It is a fact that the term "Hindu" derives from the river "Sindh". But most of Hinduism's tenets and teachings derive from the Vedas. Why wasn't it named after the Vedas, but it's rather given a name derived from a river?

Can anyone shed light on this?

  • 2
    The word HINDU हिंदू....IS MADE UP FROM 2 WORDS. Himn from ahimsa and du from dur. The word is himndu................it means far from violence. Hindus try hard to remove violence from their thoughts, words and deeds.
    – user7783
    Commented Sep 26, 2016 at 20:06
  • 6
    @user7783 you have just fabricated unrelated terms to devise the meaning
    – user9392
    Commented Sep 21, 2017 at 9:15
  • 2
    If there is only one Pratik in your class, will anyone say 'Hey tall Pratik' ? No. If there are 2 Pratik's they say 'tall Pratik, short Pratik'. In olden days, there was only 1 religion or dharma, so no need to give it a special name, they just called it Dharma. When other religions popped up in Middle East/Western nations, then they needed a special name to call the original dharma, so they named in Hindu Dharma, since it was beyond Sindh river (over time Sindh became Hind) - hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/18006/…
    – ram
    Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 2:13
  • @user7783 why does Himn corresponds to ahimsa and not himsa when it starts with Him itself ? Where did a came from ? Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 8:13

9 Answers 9


Hindus didn't call themselves Hindu. It was the name given by Islamic invaders. To them, everyone living beyond the river Sindhu were Hindus including Buddhists, Jains & animistic tribals. Sindhu becomes Hindu in Persian and Indus in English. And the land of these people beyond Sindhu was called Hindustan.

To the native, i.e ancestors of today's Hindus, their religion was just called Dharma. Dharma came in many flavors like Sanathana Dharma with its various sects, Buddha Dharma & Jain Dharma with their sects.

For more detailed analysis refer to Dr. Koenraad Elst's book Who is a Hindu?

  • Yes it seems to be broken. You could search the net for the book's name and author and there could be free legal copies elsewhere. In the mean time I will try to find an alternative link.
    – Bharat
    Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 19:24
  • 3
    @Bharat Just use the Internet Archive: web.archive.org/web/20151024002920/http://voiceofdharma.org/… Commented Jan 27, 2016 at 22:55
  • 2
    "It was the name given by Islamic invaders" - this is inaccurate. This answer has it right - the term Hindu was coined by the Persians circa 500 BC - predating the advent of Islam by a good 1000 years
    – iruvar
    Commented Jul 6, 2020 at 14:43
  • Darius was not islamic, islam is only 1450 yrs old. If you say it was given by them then the question is what it was called before ? Read my answer for it's origin hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/56762/2489 Commented Nov 16, 2023 at 8:16

The word Hindu was originally coined by the ancient Persians to describe the people living east of the Sindhu, or Indus River.

The term spread westward, and eventually it became popularized throughout the world. It was only with the invasion of India, first by the Muslims and then by the British that the term Hindu came into use in India.

Prior to that, the practitioners of the native religion of India called their religion, Sanãtan Dharma – the Eternal Religion. It was known as eternal, because the Truths revealed by it are true today, were true before this universe existed, and will be true even after the destruction of the universe.

Reference - Hinduism Part 1 & 2

  • No one knows the religion on Indus Valley Civilization as we cannot read their inscription so far, claiming it was called Sanãtan Dharma before holds no ground. Sanãtan Dharma only came in bhagvadGita Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 10:57

The word Hindu is eternal. Modern history says Persians can't able to pronounce Sindhu, they pronounced as "Hindu"as there is no S in their language. But logic is still striking, as there is a S in the word Persia.We can still understand that the word is still Persian, but not Perhian. And the word is not Hindhu, but Hindu.

Meru Tantra, a 4th century Sanskrit work comments on the word Hindu as, Hindu is the one who discards the mean and the ignoble.

Brihaspati Agama

It says:

Himalayam samarabhya yavadindu sarovaram |

TaM devanirmitam desha hindusthAnam prachakshate ||

Which means:

"Starting from Himalaya up to Indu waters is this God-created country Hindustan"

Brhan Naradiya Purana

It says:

Himalayam samarabhya yavat bindusarovaram

Hindusthanamiti qyatan hi antaraksha-rayogatah

Which can be translated in English as:

"The country between Himalayas and Bindu Sarovar (Cape Commorin Sea) is Hindusthan derived by combining the first letter 'Hi' of Himalayas and the last compound letter 'ndu' of the word Bindu."

