Hinduism?

I’m just really curious about the Hindu religion.
Literally the only thing I know about Hinduism is that it is one of the four major world religions. My sister kind of described it as “If you took the opposite of everything in Christianity”, but she’s an atheist raised Catholic-ish so I really doubt she knows what she’s talking about. If there in anyone on here who is Hindu, I wonder if you could help me get an idea of what the religion is like (I’ve looked up some stuff online, but…it’s kind of confusing) Like, what are the core beliefs of Hinduism? Are there many denominations of Hinduism? Does it have a “religious book”, like the Bible or the Qu’ran? When was it founded? How was it founded? What sort of key principals might an adherent follow?

It’s really interesting because if you think about it, Christianity and Islam are both Abrahamic (if I’m not mistaken) and even Buddhism is something we talked about a bit in history class, but Hinduism just seems completely left out. And I’m utterly curious about what it’s like, since I was raised so exclusively Catholic that I didn’t even know about other Christian denominations until I was a teenager, let about about religions like Hinduism. Now, I wanna know.

All I can offer is that it took Divine Revelation to be the basis for the Old Testament and NewTestament truths.

Religions that are not based on Divine Revelation is what they come up with their own finite minds.

There are a lot of “Introduction to Hinduism” websites and books. I do not know enough about any of them to recommend any, I’m afraid.

The two Hindu texts most accessible to non-Hindus are the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. There are many different translations of both available in dead tree and online formats.

The Vedas and Upanishads are not good for beginners, they need too much commentary to understand.

And the illustrations are better. The Transfiguration scene from chapter 11 of the Bhagavad Gita is here: Vishnu

HTH

rossum

There are various sects and six orthodox schools of philosophy: Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vedanta. Also there is Shaktism and Shaivism. The four Vedas (scriptures) are revered. Other major scriptures are the *Chandi-Path, *Upanishads, the Ramayana, and the Bhagavad Gita, Brahma Sutras,and many others such as agamas. Not all sects use all these.

The main denominations are Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism. Some Smarta.

I think you can get a good taste of Hinduism from reading the major Upanishads plus the Bhagavad-Gita. The Vedas are kind of difficult, and might seem meandering. There are a lot of Hindu chants on youtube. Some for Sarasvati, the goddess of music, art, knowledge, are beautiful. Translations for these vary quite a bit in vocabulary and style. Some are lofty and moving, others are dry. The “genealogy” of the Gods gets pretty bad sometimes, worse than some of the false gods in the Old Testament. Many nominal Hindus either see all the gods as manifestations of one God or one Principle, or they lean towards an atheistic cultural Hinduism. I haven’t been to India, so don’t know what Hinduism is like in its homeland. There are merchants near me who travel back and forth, and sell items here from India, Tibet, etc. Oddly, they have a very difficult time finding little statues (idols) of the Top and First “God,” Brahman, “the unchanging reality amidst and beyond the world”. But you can see probably all the rest of the Gods and Goddesses in little statuettes. It’s kind of interesting. It makes me wonder, “Where did this religion come from, originally?”

Your sister is right, you Catholics are monotheists and we are polytheists, Its like we worship all the angels individually apart from the one supreme Lord or the Saviour.

If there in anyone on here who is Hindu, I wonder if you could help me get an idea of what the religion is like (I’ve looked up some stuff online, but…it’s kind of confusing)

The American Institute of Vedic Studies by David Frawley is doing a wonderful job to remove just that confusion that most of the westerners have on Hinduism. I would suggest reading his articles for a better understanding of Hinduism.

vedanet.com/articles/

Like, what are the core beliefs of Hinduism?

I would suggest you to understand Pauline Christianity clearly and more deeply, whatever Saint Paul is saying in his epistles those are the core beliefs of Hinduism, don’t worry too much about the rest.

Are there many denominations of Hinduism?

Yes there are many sects Vaishnava (Vishnu), Saura (Mithra), Shaiva (Shiva) etc and there are many philosophical systems that emerged from the interpretation of the Upanishads and the Vedas like Samkhya, Advaita (Non-dualism), Dvaita (Dualism), Vishishta Advaita (Qualified Non-dualism), Shuddha Advaita etc.

