Who Is a Hindu?

Insights from Saints and Scholars on What Makes One a Hindu

Definitions of Hinduism’s shared central beliefs were garnered from prominent Hindu organizations and individuals of the 20th century--evidence that the imperative to formalize conviction is a recent phenomenon. Overall, the lists and descriptions are surprisingly similar, echoing certain key concepts--generally, that it is conduct, based upon belief in dharma, karma and reincarnation, which makes one a Hindu. Some of the beliefs listed are not shared by all Hindus--most prominently the concept of avatar, divine incarnation, which is a distinctive Vaishnava belief. We shall now cite what has been collected from distinguished scholars and saints.