Hindus

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Brother Adam, Jul 20, 2003.

  1. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
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    What do Hindus believe? Dr. Bob arosed my curiousity. It's something that I've never studied before and I don't have any books on it.

    All I have ever heard about them is that they believe all faiths lead to God. Is that true?
     
  2. Singer

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    Adam,

    I chatted with a man from the East whose father was a convert to Christianity
    from Hinduism. He told me that they believe in 33 1/2 Million different gods.

    Yes....I asked him the second time to clarify and he said..."Thirty three and a
    half million different gods. Then he said..."Isn't that a shame" ?

    Seems like we have a hard enough time discerning and explaining just one God
    doesn't it ?
    ;)
     
  3. Brother Adam

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    Seriously?! Wow! How do they keep them straight? It must be difficult to appease them all.

    What else do we know about the Hindu faith?
     
  4. GraceSaves

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    Hindus believe in that many gods, yes, but by "gods," they do not mean the same thing that we do when we speak of "God."

    First off, let it be known that the word "Hindu" was derived by the British, who, moving into India, began to label everyone as such, even though the Hindu region is actually rather small comparitively. I dare say that there is a lot of diversity in Hindu beliefs, although there is a unifying ideal behind it.

    Hindus believe in "Atman," which is the "unborn, undying self." I am not Grant, for instance, but rather I am Atman, trapped in this body, which is not even real. Atman is "god," so to speak, but he is not the creator. There is no creator. Atman, this unborn, undying self, as such, is "dreaming." And in his dream, he might dream that he is a god. And in that dream, that god dreams that he is another god. Etc, etc, etc. And you get down to it, and we are all like dreams within dreams within dreams. Granted, this is just an allusion to something that can't really be explained.

    This world does not exist, and we are trapped in it. The more conscious we become of this "fact," the more likely we are to espace it, to release the Atman from this bodily prison.

    Now, any time you act, you generate karma, which is the consequence for action. It can be good or bad, per se, but technically, all karma is "bad," because as long as one has karma, he is still trapped. To be free from karma, which causes one to be reborn ("samsara"), one must cease to act. There are a TON of different belief systems on which this is achieved. Some say you must act as if you were someone else; i.e., act without thinking, as if someone else was acting for you. Other more disciplined groups try to do as little action as possible, including eating less and less, breathing less and less, causing your heart to beat less and less, until finally you do so little that you cause "death," but are freed eternally from the cycle of dying/rebirth, and become one again with Atman.

    Granted, this could be flawed. This is just what I was taught in my Introduction to Religion class.

    In Jesus Name,

    Grant
     
  5. GraceSaves

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    Also, from my understanding, the number "33 1/2 million" is just a made-up number, as such, to represent that there are not infinite gods, but that there are too many to possibly comprehend, also.

    "Gods," as such, typically have specific functions. So when you need water for crops, you'll pray to that god, and when there is famine, you pray to that god, etc. etc. etc. Again, though, these gods are not like the Christian God, who is omnipresent and omniscient and omnibenevolent, etc. They are more like "sub"gods.

    Also, with reincarnation ("samsara"), the more karma you collect, the more you will fall backwards in the chain of life (i.e., instead of being reborn a human, being reborn as a "lesser" animal). From there, one must work his/her way back up the ladder.

    ALSO, Hindus would generally consider that Christians are pretty close to the "truth," but not quite there yet. ;)

    In Jesus Name,

    Grant
     
  6. Dr. Bob

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    PRIMER ON HINDUISM

    While the writings of Hinduism are ancient and relate to the writing of the Old Testament, it was not a fully developed system until the time of Christ. It had adherents to some of its precepts as early as 1400 B.C. Most of its perceptions of God were developed in pantheism and were as diverse as the varying regions of the sub-continent.

    1) Hindu scriptures are voluminous, written and collected over a 2,000 years span (1400 B.C.-500 A.D.). Sanskrit is the holy language. The Shruti or "revelation" (from the phrase "what is heard") contains the VEDA and Vedic Hymns that are the records of truth. They begin with a mantra (hymn of praise); the Brahmanas (guide to rituals); and the Upanishads (doctrinal teaching). The Smriti or "tradition" is a compilation of myth and law.

    2) Monotheism and the Trinity (God the Father/God the Son/God the Holy Spirit, 3 persons in one essence) is rejected and replaced by Brahma (Creator), Vishnu (Time and Space) and Sheva (Healing), a false trinity highest among literally thousands of lesser gods. About half of the Hindu believe these are personal gods to be worshiped with love and devotion

    Others (notably Gandhi and RamaKrishna) taught of an immanent God is all of creation. Any religion that seeks this truth is acceptable. Many can accept Jesus Christ as a divine teacher but never as the sole Savior or Son of God.

