hinduTHE HINDU RELIGION

 

 

 

 

Definitions
Hinduism is so diversified in its theoretical premises and practical expressions that it has been called a “museum of religions.” Hinduism is a way of life or a Dharma. It involves living a life of purity and simplicity and having a sense of natural justice. The following definition of a basic Hindu was quoted in India’s Supreme Court on 2 July 1995:

 

Acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation are diverse; and the realization of the truth that the number of gods to be worshiped is large, that indeed is the distinguishing feature of the Hindu religion.

B. G. Tilak

 

Ancient History of Hinduism

 

Timeline Indicating the Ancient History of Hinduism:

3200-2000 B.C.—The traditionally accepted date of the Indus Valley civilization. The civilization flourished between 2350 and 1750 B.C.

1200-1000 B.C.—Rig Veda compiled

1000-500 B.C.—Age of the Ramayana, the Mahabharata or the Bhaghavad Gita

 

 


Major Differences to Christianity

There are numerous basic differences between Hinduism and Christianity.

 

Subject

Hinduism

Christianity

God

A vast plurality of gods and goddesses exist as part of the impersonal Brahman.

There is one God, who cares deeply for every individual.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deuteronomy 6:4).

“And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me” (Psalm 50:15).

The World and Humankind

The world and everything in it, including human beings, are manifestations of Brahman.

God created the universe. God is eternal, without beginning or end. The world exists separately from God. God created humankind in His image, and gave him free will. God values everyone he created.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Sin

Sin is committed against oneself, not against God.

God gave us laws to follow because he cares about us. He also gave us free will—with which we can choose to disobey. Disobedience is sin and a grave offense against God.

“Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge” (Psalm 51:4).

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

The Penalty of sin

Since “sin” is committed only against oneself, the penalties are accrued only against the self. The penalty is the repeated cycle of rebirths, until we can escape to Nirvana.

Sin cannot exist in the presence of God. Therefore the penalty of sin is spiritual separation from God. The penalty is death.

“For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23a).

Salvation

Salvation is the release from the wheel of life, the cycle of rebirths, through which we must work to better ourselves, and realize our oneness with Brahman. It must be worked out by each individual through successive lives.

Salvation is a free gift to us from God which must be accepted, not achieved. Jesus bought our salvation by taking all our sin upon himself on the cross, dying as a sacrifice for us, and then rising from the dead three days later. Salvation begins the moment we accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, and continues for ever, even after death.

Salvation cannot be acquired by good works, nor can be sustained by good works. It's all of grace.

“but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b)

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

 


The Legacy of Hinduism

Hinduism has given birth to innumerable other cults and religious movements. Buddhism started as an offshoot of Hinduism. Today, the New Age Movement, Transcendental Meditation, Wicca, Freemasonry, and many other forms of pagan worship trace their roots back to Hinduism.

Summary

In some ways it is more accurate to define Hinduism in terms of a civilization and a culture than a religion.

Hinduism is rooted in the merging of two basic religious systems: that of the ancient civilization found in the Indus River Valley from the third millennium B.C., and the religious beliefs brought to India by the Aryan (European) people who began moving into the Indus Valley sometime after 2000 B.C.

The Hindu religion is in direct violation of the Ten Commandments given by God, specifically the first commandment, "You shall have no other gods before me", and the second commandment, "You shall not make for yourself an idol". This is a pagan religion by every definition of the word, void of the Truth. Its adherents are in complete darkness in regard to the God of the Bible.

Practices

Hinduism embraces a wide range of belief systems, practices and scriptures, fare beyond to scope of this work.

Non-Violence (ahimsa)

Hindus believe in ahimsa, or non-violence and non-injury, in all activities, and all thoughts, words, and deeds. Mahatma Gandhi once described Hinduism as, “A quest for truth through non-violence.”

This ideal is the basis of the specific character of Hindu civilization. It is also the reason for the vegetarian diet of many Hindus.

Cows

Hindus regard all living creatures, mammals, fish and birds as sacred.
The cow symbolically represents all creatures, and is the living symbol of Mother Earth. The cow is therefore particularly sacred. Feeding the cow is an act of worship in itself.

The cow represents life and the sustenance of life. It represents our soul, our obstinate intellect, our unruly emotions. But the cow supersedes human beings because it is so giving, taking nothing but grass and grain. It gives and gives and gives.

The cow is vital to life, the virtual sustainer of life for human beings. The cow is a complete ecology, a gentle creature and a symbol of abundance.

Vegetarianism

Less than one third of all Hindus are vegetarian: there are good Hindus who eat meat, and there are bad Hindus who are vegetarians. But the Hindu who wishes to strictly follow the path of non-injury to all creatures naturally adopts a vegetarian diet.