What are the orthodox Hindu views on Mohamed?

The banter (at least from my POV) on the other thread has got me thinking. What are the orthodox Hindu views on mohamed, assuming there are any in literature?

Do orthodox Hindus believe mohamed was just another mleccha (barbarian) with tall claims (like the Orthodox Jews do)?

Or imbue him with some “spirituality”, like a guru but not divinely inspired, ie mohamedanism as another of the various forms of bhakti cults?

Or actually an avatāra / āhvāyaka of īśvara (supreme God)?

I do not know much, if anything, about this topic and will be happy if people can comment on what they think/know of the views of Hindu orthodoxy are on Mohamed.


87 Replies to “What are the orthodox Hindu views on Mohamed?”

    1. seems the same purana mentions Jesus (Ishaputra / son of god). Any one know how he is portrayed ?

      For a more charitable view of Mohammed…

      Rasul panth is a bhakti tradition term for sunni muslims.

      Suggesting Mohammed was viewed during this period as a saintly person or guru with a panth. Similar to satpanth (ishameli), nanak panth (sikh), terapanth (jain), and various hindu panths.

      1. Sumit:

        “seems the same purana mentions Jesus (Ishaputra / son of god). Any one know how he is portrayed ?”


        “Rasul panth is a bhakti tradition term for sunni muslims.”
        I thought it refers to Muraqabah Sufi Irfan muslims. Why doesn’t it apply to Muraqabah Sufi Irfan Shia?

        “Suggesting Mohammed was viewed during this period as a saintly person or guru with a panth. Similar to satpanth (ishameli), nanak panth (sikh), terapanth (jain), and various hindu panths.”


  1. Hindu’s don’t really think much about Muhammed at all from a spiritual perspective. They probably roll him into the same group as Jesus and all the other non-Indian deities/figures that they show “respect” for but probably don’t fully understand.

    Having said that I would say that conservative Hindu views of Islam and Muhammed have changed over the course of the last several decades. The conservative view used to be that Islam was likely a great religion but Muslims implemented it incorrectly or that they as a people were the problem.

    Now that has flipped. As people learn more about Islam directly (and specifically what it says about polytheistic religions like Hinduism), conservatives view Islam as being the problem and Muslims as people who are influenced by a bad ideology.

    I would say that until recently majority of people really didn’t even quite appreciate what a term like ‘La ilaha illallah’ really meant and what it meant vis a vis Hinduism.

  2. I don’t think I qualify as orthodox but I can give a general perspective.

    Most Hindus are reactionary in their approach to other religions.

    If you go to average person even if conservative or as some might say ‘bhakt’ and say I follow a X religion and we consider Mr. Y divine/ prophet/one true god etc. He/She will most probably say good for you. Hardly will they try to change your mind / beliefs or tell you are praying to the wrong god

    If you were to add that hey we consider Hindus to be nice & helpful people, you may also extract some favor.
    After all Jews and parsis lived here for so long without any fuss under no pressure to convert to dominant religion.

    On other hand making fun of Gods, Cow worship etc are met with similar mud slinging which follows tit for tat principle without any aim to convert other person’s opinion or ‘win’ him/her over to their side.

    As for Mohammed, frankly speaking while growing up I didn’t know what was all the fuss between Jews , Christians and Muslims. Revisions of same story with some changes along the way. Like a bollywood movie ‘inspired’ from Hollywood. For sure they change some parts to appeal to the local taste and add some songs but largely the story remains same. Over years I have come to think there is more nuance to it than that.

    One major difference however was that Mohammed said I am the last prophet. He seems to be the intelligent guy making sure to honour the prophets before him and making sure guys in future don’t use the same trick. He had full idea that someone will eventually come up with this and tried to safeguard his ‘flock’

    1. The oldest Jewish populations of India one on the Konkan coast (Bene Israel) and one from the Malabar coast (Cochin Jews), formed endogenous communities with the their areas that were essentially treated as just another caste with its own religious customs. The third Jewish Community (Baghdadi) emigrated to India in the 18th and 19th century from Iraq and Anatolia and were urban.

      Who Are the Jews of India? by Nathan Katz

      The Genetics of Bene Israel from India Reveals Both Substantial Jewish and Indian Ancestry

      The genetic history of Cochin Jews from India

  3. dear pakistani bros. this thread is a blatant bait. dont fall for it.

    something tell me that it will ultimately end up in a detailed discussion of the happenings in muhammad’s bedroom, as all threads on islam do.

  4. FYI not really a bait for Pakistanis as I am not asking them (or at least the Muslims amongst them) to comment.

    I would urge them to not engage at all but read these comments. A chance to understand what Hindus think of their beloved prophet. And I am especially interested in actual orthodox views, esp if there’s a theological component to it.

    (Needless to add, I will be heavy handed as usual with all actual trolling/baiting comments)

  5. Hindus conservatism has now many shades than earlier periods –

    1. Extreme Hindutva & Far Right Hindus – Hate non Hindu gods esp. because of ‘conversion’ drives. They don’t understand theology nor Gods & messenger/avatars.

    2. Conservative Hindus – Mostly Upper caste esp. Brahmins, interested in theological arguments, discuss inter-religious dialogue etc. These groups populate International & national media and use their privilege to either become ‘Woke’ & win int. patronage or use their local connections to move ahead in life.

    3.. Religious/Normative Hindu – Most Hindus would fall in this category like all other groups they just want to live & let live. Religiously interested in following rituals & just go about everyday living.

    That’s how i would divide Hindus & their interpretations and engagement with Others.

    Actually Hindus have historically been less aware of Identity issues than other groups & this is an aspect which is yet to be studied in academia in any substantial way.

    1. There is other problem too which is related to Identity – Hindus, Orientalism & Subaltern.

      This is related to the identities & politics of – Dalits & Tribals.

      This is related to the first ‘group’ of Hindus who have basically involved themselves with these issues since the earliest periods of Identity politics in subcontinent & they are hence are always in reactionary mode because they formed as the reaction to colonial shock & South Asian Islamic politics.

  6. The word orthodox does not have an equivalent in any of the Indian languages. Orthodoxy is a Greek construct catering to rigid Christian doctrines. There is simply no equivalence in traditions of Bharat. If one were to analogize, there is no concept of North/South/East/West at the two Poles.

    The question might be better rephrased as “What are Sanatana’s view of M?” Gandhi tried to assimilate M into the Indic fold by looking solely into his qualities of perseverance. But it was always couched within the end goal of communal amity – a typical Baniya transaction obsessed with results. He failed terribly. Before Gandhi, Akbar tried to impose some measure of sycretism and Dara Shikoh too. Aurangzeb, He of the intellectual squalor, put a full stop to all these initiatives. Perhaps the better question would be – What is an Orthodox Mohammedan’s view of Dharma, Atman or Ahimsa? The answer, one is afraid, much too petty to discuss

  7. From an orthodox perspective, he is a persona non grata. This is different from political views which may change over time. basically Hindus don’t have a view on Prophet Mohammed as much as Muslims

  8. No orthodox hindu has time to dissect Mohammad or Jesus. They are too engulfed in their own mess. And they have enough God-men/saint/religious figure to fall for.

  9. There is a book called Rangila Rasul by Arya Samaj that is banned in India, Pak, BD. It’s not Purāṇa or something, so maybe doesn’t count as ‘orthodox’ view but it’s still interesting.

    1. Arya Samaj was a reactionary sect and I think only major ‘Hindu’ attempt to convert people back to Indic religions. Only major ‘Hindu’ attempt to spit as much vitriol on the Abrahamics as they spit on us.
      Arya Samaj’s views can not be called ‘orthodox’.

  10. First you need to define the term ‘orthodox Hinduism’. I don’t know which branch of Hinduism can safely hold this title.
    If we take literal meaning of the word ‘orthodox’ which means followers of oldest ideas, traditions and ceremonies then I think Vedic Brahmanism can be considered ‘orthodox’ branch of the ‘Hinduism’. Actually Vedic Brahmanism is most organised form of the religion in India but most of Hindus are blissfully unaware of it.

    The OP has used the terms like ‘avatars’, ‘saints’, ‘bhakti’ etc in the context of ‘orthodox Hinduism’ but these terms are not part of most of established ‘orthodox’ branches of Hinduism. Most of these terms appear only in Puranic ‘pop’ version of Hinduism.