    Symbolic of all that is visible in the universe, the gods, and the earth is the COW. It is to be venerated and respected, never killed or eaten.

    3) "Universal Transmigration" of man is taught that every person lives may times on earth in human or other form. "Castes" were established when Brahma created Manu (the first man) and from his head came the Brahmin or priestly class; from his hands the Kshatryas or warrior class; from the thighs came the Vaisyas or craftsmen; and from his feet the Sudras peasant, laborers, and slaves.

    In a caste (now more than 24 levels) the status of a person in this life depends on his conduct in a previous life. Therefore, living virtuously now = a raise in caste status.

    4) Man's actions (good bringing good, evil bringing evil) is the "wheel of KARMA". YOGA is the discipline of the will to control the body, mind, and emotions and bring them into union with the divine Brahma

    Sin = ignorance (no intrinsic right or wrong)

    5) "Way of Works" is the first step to salvation. It involves the Karma of good bringing good, so that an individual can get off the "wheel" of reincar-nation.

    "Way of Devotion" is the next step, worshiping a single god or goddess above all and putting all faith in that single deity. This offers hope to the lowest of the castes who may "skip" many levels and move on toward eternity. A devout Hindu worships many times a day and is far more concerned with good works and rituals than most Christians.

    "Way of Knowledge" is a third way to salvation, sin ignorance = sin, this ignorance must be eliminated by divine knowledge. A law of moral order (differing for every individual) must be found and lived to reach Nirvana.

    There is no attempt for the Hindu to proselytize; Christianity is tolerated because there is a same-ness in all religion and there is truth in each. Reaching inward for truth is most important.

    6) Hinduism does not teach "congregational" style of worship or meetings. Worship is done privately in the home; Temples (houses of a god or goddess) are the only place one might see a group of people following Hindu worship. The priestly caste (Brahmin) deserve special reverence since they are nearest Nirvana.

    Worship and ritual is cyclical, following a daily and seasonal pattern.

    7) The ultimate goal of the Hindu is release from the rebirth process and "wheel" of transmigration of the soul. Heaven is Nirvana where one leaves the phenomenal world (which can be seen) and enters a higher spiritual level (which cannot be seen).

    [Hope this helps. Remember I have spent years teaching "Comparative Religions" in various colleges, so have gleaned this from book, anecdotal evidence and personal interviews.]
     
  7. Brother Adam

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    Thank you for the insight.
     
  8. Ps104_33

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  9. Johnv

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    Others (notably Gandhi and RamaKrishna) taught of an immanent God is all of creation. Any religion that seeks this truth is acceptable. Many can accept Jesus Christ as a divine teacher but never as the sole Savior or Son of God.
    There are a growing number of Hindus who are accepting the concept of Jesus Christ as Savior and Son of God. Most of these are in predominent Hindu communities that have had some exposure to Christian missionaries. I don't have a lot of info on the subject, but if I find any, I'll post forthwith.
     
  10. Ps104_33

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  11. Helen

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    OUTSTANDING book. I also recommend it highly.
     
  12. Ben W

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    It is interesting to note that Hinndus are quite open to Christianity, often even being keen to accept Jesus, yet when it comes to being "Baptised" there is alot of problems, why? because of what it symbolises.
     
  13. 3AngelsMom

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    I can't help but point out the striking similarity to the Catholic tradition of praying to certain saints for certain things.

    That's the first thing I thought of as I read your post. A friend of mine, who was raised Catholic, wears a medal. On the front it has the Seal of the US Marine Corps, on the other an engraving of a man, with a halo and it said 'protect us saint christopher' (I think it was St. Christopher).

    Is he the Saint of war or something?

    God Bless,
    Kelly
     
  14. A_Christian

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    I believe he is the saint of hopeless causes [​IMG] The RC church threw him out
    years ago. I guess it's hopeless [​IMG]
     
  15. Johnv

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    St Christopher is the patron saint of safe travel, or safe journey. Born at Canaan in the 3rd century by the name of Offero. He was killed for his Christian faith circa 250ad.

    Legend has it that he would often be in search of of novelty and adventure. In the course of his adventures, he befrieded a certain man who lived next to a dangerous stream. This man made a living of taking it upon himself to guide travellers to safe places to cross the stream. The man shared with Offero the Gospel of Jesus Christ . Over time, Offero took the man's place, but instead of guiding travellers, he carried them safely across the stream.

    It is said that one day he carried a small child across the stream; the child's weight nearly crushed him. When they arrived on the other side, he had a vision of Christ being the child, and the Christ Child was so heavy because he bore the weight of the world on himself. Somewhere in history, Offero was said to have been baptized with water from the stream. Offer's service at the stream led to his patronage of things related to travel and travellers. St Christopher is said to pray for the safe journey of all who travel.
     

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