We have difficulty in explaining 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 endeavor to qualify our comments due to this vast base
of thought that Hindu is comprised of.
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
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 atmosphere 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 Hinduism 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 Brahmanism.
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 descendants 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 sinister
and blood-thirsty. Among the KALI worshipers is a cult known as the
SHAKTI, which encourages such immoral practices as temple
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 liberation (MOKSHA).
MOKSHA occurs when a person extends his being (SAT), awareness
(CHIT), and bliss (ANANDA) to an infinite level. Since Brahman, the
impersonal absolute, is infinite 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 attachment 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
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. (SATORI)
Hinduism denies the exclusive claims of Christ and despises the
Christian teaching that Christ is the ONLY way to God.
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 JESUS.
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. Hinduism claims to be tolerant of all faiths
and believes that “all faiths have truth” and can be assimilated into
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
terminology has TOTALLY different meanings to a HINDU. Salvation and
other terms just do not mean the same to a Hindu as they 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 CONSISTENT 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
CONSISTENTLY 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, we pray.
Computers For Christ – San Jose