One God!

One of the main oppositions to Hinduism (Sanatana Dharma) is that of there being many gods (Polytheism). Sanatana Dharma accepts the existence of one God, the Supreme (Brahman).

  • Hindu belief is that:
  • Brahman created the different Avatars.
  • Brahman represents the Supreme Reality for Hindus.
  • Whatever your religion it is the same god. Your name for god is but a human name, god transcends humanity and your view is just as valid as anyone else’s.

Jews and Muslims believe that god never appeared on earth. Christians believe that God appeared as Jesus Christ his Son. Hindus believe that God has appeared in Human form many times and does so whenever there is great need. Christians believe that only Christ gives salvation and that if Jesus hasn’t saved you that you were destined to eternal damnation (through no fault of your own). Hindus believe in Karma and Kripa (meaning in this case) Justice and Grace and therefore cannot accept that God would destine those who hadn’t heard of him to eternal damnation in the way that Christians would have us believe.

Hinduism varies wildly from Islam. Islam believes it is an offence to worship images of God. Hinduism uses images of God as a tool to connect with God. During heir early occupation of India Muslim extremists destroyed many thousands of Hindu temples. Today, most of the oldest temples are in the South of India. Though they largely reject Hindu teachings Judaism, Islam, and Christianity’s mystic foundations (the Kabbalah, Sufism and Gnosticism respectively) show many parallels with Hinduism.

A unique and all-encompassing characteristic of Hinduism is that one devotee may be worshipping Ganesha while a friend worships Siva or Vishnu or Kali, yet both honour the other’s choice and feel no sense of conflict. The Hindu religion brings us the gift of tolerance that allows for different stages of worship, different and personal expressions of devotion and even different gods to guide our life on this earth. Christian missionaries complained that Hindus were difficult to convert. They said that many Hindus on hearing about Jesus would place his image next to Lord Shiva or Lord Krishna on their home altar.

The tolerance within Hinduism is largely due to the diversity of India. There are approximately 80,000 subcultures, over 325 languages, thousands of dialects and 25 commonly written scripts. Though generally tolerant, some factions within Hinduism are known to vigorously disagree at times, so much so that a Hindu called Adi Shankar formed his own sect called “the Smartas”. Smartas worship major Hindu forms of God (Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha, Murugan and Surya)

To categorise, Hinduism, it has been described as Pantheistic Monotheism, Polytheistic Monotheism or just Pantheism. There is some belief that originally in Vedic times many gods were worshipped (Polytheism) but that this has altered over time. The belief that supports Hinduism is that God is one but pervades the entire universe.
Female forms of God are just as divine as masculine forms and have been understood as being the power (Shakti) of the male form. Female consorts such as Sri Radha and Sri Sita are considered aspects and integral completions to God themselves.

Forms of God from the Vedic period differed from those today and were based upon elements of nature. They are called the Devatas and consist of Agni, Vayu or Indra, Surya and Soma. It is generally accepted that though these forms are usually humanlike, that spiritual advancement comes with connecting with god in the formless aspect.

There are four main denominations within Sanatana Dharma. A general explanation of these is:

Vaisnavas-Followers of Lord Vishnu and his various avatars

Saivas-Followers of Lord Shiva

Shaktas-Followers of the Goddess

Smartas-followers of all major Hindu forms of god equally

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7 Responses to One God!

  1. Pramod Kushwaha says:

    An appreciable extract of Hinduism. But choose to differ with your view on ADI SHANKARA. My view is that ADI SHANKARA is the core of Hinduism who propounded “BRAHM SATYA, JAGAT MITHYA”(God alone is truth, the world is an illusion)

    • anglohindu says:

      Namaste. Thank you for your comment. To be honest some of the content I didn’t know much about and so information was included it if two or more websites/books were putting forward the same information.

      Adi Shankara I know nothing about myself but I’m a keen and open min ded student, and will do some more research. I have about 20 more posts to put up on deities, temple layout, yoga, gunas, pujas etc. So please come visit again. I truly appreciate you writing to me.

      • Tāṇḍava says:

        Adi Shankara was certainly at the heart of Smarta, though his view is only one path of Hinduism and a minority one at that. According to adherants.com, who reference “The World Almanac and Book of Facts” 1997 (K-111 Reference Corp.: Mahwah, NJ), [Source: 1996 Encyc. Britannica Book of the Year]; pg. 646, and give the following figures for the number of followers of each branch of Hinduism:

        70% Vaishnavites, 25% Shaivites, 2% neo-Hindus and reform Hindus.

        The smartas would be only part of the 2% of neo and reform Hindus. You often find that people in the West assume that Smarta philosophy is Hindu philosophy, mainly because of very vocal “evangelists” such as Vivekananda and Ramakrishna. I have often heard people say quite authoritatively that “Hindus believe the world is unreal”, or “Hindus believe that God is ultimately impersonal” – both of which are a minority view within Hinduism.

  2. KalBhairav says:

    @anglohindu:

    Good Blog.

    Adi Shankara’s Advaita philosophy may be the most widespread amongst Hindus who know Hindu philosophy (in contrast with “ordinary” Hindus who contend themselves with their Ishta Deivatam without getting into the dizzying philosophical heights of Vedanta) but it is by no means the only way of looking at things…Other rival schools include Madhavacharya’s Dvaita and Ramanuja’s Visishtadvaita. You are right that there WAS and CONTINUES to be vigorous *intellectual* rivalry amongst these groups. The reason for the rival philosophies is the varying interpretations of the Hindu scriptures, mainly the Brahmasutras. Brahmasutras were compiled by a sage called Badarayana with the intention of resolving the seeming contradictions within the Upanishads. However, the Brahmasutras themselves are in the form of parsimonious aphorisms only leaving many gaps to be filled. The different rival schools all have differing interpretations of the Brahmasutras as they fill in these gaps differently.

    That being said, all schools have a philosophy that is internally consistent. The philosophies also tie in without contradictions with the respective schools’ interpretations of the Upanishads and the Bhagvad Gita.

    In any case, all the best! I will try and contribute my little knowledge here and there 🙂

    • anglohindu says:

      Thank you I appreciate your comment. Once I’ve done a little more reading I’ll probably do a post on Adi Shankara depending on how applicable I find the info to beginners in Hinduism, which is who I’m trying to attract.

  3. I came to this site on a trail of hate! I started gayatri japa (i was to do the laghu 125000 japa by my own accord), on the 12th day i heard a faint voice – do not read islamic/christian literature-i thought its my mind playing me, i read and went on a long trail of what all was wrong. The same evening i broke the japa by going on a drink binge and then promised (!) to restart. Two days after i did this, i lost all the peace i had(i think i lost it when i read all the islamic/christian literature). Today i realized, i was reading it all to find what was wrong in those religions, persecutions, killings etc – thereby denying my beloved sanathana dharma! I denied the very first rule(!) for “Truth is one and the sages call it by different names”. How stupid can i get to question my Divine Mother (Father-though i love the Mother word more!) and her play, for she wants all her children, and i have no right to deny paths. I come across you and see that you have experienced it all by embracing Sanathana Dharma. May Gayatri Ma bless you….

    • anglohindu says:

      I’m glad you’re ok now. I chanted a lot of japa myself and it can take a lot of willpower and time! Glad I could help. I appreciate your comment
      Hari Om

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