By Chaturvedi Badrinath
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Extra resources for Dharma, India, and the World Order
The true identity of Indian civilisation has been dharmic and not 'Hindu'. The word 'Hindu' itself is not to be found in any of the ancient or even medieval Indian texts. , 49 and then it was clearly a geographical description of those who lived beyond the river Sindhu or Indus, and carried with it no religious connotation. Nor was there ever any such thing as 'Hinduism'. Conditioned by the concept of 'religion', and in search of a unified system of religious beliefs amongst the people they called 'Hindus', which they would now endeavour to replace with Catholicism, the Catholic missionaries of the 16th century manufactured the word 'Hinduism'.
One was chiefly derived from the Aristotelian law of the excluded middle, the characteristic Western logical framework of either/or; the other from the view that the opposites are combined as inherent nature of everything. When the rationality of the Enlightenment became an ism, the ideology of rationalism,it turned into a conflict between two different ways of ordering human relationships. Every difference in the understanding of human existence, of life itself,that separates Indian civilisation from the Western arises, in the first place, from two very different methods of inquiry into the human condition.
This question occupied Indian thinkers for numerous centuries. The world, in the historical conditions of today, is again searching for a cosmic principle that takes up in its enfolding meaning all expressions of life and thought as stages in the succesively higher development of man. That search is a search for dharma. 57 3 UNDERSTANDING INDIA Key to Reform of Society Delivered on 23 December 1989 In his eleventh thesis on Feuerbach, Karl Marx had said: 'philosophers have so far tried to interpret the world; the point, however, is to change it'.
Dharma, India, and the World Order by Chaturvedi Badrinath