WHAT I MEAN BY THE WORD "HINDU"
óBy Swami Yogananda
The term "Hindu" is used often in a misleading sense. Its proper meaning would include only the religious adherents of Hinduism. But it is commonly used in a racial and national sense, and I myself was guilty of so using it in my article on "Ethnologists vs. the 'Common Man' "* in the July-August 1926 issue of East-West. The right word to use in a national sense, when designating the different people of India, would be "Indians" or "East Indians." Thus, all Mohammedans, Hindus, Parsis, and other peoples that live in India are Indians, while only those professing Hinduism are Hindus.
The name Hindu was first given by the Greeks to those who lived on the banks of the river, Indus. The word Hindu is a corruption of the word Indus. According to the Vedas and all our sacred books, and the investigations of eminent western ethnologists, the people of India belong to the Aryan race. Most of the Europeans, the Persians,+ the Hindus and the Semitic Mohammedans all come from the same Aryan race. The type of their skulls, noses, features, and the origin of certain languages being traced to Sanskrit, has led to the accepted conclusion that the above-mentioned races were all Aryans.
In my article on "Ethnologists vs. the 'Common Man'" , I meant to include within the scope of the word "Hindu" which I used, all Mohammedans, Christians, Hindus, Persians and various other East Indians that live in India, and it is for them as much as for the Hindus (using the latter word in its proper religious sense) that I wrote my article explaining the fallacy and injustice of Justice Sutherland's ruling that East Indians are not "white persons." These East Indians who, having lost the white color of their skins by living in the hotter regions of India, therefore cannot be American citizens according to Justice Sutherland's interpretation of the word "white," as he ignores the theological and accepts the "common man's" viewpoint. In other words, if the Oriental, dark-skinned, Jesus Christ came to build a church in California he could not own it. Yet strange it is that Jesus Christ is worshipped in every Christian church.
The East Indians have ample space to live their simple, spiritual lives, in India. All I ask is that America should save herself from the spiritual error of disowning her own brothers and sisters living in the far East.
The Latin, pater, Sanskrit, pita, colloquial, pa, English, father, colloquial, papa, all these words come from the Sanskrit root pa, which means protector. The Aryan father was called pita, in the agricultural stage of civilization, because he protected the cows. The Latin, mater, Sanskrit, mata, colloquial, ma, English, mother, all these words come from the Sanskrit root ma, which means the measurer. The Aryan mother received the name mata because she measured the milk and distributed it to her children. The Anglo-Saxon, dohter, Sanskrit, duhita, English, daughter, all these words mean the same thing and they are derived from the Sanskrit root, duh, which means to milk the cow. In this manner, by the analysis of
thousands of words, philology has proved that the Hindus, the English, the forefathers of the Americans, the Persians, the Semitic Mohammedans, all belonged to the Aryan race which originally spoke the same Sanskrit language.
The inhabitants of the northern Himalayas in India, especially in Kashmere, which is spoken of as the epitome of the world, are for the most part white-skinned, and some have blue eyes and blonde hair. As one travels to the hotter southern regions of India, one finds the skin of the people getting darker and more tanned. Many white-skinned Americans and Europeans, living for a long time near the sea or in the hotter parts of India, will grow tanned beyond recognition.
The immigration law and the citizenship status in America should be based on the quality of an individual and not on his color. For color is God-made and sun-made and not of man's own choosing, whereas qualities are developed by individual effort. The present erroneous standard of color discrimination in America may invite the white human dregs and degenerates of Europe and may shut out dark-skinned, world-inspiring savants like Mahatma Gandhi.
Justice-loving and truth-loving America, you should not put a loose brick of an unjust law in the foundation of your civilization. Wake up, dear Americans, and fight this great error in the history of your civilization. Keep the mental firmament of America pure and broad as the heavens.
*The article referred to appeared in the July-August issue
+In this connection, it is interesting to read an inscription left by King Darius at Persepolis, about 559 B.C. It reads:
"A great god is Ahuramazda, who hath created this earth, who hath created that heaven, who hath created man, who created the gladness of man, who made Darius king, sole king of many, sole law-giver of many.
"I am Darius, the great King, the King of Kings, King of lands peopled by all races, for long king of this great earth, the son of Vishtasp, the Achaemenian, a Persian, son of a Persian, an Aryan of Aryan descent." (BROWNE.)
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