of water ?-To always flow down,What is the true dharma of fire?-To always go up.Does this dharma change wrt persons belonging to so called different faiths? NO.Sanatan Dharma is the true dharma and that is the only one that is there and that will always be protected till the end. – Rickross Apr 22 '16 at 14:19
  • Yes, @Rickross BG 4.7 – Pandya Feb 12 '18 at 11:26
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    The natural inclination of fire is to go upwards .. you can forcefully make water to go up too but that's not water's true nature @PrasannaR That's what I meant – Rickross Jun 18 '19 at 17:11
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Did Hinduism really survive the proselytization efforts of Islam and Christianity? The content in the above question seems to be seeing the glass half full.

To say Hinduism is in majority in India despite Islamic invasion and British occupation conveniently ignores the fact that Hinduism has lost out to Islam in Afghanisthan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Outside of India, Hinduism has lost out to Islam in Indonesia. Some date Hinduism in Indonesia all the way back to the time of Ramayana when vanara sena had reached its' shores in search for Sita mata. Today Hinduism is only practiced in Bali. Thus, I don't believe arguments along the lines of "absolute truth cannot be overturned by false claims" helped Hinduism survive and thrive throughout the centuries.

Hinduism vs related philosophical schools Before I proceed with Islam and Christianity, it is important to understand how Hinduism dealt with related philosophical schools like Buddhism, Jainism etc that originated in India. Hinduism didn't survive because ultimate truth is unassailable. Adi Shankaracharya traversed the length and breadth of India debating with various philosophical schools and unifying them under one umbrella. It is important to note they were not unified by force, material benefits or deceit.

The philosophical schools were deep rooted in India's culture. These "purva-paksha" and "uttara-paksa" encounters, included debate and intellectual resistance, were with fellow dharmiks and not with outsiders. As a result focus was always inwards, geared towards systems that originated from our culture.

Even outside of India where Hinduism lost out to related philosophical schools we didn't see obliteration of Hinduism. For instance Cambodia has the world's largest religious monument, Angkor Wat dated 12th century A.D., a Hindu temple that later got converted to a Buddhist temple. However they didn't discard the idols of Lord Vishnu. They just moved the shrine of Lord Vishnu to front and kept Buddha in the main shrine. Similarly the prominent Temple of the Tooth (that has sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha) in Kandy, Sri Lanka has a few shrines of Lord Vishnu in the same compound.

Not studying the Opposition Unfortunately similar efforts were never expended in learning Mleccha epistemologies. Take for instance Madhavacharya's treatise Sarva Darshana Sangraha dated 14th century, where he reviews 16 philosophical systems from Advaita point of view. But there is no mention of Islam and Christianity, which were well known in India by then. Similarly nothing was done to understand the Abrahamic religions's social and political system until it was too late. Indian traders routinely traveled to Arabia. But there is no evidence of any Indian texts that captures accounts of Hindu intellectuals who traveled to Arabia, engaged in dialogue, understood them and built effective responses. Similarly Christianity has been present in India since the arrival of Syrian christians arrival thousand of years ago. But there was hardly any study done of its theology or ambitions for world conquest.

Loss of Arthashastra

It is said that the text had disappeared until a copy resurfaced in Kerala or Tamil Nadu in early 20th century. The text taught about use of "physical force" in dealing with others. The loss deprived Indians of intellectual tools necessary to understand strategies for such encounters. It also included the concept of Chakravarti, whose domain is to from ocean to ocean, and who was above all other kings. Perhaps that could have served as inspiration to Hindu kings to be offensive instead of defensive.

At some point Arthashastra ceased to be taught for learning realpolitik. After all before invasion of Islam, India had successfully warded off the threat from Greeks.

Exceptions

While passivism may have crept in at some point after defeating the Greeks, we know that there have been several military responses against Islam and Christianity that enabled Hinduism to survive in India. But these were exceptions. Moreover our history curriculum in schools don't go beyond the Rajputs, Marathas and Vijaynagar empire. Maybe it is limited because it won't gel well with the modern sensibilities that wants to only espouse peaceful nature of Hinduism as means of attraction. But that is akin to condemning it a false sense of security.