We heavily rely on rituals and Yoga to achieve redemption though we believe as Saint Paul says that we are saved not by works but due to pure grace from the Holy Father.

Does it have a “religious book”, like the Bible or the Qu’ran?

Yes we have many books Rig Veda, Sama Veda, Yajur Veda, Atharvana Veda etc. Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Upanishads and the later puranas.

When was it founded?

It was not founded and preached by one man, it was revealed to the Vedic Seers in the form of realized eschatalogy and for a long period the Vedic mantras was transmitted orally from one generation to another.

How was it founded?

Through revelation of the Divine being in you. The Christ in you.

What sort of key principals might an adherent follow?

Not much, just as Saint Paul says in his Romans renounce all boasting of your works and your achievements in the name and glory of the unbegotten Holy Father.

“The Journey of Self Discovery” from what I’ve heard is a good read if your interested in Hinduism. I kind of regret not getting one from a Krishna monk for only a penny.

Good Evening Pleroma: While I am a Catholic and not a Hindu, I have long been fascinated by the confluences between belief systems. That said, would it not be true to say that whatever it is you worship, they are all permutations of the One who is the Inmost Self of all beings? Is it not the primary theme of the Principle Upanishads that he who sees all beings as spiritual sparks, in truth one with the Lord, is the knower of things? And Did Krishna not say that no matter what god or demigod you worship, you are in fact worshipping Him? I think that is it misleading for those who are closely familiar with Vedic philosophy to tell westerners that Hindus are polytheistic, because the term is invariably misunderstood by westerners. While it may be said that Hindus can be found to worship any of many gods or demigods, all of these are thought in fact to be manifestations of the one Supreme Lord who has many names. You will certainly find those who worship them individually and apart, but I think that for true scholars, there is no escaping the fact that each of these is simply a different icon to click on in order to get to the same program.

I would posit the unique idea that it is not proper in the western sense to label Hinduism as either monotheistic or polytheistic. For me, I think it is more fair to say that in a broad sense, Hinduism acknowledges that there are infinite paths that simply all lead back to the same Source.

Thanks,
Gary

Yes all the gods and the goddesses are the manifestations of the divine Self. However it is important to know both the outer manifestations of the divine Self in the form of various Gods and also the Non-dual Self i.e. one without a second. Both are very important, the outer manifestation and the Unity, one cannot exist without the other hence it is wrong to worship only the Self and ignore all the various individual gods and goddesses. Similarly it is wrong to worship the various gods and goddesses in a dualistic manner without recognizing that they all emanated from the divine Self.

Is it not the primary theme of the Principle Upanishads that he who sees all beings as spiritual sparks, in truth one with the Lord, is the knower of things?

Yes that’s true.

  • Isha Upanishad, verse 16
  1. O Nourisher, lone Traveller of the sky! Controller! O Sun, Offspring of Prajapati! Gather Your rays; withdraw Your light. I would see, through Your grace, that form of Yours which is the fairest. I am indeed He, that Purusha, who dwells there. -

This is the highest non-dual interpretation of the Upanishads which shows that you and God are one.

“For the Son of God became man so that we might become God.”

Gospel of Philip says,

“People cannot see anything in the real realm unless they become it, if you have seen Christ you become Christ, if you have seen the spirit you become the spirit, if you have seen the Father you will become the Father”

  • Gospel of Philip

And Did Krishna not say that no matter what god or demigod you worship, you are in fact worshipping Him?

Yes that’s true but in the end when you receive redemption you will reach that level of heaven where your demigod is placed, you will not reach the highest heaven which is the abode of Aeons (The Pleroma).

I think that is it misleading for those who are closely familiar with Vedic philosophy to tell westerners that Hindus are polytheistic, because the term is invariably misunderstood by westerners. While it may be said that Hindus can be found to worship any of many gods or demigods, all of these are thought in fact to be manifestations of the one Supreme Lord who has many names. You will certainly find those who worship them individually and apart, but I think that for true scholars, there is no escaping the fact that each of these is simply a different icon to click on in order to get to the same program.

