Membership, Community, Diversity

How do Hindus view Hinduism’s relationships to other traditions?

For many centuries the greater Hindu tradition has shown enormous flexibility in adapting to religious pluralism. It came to be the “greater” Hinduism, in part at least, because of that quality of expansiveness. Many Hindus regard their religious heritage as a kind of spiritual umbrella capable of sheltering all who seek refuge beneath it. Historically, different denominations have drawn once-separate traditions into their embrace. For example, Vaishnavite tradition came to incorporate Buddhism by installing the Buddha as the ninth of Vishnu’s ten avatars—a hospitable gesture, perhaps, but one that Buddhists do not recognize. Some Hindus have suggested that Jesus and other foundational figures also find a place in the greater Hindu scheme of things. A major early modern movement that began as an attempt to soften the animosity between Hindus and Muslims in northwestern India especially is now known as Sikhism. The Sikh community has become largely identified with a region called the Punjab, which straddles the India-Pakistan border. Sikh separatists have continued to assert their desire for a homeland.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Religion Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App