“Hinduism is not a religion, but a way of life,” Sri Siddharama Swami, seer of the Gadag Tontadarya Math, said in Belagavi on Wednesday.
“It is a well known fact. Great scholars have elaborated on it. There is no dispute about that fact,’‘ the seer said, after a function organised by the Belagavi Zilla Lekhakiyara Sangha to felicitate women writers.
Reacting to the controversy over Congress leader Satish Jarkiholi’s statement about the origin of the term Hindu, the seer said that it is not a matter of dispute, as the term Hindu refers to all Indians and not to any religious group.
“It is a Persian language term used to refer to residents of the region surrounding the Sindhu river. Since the Persian speakers use H instead of S, all people living on the banks of the Sindhu were called Hindu. In that sense, all people living in India, including Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and even Lingayats, should be considered Hindus,’‘ he said. The Sindhu flows even in Pakistan. “Some residents of those regions are demanding that the area be called Sindhustan,’‘ the seer said.
The term Hindu should be used in its larger sense and not in a narrow sense to refer to caste or religion, he said. He said that the activists in favour of a Lingayat religion are trying to portray Lingayat as a non-Vedic religion. Hinduism is a Vedic religion. But Lingayat is not a vedic religion and definitely not a part of Hindu religion.
The seer, who spearheaded the agitation for recognition of Lingayat as a religion, said that the movement will be re-started soon.
“We have not stopped it. We have suspended it temporarily as some of the 108 sub-castes among Lingayats are demanding reservation benefits. Once those agitations reach a certain stage, we will revive the movement for religion status,” he said.
He said that he is not opposed to some Lingayat castes demanding reservation. “It is between them and the government. We have nothing to say,” he said.