I would posit the unique idea that it is not proper in the western sense to label Hinduism as either monotheistic or polytheistic. For me, I think it is more fair to say that in a broad sense, Hinduism acknowledges that there are infinite paths that simply all lead back to the same Source.

Thanks,
Gary

The correct way to label Hindus in the traditionalist sense would be to label them as Kathenotheists.

Kathenotheism is a term coined by the philologist Max Müller to mean the worship of one god at a time. It is closely related to henotheism. Müller coined the term in reference to the Vedas; where he explained each deity is treated as supreme in turn.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathenotheism

We have one Supreme Lord, the unbegotten Holy Father and all other gods emanated from this supreme Aeon.

You are quite right, Gary. And to just add my 2-bits to what Pleroma has already said, I believe that the central theme of Hinduism is indeed ‘Tat Tvat Asi’ - translates as ‘Thou art That’ - meaning all things - animate/inanimate, male/female, good/evil are ultimately manifestations of that Universal Self, which we call Brahman. However, we can not worship or even have a relationship with Brahman - we can only try to become One with It.

We instead worship the personal Gods (who are also all manifestations of Brahman) of which there are three uncreated ones - Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. Krishna and Rama are human incarnations of Vishnu.

Thank you Pleroma and Openmind.

All the Best,
Gary

John 14:6. 'Nuff said.

The Hindu Swami Vivekananda played a role in introducing the ideas of Vedanta Hinduism to the West about a century ago. I found his books on Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga to be readable, informative and interesting.

Good morning Faithdancer: The topic is whether or not Hinduism is polytheistic of monotheistic. We are not trying on this particular thread to establish the veracity or primacy of one religion over another.

Thanks,
Gary

~Openmind: You are quite right, Gary. And to just add my 2-bits to what Pleroma has already said, I believe that the central theme of Hinduism is indeed ‘Tat Tvat Asi’ - translates as ‘Thou art That’ - meaning all things - animate/inanimate, male/female, good/evil are ultimately manifestations of that Universal Self, which we call Brahman. However, we can not worship or even have a relationship with Brahman - we can only try to become One with It.

~Pleroma:* Yes all the gods and the goddesses are the manifestations of the divine Self. However it is important to know both the outer manifestations of the divine Self in the form of various Gods and also the Non-dual Self i.e. one without a second. Both are very important, the outer manifestation and the Unity, one cannot exist without the other hence it is wrong to worship only the Self and ignore all the various individual gods and goddesses. Similarly it is wrong to worship the various gods and goddesses in a dualistic manner without recognizing that they all emanated from the divine Self.

Thanks to all three of you! What has been fascinating to me is the linguistic awkwardness that seems innate for any who attempts to verbalize “Eastern” ideas in what is essentially dualistic, linear, English. I have some ideas about that, which might be useful in clarifying what’s meant–for the sake of those who haven’t the knowledge you three do of the subject. So I wonder what you think about these points. I have highlighted what might serve as illustrations in blue.

And then “we can not worship or even have a relationship with Brahman - we can only try to become One with It.” My understanding is that the thing trying to “become one” is itself the blockage which is found, after Seeing, to never have been there in reality, but only as a mis-identification with thought. In other words, the person seeking is not what realizes, but is realized to be an occlusion in the clarity of what always was and IS the light as seen and seer. This is a monumentally difficult thing for christianists, or anyone, it seems, to wrap their head around. It is also why Hinduism and Catholicism, eg, are classified respectively as “descending” and “ascending” views. Another way to say that might be to quote Bernadette Roberts, a former Carmelite nun: “You will have a personal God as long as you believe you are a person.” Conversely, when the illusion of discreet person dissipates, the understanding of God is transformed.

To follow that, the biggest hindrance in expressing that dynamic seems to be in the use of pronouns, primarily in/as. Herein resides the differene in the impression between what might be construed as pantheism and panentheism. What is the difference between “they all emanated from the divine Self.” and: they *are *the Self emanant in perception as putable aspects of Allness. It may be as clumsy a statement, but to me goes more in the direction of forcing thought out of the common Western paradigm of subject vs. object. Anyway, it is there for the purpose of conversation.

