We have difficulty in explaning the religion of HINDU, due
to the innumerable customs, concepts and beliefs that have
been absorbed, as well as, the numerous branch-off religions
that have come from HINDU. We will endevor to qualify our
comments due to this vast base of thought that Hindu is
The earliest form of Hindu can be referred to as pre-Vedic
and began about 3,000 years ago. Very little is known of the
Indians who lived in the pre-Vedic period in the Indus valley
of Northern India or the Dravidians of the Indian Peninsula.
By the time of Abraham, these people had developed a
civilization resembling the Mesopotamians. Their polytheistic
religion, a sort of proto-Hinduism, was in some ways a form
of witchcraft. The pre-Vedic Hindus especially worshipped a
MOTHER GODDESS and a horned god in the posture of a yogi.
They offered sacrifices to the various gods, but did not
maintain any temples.
The VEDIC period began around B.C. 1500, when a central
Asian people called the Aryans invaded Northern India and
eventually took over the Southern Indian area. These
light-skinned conquerors imposed their Vedic civilization and
religion on the Indians. Vedic religion differed greatly from
the Dravidian religion - the Aryans worshiped the powers of
nature rather than images. The most important of their gods
were INDRA, a god of the atomsphere and stars, VARUNA, a sky
god, and AGNI, the god of fire. There were many, many other
gods, one of which was SOMA, the god of the soma plant.
The Aryans developed an elaborate system of sacrifices
which later led to the formation of a priesthood (the
Brahmins). They also absorbed the Dravidian gods and concepts
into their religion, and this assimilation resulted in a
complicated array of gods and goddesses.
The Vedic period was followed by the Upanishadic period,
about B.C. 600. During this time Hindism began dividing, into
the popular religion of the masses and a more philosophical
religion. The Upanishads were sacred books which
reinterpreted the Vedic religion and boiled all gods down
into a single principle or absolute universal soul. This
monistic or pantheistic viewpoint held that the universe is
God, and God is the universe. The impersonal universal soul
was called Brahman, and this form of Hinduism was called
During the Upanishadic period, the Hindu concept of
salvation shifted from an emphasis on fulfillment and on life
to an emphasis on release and escape from life. Life on earth
began to be viewed quite pessimistically as the doctrines of
KARMA and SAMASARA grew.
The law of karma was a moral law of cause and effect,
which COULD NOT BE VIOLATED! It was called "the law of the
deed" and one could build either good or evil karma depending
on his or her deeds.
The doctrine of SAMASARA - transmigration-taught that all
life goes through and endless succession of rebirths. EVERY
living thing is on the wheel of life, and each new rebirth
depends upon the karma built up in its past lives. Salvation
is defined as the "breaking away from this wheel" could be
achieved by philosophical speculation on the words of the
sages and by meditation. Release and liberation from the
wheel of life (moksha or mukti) would finally come when one
realized his individual soul (the ATMAN) was identical with
the universal soul (Brahman).
Hinduism was now so philosophical in theory and so corrupt
and legalistic in practice that reform movements arose within
it. Two of the most known were BUDDHISM and JAINISM. Another
reform was a movement back to the worship of a supreme
personal God. Not that Hinduism became monotheistic;
polytheism was never really eliminated. Instead, a TRIAD of
Hindu gods was often used to represent the impersonal and
absolute Brahman (neuter). Brahma (The masculine form of the
word Brahman) was regarded as the Creator, VISHNU as the
Preserver, and SHIVA as the Destroyer.
Many Hindus (referred to as VAISHNAVITES) chose to worship
the god VISHNU and his 10 incarnations. These incarnations,
called AVATARS, or dsecendants of God to earth to save the
world from grave perils were a fish, an amphibian, a boar, a
man-lion, a dwarf, PARASURAMA, RAMA, KRISHNA, BUDDHA and
KALKIN, who is YET TO COME... The seventh and eighth
incarnations of VISHNU, RAMA and KRISHNA, are the most
important and are worshiped more than VISHNU himself.
Other Hindus (referred to as SHAIVITES) worship the god
SHIVA and his wife, who is variously represented as DURGA,
KALI, SATI, PARVATI, and best known as DEVA. Many of these
representations are sinsiter and blood-thirsty. Among the
KALI worshipers is a cult known as the SHAKTI, which
encourages such immoral practices as temple prostitution.