    A practicing ‘orthodox’ brahmin scholar would find idea of ‘avatars’ as much ridiculous as idea of ‘messenger of Allah’.
    But they would know that only harm books/legends of avatars can do is imparting a few superstitions in the mind of it’s followers while ‘book of Allah’ has potential of doing much more damage to psyche of it’s followers.

  11. Traditional Hinduism is an assimilative religion and not a proselytizing religion. Unlike Islam or Christianity which characterizes other Gods as false Gods, Hinduism does not seek to do disprove any other spiritual paths. Therefore, traditional Hindus are indifferent to Mohammad.
    Hindutva is a political movement that has realized that Islam is much more of a political ideology than a spiritual path. Islamist ideology is responsible for a lot of violence around the world and in India. Islam’s religious and political dimensions are enmeshed and the violent political dimension needs to be resisted and countered as per Hindutva. In the process of countering these proselytizing Abrahamic faiths, Hindutva has become Abrahamic to some extent i.e. it has created a political consciousness among Hindus which was historically largely an apolitical identity. The collateral benefit of this political identity is a reduction in caste consciousness. This is why Hindutva has a powerful OBC PM. In future also Hindutva maybe led by such OBCs who are unapologetic about wearing religion on their sleeves

  12. Can someone please write details about Hindu religion? What are the basic beliefs?What are the main scriptures?What happens after death?What is the opinion of majority Hindu scholars?
    Do most Indians really believe in Hinduism or is it just a cultural thing?

    I would also like to know about Hindu black magic and devil worship.

    1. Hinduism according to me is a meta-religion whose framework allows you to seek your own personal spiritual path and conceive of the transcendental in any way that appeals to you. For this reason, the defining aspects of Hinduism for each person may vary. You may get different answers from different people. There are cultural/lifestyle dimensions to it based on diverse local Indic traditions.

    2. There is no concept of ‘devil’ in Indian religions. Some deviants might have practiced something like ‘black magic’ but again the concepts of ‘black magic’, ‘white magic’ or ‘magic’ itself is not part of any Hindu ‘orthodox’ scripture.
      Practicing ‘Hindus’ like me who have actually tried to dive into treasure of Hindu scriptures, can’t give space to outright superstitions in our lives.

      When I was young I used to literally kick supposedly ‘black magic’ infused objects to dispel fear of my friends and save them from psychological harm. I’m still alive and doing well.😅

    3. Long time lurker. First time commentator.
      “Hinduism” or “Hindu Religion” is how a group of people following practices that are not Abrahamic in nature have come to be practically defined. Traditionally, we refer to it as Sanatana Dharma or Knowledge Systems. Throughout this post I refer to this as Indic Knowledge Systems (IKS).

      Where I have used Samskrita words with English translations in brackets, the English translations are the nearest meaning.

      The prayojanam (goal/utility) of all IKS, including Vedanta, Buddhism and Yoga is giving an individual tools for their Moksha. The definition of Moksha and the means to attain it differs according to the different darshanas (IKS).

      Darshanas are divided into 2 broad categories- Aastika and Nastika.

      Nastika darshanas – are those that do not accept the Vedas as pramanam (source of valid knowledge). They are Carvaka, Ajivika, Boudha and Jaina. I haven’t studied the vaadas (theories and posits) of any of these schools and thus cannot provider further explanation.

      Aastika darshanas- are those that accept the Vedas as pramanam (source of valid knowledge). They are Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta.

      I do not know what Samkhya defines Moksha as.

      In Yoga, Moksha = Samadhi (a state where thoughts and individuality cease to exist) and the means to attain it are through yama, niyama, pranayama, pratyahara, asana, dharana, dhyana and then samadhi – the ashtanga yoga.

      Nyaya + Vaisheshika are often combined as they are similar and complementary to each other. Moksha is defined as Aatyantika Dukha Dhvamsa (destruction of Dukham). This darshana defines Dukham as experience that is universally unwanted, loosely translated as sorrow or attachment. You can attain this moksha by accurately understanding the nature of the physical world.

      Mimamsa- Moksha is Svarga. Svarga is defined by Mimamsakas as a state of equilibrium where neither sukha nor dukha exist. There is more nuance to this, which I have heard of but am yet to study. The means to attain moksha is through performing the duties, including yagyas (fire rituals) as prescribed by the Vedas strictly. Mimamsakas can be termed atheists i.e the “god” prescribed as the beneficiary of a yagya viz Indira, Varuna etc are considered by them as just words and nothing more. Any stories about “gods” are Arthavaada or advertisements to induce an individual to perform their duty with dedication and not facts.

      Vedanta- I am studying Advaita Vedanta and thus will define Vedanta here in that sense. Moksha means Ajnana Nivritti (destruction of the cause and result of Maya or veil of ignorance). This veil has hidden the fact of Ekameva Brahmam Advitiyam i.e There is nothing but parabrahmam (the only reality, not to be confused with the “creator god” brahma). The swaroopam (form) of this brahmam is sat (eternal existence), chit (eternal consciousness) and ananda (eternal bliss). This means that other than this entity of brahmam, nothing exists or everything else that seems real is but is a distortion caused by Maya (ignorance). How does one attain Ajnana Nivritti?- through sadhana chathustayam (impulse control practices, detachment, understanding what is objective reality & what isn’t and thirst for moksha) leading to chittashuddhi (mental equilibrium), then doing sarvakarmasanyasa (giving up the duties prescribed for you by the Vedas) then doing Sravanam (hearing and understanding the Upanishads), Mananam (testing the theories of Brahmam there against logical counterarguments) and Nidhidhyasanam (internalising the principles there that have passed the test of logic and reasoning). After this, there will be a cataclysmic moment when the veil lifts and you realise that you are not “another” from this brahmam but the brahmam itself and that there has never been any duality.

      The theories and posits outlined in each of these schools have been challenged by other schools throughout time by the tradition of Vaakyartha, which continues to this day where these are learnt in the guru-shishya parampara (traditional learning). Theories and posits that run afoul of logic and reasoning are rejected and those that do not are accepted and internalised even if coming from a darshana that you don’t propound.

      Since the emphasis of IKS is on the individual and not concerned with “God(s)” as is understood generally, there is no question of any theism- mono or poly. Since the emphasis is on the individual seeking truth and becoming that, there is indifference to what others are doing or believing in. This could be the source of indifference of Hindus towards other religious practices. Every cultural practice, form of worship, story, epic, or puranas in “Hinduism” is for the purpose of pushing an individual further in their path to Moksha.

      Apologies for the long post- I’ve just tried to give a broad overview here. It still does not do justice to the real depth of the IKS.

  13. Speaking only for myself (as a practicing, politically right-of-center Hindu), I simply see Muhammad as a faraway conqueror. I obviously don’t buy the revelation or prophet stuff hahaha.

    1. Curious about Indian diaspora in the US in general.
      What does your practice involve?

      Also, hows your marriage search so far?

  14. I’m no expert in Hindu theology, but I was raised in a very traditionalist way. From what I observed, the Abrahamic religions are completely (and silently) ignored by traditional Hindus; they are not considered to be challenges to one’s worldview, but rather an irrelevance or a fad.

    I think this is because Hinduism has its own dogma. We may not have a prophet who uttered the last true word for eternity, but we believe everything sprung from the Vedas. Therefore, we have no problem with accepting Mahavira or Buddha (the latter included in the pantheon of the “Dasha Avatars” because he supposedly acknowledged the wisdom of the Vedas). Different groups of Hindus around the subcontinent may subscribe to different deities, but all of those deities have been coopted into the Vedic worldview and pantheon. But it’s not possible to coopt Levantine nomads who can’t ever be plausibly linked to the Vedic gods. Nor, for that matter, Zarathustra.

    (Like I said, I’m far from being an expert on religious matters, so I may be uttering nonsense, but please avoid nitpicking.)

