Chapter 12: Live Now, Pray Later
There has never been such a time as the age of truth where everybody was authentic, honest, true to himself and to existence. But Hinduism is a very old religion, so you have to understand this psychological phenomenon. The child has no past, he has only a future. The old man has no future, but only the past. So all the old religions are past-oriented. They live in their yesterdays, naturally.
The new religions live in the future, they don’t have any past to fall back upon. They have to project a future. The latest religion, communism - remember, I count communism in with all the other religions because it fulfills every criterion of being a religion: it asks you to be faithful to the dogma. It asks you to believe in the Trinity of Karl Marx, Frederick Engels, Lenin. It demands that you believe in the absolute truth of Das Kapital, the book that Marx wrote. No doubt is allowed, no argument is possible. With Marx the religion has come to its completion; now nothing is going to be added.
But this is so with all the new religions. Mohammedanism is only fourteen hundred years old; Sikhism, five hundred years old; Christianity, two thousand years old. To the Indian mind, two thousand years mean nothing. Hinduism is at least ten thousand years old. That is the very dogmatic, scientific attitude. The Hindu himself calls his religion sanatan dharma; it means eternal religion - there is no question of time, it has always been there. So you cannot count it in years, or even in light years.
You will be surprised to know that Hinduism is not the name given by Hindus themselves. They call their religion sanatan dharma, the eternal religion. Hinduism is the name given by the enemies of Hindus. But it happens many times that you become known by the name the enemies give to you, and slowly you adopt it. It was given by people who went on conquering India for almost three thousand years. On the frontier, there is one of the most beautiful and biggest rivers of the world - Sindhu. The first conquerors were Hunas, a very barbarous community, very violent, almost cannibals. I say “almost,” because a few of them were still eating other human beings.
When Hunas, three thousand years ago, conquered India, in their alphabet there was no word, no letter equivalent to s. The closest was h. So they called Sindhu, the river, Hindu River. There was no other way because they had no s in their alphabet. So the closest word had to be used. Sindhu became Hindu, and the people who lived beyond Hindu River they called Hindus.
All the words about India are derived from that time. When Greeks came, they had no equivalent to h; the closest was i. So they called Sindhu, Indu, which later on became Indus, and from Indus is India. Strangely they all came from the River Sindhu. Now the whole West knows the country as India, the name given by the Westerners, or as Hindu, the name given by Hunas and Mohammedans. Nobody calls it Aryawarta - that is the name of the country used by the people who lived there: the country of the Aryans. And their religion was called sanatan dharma.