After the time of Christ, philosophical Hinduism was
dominated by VEDANTIC thought. The VEDANTA, a philosophical
hindu book based on the earlier Upanishads, teaches that man
needs liberation, Individuals go through stages of wanting
pleasure and worldly success. If they mature, their desires
may turn to self-renunciation and moral duty (DHARAMA). But
the deepest need, whether people recognize it or not, is for
MOKSHA occurs when a person extends his being (SAT),
awareness (CHIT), and bliss (ANANDA) to an infinite level.
Since Brahman, the impersonal absolute, is inifite being,
awareness, and bliss, the only way a man can obtain MOKSHA is
to come to the realization that his hidden self (ATMAN) is
actually the same as Brahman. TAT TWAM ASI (used in TM) means
"Thou Art That" is the term for coming to this realization.
Salvation is achieved by detachment from the finite self and
attachement to reality as a whole. This is called NIRVANA or
"State of Passionless Peace."
AS there are MANY teachings as to HOW one reaches this
state, we will not delve into them. It is sufficient to
comment that Hinduism created the CASTE system. Originally
there were but four caste - Brahmins (Priest), Kshatriyas
(warriors or rulers), Vaisyas (Craftsmen, farmers,artisans),
and Sudras (Servants). Below these were the "uncaste" or
"untouchables." Today, there are now over 3,000 subcastes
that have been created.
In philosophical Hinduism, God is generally an IT, not a
person as in the Bible.
In popular Hinduism, there are great multitudes of gods (3
Million by one count!) and goddesses. This is polytheistic
and idolatrous according to God's Word.
Popular Hinduism abounds in immoral practices,
superstitions, fear and occultism. Demon worship and
possession are also integral to Popular Hinuism.
The caste system is rigid, unjust and cruel. There were
very few attempts to reform this system UNTIL Christianity
was introduced and began to influence Hinduism.
There is no recognition of sin and moral guilt. Sin is an
illusion. In an ultimate sense, man is God. He is therefore
not separated from God by his sin, as the Bible teaches so
clearly, and human experience confirms so deeply.
Hinduism is a system of works. Forgiveness of sins does
not fit into the picture of KARMA (Law of cause and effect).
Each person has many lives in which to achieve 'salvation'.
There is a slow, evolving process toward the highest level.
Hinduism denies the exclusive claims of Christ and
despises the Christian teaching that Christ is the ONLY way
When we REALLY look at this religion, we will come to a
'realization' that ALL CULTS HAVE THE SAME BASIC FOUNDATION
as Hinduism! Mormonism, JW, The WAY, etc all have similar
heresies and false teachings that LOCK a follower into a
system that keeps the follower from the saving knowledge of
The 'toleration' of faiths in America has given rise to
the practice by many young people into forms of Hinduism and
its derivatives, such as TM. Hinuism claims to be tolerant of
all faiths and believes that "all faiths have truth" and can
be assimilated into Hinduism.
Christianity is the ONLY faith and religion that offers a
REAL solution to the problem of SIN. ONLY the vicarious work
of JESUS the CHRIST adequately copes with man's sinfulness.
Hinduism, Christian Science and others only COVER UP sin as
being an "illusion."
It is imperative that Christians DEFINE THEIR TERMS,
because our terminolgy has TOTALLY different meanings to a
HINDU. Salvation and other terms just do not mean the same to
a Hindu as the mean to a Christian. Explain your meanings in
clear, concise words to avoid this problem. In fact, this is
the best way to talk to anyone who does not KNOW CHRIST as
personal Lord and SAVIOUR!
One other area to witness to is the area of AUTHORITY. Ask
a Hindu what AUTHORITY he represents (basis of teaching,
etc). The normal response will be for him to allude to the
many Christian sects, but the Bible is CONSISTANT and
harmonious in its picture of God's plan of salvation. The
Hindu works all contradict one another at some point or
another - NO HINDU CAN ASCRIBE TO THE HINDU SCRIPTURES
CONSISTANTLY BECAUSE OF THE SERIOUS CONTRADICTIONS!
Bring them to Christ. Show them RELEASE and FREEDOM from
their SINS through the FORGIVENESS of their sins from the
payment of JESUS CHRIST on the CROSS AT CALVARY. To this end,
Computers For Christ - SYSOP 3/25/82
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