Madhava DigVijaya

"One who meditates on Omkar as the primary sound, believes in Reincarnation and rebirth, respects cow to the most,and hate evil can be called as Hindu"

  • 2
    The term "hindu" has just been created to point to the Indian spiritual beliefs, and it became "Hinduism". Whereas, Hinduism itself cannot be called just one specific religion. And 'Hindu' word seems to come from no Sanskrita roots, and ancient Scriptures do not even contain the word. But a great answer.
    – user9392
    Commented Oct 2, 2017 at 18:12
  • 1
    Can you point the reference to Brihaspati Agama, Brhan Naradiya Purana & Madhava DigVijaya with the timeline it was written + author ? Which is important to understand weather it was Persian or us who used it first. Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 16:03

Actually, there is no word like "hindu" in our ancient scriptures and Vedas. One of the reason is answered above perfectly by our community members. Another reason is our dharma is actually called as "hyndava dharma" (hy as in high). This includes all the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads. For that matter any Hindu day-to-day living is Hyndava Dharma only.

  • @sv. HYDAVA DHARMA is vernacular word for Hinduism (English) especially in Malayalam and Telugu.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Sep 27, 2016 at 14:17
  1. HINDU: “HI” for himalaya & “INDU” for Indu (Indian Ocean)/sagar/hind mahasagar.

    In ancient india the people of this land, from himalaya to ocean are called Hindu. at those time all are of same religion. i.e., the ancient way of life in these lands as per Vedas the sanatan dharma, the seekers of truth.

  2. Even before Mohammed and Jesus, the word Hindu was used in the sense of gentle, beautiful, amiable, adorned, rightful and killer of enemies.

  3. When Alexandra came to India, he had the desire to visit Hindukush which means Hindkoot Parvat.

  4. In one of the scripture of Parsis (Zoroastrians), ‘Shaatir’, Hindu word is mentioned.

  5. In Avesta, there are so many Vedic words which is hundreds of years old before Alexandar in which Hindu word is used.

  6. The city Balakh was ealier called Hindwar

  7. ‘Sa’ and ‘Ha’ are similar according to Rigveda and if we look at it from this perspective, then according to Bhavishya Puran, for Sindhusthan or Hindusthan or Hindustan, this word is used and this is called the pefect country of Aryas.

  8. In Kalika Purana, ‘Hindvo’ word is used, In ‘Shargandhar Paddhati’, Hindvo word is used but calling themselves ‘Ved-margiya’, people treading on path of Vedas were called Hindu’.

  9. Hindu is the name for Aryas, ‘Indu’ and ‘Sindhu’ were considered synonyms, both are Sanskrit words.

  10. If we follow ‘Brahaspati Agama’, then the area is also identified. In ‘Brahspati Agama’, very clearly, Hindustan word is used.

  11. In Aashvamedhika Parva of Mahabharata, the ‘Aryavarta’ only is called Hindusthan or Hindustan.

  12. As per Brahaspati, one who is virtuos, who remains away from violence but capable of destroying anarchic elements, who is protector of Vedas and cattle, that person is Hindu.

  13. This should also be understood that in ‘Ramkosha’ and ‘Parijaatharan’ drama also, Hindu word is used.

  14. An expansive definition of Hindus is available as per ‘Madhaviya digvijaya’ – The person who has accepted seed mantra of Vedas ‘Om’ as his mantra, who believes in rebirth, who worships cow, who worships Ganga and as per Indian tradition, believes Vedic rishis as his Guru and is capable of killing the violent animals and alongwith are Udbhashak of Kshatriya Dharma, those are called Hindu.

  15. If we ponder, then in Rigveda too, Hindu word is used, in it, ‘Hi’ and ‘ndu’ both are used in the sense of cow-worhippers.

That’s how, I explained through many examples, that it is not a derogatory work given by Muslims and infact, before Muslims, Alexandra came to India, even before him Hindu word is used in Zoroastrians Scriptures. In the scriptures written by Ved Vyasa, in repositories like ‘Vividh Medani’, in Puranas like Kalika Purana, Hindu word is used. And there is an excellent way to verify its meaning.

Please everyone check it for every ancient land which was connected to India through trade or through spread of religion, science, maths, technology, medicine, or any way. check it by yourself in Google Translation, type one side india and on otherside choose different languages and then read & hear their pronunciation there at the option below. Hence, in this situation, Sindhu and Indu are considered synonyms.

