My notes on Hinduism

Hindu beliefs:

  • Hinduism is pantheistic, not theistic.

Hindu morality:

  • In Hinduism, morality is practical; its end is to purify the soul from desires so that it can attain mystical consciousness.
  • If God is in everything, God is in both good and evil. But then there is no absolute morality, no divine law, no divine will discriminating good and evil.

Hinduism on truth:

  • Truth is relative to the level of experience.
  • In Hinduism there are many levels of truth: polytheism, sacred cows and reincarnation for the masses; monotheism (or monism) for the mystics, who declare the individual soul one with Brahman (God) and beyond reincarnation (“Brahman is the only reincarnator”).

Hinduism on individuality:

  • Individuality is illusion according to Eastern mysticism. Not that we’re not real, but that we are not distinct from God or each other. Christianity tells you to love your neighbors; Hinduism tells you you are your neighbors. The word spoken by God Himself as His own essential name, the word “I,” is the ultimate illusion, not the ultimate reality, according to the East. There is no separate ego. All is one.
  • Since individuality is illusion, so is free will. If free will is illusion, so is sin. And if sin is illusion, so is hell. Perhaps the strongest attraction of Eastern religions is in their denial of sin, guilt and hell.

Hinduism on sin and salvation:

  • Thus the two essential points of Christianity—sin and salvation—are both missing in the East. If there is no sin, no salvation is needed, only enlightenment. We need not be born again; rather, we must merely wake up to our innate divinity. If I am part of God, I can never really be alienated from God by sin.

Hinduism on body, matter, history, and time: 

  • Body, matter, history and time itself are not independently real, according to Hinduism. Mystical experience lifts the spirit out of time and the world.

The ultimate Hindu ideal is mysticism:

  • The ultimate Hindu ideal is not sanctity but mysticism. Sanctity is fundamentally a matter of the will: willing God’s will, loving God and neighbor. Mysticism is fundamentally a matter of intellect, intuition, consciousness. This fits the Eastern picture of God as consciousness—not will, not lawgiver.
  • The summit of Hinduism is the mystical experience, called mukti, or moksha: “liberation” from the illusion of finitude, realization that tat tvam asi, “thou art That (Brahman].” At the center of your being is not individual ego but Atman, universal self which is identical with Brahman, the All.

Hinduism on other religions: 

  • Hinduism claims that all other religions are yogas: ways, deeds, paths. Christianity is a form of bhakti yoga (yoga for emotional types and lovers). There is also jnana yoga (yoga for intellectuals), raja yoga (yoga for experimenters), karma yoga (yoga for workers, practical people) and hatha yoga (the physical preliminary to the other four). For Hindus, religions are human roads up the divine mountain to enlightenment-religion is relative to human need; there is no “one way” or single objective truth.

Hindu on human nature:

  • There is, however, a universal subjective truth about human nature: It has “four wants”: pleasure, power, altruism and enlightenment. Hinduism encourages us to try all four paths, confident that only the fourth brings fulfillment. If there is reincarnation and if there is no hell, Hindus can afford to be patient and to learn the long, hard way: by experience rather than by faith and revelation.

Hindu dialogue:

  • Hindus are hard to dialogue with for the opposite reason Moslems are: Moslems are very intolerant, Hindus are very tolerant. Nothing is false; everything is true in a way.

How to share the Gospel with Hindus:

1. Always ask questions when talking to a Hindu.  Do not tell a Hindu what he or she believes since Hinduism is an extremely diverse religion with each individual having a different expression of Hinduism belief and practice.

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