Is Hinduism the one and only true faith?
In this series of posts we’ve looked at godlessness, dabbling in cults and immersion in the occult that can lead to Satanism. The other end of the spectrum is a faith that embraces multiple gods.
Hinduism is a very diverse collection of beliefs, but it is fundamentally practiced as either a Deist monism or a pantheistic paganism with thousands of gods. The basic premise of Hinduism is Monism. Monism teaches that All is One. This gives sway to Pantheism meaning that All is God. So we are one with the universe and the universe is God so we are connected to the impersonal enlightenment. The problem is we are bound to this physical personal existence which inhibits us from joining with the true reality known as Brahman-Atman. The goal is to liberate oneself from this physical world of illusion. This is done by transcending this world through Yoga or Transcendental Meditation. The goal is to break the shackles of Karma which releases us from thinking and feeling so that we can be absorbed into the impersonal One. When we lose our personal identity we enter a state of bliss.
A Hindu transcends this world through the practice of Yoga. In Hinduism Yoga means union with God. Yoga is an eight step process. The first five steps are called Hatha Yoga. These are physical disciplines that prepare one to detach from the senses. The last three steps are called Raja Yoga. The first of these is Dharama where one is meditating on a mantra which is a word that relates to a Hindu god. Next is Dhyana. This is unbroken concentration directed towards the mantra. At this point oneness with the universe is achieved. Finally there is Samadhi. This is where the person is without a sense of existence. At this point the Hindu is one with Brahman-Atman. Depending on how one tries to join the impersonal one which encompasses that persons karma then this determines how one will transmigrate in the next life. Doing more good things results in a higher life form and doing mostly bad results in becoming a lower life form. Hindus refrain from killing lower life forms for fear of killing a relative. Hindus explain this illusionary world through the involvement of the Hindu gods Shiva and Vishnu. One brings about destruction and the other preserves.
In the West Hinduism never got much traction. In order for it to become more palatable, Hindus changed transmigration to reincarnation. In reincarnation one can only return as another person not and animal. Transcendental Meditation on the other hand takes some of the techniques of Hatha Yoga and Westernizes them, taking out spiritual content and emphasizing health, de-stressing relaxation, and self-centered contentedness. TM is actually more a totally self-absorbed offshoot of Mahayana Buddhism than of Hinduism and it is certainly not Yoga. Monism is substituted for the United Field. In order for one in the West to attain it they need to pay for a mantra and go through a ceremony that includes flowers, fruit, a white handkerchief, candles, burning incense, a picture of Guru Dev and recitation of the Puja. In this prayer, the one who purchased the mantra (Hindu deity) mentions Brahma as the creator, Krishna the redeemer and Guru Dev (Master of Maharishi Yogi) who is called the glory of Brahama, Vishnu and Shiva. To this the person must bow. Repeating the mantra brings one closer with the deity.
The North American “Hare Krishna” cult is just that, and not an authentic form of Hinduism. Hinduism, like Judaism, is very tied to an ethno-cultural identity as well as a set of religious beliefs and traditions — Hindus do not proselytize, though they will tolerate non Hindu curiosity. They strongly discourage intermarriage or conversion [either to or from Hindu religious-culture]. The Maharishi Maheesh Yogi and his “Hare Krishna” movement is a major exception to this — he emigrated from India to the US and set out to establish himself in North America and convert people to his peculiar form of Hinduism, but his outfit is more of a self-serving cult [the US leadership became fabulously wealthy] than a genuine representation of mainstream Indian Hindu beliefs. Few Hindus from India not in the late Maharishi’s inner circle have anything to do with his movement or its “hare Krishna” street-corner proselytizing.
So what is the appropriate Biblical Christian response to Hindu Pantheism?
Mark 12:38-41 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”
Phil.1:21 For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
Heb.9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.
ICor. 10:19-22 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons. Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
I Tim.4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
Unlike the fatalism of Hinduism Jesus the Lord offers hope of life eternal for those who love the one true God by believing in Jesus who resurrected from the dead, who preached a judgment after the conclusion of this life. According to the commandment we are to love the one true God not idols or demonic doctrine. The Hindu resolves himself to an endless cycle of transmigration only to be rewarded by losing who they are to nothingness. Jesus provided atonement and an eternal reward to those who are faithful.
Hinduism/TM embrace fatalism. Many lifetimes are needed to purge the stain of this illusionary existence. We transmigrate/reincarnate until we get it right. Then our reward is an eternity of nothingness.