So “there are infinite paths that simply all lead back to the same Source.” might also read something like “what appear to be infinite paths are the Source discovering Itself in infinite ways to be always what it already IS.” The point being that it may be possible to bend our language a bit into what might seem to be a conundrum in order to force a perspective that might otherwise be more lost in “translation.”

I won’t argue that what I presented is any less awkward or more correct, but that there is a point of subtlety in talking about these ideas that I feel could more usefully addressed. What do y’all think?

*Interesting “handle.” I learned something. Thanks!

Have you read Joe Bageant’s Deer Hunting with Jesus?

Good Afternoon Sochi: I agree. I think you have hit upon at least an analog of how it think it may be, or at least my current thinking on the matter. I think that the Consciousness behind the universe that we have come to refer to as God is expressing itself in what we know as the temporal realm, and does this simply for the sake of experience. In the process it is coming to know itself in different ways. In spite of our sentient expressions that we identify with, I do not think there is any true individuality in the core nature of things. I think we are to God as permutations are in the Mandelbrot Set:

youtube.com/watch?v=0jGaio87u3A

The video I posted above I think are 5 very revealing minutes that demonstrate the fractal nature of all creation, wherein the source is seen in every outcome and every outcome is anticipated by the source. The beginning depends on the end to the same measure that the end depends on the beginning. It’s all about the expression and the experience. Much to the dismay of many a hard core traditionalist within my own faith tradition, I think that the Mandelbrot Set and it’s visual demonstration of the fractal nature of the world is the only outcome that can possibly be implied in the statement “I am the vine and you are the branches.” The implications are enormous and somehow incredibly overlooked. If we look at the words of Jesus, Krishna, and many of the figures of the Axial Age, and apply what we now know about the world around us thousands of years later, I think much of the perspective we were raised with starts to seem very strange. At minimum, it requires a good looking at.

Thanks,
Gary

By the way, this could be an interesting conversation, however, it may be a bit of a challenge. Your expression of concepts suggests that your mind may be running on a full blown version of Modern Human, whereas I am stretching mine on some upgrades to an older version.

Love your conclusion: “‘I am the vine and you are the branches.’ The implications are enormous and somehow incredibly overlooked.” Yes, that is perfect! I am curious as how, given your faith background (nominally mine as well) you came to this rather magnificent, and imho, accurate conclusion?

I ask because the question for me, having Catholicism as my birth religion, and having had what in the literature might be called a transformation experience, then a later clarification of it in the linguistic appreciation of it, the difference between conceptualizing this idea and living it as an experience has been the source of much interest. It has also been the source of much controversy if presented to others who are only vaguely aware of the practical identity of this conclusion as expressed by Catholic mystics and mystics of other backgrounds, including no theological or philosophical background. Through time, places, and cultures, your conclusion has been the coup de grace to dogmas, beliefs and practices. But all that seems to be a result of a maturation the individual appears to have little control over, save for a sense of desperate lack of answer, and an inevitable surrender after great or monumental effort.

This does not seem different, save for ultimate goal, than the usual creative process that has, for instance, revealed the benzene ring, mathematical insights, creative leaps, etc. It seems only a higher or more fundamental degree of inquiry into the nature of the seeker as such, as distinct from an object of discovery in the realm of manifestation or of a particular discipline. I don’t know if you understand what I’m getting at, but I am firmly in agreement with your explication.

That is all I will say for now. Thanks very much for your reply; it is a great breath of fresh oxygenated air on these pages, with all due respect.

Great use of metaphor. It as well is applicable in noting that even with the same DOS the software loaded determines what can be seen on any individual insrument. I’m for conversations, so to speak, at the DOS level. so to speak, or as the juice running the system itself, lol! So great to meet you on here, regardless of “self” positional assessment. If there might be a challenge, it would be that generally speaking, my observation is that such ideas as these may not be very welcomed here by the general population, who nevertheless are some fractal variations of the very points of the conversation! :slight_smile:

PS: I used to think that the hokey-pokey was what it was all about, but I turned myself around. :wink:

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