The Faith of India is:
Mythical (based on the Vedas), Mystical (based on the Upanishads).
The Vocabulary of Hinduism:
Man is chained
to the Wheel of Life (Maya)
by the Law of Works/Deeds (Karma)
and doomed to incessant Rebirth (Samsara)
until he perceives the reality of his inner Divinity (Atman)
and thus attains Union (Samadhi)
with the Godhead (Brahman)
and Release/Salvation (Moksha)
to Passionless Peace (Nirvana)
as a Saint (Saddhu).
Definitions of Hindu Terms:
Transmigration: the rebirth of the human soul into any life form.
Reincarnation: the rebirth of the human soul into a new human body.
Avatar: Incarnation. There have been nine avatars of Krishna, and a tenth is to come in the future.
Brahman: the name of the highest deistic (unmoved) Deity.
Brahmin: the highest Caste of Priests.
Caste: originally meaning “color;” the rigid social strata of India.
Guru: Master, spiritual teacher, scholar (equals “Rabbi”).
Juggernaut: a huge idol-bearing wagon that can crush to death a worshiper who falls beneath its wheels, whereupon his soul goes immediately to paradise; it has come to mean any irresistable crushing machine.
Kshatriya: Rulers, the Warrior Caste (cf. Persian Shah: “King”).
Mantram, pl. Mantra: repetitive words inducing a meditative trance.
Nirvana: “blowing out” the light of passion, the state of desirelessness.
Pariah: Outcaste, Untouchable, Filthy.
Suttee: self-sacrifice of a widow at her husband’s cremation.
Thugee (Thug): a religious assassin devoted to Kali, goddess of Death.
Triad: the three chief deities: Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva - inferior to Brahman
Yoga: union (yoking) of the mind with God through ascetic discipline.
Vedas: the most ancient Aryan religious texts, hymns, stories of the gods.
Upanishads: later scriptures teaching meditation to gain atman realization.
The Peculiar Features of Hinduism are:
1. Life-Negating Pessimism due to the harsh climate (heat, monsoons), famine, disease, and dense population. Hence, the world is evil. It is hell. Non-existence would be better. No effort is made to improve living standards or help the lower classes.
2. Desire for Non-Existence; Extinction, “blowing out” (Nirvana).
3. Cosmic Cycles continuing in endless, meaningless repetition. Universes are born and die as “nights” and “days” of Brahman (the deistic Creator). The world and existence is just a dream of the sleeping God. It dissolves when He awakes.
4. Transmigration of Souls in continuing Reincarnation (Samsara).
5. The Law of Karma accounts for the evil in this life as being the punishment for deeds done in past lives.
6. Polytheism, with 330 million gods, many theriomorphic (beast-formed), having multiple appendages and dual or alternating gender. Later, higher, Brahman monism remains coupled with popular polytheism.
6. Mysticism: atman-essence is seen as the godhead within each person.
7. Pantheism: atman-essence seen in all life and even in objects (animism).
8. Ahimsa: respect for all life forms, resulting in vegetarianism.
9. Asceticism/Monasticism: self-torture and self-discipline of yogis and fakirs for mind-over-body control.
10. Veneration of Teachers (Gurus) to the point of deification.
11. Caste System (although untouchability has been illegal since 1949).
12. Syncretism: all religions are equal and all gods are incorporated into the Hindu pantheon. Krishna says: “Whatever god a man worships, it is I who answer the prayer” (Bhagavad Gita).
13. Sensuality: Erotic images of gods and tales of their sexual exploits are coupled with Kama Sutra (“Love-God Sermon”) sexuality and child marriages. The result is a dense population and a degraded society.
THE INFLUENCE OF THE ARYAN RELIGIONS
Around 2000 B.C. some of the Caucasian people left Arya Væjo (the “Aryan Homeland”) somewhere north of the mountains for which they are named. They spread out east and west from India to Europe, and the various dialects of these people evolved into the family of languages now known as Indo-European. India was so named by the Greeks because it lay beyond the Indus River, but it has from antiquity been known to its inhabitants as Aryavarta (the “Aryan Abode”). In India the top two castes, the brahmins (priests) and the kshatriyas (rulers) are of Aryan descent. The further south one goes in India, the darker the peoples’ skins. The land called Persia by the Greeks was known to its inhabitants as Iran (from Aryan), and their ruler was the shah (from kshatriya). Several Hellenic tribes migrated successively into the land of Greece: first Achæans, then Ionians, Dorians, and Æolians.