    1. I’m not nitpicking but want to set the record straight based on my understanding:
      The Rig Veda mentions that all Gods have a place around the sacred fire. It does not call out specific Gods. So theoretically, all Gods may include Zarathustra or the Norse Gods. There is an interesting talk by Sanjeev Sanyal on the history of the Rig Veda. Bharata which was one of the Vedic tribes won battles with 10 other tribes. However, they did not want to impose their Gods on the defeated tribes. So they invited all the defeated tribes to compile the wisdom of their sages and this composition became the Rig Veda. In fact, key verses were composed by sages of the defeated tribes. Therefore, the Rig Veda emphasized the place of all Gods. This set the assimilative, pluralist template of Hinduism and Indic civilization as a whole. We all signed up to become Bharatiya tribe, which was an open assimilative template where all ideas can come together and be debated etc.
      There are 6 traditions that rejected the epistemological authority of the Vedas including Buddhism, Jainism, Carvaka, Ajivika and Ajñana. But they are very much accepted as part of the larger Dharmic community.
      Lastly, many Gods of the Vedas have lower status in comparison to Puranic Gods. Hinduism evolved continuously as certain other Gods which had more appeal took over.

    2. numinous

      “..but we believe everything sprung from the Vedas”

      it is erroneous to think that there is core canon of hinduism which is universally accepted by all hindus. this is basically an attempt to fit the framework of semitic religions on to hinduism.

      to give you just one example, every single muslim, even a total illiterate one, knows about quran. OTOH, there are literally millions of illiterate hindus who can’t even name a single veda, let alone believing that everything sprang from vedas.

      there are many sects of hindus who give a wide birth to vedas, if not outright reject them. (bishnois of rajasthan for e.g.). in fact agrarian castes all over india limit their religious practices to worshiping their family deities. however, they are still firmly within the orbit of hinduism.

      hinduism is basically an aggregation of religious practices that developed within the cultural boundaries of india over the course of history. it is for the same reason there is nothing like an “orthodox” hinduism. there never was a common set of religious practices which was universally followed in any substantial geographic area. even within a given geographic area the religious practices of hindus varies greatly. ( for e.g., hinduism practiced by tamil brahmins was and is visibility different from that of dravidian castes).

      by far the most accurate description of hinduism, and a great discourse of comparative religions i have read is by a writer Jeyamohan. here is a link to an article written by him. i do suggest you take out some time and read it fully. i promise it will be eye opening.


      1. ” hinduism practiced by tamil brahmins was and is visibility different from that of dravidian castes”

        Well the real question is, are the other Dravidian castes Hindus? 😛

        1. Maybe you meant to make a sarcastic comment or joke.

          If one asks the dravidian party one may get various answers to this question but if a neutral observer is sent to any of the worship places in the south, he will most certainly report back them as hindu.

  15. Hinduism is probably the only religion that allows you to seek any path towards seeking the truth:
    Monism, Dualism, Agnostic etc; Allows for animistic beliefs( worship of animals, rivers, plants), idol worship or meditate on the abstract universal consciousness; Allows you to pick a personal God or family God or village God or any regular God from the Pantheon.

    The acceptance of multiple paths is not a coincidence, it was a template set by the sages and is part of the architecture of Hinduism and became ingrained in the Indian culture. You do have multiple sampradhayas which may have some beliefs/dogmas but you can always choose to seek your own path and not follow the sampradhya but remain within the larger fold of Hinduism. This is truly unique and underappreciated.

    The pluralism is not important from the perspective of the inter-faith harmony, though it may be a collateral benefit. The pluralism is important because it set the template for Indians to accept ideas, integrate ideas, allow for debate, not impose ideas or dogmas. These virtues are critical to the success of a culture forming the basis of democracy and free expression. These are cultural traits that can’t just be planted into a society. It has to evolve over time. The Indian soil was already rich with these ideas and therefore could import Western ideas more easily because it had a strong foundation in Indian culture.

  16. What percentage of hindu families are orthodox? Ten percent tops? Do any of you have a copy of the Vedas at home? Penguin edition english translations don’t count..

    1. The importance of the ‘vedas’ is vastly overblown especially in Western academic circles and wikipedia entries. This is likely because they come from an abrahamic tradition where the text is very important, so they’re always trying to find the equivalent text in Hinduism. This very thread is an example as its seeking an ‘orthodox’ view where that term doesn’t have the same meaning. Orthodox in hinduism would simply mean a hindu who is more ritualistic perhaps, but that actually doesn’t mean such a hindu is following hinduism more correctly or is viewed as such by the broader community.

      The majority of Hindus haven’t read vedas and never will. In fact, its my take that the incoming indo-aryans more or less just merged their spiritual beliefs into existing local beliefs which is why you see the demotion of vedic gods during the puranic period and the ascension of puranic gods who likely were existing local deities who got ‘sanskritized.’

      Let me know when the last time was anyone went to an Indra temple. And despite the rig veda derisively referring to shishna-deva worshippers, there is a Shiva temple in virtually every corner of India.

      1. Agreed that not many read the Vedas and that Puranic Gods are more important.
        However Vedas are an important contributor in template setting and early culture forming especially with verses that emphasized the place of all Gods. It can of course be argued that this culture of acceptance pre-dated the Vedas, nevertheless it encoded these verses. Let us imagine if the Vedas said “There is no God but Indra”. Alternately if it said, ” There are no Gods except the pantheon prescribed in this book”. Further, if it then described the crime of apostasy, blasphemy and sought to impose Indra/their specific Pantheon on all etc. Then there would be no assimilation and no co-opting of other Gods. There would only be conflict between followers of different Gods who would then have formed different religions. Dogmas would prevail. Pluralism or acceptance of different paths would not follow. There would be no Hinduism as we know it

      2. +1

        i usually don’t disagree with the wise girmit but it’s pretty obvious that Hinduism is not practised as per Islam/Christianity.

        Hinduism (like most pre monotheistic religions and a bit like East Asia) around family shrines. I suspect the more “orthodox Hindus” (the trads if you will) are probably less Hindutva (bit like the Zionists and the Orthodox Jews).

        It’s the Hindus who want to be liberal, modern and Saffron for whom Hindutva is an attractive ideology (Hindutva and this current government doesn’t really go after Valentines Day, libertinism or Gay rights for instance but after Islam, traditionalism, and missionary Christians)..

  17. What do you mean by Orthodox Hindus? Did you mean to address the Brahmins or Neo political Hindus or the Poojaris?
    I identify as an unapologetic Hindu who is an agnostic/atheist. I personally think that Md was yet another ‘baba’ just like Yesu from the M.E who started a cult that successfully grew to be a second most populous religion on the Earth today. He indirectly gave all the strength to the non-sophisticated peoples of Arabia and the Central Asia to uproot Persia and Egypt and almost uprooting Indian and Europian civilizations. Even the newer cults (e.g., Hare Krishnas, Scientologists, Mormons etc.) have a mentality of “we are right and others are wrong” just like Abrahamic faiths. The more followers a cult gains the more “acceptable” it becomes and then transforms into an established and accepted religion.

    1. >’I identify as an unapologetic Hindu who is an agnostic/atheist.’

      If you don’t believe in Hindu religion then how are you even a Hindu?
      Or am I misunderstanding Hindu religion?
      Or is Hinduism just a cultural thing for you?
      Would you say that most Indians have little idea about Hinduism and they don’t actually believe in Hinduism but Hinduism is merely a cultural thing for them?

      I would really love to know details about Hinduism because so many people who are indeed peaceful believe in Hindu religion

      1. When I say that I am a Hindu I mean in a geographical and cultural sense. I practice yoga, meditation and I am a closet Budhist who is trying to explore the anatman/non-self. However, seldom I do have those moments where I feel like I am one with everything around me and momentarily I identify as a monist but I have heard that those “religious moments” can be explained by neuronal activity in the pre frontal cortex. I do eat beef ones in a while because we don’t use cows/Ox anymore and we use tractors. I have a more practical approach to Hinduism. Phrases like, “Cow is our mother” don’t make sense to me in today’s world. I understand Hindus to be an extremely flexible peoples over the course of larger time periods but tend to be conservative/reactionary in the shorter time periods. I think this makes sense in the view of evolution and keeping the continuity of culture/traditions. I believe that I am center of the Universe for it extends infinitely in all directions and also I am an insignificant part of this cosmos which will continue to go on even in my absence. For now I believe that there is no meaning for my existence because I prefer free will. If my life has a meaning then I wouldn’t be having a free will because I have to work to achieve that meaning. In the same way I don’t think there is any absolute god as well. I also try to practice some aspects of Jainism like ahimsa though not to the extremes.

