Why you don’t understand what Hinduism is

…because of the existence of the name Hinduism, Westerners expect to find a monolithic tradition similar to other ‘isms’. They remain baffled by what they find until they discover that Hinduism is a label that was attached in the 19th century to a highly complex and multiple collection of systems of thought by other Westerners who didn’t appreciate that complexity. Imagine the area covered by Europe and the Middle East at the begining of the Common Era – and suppose that outsiders had attached a single label to ‘the religion’ of that time and area. This will give an idea of what happened when ‘the religion’ of India was labelled Hinduism…

– ‘Indian Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction’ by Sue Hamilton, p 8.

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