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New Delhi, Oct 10 : People living in India consider Hinduism as a global legacy, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said Friday, stressing "dharam" (religion) does not divide people but unites them.

Speaking at the launch of the international edition of Encyclopedia of Hinduism here, Bhagwat said that Hinduism was earlier called "manav dharam" (religion of man) as it is for everyone.

He said people of India had not considered it an ancestral property but "a legacy for the world".

"Today the world likes it," he said.

In his speech, Vice President Hamid Ansari said the selection of entries on different concepts in the encyclopedia as also identities of historical significance were comprehensive.

He also said that exclusivity in domain knowledge has to be ruled out and expertise should be judged objectively and sought globally.

"This test, I am sure will be applied in future editions of this otherwise excellent compilation," Ansari said.

Bhagwat said that people often say that a concept was correct principally but not practically but Hindu religion does not allow for them to be regarded differently.

"What problems Hindu society is facing, the main reason is the difference being kept between principle and its practicality."

He said "dharam" was being identified with rituals but its meaning is duty.

"Dharam is what binds. What causes divisions is not dharam," he said.

He said there was no word in English which connotes full meaning of "dharam" and people had started using the word religion for it.

"The need is to know what is dharam and then follow it," he said.

Bhagwat said while it is important for people outside India to have correct knowledge about Hinduism, it was even more important that people in the country have this knowledge.

According to an official associated with the event, the Encyclopedia of Hinduism has been in the making for more than twenty years and brings out depth and breadth of India's spiritual culture in "an authentic, academic and scholastic form".

A project of India Heritage Research Foundation guided by Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, president of Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, the encyclopedia is in 11-volumes and has approximately 7,000 entries.

NGO Global Citizen Forum had also partnered in Friday's event.

Spiritual leaders from different religions spoke on the occasion. Among those present were Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit.


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