      2. > Would you say that most Indians have little idea about Hinduism and they don’t actually believe in Hinduism but Hinduism is merely a cultural thing for them?

        My parents are from India and I think they practice Hinduism. I’ll list some of the things they do or believe that make me think that they practice Hinduism. You can judge for yourself whether its merely cultural or what have you, I think it’s a bit of a mix. Of course, this isn’t exhaustive or exclusive or anything like that.

        – Go to temples and pray in the traditional way (i.e., waiting for a viewing or darshan of the idol; walking around the idols in circles; rubbing sandalpaste or something else on their forehead; giving a donation; accepting desert (prasad))

        – Celebrate Hindu festivals, both ones that most Hindus will celebrate (like Diwali and Navaratri), ones only people from the states my parents are from celebrate, as well as a few caste-specific ones

        – Dad performs sandyavandana every morning, a morning prayer / ritual (I don’t think women are generally allowed to do this)

        – Participate in event-specific Hindu rituals, like for marriage, funeral, coming of age, housewarming, etc.

        – Organize events where people recite devotional songs, both folk and classical

        – Observe rituals and customs related to deceased ancestors

        – Received and passing on oral Puranic stories

        – Read texts like Mahabharata and Ramayana

        – Generally understand and have (sometimes varying degrees of) conviction in the following concepts: Karma (action), Dharma (righteousness), Moksha (enlightenment), Samsara (reincarnation), Purushartha (aims of life), Yoga (not really the physical kind, but as in like pathways to salvation or enlightenment), Atma (soul or self), Brahman (god in some sense) and a few others that I’m blanking out on

        – Attend classical Hindu dance and music performances

        – Observe Hindu astrology to varying degrees

        – Maintain a religious shrine room at home

        – Prefer their children marry within their caste

        – Sometimes reference stories and characters from Hindu mythology to help make decisions or provide guidance or discipline

        – Follow caste-based dietary restrictions

        – Practice meditation

        – Observe certain superstitions

        1. // – Dad performs sandyavandana every morning, a morning prayer / ritual (I don’t think women are generally allowed to do this) //

          Grandmother performed everyday prayer for 10 yrs. in our house after grandfather’s death, i don’t know if it was conservative or radical.

          I don’t go to any temple for moths nobody bothers & i have debated atheistic-agnostic views with even the most religious members of our family {yes their temper gets raised sometimes but for most part they are easy to engage}. Have you ever done any of this & what has been your experience ?

          // – Prefer their children marry within their caste //

          Not really a Hindu thing but rather cultural thing.

          // – Follow caste-based dietary restrictions //

          Except Brahmans i have not come across any group with specific dietary restrictions. Can you explain about caste of your family & what kind of restrictions they follow ?

          // – Observe certain superstitions //

          I think just like all communities it varies & is dependent upon individuals.

          1. @Deep Bhatnagar

            Thanks for the feedback. Yea, I was just throwing out the things about what they do and believe that I associate with Hinduism, but you’re right, many of these things are very much cultural. Including I think the music / dance aspect, which my mom seems interested in independent of religion.

            “Grandmother performed everyday prayer for 10 yrs. in our house after grandfather’s death, i don’t know if it was conservative or radical.”

            That’s great to hear. Many aspects of Hinduism revere women. Not surprised that women can do the morning prayer and ritual. Indian culture though broadly seems so patriarchal.

            ‘I don’t go to any temple for moths nobody bothers & i have debated atheistic-agnostic views with even the most religious members of our family {yes their temper gets raised sometimes but for most part they are easy to engage}. Have you ever done any of this & what has been your experience ?”

            My experience has been a bit mixed, but I consider it mostly quite positive. Mom doesn’t like to engage in philosophical / religious discussions that much. Dad loves to talk about it. His initial reaction to my atheism / agnosticism was basically… I’m glad to see you have an interest in these topics and that you’ve thought through them well but please just do the rituals, go to the temple, learn some prayers, read gita, etc. (basically, be outwardly practicing). I moved out at 18 and over time one by one these expectations have waned to basically… please show up sometimes for temple functions once in a blue moon when everyone goes.

            “Except Brahmans i have not come across any group with specific dietary restrictions. Can you explain about caste of your family & what kind of restrictions they follow ?”

            Parents are Iyer. I guess there’s some range in diets. Like most Hindus don’t eat beef but some Kerala ones do. Most Brahmins don’t eat fish but some Bengalis do.

  18. ” I suspect the more “orthodox Hindus” (the trads if you will) are probably less Hindutva”

    Orthodox Hindus hate Hindutva. Two reasons

    1. They see Hindutva upending the Hindu social order, bring the lower castes into the fold and giving them power.

    2. They see Hindutva engulfing Hinduism at the rate its growing, and totally changing the religion to a ethno-military version of Islam.One God-One Book-One language. A religion devoid of spiritual (which orthodox cherish) and focused on material (power, strength)

    Aatish Tasser last two books actually delves on this subject. How Modi is equally hated and loved in his own constituency, Varanasi. The orthodox loath him for being from lower caste. The liked Congress more since it allowed them to perpetuate their caste order/power. Congress still gets around 10-20 percent UC vote.

    But are powerless to resist him since their own younger generation is infatuated by Hindutva. I have seen that change in my own family.

    1. I agree that Hindutva is unpending the caste system and some conservative Hindus may dislike Hindutva for the same.

      But I disagree with point 2. Hindutva has not sought to change any religious aspects of Hinduism. It is a political movement and not an ecclesiastical order. Some people like Savarkar who are held in high regard by Hindutvawadis are even atheists. The RSS has explicitly said it is a cultural organization and not a religious one. One God concept is ridiculous, Modi himself has visited temples of different deities from Kerala to Badrinath following varied local customs and even wearing the local dress. Similarly the rank and file embrace the entire pantheon and there is no “one God” concept. However there is strong resistance to conversion to other religions. Similarly, one book notion is also not recommended by Hindutva. Has anyone from the movement ever recommended one of the Vedas or one of the Upanishads or one of the Purans etc to the exclusion of others? The political movement does not go around dictating how to conduct rituals or what spiritual path to follow. If it does there will be a huge backlash and most supporters would abandon the movement. In terms of language, BJP govt in Karnataka is imposing Kannada in schools, so far from the times when the movement sought to impose Hindi. RSS conducts it shakas in Kannada in Karnataka.

      While the hindutva as a political movement has not tampered with any religious/spiritual aspects of the religion, it resembles Islam and Christianity to the extent that it has created a political identity for Hindus. It has sought electoral dividends based on identity politics. The unsavory aspects of the movement is that in order to counter the violence of Islamists, organizations like Bajrang Dal also use counter-violence. There have also been cases of vigilantism in response to cattle smuggling. These miscreants should be punished. Once policing is able to deal with the Islamists, organizations like Bajrang Dal should be disbanded.

      1. Vigilantism would vanish if cattle mafias would be arrested and persecuted by the law. In reality under-equipped police is too afraid of these weapon wielding mafias. Media or politicians don’t have any sympathy for cattle owners who are periodically robbed and sometimes get murdered.
        In ruler areas police actually takes help of the vigilantes to keep cattle mafias in check.

    2. The second reason is absolutely correct but i don’t agree with the first reason.

  19. It seems that many people here are questioning the use of the word “orthodox” and some going so far as to say the term does not even apply to Hinduism. I think that’s a bit much.

    It is indeed true that Hinduism is generally a set of many varied practices and beliefs and that orthodox for one can, in some cases, be heterodox to the other.

    However, my use of “orthodox” was referring to Hindus who self-confess as such..

  20. Slapstik, why are you asking the views of self-confessed Hindus (perhaps including Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains who self identify as Sanaathana Dharmis) on the prophet Mohammed peace be upon him rather than great muslim Auliyas, Pirs, Faqirs, Sheikhs?

    For example:
    —Al Hallaj
    —Gareeb Nawaz (founder of Chistie)
    —Baba Fareed
    —Nund Rishi (founder of Kashmiri Sufi orders)
    —Kabir (sishya of Ramananda)
    —Mian Mir
    ——Jahanara Begum (who wrote an autobiography of Gareeb Nawaz)
    ——Dara Shikoh.
    Maharashtran muslim Pirs:
    ——Janardan Swami
    ——Hazrat Babajan
    ——Shirdi Sai Nath
    ——Tajuddin Muhammad Badruddin Baba

    Many self-confessed Hindus as you put it deeply worship, revere, write about, sing about and speak about the above muslim Auliyas, Pirs, Faqirs and Sheikhs.

