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The Word 'Hindu' in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Texts

Joseph T. O'Connell
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 93, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1973), pp. 340-344
DOI: 10.2307/599467
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/599467
Page Count: 5
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The Word 'Hindu' in Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava Texts
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Abstract

A survey of three Sanskrit and ten Bengali hagiographic texts from early sixteenth to late eighteenth centuries discloses nearly fifty passages (all in the Bengali texts) in which the word 'Hindu' appears. Most occurences are in episodes of strained relationships between Hindus and Yavanas or Mlecchas, as the Muslims are called. The strains are usually resolved satisfactorily. The word 'Hindu' never appears in a purely intra-communal Hindu context and has no significance in the central religious concerns of the texts, the expositions of bhakti. Most frequently 'Hindu' indicates a person or persons. 'Hindu dharma' occurs seven times, four of the occurences being in the earliest of the Bengali texts surveyed. In each case 'Hindu dharma' seems to indicate certain actions of a customary and ritual sort which are the right of Hindus and only Hindus to perform. But there is to be found no explicit discussion of what 'Hindu' or 'Hindu dharma' means in any of the texts surveyed.

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