For instance c.200 years had elapsed between Ghazni and Ghori invasions. Ghazni invasion didn't stop because they got tired of plundering or got awestruck with the peaceful nature of Indians. Resistance came from Pasi warriors in UP/Bihar who successfully routed Ghazni's forces. Simimarly North East survived Mughal's onslaught thanks to likes of Lachit Borphukan

Conclusion

It would be inaccurate to say that Hinduism had successfully countered Islam or Christianity as its' geographical spread is much less than before. There are no attributes inherent in Hinduism that enabled it to thrive in India. It was the intrepid response of some of its' practitioners that enabled to survive. Hindus ought to keep memory alive of all such practitioners.

P.S. While Hinduism has wisened up against Islam and Christianity, the threat is now coming from western secularism and intellectual kshatriyas are the need of the hour. But I'll stop here as that is beyond scope

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Everything is controlled by God. The countries like Iran, Iraq, Egypt, Europeans divated from original spirituality in Kaliyuga about 2000-3000 years ago into some random local religion practices. For example Egyptians practiced incest, slavery, aristocracy, human sacrifices and many other wrong practices, similarly Europeans became Wiccans and Goths etc., Even Hinduism had malpractices like caste-system and fixed occupations based upon that, Vaishnava vs Shaivaism vs Shaktism(who is Superior?) quarrels as Vedas/Vedanta were given lesser importance than Puranas. Thats, why Jewish Abrahamic religions arose with simple concept of explaining abstract unseen God as one and to unite whole Europe and Africa who were battling earlier in the name of local gods like Zeus of Greece to Horus of Egypt to Thor of Nords, all trying to fight in the name of idols and different forms and names that know. God is unity/oneness not division in reality.

This is also one of the crux of Vedanta, that is unity of God, the underlying base of Vedas which was forgotten in India during deep Kaliyuga leading to disunity based on caste and different names of deities.

They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and he is heavenly-winged Garutman. To what is One, sages give many a title. — Rigveda 1.164.46

But in Kaliyuga because of tamsik intellect, the common people ended killing each other, sacrificing children, humans in the name of some local Gods like Moloch and greedy unauthorized local random priests, especially in barbarian Mleccha regions. Hence, unifying Abrahamic religions with one God and standard new scripture Bible/Quran/Torah were given to them as dharma, yoga and Moksha of huge Vedas are beyond their comprehension. In India, verbal quarrels in the name of God are present which can be seen in the form of defaming Shiva in Vishnava scriptures and Vishnu in Shaiva scriptures, for example later interpolation of Padma Puranan calling Advaita Vedanta of Shankarachaya is to mislead atheists. Battle with Abrahamic religions over past few centuries has brought unity within Hindus who had earlier become lethargic towards understanding spiritually, customs, logicality and Vedas, rather into superstitions, cramming because of Kaliyuga, its like "Just below the lantern - lies the darkness". Thats why many yogis like Swami Vivekananda etc., appeared in 20th century with motive of unifying Hinduism based on Vedanta philosophy also.

The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_7/Conversations_And_Dialogues/IV