  1. Greeks at the time of Alexander the Great at 330 BCE, Megasthenes call his book about India “indica” (इंडिका/इन्दूका/हिन्दूका) which came from the root word INDU/INDUS (इन्दू/इन्दुस्), which is deformation of word HINDU/HINDUS (हिन्दू/हिन्दुस्).

  2. Chinese even today call India as “Yìndù (इन्दू)”/“HINDU (हिन्दू)”.

  3. Japanese call India even today “Indo (इंदो)”.

  4. In Arabic, India still called as “alhind” but its pronunciation is (अल हिन्दू )”.

  5. In korean they call us “Indooo (इंदो)”.

Like today, the political parties are called, BJP (Bhartitya Janta Party), SP (Samajwadi Party), BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party), etc, in the same way, according to those times, in Rigveda also, for a cow-worshipper, the word Hindu is used. In Atharvveda, it is used as it is.

So, the word Hindu is Vedic, ancient, available in dictionaries and foreigners keep calling them Hindu only.




  • 1
    @sarvabhouma thanks for the edit. This was my first answer. But I will take care of mistakes in future. I request you to see my second answer too "Why are Hindus vegetarian?" Link: hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/34218/18023
    – user18023
    Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 8:11
  • 1
    "In Aashvamedhika Parva of Mahabharata, the 'Aryavarta' only is called Hindusthan or Hindustan." - which chapter/verse is this? You can read the Aswamedha Parva here. Commented Apr 5, 2019 at 19:57
  • @sv. Why are you only limiting yourself to Mahabharat verses. I will suggest you to read "garv se kaho hum hindu hain" book written by Puri Shankaracharya. He wrote everything in it. It's just a summary points of that book. And I don't have any doubt on Shankaracharya or on his credibility.
    – user18023
    Commented Apr 6, 2019 at 1:02
  • Nothing you said so far proves anything as it lacks reference, It's like in my liberary the 4th column 3rd row has a book which proves it's origin, but i don't know hen it's written. Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 16:13

My Answer is straight forward and Simple and Correct : हिन्दू धर्म वास्तव में हिन्दू शब्द की व्याख्या है

हीनानि गुणानि दूषयति इति हिंदु । अर्थात हीन गुणों का नाश करनेवाला हिन्दू है ।

इसका अर्थ यह है कि हिन्दू निरंतर उन्नति का विचार करनेवाली प्रवृत्ति है; इसलिए हिन्दू धर्म सर्वसमावेशक है ।

भारतवर्ष को प्राचीन ऋषियों ने हिन्दुस्थान नाम दिया था, जिसका अपभ्रंश हिन्दुस्तान है ।

Source: https://www.sanatan.org/hindi/a/32208.html

  • 1
    I think the question is about "origin of hindu term", not "meaning" of it.
    – sbharti
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 2:13
  • Plz add reference, who wrote it and when it's written as history needs events to be ordered in timeline. the same can be written as कृपया सन्दर्भं योजयन्तु, केन लिखितं कदा च लिखितम् | यथा इतिहासे घटनानां क्रमबद्धता समयरेखायां आवश्यकी भवति। Commented Oct 11, 2023 at 16:10

The word Hindu has been a subject of great debate and controversy for a long time with different sections of people having different opinions on it, most of which are faulty. The legendary Shankaracharya of Puri Govardhan Peeth Shri Nischalanand Swarasatti wrote an entire book on the subject however that book is unavailable to most people due to which the confusion remains. Some say the term Hindu was given to us as a sing of contempt and most others who tried to rectify the mistake created another faulty theory who's basis stayed the same that foreigners coined the term Hindu both of which are wrong. The very objective of this article is to clear the confusion and vile propaganda surrounding the term Hindu.

Contrary to popular propaganda that Hindu is a foreign word given to us by foreign people, the word hindu is a part of our scriptures itself. The present Shankaracharya of the Puri Govardhan Peeth who is the 145th Shankaracharya of the Puri Govardhan Peeth and an expert in scriptures, ancient Sanskrit and Veidic mathematics writes in his derivation of the word Hindu that the word hindu was present in the scriptures and derives it from the slokas of the Atharva Veda Book 9 Hymn 20 verse 5 as follows: The Mantra is

 हिं कृण्वन्तीवसुपत्नी वसूनांवत्समिच्छन्ती मनसाभ्यागात् ।
 दुहामश्विभ्यां पयो अध्येयं सा वर्धतां महते सौभगाय ।। (अथर्व ९.१०.५ )

In this mantra, the primitive हि is used in the primitive हिं- कृण्वन्तीवसुपत्नी and the latter दु दुहामश्विभ्यां पयो is a primitive word consisting of they make the word हिन्दु, A cow devotee.