When Alexander was fighting against his Persian foes, the Greeks were exposed to the Aryan faith of Zoroastrianism, and when his army reached the Indus River, the soldiers came into contact with people they called gymnosophists, “naked wisemen,” and the West was exposed to the religion of India. Subsequently, Greek philosophers picked up the concept of reincarnation and made it acceptable to the thinkers of their race. These ideas invaded both Judaism and Christianity, becoming the cult movements of Kabbalism and Gnosticism.
The next exposure came about when India became a part of the British Empire. Some Englishmen serving in India became intrigued by Indian culture and were captivated by its exotic sensuality, its use of hypnotic trances to control body functions, its mystic otherworld outlook that ignored the ills of society, and its karmic rule that explained existing conditions as the result of deeds done in past lives. The Vedas were translated into English and became widely circulated in the Western world. In America, Ralph Waldo Emerson developed what was called “transcendentalism,” and this was essentially the beginning of New Thought religion. Besides the International New Thought Alliance, other mongrel faiths include Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry, Spiritualism, Christian Science, Religious Science, Science of Mind, Unity School of Christianity, Christian Spiritual Alliance, and New Age. All of these are branches from the same tree.
Common features of these sects are: veneration of Spiritual Masters, God as divine Father-Mother, pantheism, deification of self, cosmic consciousness, reincarnation, law of karma, spiritual evolution, vegetarianism, fasting, transcendental meditation, mental faith healing, massage of energy centers, unreality of disease and death, death as “a transition to another plane,” extrasensory perception, psychic power, prayer as energy fields, denial of the concept of sin, spiritual intuition, eclecticism, and general pseudoscientific terminology used in explaining their peculiar beliefs. Members of these societies are attracted to various occult practices such as astrology, numerology, divination, the use of charms and talismans, and to speculation about contact with other planetary worlds and spirit beings from Atlantis. There is an equation of avatars, angels, and boddhisatvas: “The angels described in the Old Testament were in fact only men who were members of a secret society of the spiritually enlightened.” Both Jesus and John the Baptist were sired by one of these covert holy men named “Gabriel.”
Certain commendable characteristics are: tolerance for the beliefs of others, a quest for universal peace, ahimsa (harmlessness), consciousness of ecological responsibility, emphasis on the goodness of human nature (men are divine sparks of God), a quest for truth (the greatest sin is ignorance), positivism (the power of positive thinking), and optimistic humanism (the idea that perfect purification of the God-self is possible).
For a Christian the greatest offense of the New Thought movement is the degradation of Jesus Christ into equality with a whole line of “Spiritual Masters” scattered throughout the history of mankind. Generally this list of “Great Ones” (Mahatmas) includes a mixture of founders of religions, wonder workers, and mythical beings, which ranges all the way from the monotheistic pharaoh Akhnaton to the gurus and yogis of more recent times. (A partial list of Masters would include: Christ, Krishna, Buddha, Muhammad, Moses, Elisha, Pythagoras, Mahavira, Mithras, Zoroaster, Hermes Trismegistus, Meister Eckehart, Jacob Boehme, St. Germaine, Baha’ullah, Krishnamurti, Babaji, Yukteswar, Paramahansa, Imam Mahdi, Maitreya, etc.) According to this mythology, Jesus-in-time was the Christ of eternity, a “Force” who is called God. Furthermore, the Deep Self in every person is God.
In a spirit like that of ancient Rome, which accepted all gods of all the lands lest it offend any, the pantheon of New Thought is replete with a myriad of world-saviors whose veneration reflects a degradation of religion back into polytheism. Just as the Hindu has no qualms about peopling the skies with 330 million deities, theosophy sets up a long list of venerable Masters that fails to recognize the unique character of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. For Christians, their Namesake was and is the only perfect vehicle of the Holy Spirit that has occurred in historical time. Also for Christians, the Incarnation was a special event not repeated in numerous avatars of legendary manifestations.
The infinite squallor and misery of India has produced the most pessimistic system of belief known to mankind. It is regrettable that this warped view of life is given credence by otherwise intelligent people.
Richard L. Atkins