    Writing and speaking about Mohammed pbuh directly is less common because many Islamists use to attack or kill nonmuslims and moderate muslims who spoke about Mohammed pbuh.

    Having said this, the following self confessed Hindus had things to say on the subject:
    —Swami Samarth
    —Swami Vivekananda
    —Sri Aurobindo
    —Mahatma Gandhi
    —Many Shaivite Nath Sampradayas
    ——Yogi Adityanath
    ——Nath related Lahiri Mahasaya and his various Kriya lineages (including Yukteshwar and Yogananda)
    —Narendra Modi (who describes Mohammed as a high spiritual master)

    Sri Sathya Sai Baba also spoke about this.

    With respect to muslim Pirs:
    —In Maharashtra most of the self confessed Hindus and spiritual leaders have a lot to say on the subject.
    —Andhras have a lot to say about Shirdi Sai Nath and other muslim masters.
    —Trika Kashmiri Shaivites have things to say about Nund Rishi.
    —Sri Sampradayas and Ramananda Sampradayas have a lot to say about Kabir.

    In much of India (especially Maharashra, Rajasthan, Delhi, UP, parts of Tamil Nadu) the line between muslim and Sanaathana Dharma is fluid and blended. For example are the many tens of millions of (perhaps over 100 milion) Shirdi Sai Nath devotees around the world muslim or Sanathana Dharma or both? I think in many but not all cases they can be desribed as both.


    Clarification question. In the east often 7 levels of liberation are described. Be curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on where Mohammed peace be upon him fits with respect to the seven levels of liberation.


    Another question for Slapstik:
    What do you think is the connection beteen Fana Fillah (muslim) and:
    —Nirvana as described by Buddha
    —4 formless (Arupa) Swargas (or Samaadhis) as described by Buddha
    —The top 12 out of 36 tattvas of Kashmiri Shavism Trika, 18 Siddha Siddhanta, some sampradayas of Samkhya Darshana, some sampradayas of Yoga Darshana
    —The final Nirbija Samaadhi, Dharma Megha Samaadhi, Asamprajnaata Samaadhi of Samkhya and Yoga Darshanas
    —Nirvikalpa Samaadhi
    —tha Alokhik realms (as opposed to Lokhik within the 7 heaven clusters) as described by most Darshanas
    —7 levels of liberation (called different names by Buddha, Samkhya/Yoga, Yoga Vashishta, other Uttara Mimaamsa Darshana Sampradaayas)
    —Jaina equivalents

    What level of Fana Fillah does everyone think Mohammed pbuh had? Answering the above question and defining Fana Fillah in terms of Sanaathana Dharma de facto reveals what various self confessed Hindus think about Mohammed pbuh.

    1. AnAn,
      Your efforts at putting into practice “ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti” are quaint and charming, some may accuse you of naivete too. But it makes me question my own cynicism. You have that old world Hinduness about you untainted by the post 9-11 world. But I do wish you would inform us about other interesting tidbits about Hinduism /Jainism/Buddhism rather than putting so much effort into your ekam sat endeavor

      1. “untainted by the post 9-11 world”

        Said global Jihadi events happened in 632 AD, 661 AD (when the Takfiri killed Imam Ali), 1919 AD, 1947 AD, 1979 AD.

        By contrast 2001 AD was mild in global importance. Remember that Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda killed more people in a terrorist attack against muslim Kashmiris (Shia/Sufi) in Gilgit 1988 than on 9/11/2011.

        I am proud to be friends with Sufis, Shia, liberal muslims, agnostic atheist ex muslims. This was enhanced by 9/11/2001. They need India. (And to a lesser degree America, Indonesia, Canada, Israel.)

        “so much effort into your ekam sat endeavor”
        Didn’t see the above response as related to ekam sat vipra bahudha or sarva dharma sama bhaava sarva shresht.

        Slapstik asked an impossibly broad open ended question that can’t be answered with a million pages of words.

        Shared the people I have read who have discussed Mohammed PBUH and Sufi Pirs. (I would add Dalai Lama, Rabindranath Tagore and Govinda Rai (Wajed Ali) to the above list)

        That way people can research what specific people said about Mohammed pbuh and muslim Pirs.

        I am also curious why Slapstik is specifically interested in Hindu views on Mohammed pbuh rather than muslim Pirs.

        Personally I feel drawn and connected to many muslim Pirs, Hazrat Fatima, Imams Ali, Hassan and Hussain. My anecdotal observation is that Sanaathana Dharmis are possibly drawn more to muslim Pirs, Hazrat Fatima and Imams Ali, Hassan and Hussain than to the prophet Mohammed pbuh.

        Plus they all say slightly different nuanced things about Mohammed pbuh. What they say about Mohammed pbuh is different from what is said about certain verses in the Sira, Hadiths and holy Koran.

        Were you interested in the views of a specific eastern master or Sampradaya on Mohammed pbuh?

        1. I visited the Bom Jesus church with Francis Xavier’s relics in Goa as a child and prayed sincerely. After growing up, I was horrified to learn that Francis Xavier was an anti-semite and instigated the Goan Inquisition in which Jewish people were burnt on the stake. The Goan inquisition also forbade Hinduism,destroyed temples and religiously persecuted Hindus. So much white washing by the left even of an anti-semite. Now I am wary of sincerely praying at the other places of worship without first being aware of their history, dargahs included.
          Having said that, I wanted to know more about Adi Shankara. Separately, I wanted to know your views on Veerashaiva traditions and any specific seers from this tradition that I should be aware of.

          1. I am only vaguely familiar with Francis Xavier. I am friends with a St Thomas Syriac Christian and see it from the Syriac perspective. The Catholics were brutal towards Syriacs (who have lived in India in large numbers for two thousand years) and Jews (who have lived in Kerala in large numbers since at least Babylonian times . . . there are written records of the close friendship between Kerala and King Solomon . . . via ship Kerala sent many materials for the building of the first Jewish temple).

            The Syriacs are one of the richest, most powerful, most successful most patriotic communities in India. Many top officers in the Indian military, IAS, Foreign Service, corporate ranks, entrepreneurial ranks are Syriacs. Modi, BJP, RSS, Shiv Sena, VHP fawn over and love the Syriacs. The Syriacs do Kriya Yoga and Vedic chanting. Their churches are full of non Syriacs (Hindus). Although sadly they tell me that Keralite muslims don’t come. 🙁 Aside from the tiny Sufi minority of course that are being slaughtered by Islamists. Kerala has more conservative Sunnis than any other part of India (some might say Kashmir has more). My Syriac friend sadly says that Keralite muslims are nothing like the the Kashmiri Sufi/Delhi/Agra/Ajmer/UP/Maharashtra dargah valla muslims.

            Note that Keralites and Syriacs believe that the “3 wise man” caravan left from Kerala to see baby Jesus (who they knew through astrology) via ship up the Red sea.

            There remains a shrine to the three wise men in Kerala which is honored by the Hindus (inclusive of Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs) and Syriacs.

            When you get a chance consider visiting the St Thomas and Syriac holy places (Tirthas) in India.


            “Now I am wary of sincerely praying at the other places of worship without first being aware of their history, dargahs included.”

            Don’t be:
            ——Meditation and love are our constant companion. We need them even more in dangerous bad places.
            ——When many sincere seekers pray in a location, the energetics of the places change. And it becomes easier for others to “pray” there too, regardless of the more ancient history of a location or founder.
            ——Even evil people are divine or Brahman


            “wanted to know more about Adi Shankara.”

            This is like asking I want to know more about Abrahamism!

            I have been told that the five Shankarachaarya mathas say that he was born 509 BC versus the approximately 700 AD Indologists say:


            Shankaracharya won debates and became the head of almost all the then extant Sampradayas. He kept them as they were, since each of them were optimal for certain types of spiritual seekers.

            I regard Shankaacharya as one of the mechanisms Buddha used to transform and reform all of Aryavarsha and Sanaathana Dharma.