Then Swamiji said that on the way back he returned to Srinagar by the common route by which the pilgrims return. A few days after returning to Srinagar, he went to visit Kshir Bhavani Devi and staying there for seven days worshipped the Devi and made Homa to her with offerings of Kshira (condensed milk). Every day he used to worship the Devi with a maund of Kshira as offering. One day, while worshipping, the thought arose in Swamiji's mind: "Mother Bhavani has been manifesting Her Presence here for untold years. The Mohammedans came and destroyed her temple, yet the people of the place did nothing to protect Her. Alas, if I were then living I could never have borne it silently." When, thinking in this strain, his mind was much oppressed with sorrow and anguish, he distinctly heard the voice of the Mother say - ing, "It was according to My desire that the Mohammedans destroyed this temple. It is My desire that I should live in a dilapidated temple, otherwise, can I not immediately erect a seven - storeyed temple of gold here if I like? What can you do? Shall I protect you or shall you protect me!" Swamiji said, "Since hearing that divine voice, I cherish no more plans. The idea of building Maths etc. I have given up; as Mother wills, so it will be." The disciple, speechless with wonder, began to think, "Did he not one day tell me that whatever I saw and heard was but the echo of the Atman within me, that there was nothing outside?"-- and fearlessly spoke it out also --"Sir, you used to say that Divine Voices are the echo of our inward thoughts and feelings." Swamiji gravely said, "Whether it be internal or external, if you actually hear with your ears such a disembodied voice, as I have done, can you deny it and call it false? Divine Voices are actually heard, just as you and I are talking."

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A religion should have broadly

  • A holy book of its own (Bible/Quran, etc)
  • A God of fixed attributes. The followers of that religion will eulogise that qualities of their God
  • A religious place, which is very sacred to its followers
  • A list of dos and don'ts, which guide its followers

&&&&&&&&&&&

Coming to Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism, it does not represent any religion unlike Islam/Christianity, etc.

However, there are religions in India that are prevalent under the name of Hinduism.

For example: Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Saakteism, Buddhism, Jainism, etc,

The core values of Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism advocate self enquiry. No Temple, no sacred texts like Puranas, represent Sanatana Dharma.

The below mentioned article on Indus Valley Civilisation (3300 BCE to 1300 BCE) and considered to have existed in Vedic Era, states that (4th sub-para) there is no conclusive evidence of palaces or temples – or of kings, armies, or priests.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indus_Valley_Civilisation#Cities

Vedas, which are stated to be oldest and divine, advocated self enquiry for realising the TRUTH.

https://books.google.co.in/books?id=2rvQCgAAQBAJ&pg=PT239&lpg=PT239&dq=self+inquiry+in+vedas&source=bl&ots=ruAnKLJIgK&sig=ACfU3U1GwHa1W2MDu92a3HXorHKkshO08Q&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjFpvuny_fiAhXNfX0KHVROBgE4ChDoATANegQICBAB#v=onepage&q=self%20inquiry%20in%20vedas&f=false

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neti_neti

Sri Krishna, who was a Yogi of highest order, stated that only one among thousands will realise that TRUTH.

मनुष्याणां सहस्रेषु कश्िचद्यतति सिद्धये।

यततामपि सिद्धानां कश्िचन्मां वेत्ति तत्त्वतः।।7.3।।

Among thousands of men a rare one endeavours for perfection. Even of the perfected ones who are diligent, one perchance knows Me in truth.

So the TRUTH advocated by the sages of Vedic era, through vedas, is applicable to all ages to all humans. So this Knowledge is Divine, which cannot be done away with by ordinary mortals, however hard they may try.

That is how Sanatana Dharma survived.

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    this is wrong on so many aspects. it sounds like neo-hinduism news-media 3rd-standard-level understanding of hinduism. there is definitely temples, sacred texts and traditions which represent Vedic aka sanatana dharma – ram Jun 18 '19 at 20:35
  • @ram: you can quote from vedas that temples were a part of vedic era. – Srimannarayana K V Jun 19 '19 at 0:46
  • archa avatara is primary in kali yuga. in previous yugas, they could see bhagavan in vibhava & antaryami rupas. – ram Jun 19 '19 at 1:10
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    we absolutely have a book of our own - it's Vedas. Everything else is commentary on vedas, and equally important to understand Vedas. – ram Jun 19 '19 at 1:16
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    Can you quote sources for statements like "The core values of Sanatana Dharma aka Hinduism advocate self enquiry. No Temple, no sacred texts like Puranas, no traditions represent Sanatana Dharma"? Meanwhile i will add "Post notice" and flag mods to remove it once you add sources for other statements in answer. – The Destroyer Jun 20 '19 at 7:36

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