What are the teachings of Hinduism for dealing with other religions and their followers? To be more precise, what does Hinduism teach its followers about how to treat other people like Muslims and Christians?


3 Answers 3


Hindu Dharma is non-exclusive. I.e it does not claim it possesses the exclusive right to grant salvation/liberation. It recognizes that every path can lead to the truth.

"ekam sat viprāḥ bahudhā vadanti"

-Rig Veda (Book 1, Hymn 164, Verse 46)

This means "The Truth is one; the sages talk of it in many ways."

Hence Hindus should treat others with "Mutual Respect". Note the word "mutual". Hindus should respect other's belief and their paths and also expect others to do the same to them. But this might not be possible with religions which do not offer mutual respect.

There is no concepts of False Gods and false prophets in Hinduism. It is more of a self-exploration of the mind(adhyatmik) than an organized religion. Hence the individual's experience(anubhava) is given respect, which again emphasizes respect to other religions. Though that does not prevent Hindus from engaging in philosophical debates with others. Adi Sankara is said to have vigorously debated Mimaamsa-vaadis & Buddhists. The debate is done with respect and not with contempt.

  • 1
    Shankara did not debate with philosophers of abhrahamic religions (mlechhas), only with Indian school of thoughts like Buddhists and mimasakas.
    – Be Happy
    Jun 19, 2014 at 4:31
  • 9
    Yes he didn't because at Sankara's time mlechhas(Abrahamics) didn't have a significant presence in India. He lived before Islamic invasions took place. Probably only Abrahamics who lived in India at that time were Syrian Christians. But they too were not a threat as they lived without interfering with Hindus.
    – Bharat
    Jun 20, 2014 at 5:29
  • 1
    The term mleccha is derogatory and should not be used.
    – zwiebel
    Mar 28, 2016 at 15:26
  • 1
    @zwiebel, from a Dharmic point of view, prophetism & other such 'belief based' ideologies are unrefined and harmful. People who follow them are mlecchas. Even Buddhists considered Muslims as mlecchas in the 9th century CE work called 'Kalachakra Tantra'.
    – Bharat
    Jun 6, 2016 at 17:24
  • @Bharat Isn't Vedic religions based on revelation granted to sages? If there are no prophets, then there can be no religion. Dec 23, 2022 at 22:23

The teachings of Ramakrishna And his disciple Swami Vivekananda , have explained how Hindus should treat people of other religions.

According to Hindu belief ,God is one but there are many ways of reaching Him .Just as the Ocean is one ,but there are many rivers falling into it from many different countries and many different directions.Ramakrishna himself practiced many faiths -- including Islam and Christianity -- and finally discovered that they lead to the same experience.

Theoretically Hinduism does not make any distinction between different faiths -- treating them like different rivers trying to reach the Ocean.

In practice , Hindus do make a distinction -- between rivers (faiths) that will one day end up in the Ocean (God) and rivers (faiths) which might end up in a Desert and dry out (Suicidal paths) .Use of Force and Violence is Justified in dealing with people following Anti-social and Suicidal paths --to make them Socially useful.This is described in the " Bhagavat Gita".

  • 1
    Swami Vivekananda also accepted Communism as a Modern Religion. Communists deny the existence of God , Soul and Life ater Death . But they assert the Reality of the Universe, Space and Time. This is like the path of Tantra ,where Prakriti ,Nature , the Mother Goddess is Worshipped.
    – b.sahu
    Mar 7, 2015 at 19:22

Hinduism is not as much of a "Religion" as a conglomerate of different philosophies mixed in. These philosophies include Samkhya shastra, Advaita vedanta, Dwaita vendanta, etc. and even some nastika schools like Buddhist and Jain philosophies.

The word Hindu in fact is used by foreigners to describe the people who stayed across the Sindhu river. So yes, throughout history, Hindu religion has been the one to mutually interact with other lots of other religions and cultures including the Greeks and Persians. Because of its outstanding religious tolerance and its own integrated (though diverse) social structure like the varana-ashram system, Hinduism has survived the onslaught of myriad of foreign invasions throughout its History.

  • 1
    Hinduism is an "open architecture" religion
    – Akhil
    May 3, 2018 at 17:36

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .