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?
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?
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.
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.
Himalayam samarabhya yavadindu sarovaram |
TaM devanirmitam desha hindusthAnam prachakshate ||
"Starting from Himalaya up to Indu waters is this God-created country Hindustan"
Brhan Naradiya Purana
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."
"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"
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.
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.
Even before Mohammed and Jesus, the word Hindu was used in the sense of gentle, beautiful, amiable, adorned, rightful and killer of enemies.
When Alexandra came to India, he had the desire to visit Hindukush which means Hindkoot Parvat.
In one of the scripture of Parsis (Zoroastrians), ‘Shaatir’, Hindu word is mentioned.
In Avesta, there are so many Vedic words which is hundreds of years old before Alexandar in which Hindu word is used.
The city Balakh was ealier called Hindwar
‘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.
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’.
Hindu is the name for Aryas, ‘Indu’ and ‘Sindhu’ were considered synonyms, both are Sanskrit words.
If we follow ‘Brahaspati Agama’, then the area is also identified. In ‘Brahspati Agama’, very clearly, Hindustan word is used.
In Aashvamedhika Parva of Mahabharata, the ‘Aryavarta’ only is called Hindusthan or Hindustan.
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.
This should also be understood that in ‘Ramkosha’ and ‘Parijaatharan’ drama also, Hindu word is used.
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.
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.
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).
Chinese even today call India as “Yìndù (इन्दू)”/“HINDU (हिन्दू)”.
Japanese call India even today “Indo (इंदो)”.
In Arabic, India still called as “alhind” but its pronunciation is (अल हिन्दू )”.
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.
“No Indians described themselves as Hindus before the fourteenth
century. In the 18th century, the European merchants and colonists
began to refer* to the followers of Indian religions collectively as
Hindus.The British borrowed the word ‘Hindu’ from India, gave it a new
meaning and significance, [and] reimported it into India as a reified
phenomenon called Hinduism."
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