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I have seen in many answers here that a lot of people have this notion that Hinduism is a way of life (as opposed to a well-defined religion. I find this notion amusing because I think Hinduism is just opposite.

All the Abrahamic religions are ideal way of life religion because ethical and moral activities are governed by the scriptures like what to eat and how to pray, when to pray.

Do any Hindu scriptures say that Hinduism is a way of life?

  • There are rules in Hindu Scriptures too which say how to live, what to eat, how to eat etc., how to pray, what to pray. Why do you think Hinduism is not an ideal way of life and Abrahamic religions are? – Sarvabhouma Nov 22 '17 at 7:32
  • then what is unique about it? – user12262 Nov 22 '17 at 7:37
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    @SwamiVishwananda yes but this does not stop me from asking questions does it? – user12262 Nov 22 '17 at 8:21
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    Every aspect of life from rising in the morning till sleeping to eating to breathing for the individual has scriptural guidance in Hinduism. Every aspect of social, political, economic and liturgical, anthropological, philosophical, and spiritual aspects of life are well-defined in theory and practice in Hinduism. What makes you think it is not a way of life? In fact, it is not JUST a way of life. You probably see Hindus around who have chosen not to live life by scripture and that is what amuses you. You are misinformed. – user1195 Nov 22 '17 at 10:27
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    The word Hinduism is coined by foreigners and adopted by those in current India who forgot vedic lifestyle. Anybody looking for scriptural answers for such a questions might as well figure out what came first (chicken or egg)!. In fact Hinduism.stackexchange is the wrong name for this forum. Soon people will start quoting lines from Bollywood movies to justify our vedic scriptures. I see that happenning already in some ways. – Rama27 Nov 23 '17 at 6:57
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I find this notion amusing because I think Hinduism is just opposite.

Yes, what you think is right.

So, no Hindu scriptures say that Hinduism is just a way of life.

But. having said that i need a more precise definition of- way of life vs religion.

If way of life means something like - not much restrictions, plenty of options to choose from, no clear cut instructions as regards what to do and what not to do, how to lead a righteous life as per Dharma and what to be shunned as unrighteous, etc then that's not true.

All scriptures like the Smritis, PurAnas and the Tantras are full of SadAchAra principles and Dharma-Adharama Nirupunam (determination of what's righteous and what's not).

What to be eaten, what not be eaten, how to eat, which mantras to chant before commencing the act of eating etc are also laid down quite elaborately in the aforementioned scriptures.

So, the answer to your currently poised question is No. But there's no way of proving that no.

Also, upon seeing one of your comments under the question, it seemed to me, that you are of the impression, that Vedas don't talk about righteous-unrighteous, moral-immoral at all. Then, that is not true.

I have collected few mantras from the Atharva Veda:

The path of truth should be followed:

rtasya panthAm anupashya sAdhu

.....

O sAdhu, look (inside) and follow the path of truth.

AV 18.4.3

One should always speak the truth and not falsehood; one should speak pleasantly:

Satyam vakshyAmi na anrtam

...

I will speak truth always, not falsehood.

AV 4.9.7

Madhumatim vAcham udeyam

....

If you speak, speak only pleasantly.

AV 16.2.2

Money should only be earned by legal means:

RamantAm punyA lakshmir, yAh pApih tA aninasham

.....

The person enjoys who gets his money by honest means, the evil one who gets his money by evil means is surely going to be destroyed.

AV 7.115.4

Further mantras are there which can be produced to prove my point. So, DharmAdharma Nirupunam, SadAchAra principles are found in the Vedas too, but not as elaborately as they are found in some of the later-day scriptures.

NOTE- Whenever AV appears in my answer it denotes Atharva Veda.

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    Actually Rigveda does not talk about what is righteous and non-righteous. However, RV talks about what is truth (rita) and what is not truth (an-arita). So following Aryan folds in rita. Both Karma and Dharma encompass or constitutes rita which a specie follows as per his nature. Like a scorpion is going to bite you because that is his truth to bite someone. However since you are honest in your part I will accept your answer – user12262 Nov 23 '17 at 12:46
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Source

The term "Hindu" was mostly coined by non-Hindus to refer the people staying around "Sindhu" river. Orthodox scriptures may not be aware of the term "Hinduism", as they were written much before.

Supreme court of India has declared "Hinduism", as a "way of life", due to lack of reference for being a religion. Lately, Indian PM has reckoned the same sentiment.

Verdict: “We will not go into the larger debate as to what is Hindutva or what is its meaning. We will not re-consider the 1995 judgment and also not examine Hindutva or religion at this stage. At this stage, we will confine ourselves to the issue raised before us in the reference. In the reference, there is no mention of the word ‘Hindutva’. If anybody will show that there is a reference to the word ‘Hindutva’, we will hear him. We will not go into Hindutva at this stage,”

Similarities with other religions

"Hinduism" generally refers to collection of cultures, evolved in Indian subcontinent. It has several Dharma-shAstra-s like "Manusmriti" & its derivations like MahAbhArata's "AnusAsana Parva" or even modern day "ChAnakya-niti". Veda-s are the foundation of these scriptures.

Any Dharma-shAstra, basically describes a way of life. i.e. it shows what is Dharma (do-able duty). Similar localised Dharma-shAstra-s are found for Abrahamic religions like Judaism, Christianity, Islam also -- which describe what to do and what not do in their societies.

Still not a religion itself

religion = a particular system of faith and worship.

While other religions typically believe in certain singular aspect of God, the "Hinduism" (overall culture) defers on that. People are free to believe in whichever God/Guru they want and they are also free to believe in none of them. Yet they can be practising Hindu.

However Hinduism is surely collection of several religions, which are equivalent to Abrahamic religions. For example, Vaishnava-s believe in supremacy of Vishnu, Shaivaites in Shiva, Devi-worshippers in Devi-s and various other Ishta-Deva-s are also famous. There are numerous belief systems, which are separate religions.

Term "way of life" is not something special

Referring it as a "way of life" is neither a matter of pride nor a matter of disgrace. It's just a term. Since the number of devotees of numerous Indian faiths, are relatively smaller in size & vicinity, all these religions are collected under the umbrella of Hinduism.

Buddhism & Jainism are also similar to Hinduism in that way. Their core philosophies are not particular to any single God, but devotees create their own Gods/faiths out of these philosophies.

Once Islam, Christianity will start evolving like Hinduism, they may also become "way of life". For example, Islam is already having so many sects like Sunni, Shia, Wahabi, Sufi, Vohra, & many more...

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    this is just a misconception that only Hinduism has religions within religion, example Christianity had a schism in 9th century and which further divides into many sect like morons, born again Christians, Lutheran church etc. Same goes for Islam which was many sects like deoband, barlevi in India, and Salafism, Qutabism in Arab countries – user12262 Nov 22 '17 at 8:18
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    Also, I am not here for what some court or some pm had said. I am here for answers which has some reference from the scriptures – user12262 Nov 22 '17 at 8:20
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    @shanu Did you mean 'mormons' (not morons)? :P – sv. Nov 22 '17 at 17:42
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    @iammilind All Hindus believe in Vedas though. – Ikshvaku Nov 24 '17 at 14:14
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    @iammilind The sects that don't believe in the Vedas are nastika schools, which are not part of Hinduism. For example, Buddhism, Jainism, etc. Shudras couldn't read Vedas but could read Smritis, Puranas, epics, Agamas, etc, which re-iterate the teachings of the Vedas. Vedas indeed are not needed in Moksha, but to get to Moksha you need Vedas. – Ikshvaku Nov 24 '17 at 22:24

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