Is Hinduism a violent religion? Does the caste system add venom to it?

This was a question on Quora already 8 years ago. Meanwhile there are many more attempts to associate Hinduism wrongly with violence.

Here is my updated reply from 8 years ago:

Hinduism is the only religion of the three major religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism) that never used a sword to spread, unlike the other two. The reason is simple. It is the only religion that does not divide humanity into “us, who are right, versus them, who are wrong”. It is the only religion of the three, which does not claim that it alone is true and others need to follow it because this is the Will of the Highest.

Hinduism is in a different category from Christianity and Islam, both of which demand blind belief in what one person has said about the Will of the Creator.


However, Hinduism is often unfairly maligned as violent and as ‘proof’ the caste system is mentioned.

It is unfortunately a general human weakness that those with a higher standing in society often look down on the lower classes. Hindus are also humans and some may treat lower classes/ castes badly as it happens everywhere in the world, but this has nothing to do with Hinduism. It’s surely telling that this is the most ‘negative aspect’, which the Abrahamic side could find, to malign Hinduism.

If for example a Brahmin refuses to eat with someone who eats meat, it is made to look as if it is the worst possible crime a human can commit, much worse than the inhuman tortures and murders which those two religions committed in the name of their God over centuries.

Many millions all over the world were killed by them, and many millions of them were Hindus. To kill people because they worship God in another way is definitely not the mindset of Hindus. Yet incredibly, attempts are made to make Hindus look as the perpetrators of violence, as it happened recently in England.

Yes, violence may be needed in defence of Dharma and to stop evil-doers, but never to silence/kill other views about the Divine.

The Divine is in everyone as pure awareness, never mind which religion he or she follows. That’s the inclusive Hindu view, which makes sense, but unfortunately is not shared by the dogmatic religions.

By Maria Wirth

12 comments

  1. Bala Subramanian · · Reply

    In the name of dharma, many an act of violence might have been perpetrated by the Hindus on their own communities and members. The practice of Sati, which required married women to self emulate with their dead husbands on the funeral pyre, might be an act unbecoming their claimed non violence philosophies.

    1. Ashok Dogra · · Reply

      There was no sati Pratha in Ancient India, How come the mother of Ram did not commit Sati after the death of Dashrath ? Mother of Shivaji Jijabai did not commit Sati. Basically when fighting Mughals the Rajput women did Johar ort few committed Sati to avoid exploitation by Mughals. Neither Veda nor Manusmriti mention Sati anywhere. The term was promoted by Christian Raja Ram Mohan Roy for promoting conversions.

      1. Super Ashok ji you are very precise to the point. But why so much angry on Raja Ram Mohan Roy? The practice was so much pierced in the society that he was to bring law against it. I don’t think any other conspiracy behind it.

    2. Sorry Balaji, Please ask for a refund from wherever you did your education. There is no shastra, social norm that existed at any point in India that “forced” a woman to commit Sati. The world revers Japanese Samurai’s who commit “sepuku” rather than face dishonour. Iceland, and Norway have examples of warrior women who sometimes choose to commit “Sati”. British had a propaganda wing for manufacturing “Atrocity Literature”. Raja Rammohan was their stooge for peddling this Literature. Sati was a “voluntary” act committed by Kshatriya women. It was a “Laukika” (no basis in vedas or other texts) and done with reverence to their Rajyam, King and out of despise to the cowardly uncivilized barbaric invaders.

      1. Where did I say that our Shastras backing this Sampradaya? Nor I support this. I, too, know it is ‘voluntary’. Sati was mainly protecting young women by themselves from the enemies, which was a rare happening in earlier days of our Indian history. It became more apparent and regular after the invasion of Mughal’s invasions, mostly North-West of Indian territories. Raja Rammohan Roy was intended to end this by implementing a law when it happened after the end of foreign rule. Period. Why so much offend on this?

  2. Beautiful piece Maria 💙🙏

  3. Udayabhanu Panickar · · Reply

    What the westerners named as Hinduism is not a religion. It is much more than religion. It is Dharma.

  4. Sukesh chander sharma · · Reply

    It is a fact.Srimad Bhagvad Gita is a Greatest testimony of above.Only selfish and arrogant followers of Abhrahmic faiths and Communist followers to great extent tried to malin the true teachings of Bhartiyas.

    1. Udayabhanu Panickar · · Reply

      Semitic religious amalgamation workers only propagated SanAthana DhaRMam as religions. It was ploy they used to recruit people of Indian origin to their religions. The Aryan Dravidian divide and Aryan invasion story are both used for creating a western supremacy and use it for religious amalgamation of Indians into Semitic religions.

  5. Basu Bose · · Reply

    Brilliant and timely. Thanks much.

  6. Although I sincerely appreciate your honest response, yet Maria ji, you also considered Sanatana Dharma is an another religion. Very sad. While Islam and Christianity are abhramic religions which are teaching their followers to strictly believe only their prechers, but Sanatana Dharma insists to search and define Gods that are explained by asking questions with the Gurus. Can we think of such action in these religions? Sanatana Dharma shows the way, how one lead a perfect life without worries if the ways are followed correctly, hence it is ‘way of life’ rather than a ‘religion”. Thanks once again for posting your response. Hari om.

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