Monday, August 08, 2005

CONCEPT OF GOD IN HINDUISM

Prepared by Shah Kirit Bin Kakulal Govindji
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CONCEPT OF GOD IN HINDUISM

Hinduism is commonly perceived as a polytheistic religion. Indeed, most Hindus would attest to this, by professing belief in multiple gods. While some Hindus believe in the existence of three gods, some believe in thousands of gods and some others in 330 million gods. However, learned Hindus, who are well versed in their scriptures, insist that a Hindu should believe and worship only one God.

The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim perception of God is the common Hindus belief in the philosophy of Pantheism. Pantheism considers everything, living and non-living, to be Divine and sacred. The common Hindu, therefore, considers everything as God. He considers the trees as God, the moon as God, the monkey as God, the snake as God and even human beings as manifestations of God!

Islam, on the contrary, exhorts man to consider himself and his surroundings as examples of Divine Creation rather than as divinity itself. Muslims therefore believe that everything is God’s i.e. the word `God’ with an apostrophe `s’. In other words the Muslims believe that everything belongs to God. The trees belong to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God, the monkey belongs to God, the snake belongs to God, the human beings belongs to God and everything in this universe belongs to God.

Thus the major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim beliefs is the difference of the apostrophe ‘s’. The Hindu says everything is G-o-d. The Muslim says everything is G-o-d-’s. If the Muslims and the Hindus can work out on the difference of apostrophe ‘s’, then the Muslims and the Hindus can become closer, InsyaAllah.

To gain a better understanding on the concept of God in Hinduism, let us analyse the Hindu scriptures.

The most popular amongst all the Hindu scriptures is the Bhagavad Gita. Consider the following verse from the Gita;

Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.” [Bhagavad Gita 7:20]

Ekam evadvitiyam”

He is One only without a second” [Chandogya Upanishad 6:2:1]1

Na casya kascij janita na cadhipah.”

Of Him there are neither parents nor lord.” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 6:9]2

Na tasya pratima asti”

There is no likeness of Him” [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19]3

Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam.”

His form is not to be seen, no one sees Him with the eye.”

[Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]4

Na tasya pratima asti”

There is no image of Him” [Yajurveda 32:3]5

Shudhama poapvidham”

He is bodiless and pure” [Yajurveda 40:8]6

Andhatama pravishanti ye asambhuti mupaste”

They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements” (Air, water, fire, etc.).

They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti (created things; table, chair, idol etc.).” [Yajurveda 40:9]7

Sages (learned priests) call one God by many names.” [Rigveda 1:164:46]

Among the various attributes of God in [Rigveda 2:1:3];

Brahma, which means ‘The Creator’ or ‘Khaliq’ in Arabic.

Vishnu, which means ‘The Sustainer’ or ‘Rabb’ in Arabic.

Muslims can have no objections if Almighty God is referred to as

Khaliq’ - ‘The Creator’ -Brahma’ or ‘Rabb’ - ‘The Sustainer’ - ‘Vishnu’.

However if it is said that Brahma is Almighty God who has four heads or Vishnu who has four arms, the Muslims take strong exception to it. Muslims can never accept any image of God.

As mentioned earlier, this also goes against [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:19] and [Yajurveda 32:3];

“Na tasya pratima asti”

“There is no image of Him”.

Ma cid anyad vi sansata sakhayo ma rishanyata”

O friends, do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One. Praise Him alone.” [Rigveda 5:1:81]8

Brahma Sutra of Hinduism:

“Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste Kinchan”

“There is only one God, not the second;

Not at all, not at all, not in the least bit”.

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1. [The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 447 and 448]

[Sacred Books of the East, volume 1 ‘The Upanihads part 1’ page 93]

2. [The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 745]

[Sacred Books of the East, volume 15 ‘The Upanihads part II’ page 263]

3. [The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 736 and 737]

[Sacred Books of the East, volume 15 ‘The Upanihads part II’ page 253]

4. [The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan page 737]

[Sacred Books of the East, volume 15 ‘The Upanihads part II’ page 253]

5. [Yajurveda by Devi Chand M.A. page 377]

6. [Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T.H. Griffith 538]

7. [Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T.H. Griffith 538]

8. [Rigveda Samhita vol. 9 pages 2810 and 2811 by Swami Satya Prakash Sarasvati and Satyakam Vidyalankar]

1 comment:

luvie said...

i like the way u see things and interpret them. I find it very brilliant. Keep it up. I'm impressed. =)