The same has been stated by Pannini who has been one of the most ancient scholars of Sanskrit grammar and has written in details on the subject far before any of the abrahamic cults who are said to have given us the term Hindu were even born stating in Aṣṭādhyāyī which is one of the most authoritative book on Sanskrit grammar in Book 3 Chapter 3 verse 7 and Book 6 Chapter 7 verse 52 that the letters श ष स and ह are used interchangeably in many words especially ह often replaces श ष and स.

Live example of the same can be found from the most ancient and authoritative Hindu scripture the Rig Veda; in Rig Veda Book 10 Hymn 75 verse 7 which has the word "Sarasvati", in the same Rig Veda Book 2 Hymn 23 verse 6 the word "Harasvati" is present; there are many more live examples of this fact and all evidences point out at the fact that Hindu is a Veidic word and not something given to us by foreigners. The Rig Veda has also multiple mentions of the word "Sindhu" and as per the rules of grammar laid down by Panini "Hindu" is just another pronunciation of Hindu.

The Bhavishya Puran is mentioned in the list of authentic Purans as per all the lists made on this matter. As per the Bhavishya Puran Pratisarga Parv Khand 3 Chapter 2 Hindu are those people who follow the Vedas and other scriptures. Shankara Digvijaya which is considered the most authoritative biography on Adi Shankaracharya as its contents had been expounded to its writer by the Shankaracharyas of the four Mathas also has mentioned the word Hindu and the text Madhava Digvijaya also has mentioned the term Hindu defining it as one who accepts Om as mool mantra, Vedas as authority and cow protection as duty. Many other authentic scriptures such as the Merutantram and the Brihaspati Agama holds the same definition of the word Hindu.

From references from authentic and authoritative scriptures and manuals it is clear that the term Hindu is a Veidic term often mentioned either directly or indirectly in the scriptures and the available dates used for the referred scriptures points out at the fact that we had the term Hindu much before any invader had ever come on our soil let alone Islam. Even after so many proves if one is still foolish enough to think the term Hindu was given by foreigners the person is simply under the influence of popular propaganda.


  • 1
    This would be an even better answer if it contained literal quotations of the referenced works (using ">" markdown). Commented Sep 29, 2021 at 13:06
  • This is stupidity you can't cherry pick letters and merge them just for your narrative , you can also read पयो as asking for drink then. ` हिं कृण्वन्तीवसुपत्नी` means Him krinvantivasupatni and दुहामश्विभ्यां means We milked the horses none of them corresponds to the origin of word "Hindu". This is a conspiracy to by Indian media to root the origin of word and Shankaracharya is no historian. Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 11:09

There was a Persian king Darius 550 – 486 BCE, archeologist have found gold tablets in Apadana palace which is written in Old Persian cuneiform:
enter image description here

Darius the great king, king of kings, king of countries, son of Hystaspes, an 
Achaemenid. King Darius says: This is the kingdom which I hold, from the Sacae who 
are beyond Sogdia, to Kush, and from Sind (Old Persian: 𐏃𐎡𐎭𐎢𐎺, romanized: 
Hidauv, locative of Hiduš, i.e. "Indus valley") to Lydia (Old Persian: Spardâ) – 
[this is] what Ahuramazda, the greatest of gods, bestowed upon me. May Ahuramazda 
protect me and my royal house!

— DPh inscription of Darius I in the foundations of the Apadana Palace

He has used the word 𐏃𐎡𐎯𐎢𐏁 that is the only first known use of the word. If you read more you will find the word India also was a mispronunciation by the Greeks under Darius/Xerxse.


Hindu can be pronounced in English as Hin Thoor(partial visarga :) meaning not a full human of Godly nature. DEVYADHAANAVA VIBHAAGA is effective on such human to ward off bad spirits away from Central Universe.

Hence Hindu becomes Godly after 1 or more janma and attaches to Central Universal Cosmos. It does not mean Hindu is inferior but it means goodness solver far from the " core of goodness".

Hence to be HINDU is very difficult. Those born as HINDU only can. Others have multiple opinions on "Good & bad"

Hin is from Ancient sanskrit root Hith Thoo is from Ancient sanskrit root far from Earth

HINTHOOR means those who were descendants of civilisation to appreciate(feel good) structured living forms created by God.

God created structured living forms Aaranyaan Pashubhihi Sa Saa Graamyaan cha to extend Divinity in a very big universe (VISHWAANDAM VISHWASAMBHUVAM)

You must log in to answer this question.

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