            Sanaathana Dharma went through 4 major periods of transformation as I understand it:
            —the time of the less than 20 great sages and their students/descendents (most of which were described by Buddha, some of whom were Jaina, one of whom was Bon Po)
            —Krishna (when the current Shastra corpus was compiled and organized)
            —Buddha (including through Yoga Chaara and Shankaraachaarya)

            Shankaraachaarya encouraged Vaishnavism, Shaaktaa-ism, Tantra (including Sri Vidya), Advaita (similar to Buddhism), Dhyaanum, and Shaivism. He also unified the thousands of Sampradayas (religions) through multiplicity, diversity, pluralism. He integrated complex causation with simple causation. He restored the Vedas and folk spirituality. He shared Samaadhi across space and time.

            Watch and listen to Nirvaana Shatakam. Meditation and love will spontaneously happen.


            “Separately, I wanted to know your views on Veerashaiva traditions and any specific seers from this tradition that I should be aware of.”

            Huge topic. Another comment needed.

  21. Nirvaana Shatakam:

    FYI I think that Shankarcharya died before Mohammed pbuh was born and that thereform Shankaracharya had nothing to say about Mohammed pbuh.


    Veerashaiva is one of the six major Shaivite Sampradayas.

    Have you read Siddhanta Shikhamani? I have not. And am reluctant to discuss too much without studying it.

    Veerashaiva precedes Mohammed pbuh and has nothing to say about him that I am aware of.

    Veerashaiva honors some Shiva Agamas. Hope to study these at some lenght in the future. The size of Shiva Agamas is MASSIVE. I find them dense and hard to even slightly grasp without a lot of effort.

    I see Veerashaiva as Agastya tilted. Full disclosure I “LOVE” Agastya.

    Agastya was praised by Buddha and Buddhists. Most Tamils think he founded Tamil (obviously many disagree.) Many of the oldest Vedic Samhitas were revealed by Agastya. Agastya is the patron saint of:
    —the Philippines
    —Sri Lanka
    —Tamil Nadu

    (I think Burma might not be Agastya but Brahma sourced.)

    Of the six major Shaitive lineages I have studied Veerashaiva least.

    SouthIndian, can you share your thoughts on Veerashaiva?

    1. I haven’t read the Siddhanta Shikhamani.
      The person who I admire in the Veerashaiva movement is Akka Mahadevi, a poetess, philosopher and ascetic. She was a non-conformist and challenged a lot of the prevailing mores of her time. Through her Vachanas (mystical poems) she made important contributions to Kannada literature. The Veerashaiva movement must have been pretty progressive to accommodate her in their movement. Similar to others in Bhakti movements, she considered Chennamallikarjuna(Shiva) to be her husband. My mother used to sing one of her Vachanas to me:
      “Maya troubles life as the mind
      Maya troubles the mind as memory
      Maya troubles memory as cognizance
      Oh Shiva, none can escape the spell of Maya cast by you”

      1. Thanks for sharing SouthIndian. Many Kannadiga also follow Maadvaacharya. Have you been to Maadvaacharya mandirs too?

        Akka (older sister) Mahadevi. Hmmm. Would love to know more about her.

        “non-conformist and challenged a lot of the prevailing mores of her time”

        A very common theme across all ancient eastern philosophy texts. Shatter everything, including God Herself. God is frequently denounced in texts. Often by great saints and devis or devas.

        There is a saying that the last obstacle to spiritual progress is “fame” or caring what anyone else thinks about us.

        “Maya troubles life as the mind” Is this manas?

        “Maya troubles the mind as memory” Is this smriti?

        “Maya troubles memory as cognizance” Is this jnaatha or the 25th tattva?

        “Oh Shiva, none can escape the spell of Maya cast by you”


        A question for you. Who are some of the great muslim Pirs of the Kannada people? What are the great Kannada Dargahs? [Of course many Kannadigas go to Dargahs in Maharasthra, Andhra and elsewhere.]

        What percent of Kannadiga muslims are muraqabah (Sufi Irfan music dance meditation mystical) tilted?

        Bangalore has many cosmopolitan liberal muslims in business and technoogy. Asking about the spiritually inclined mystical muslims rather than these.

    2. AnAn,
      Thanks so much for sharing the Nirvana Shatakam. This particular rendition had an uplifting, almost ethereal quality to it. Its absolutely great for a meditation experience.

      “Na dharmo na artho na kamo na moksha” – Rejects the objects of human pursuit which is a central concept of Hinduism. If you are pure consciousness, what is the purpose of these goals?
      “Na vedah na mantra na yagya…” – No Vedas/no mantra/no rituals

      This is why when someone asks me the central tenants of Hinduism, there is no answer. Everything is open to challenge and it is for you to seek your own path. Nothing is heresy or apostasy or blasphemy.

      “Na me jaati bedha” – Challenges discrimination based on caste/jati
      It was so heartening to see Adi Shankarcharya, a brahmin challenge the social order in this song. Many hindu spirtitual masters have. Even the veerashaiva rejected it. The reasons for the caste system has much more to do with the entrenched feudal economic order & societal norms and less to do with religion where it was challenged by spiritual masters.

      Could you share anything else you listen to.

  22. We follow Shankracharya. Non-dualism appeals to me more, though I can see that the dualism of Madhvacharya would appeal to those who seek a higher power rather than just a universal consciousness that is embodied in all

    “Maya troubles life as the mind” Is this manas? Yes manavu
    “Maya troubles the mind as memory” Is this smriti? Uses kannada word, nenavu
    “Maya troubles memory as cognizance” Is this jnaatha or the 25th tattva? Uses kannada word, arivu

    1. Arivu is the Tamil word for “Buddhi”. Does it have the same meaning in Kannada?

      ” nenavu” is used in telegu. Is the meaning identical to “smriti” in Sanskrit? Or is there a nuance to the meaning?

      1. “Nenaivu” is “smriti” or “memory” in Tamil. I think this is the same as the Kannada “nenavu”.

        This song Akka Mahadevi song is very beautiful. Would love to listen to a youtube video.

        “if Sai Baba was alive today he would’ve beat sh**t outta everybody with a broomstick to set things right in Shirdi.”
        LOL. Dare so you might be onto something.

        Shirdi is “CROWDED.” Have you visit any other Dargahs? Have you visit the great masters associated with Shirdi Sai?:
        —Swami Samarth (Akkalkot Maharaj)
        —Pir Syed Mohammad Hazrat Tajuddin Baba (muslim)
        —Pir Hazrat Babajan (muslim)
        —Upasni Maharaj (Murid or bhakta of Pir Shirdi Sai Nath)
        —Narayan Maharaj

    2. South Indian languages do have common words many of which are borrowed Sanskrit words and others maybe proto-dravidian(?). Which do you think is more pre-dominant? I think its the Sanskritic words. I have no linguistic expertise though
      Arivu in kannda is used more in the sense of awareness/cognizance but could possibly also mean knowledge. Nenavu is memory/recollection like smriti. Not aware if there are specific nuances/differences. Veerashaiva sages seem to prefer more localized language so common people could easily connect with them.

  23. Liberal muslims tend to belong to specific Ismaili Shia sects like Dawoodi Bohras. The Ismaili Shia are apolitical and typically support any party in power including BJP. They do well in business and in the technology field in Bangalore. Apparently historically Ismaili Shias were influenced by Hellenic philosophy. Amazing how cultures shaped deep in the historic past possibly influence present day success. The stickiness of culture is a double edged sword though.
    Don’t know of any mystical muslims of Karnataka. There is one dargah called Khwaja bande nawaz in Gulbarga that I have visited once but not many hindus go there.

    1. I have been told about the Dargah in Gulbarga by many friends and been asked to visit this place many times. Many Andhras and Marathis go there. Some of my friends love Gulbarga. It is Chisti. Bande Nawaz is the param Shishya or param Murid of Nizammuddin Auliya–who I deeply love.

      Interesting that you did not find many nonmuslims there. When I and Hindu friends go to Dargahs we often where muslim skullcaps and might appear muslim from a distance. Assume you infrequently visit? Maybe during those days only a few nonmuslims went? Why do so few nonmuslims visit compared to other Chistie Dargahs? This strikes me as odd.

      Had not realized that it is technically within Karnataka. Gulbarga is one of the many reasons I wrote above that Andhra and Marathi Hindus have a lot to say about muslim Pirs and Islam.


      I love Ismaili Shia sects like Dawoodi Bohras. Many live in California too. Many of them honor Sanaathana Dharma spiritual masters. Many of them are part of spiritual communities that I am connected with.

      And yes they rock academically and in business.

      1. I have been to Shirdi 3 times and my family visits pretty much every year and my brother’s name is Sai just like many Telugu peoples. My Persian friends were confused about a Hindu having “Sai” name. I respect Shirdi Sai as a guru but I don’t believe in any super natural powers/beings.

        The last time I was there I was so annoyed by the way people behave in Shirdi that the sanctity of the place is in tatters. I was telling my mother that if Sai Baba was alive today he would’ve beat sh**t outta everybody with a broomstick to set things right in Shirdi.

      2. People in Gulbarga typically used to visit Narasimha Jharni in Bidar which is a cave temple. You have to wade in 4 feet of water for a while within the cave to reach the deity. A spring is the water source. Depending on the water level, sometimes the deity himself is semi submerged. Also the ceiling of the cave is covered with bats. Rather interesting, surreal experience.

    2. South Indian, I have visited gulbarga a few times. My people there who are not liberals by any stretch, and are probably BJP sympathisers by a fare share, arranged visits to the dargah for all their guests. The urus of bande nawaz is the the biggest in all of india south of the vindhyas. The spiritual identity of gulbarga totally revolves around that dargah and the shrine of sharana basaveshwara. The latter also receives the homage of muslim associations during its procession.

      1. Girmit, S-Indian

        What reasons due u attribute to BJP/RSS being successful in Karnataka vis-v other S-Indian states?

        1. Saurav, how would you measure the success of the RSS by state and district in Indai? The RSS strikes me as strong in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra, Telangana, Kerala.

          The RSS is not the BJP and avoids too much political involvement.

          Having said this . . . here are some of my guesses.
          —Despite having a lot of muslim support nationwide the RSS appears to have weak muslim support in Kerala? Why is this?
          —The RSS and St. Thomas Syriac Christians in Kerala have good relations

          My sense is that in general India does not have too many conservative Sunnis. But a ton of the ones India does have live in Kerala. Kerala strikes me as having a greater conservative sunni influence than Kashmir.

          Why have Kerala muslims (almost all Sunnis I think?) been so radicalized over the past generation? My Keralite friends tells me this is very recent. I am also told that Sufis are a rarity in Kerala with most in hiding. Nothing like the Dargah valla muslims in most of the rest of India. Many Keralite Sufis that my close friend knows have been killed recently.
          Jatt Arya I did not like that video (not criticizing you of course). Think some muslims would be offended by it for no good reason.
          Loved all three songs. Sweet, sweet Bhaava.

          Could feel the chills listening to the Akka (older sister) Mahadevi vachana (poetic rendition). Love Telegu Vachanas too.

          Caarvaaka is a very high advanced stage of spiritual development. All Pranaamsas are dropped leaving Pratyaksha alone. Every spiritual sadhaka has to reach this stage . . . vairagi Jnaana Marg. To even attempt something as high as Caarvaaka, someone needs a high degree of:
          —Sattva Guna predominance
          —Chitta Shuddhi
          —Naadi Shuddhi
          —Sattva Buddhi

          Even my hero Shankarachaarya said in Bhaja Govindam that to attempt Jnaana someone needed Naadi Shuddhi and Pranayaama.

          I can listen to Nirvana Shatakam in continous loop for hours and days on end and lose self awareness. Every syllable in Nirvana Shatakam is filled with emotion and meaning. So many layered meanings.

          Another gaan (Sanskriti Vachana) with similar bhaava and shakti is:

        2. The possible reasons for BJP’s success follows:
          1) There is more buy in for the India story in Karnataka. Greater patriotism and connection to Indic traditions. Unfortunately there is a correlation with regional separatism/anti-India sentiment and those who feel lower connection to Hinduism and vice-versa.
          2) Strong Lingayat votebank that supports that the BJP
          3) Strong coastal Karnataka dominance of RSS due to minority pandering of successive govts
          4) Folk memory of Onake Obavva and others who fought Hyder Ali and Tipu’s persecutions. Distant memory of destruction of Vijayanagara empire.
          5) Sangh abandoning Hindi imposition. Shakhas are in Kannada. The larger non-left move to civilizational narrative rather than nation state narrative. The civilizational state does not require a common language but typical European style nation-states do.
          6) In the urban areas the economic reforms which are more likely to be introduced by the non-left are also a motivating factor

          1. Wasn’t Hyder Ali, a bit like Akbar in matters of religion? At least that what i had read.

            “Unfortunately there is a correlation with regional separatism/anti-India sentiment and those who feel lower connection to Hinduism and vice-versa.”

            Bro, i came with like a whole new theory on it, some time back. The “Hindu-space” theory. LOL

            What’s ur view on Lingayat’s Hinduism? Is it more like Maratha’s Hinduism,(caste identity strongly coupled with Hinduism) or more like Yadav or Jat Hinduism (caste identity supersedes its religious identity) . Because the recent separate religion status agitation, showed evidence of both trends.

        3. Saurav,
          KA prefers national parties and once the BJP became sufficiently prominent, it became credible to the local electorate.
          Only state in the south where the largest social group(lingayats) is vegetarian.
          Muslims are nominally urdu-speaking, undermining linguistic solidarity across religious lines. Also means that despite a relatively large muslim population, most of the cultural output of the community is not in kannada.
          RSS has deep roots and is “at home” because of deshastha brahmins, native to both MH and KA, who form a conduit for a lot of shared cultural practices and outlooks.
          Less antagonism to hindi. Like telangana and MH, there is enough familiarity with the language in north KA that it isn’t seen as a threat or as foreign as it is further south.
          Vokkaligas, wealthy sugarcane farmers much like the Marathas of south MH, are recalcitrant holdouts against national party control. Their island is getting smaller.

  24. AnAn,

    If you are in an Atheistic mood, listen to this Jainism inspired Prakrit song written for a modern day movie. Ship of Theseus is also an interesting film in which one of the stories involves a Jain monk debating a modern day Carvaka.

    If you are in a dualistic mood, listen to this Carnatic classical song. It is about surrendering to the mother Goddess.

    I do not find the melody of the Akka Mahadevi vachana which my mother used to sing to me in. But found this rendition (which is so so):

    Just curious AnAn are you a Tamilian?
    Also why do you love Agastya?

  25. SouthIndian, strange and mysterious things happen in the silence withn silence. In the words of many scientists we access universal conciousness.

    I think Agastya and Shankarachaarya are patterns within conciousness that we can observe through our unconcious brain and nervous system (many neuroscientist academic papers have have suggested that we have 33 sensory inputs). Agastya and Shankarachaarya can “FEEL” more real and alive than many of our external friends and relatives.

  26. The Veerashaiva movement(Lingayat movement) was a Shaivite Bhakti tradition started by Basavanna in the 12the century. The Veerashaivas made invaluable contributions to Kannada literature through their mystical poems i.e. vachanas. In some of my earlier posts I have posted excerpts of a Vachana and its musical rendition. The movement was anti-caste and progressive when it comes to women.
    Though it started as an anti-caste movement, somehow Lingayats have become a caste themselves which is sad. A reform sect that could not carry its mission to fruition possibly because of entrenched feudal economic interests. There is some support for a separate religious status from Hinduism given the advantages of having the minority status tag in India ( exemption from RTE, exempt from taxes for religious institutions etc). However, despite Siddaramaiah from Congress offering this, Lingayats continued to vote for the BJP and there is strong support for Yeddyurappa, Modi among large sections of the Lingayats.
    Overall I would say that Lingayats identity is the identity that pre-dominates. Some lingayats see themselves as different from Hindus but others consider themselves Hindus. They consider themselves more Hindu than Jains, but less Hindu than other sampradayas. However, all Lingayats worship Shiva and are firmly rooted in Dharmic traditions. The vachanas i.e. mystical poems are very much rooted in Indic philosophy.
    The lingayats are different from Marathas because they are not strongly Hindu. They are different from Jatts because Jatt identity is caste-kinship based, whereas Lingayat identity is more religious sect based.

    1. Didn’t Veerashaiva movement(Lingayat movement) originate with (or before) Agastya rishi long before the birth of Christ? Would Basava Deva be comparable to Lalleshwari (Lal Dad) for Kashmiri Shaivite Trika?

      Who identifies as Hindu? People identify with their Guru, Parampara, Panth, Sampradaya, temple, Kul Devata, Ishta Devata, Gotra etc.

      A better question I think is how Lingayats view various Shaivite Sampradayas. For example:
      —Trika Kashmiri Shaivism (Pratyabhijna propounded by Vasugupta)
      —18 Shaiva Siddha Siddhanta (similar to Trika)
      —Siddha Siddhanta Nath Sampradaya (similar to Trika and 18 Shaiva Siddha Siddhanta)
      —Atimarga/Pashupata (propounded by Nakulisa)
      —Siva Advaita (propounded by Sri Kanta)
      —The sixth big Shaivite Sampradaya is Lingayat Vira Saivism (propounded by Basava Deva)

      How are the 63 Nayanars viewed by Lingayats?

      FYI, there is a short description of the six major Shaivite Sampradayas (that I mostly but do not completely agree with) pages 25-26:

  27. Saurav,
    I would suggest a revision to your Hindu space theory. It is the Dharmic space/Indic space theory. Those who identity deeply with Indic traditions usually buy into the India story. This is because they connect with the traditions of the Indian civilization. Lingayats even if they seek a separate religious status from Hindus, are more rooted in Indic traditions and hence are ok to support even the BJP. Similarly the Jains are deeply Indic and from what I have seen extremely patriotic.

    I agree that Veerashaiva predates Basavanna’s movement. But sort of used synonymously sometimes

    I identify as Hindu for the following reasons:
    1) I do not want to identify with or restrict myself to one sampradya or panth or temple. I want to draw from multiple sources including Veerashaiva traditions, Shankarachrya’s traditions , Jain traditions etc. Hinduism for me is broadly about seeking one’s path. Therefore I want to identify as a seeker. My seeking could involve multiple sources or sampradayas which I may not fully identify with. Hinduism is an umbrella identity that fully embraces these contradictions. I can believe anything and not be an apostate or a blasphemer
    2) I think the Indic civilization is linked to its Dharmic identity. To erode to dharmic identity, some leftists have begun to attack Hinduism. Hence it is politically imperative to identify with a maligned identity otherwise the left will erode all Indic traditions in the long run. I think the broader Indic identity is more important than the Hindu identity, but the attack begins with Hinduism, hence the push back and embracing of that identity is important.

    1. SouthIndian, can we speak offline. We can get guests from various Sampradayas and Silsilas to speak with Brown Cast . . . but we need good interviewers who have a deep Eastern philosophical background and some meditative experience.


      To clarify, are you saying that Veerashaiva precedes Basava Deva? From Basava Deva to the present can Veerashaiva and Lingayat be used synonymously? Is Lingayat properly used to convey the tradition from Basava Deva to the present?


      Saurav, have you seen Brown Pundits favorite Kushal discuss Hinduism? Kushal says something along the lines of . . . how dare others try to take Buddha, Nanaka and the Tirthankaras away from us.

      I agree with this sentiment completely.

      I define Sanaathana Dharma to be the big ten Darshanas (including Ajivika, Caarvaaka, Buddhism, Jainism, Samkhya, Yoga, etc.) plus the following Darshanas:
      —Bon Po (technically the self described 20 K plus year old Bon Po has already been added as the 8th Sampradaya of Tibetan Buddhism . . . so this is not controversial)
      —Yavana religion (Serbian religion, ancient pre Greek religion)
      —Tushar religion (east of Xinjiang)
      —Ancient Sumerian religion (planning to write about the close connections)
      —Ancient Egyptian religion (have you read Joseph Campbell?)
      —Muraqabah Irfan Sufism
      —Kabbalah Judaism
      —mystical Christianity of John the Baptist, Jesus,the three wise men, Gnosticism, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross
      —“spiritual not religious”
      —meditative atheists such as Sam Harris
      —native American religion (deep similarities that I plan to write on)

      For me all of these are “Hindu” as long as they do not extinguish the flame of unity.

  28. Sure we can discuss offline.
    As far as Hinduism is concerned I would welcome anybody to identify as a Hindu be it Bahai, Jain, Sikh, Yazidi, etc while retaining their own beliefs/own path/own Gods. However, if they don’t want to identify as Hindu that is also entirely their prerogative.
    Hinduism is about seeking therefore there can be no exclusivism in its definition. But in my opinion, you cannot bring in concepts like blasphemy, supremacy of one path etc. into Hinduism. That is anti-thetical to the philosophy of seeking.

  29. As can be clearly inferred from the comments. “Orthodox Hindus” don’t have much of an opinion about Islam/Mohamed from a theological point of view.

    So the mleccha/barbarian option seems correct.

  30. Have been reaching out to various masters and scholars about a mapping of Islam with eastern philosophy. Thought some Brown Pundit readers might like to see a reproduction of part of an email that was sent to someone. Ignore if not of interest:

    In Sanaathana Dharma across most Darshanas and Sampradayas (including Buddhism and Jainism) 7 levels of liberation are described. Here are some of the most common names for them (many Shastras and Apta Pramaanas use additional shabdas to describe them . . . the below is not an exhaustive list):
    1) Shubhechchaa (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls kaarya vimukta prajnaa)
    2)Vichaaranaa (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls heya hetu kshiina avasthaa)
    3)Tanumaanasaa (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls praapya praapta avasthaa)
    4) Satvaapatti (called Brahma Vid in Yoga Vashishta) (Buddha said Sotaapanna) (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls chikiirsha shuunya avasthaa) (Kabir said Auliya)
    5) Asansakti (called Brahma Vidvara in Yoga Vashishta) (Buddha said Sakadaagaami) (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls chitta vimukta prajnaa and chittasattva kritaarthataa) (Kabir said Pir)
    6) Padaarthaabhaavinii (called Brahma Vidvaria in Yoga Vashishta) (Buddha said Anaagaami) (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls guna liinataa) (Kabir said Faqir)
    7) Turyagaa (called Brahma Vidvidvarishta in Yoga Vashishta) (Veda Vyaasa in his commentary of 2.27 Patanjali Yoga Sutra calls aatmasthiti) (Buddha said Arahant)

    Could Fanaa Fillah be the Muraqabah equivalent to level 4 liberation? Could Baqa be the Muraqabah equivalent of level 5 liberation?

  31. Great conversation and amazing patience exhibited by the Semitic brethren in the forum. I come from a Hindu background living in the West and have been trying to rationalize the essential difference between the Indian peninsula originating religions and the Arabian peninsula originating religions, not being an expert on either but living in a household where my spouse is of Christian background. My very broad perspective is the Semitic religions are binary- you are in or out for example, monotheistic or polytheistic…. Scorpion Eaters obsession with a binary interpretation of Hinduism is another example. The karmic religions are more analog and are more anticipatory of variations from ground up. Even our very special side to side head nodding is analog. The Semitic religions are vertical with ring fences, and the Karmic religions are horizontal and layered and accepting of additional layers. So, there are no hurdles for accepting Christianity and Islam, except that the hardline Abrahamics do not want to be accepted. Hence the Hindus affinity towards less binary Sufism…. in Kerala, the travel of workers to the Middle East May have imported more binary versions of Islam than the more indigenous versions.

    1. Exactly. It is questioned how Hindu India plans to accept Abrahamic faiths without asking are they ready to compromise, fit in?

      It is very difficult to deal with people with ‘my way or highway’ attitude.

      1. There is no plan, its ‘my way or highway’.

        The plan is to bolster the “Hindu quotient” to its maximum possible limit (ie 80 percent) to overwhelm all others. Obviously the opposition (secularists/ regionlists /left) hope lies in exactly the opposite

        1. Fair enough. Personally I would be in favour of assimilation.

          But that doesn’t take away from fact that assimilation is two way street. Can’t flog just one side for not doing enough.

      2. We are sort of playing in an apples and oranges world- the conversation of ‘tolerance’ that is very much of vertical ring fenced religions and the conversation of ‘acceptance’ and eventual assimilation of horizontal layered religIons. The West and Islam have the same verticalized conversation because of similar Abrahamic origins and an incapacity to understand Indian religions.

        We almost need to get out of the box to understand the box- for example in Japan, there is no tolerance needed between Shintoism and Buddhism?


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