The Unholy Trinity
The concept of the Trinity was shoehorned together in the most ridiculous way to allow Christianity to be both monotheistic and polytheistic. Jehovah and Allah are proper monotheistic gods and you wouldn't find either of them incarnating on earth, being crucified and then resurrected. For Christianity to "work" i.e. for it to be literally true that God walked the earth before being killed then brought back to life by himself (even though he was dead) then it is necessary to divide God into at least two parts (one that dies and one that goes on living). Christianity then compounded the problem by introducing the "Holy Spirit" which descends upon righteous people and imbues them with godliness. So, now there were three gods instead of the one required by monotheism. All three gods were declared to in fact be one - a remarkable and transcendent Holy Trinity, a supreme "mystery" of the universe that no mortal mind could truly comprehend.
Of course, the whole notion is the most ludicrous, insupportable, incredible nonsense imaginable. No rational person could ever accept it. To state it with crystal clarity: a monotheistic God is a single God with no mysterious separate parts or split personalities. Christianity is not monotheism; it is polytheism. The only people who don't understand this are Christians.
There is not one particle of logic in the absurd concept of the Holy Trinity.
Jews worship God the Father. Christians worship God the Son. Christian Gnostics worship God the Holy Spirit. As for Islam, Muslims reject the Trinity and worship only Allah, yet he is still somehow to be equated with the God of the Christians and Jews. The Jewish and Christian prophets (especially Jesus) are accorded a high status in Islam. Mohammed and the Koran are seen as correcting the errors of Judaeo-Christianity.
Of course, there is no discussion of why God's original prophets were in error if they were divinely inspired, and if earlier prophets were mistaken then so could Mohammed be (which is what the Satanic Verses controversy was about).
Muslims shut down all debate about Mohammed and the Koran, which is why Islam can never be a thinking person's religion and why Islam is never associated with cutting edge intellectualism. No one would regard contemporary Islam as a shining beacon of intellectual endeavour. Muslims complain about so many Nobel prizes being awarded to Jews and so few to Muslims, but there's no conspiracy going on. The Jews, to their credit, have always valued intellectual pursuits and vigorous discussion. A few noble exceptions apart, Islam has no such tradition. Muslims are not permitted to argue about the Koran. They are not permitted to challenge Mohammed or question Allah. This attitude, inevitably, leads to anti-intellectualism. The intelligence of hundreds of millions of people is actively being held back by their adherence to Islam.
What typically happens with religions is that various priests and prophets advance an assortment of preposterous notions. These are then moulded into an increasingly desperate theology that becomes more and more complex and less and less credible as time goes on.
Christianity arises from a theological attempt to reconcile two contradictory positions: 1) Jewish monotheism where God can never die and 2) Greek polytheism where a god, such as Dionysus, can be incarnated on earth, killed then resurrected.
Christianity is a Satanic fraud perpetrated against humanity. No part of it is believable. It is a hybrid religion, an embarrassing attempt to combine Judaism and Greek mystery religions such as Orphism. ("Illumination" is a religion with a great deal in common with Orphism, but which completely rejects Judaism.)
If you have not watched the religious section of the film Zeitgeist for some time, you should go back and be reminded all over again of how fake Christianity is.
This is a summary of mainstream Western monotheism:
1) The Jews applied the concept of Pharaoh Akhenaten's monotheistic god to their partisan, tribal god known as Yahweh. Yahweh thereby became the "one, true" God with a unique covenant with his "chosen" people, the Jews. (Of course, no universal God would ever enter into a binding contract with one group: he would no longer be universal if he did.)
2) The Christians then combined monotheistic Judaism with polytheistic Greek religion.
3) The Muslims then tried to return to proper monotheism (although the Satanic Verses controversy reveals how Islam also almost succumbed to polytheistic influences.)
Western monotheism is the history of a grotesque error, of how the Demiurge managed to have himself worshipped as the True God. Humanity cannot move to the next level of its evolution until it has banished this error.
God's Inner Struggle
So, what of the Eastern religions? We shall firstly look at Hinduism. As with the mainstream Western religions, most Easterners do not have the vaguest idea of what they actually believe in. It may be accurate to say that there is no Hindu who understands Hinduism, just as there is scarcely a Christian who understands Christianity. We will reveal what Hinduism is really all about rather than what Hindus imagine it is about. Hinduism is mind-boggling, one of the strangest religions conceivable since it ultimately concerns God's psychological struggle with himself.
There are many religions in the world, all making radically different claims. If one religion is right then all the others are wrong. It follows that all religions, bar the one that is a reflection of the true nature of God, are in the business of concealing that they are false. As a matter of simple logic, anyone who supports one religion must accept that either they are being deceived or all those who support different religions are being deceived i.e. religion is fundamentally about deceit. No religion commands more than 17% of the allegiance of the world. Therefore, no matter what religion you belong to, you can be certain that you are in an overwhelming minority and that the vast majority of people on earth disagree with you and consider that you are being deceived, or that you are deceiving yourself. Religion on this planet is primarily about lies, delusion, self-deception and control. To put it another way - religion, in general, is Satanic. Its very purpose is to lead people astray, to create conflict and division. The bloody history of the world proves that conclusively.
When anyone is considering what the true religion is, they should ask themselves this question - does this religion have an aspect that seems Satanic? If they find such an element they should instantly reject that religion.
Religions, in their attempts to make themselves seem plausible and credible, dress themselves up in all manner of elaborate terminology, baffling jargon and endless paradox. They try to bewilder you into acceptance. Hinduism is particularly bad in this respect. Just as it is possible to cut through all of the nonsense associated with a religion such as Christianity, so it can be done with Hinduism. And just as Christians will denounce anyone who holds up a mirror to their ridiculous beliefs and forces them to look at the craziness of what they hold most sacred, so Hindus will scream and complain too.
Below, we have listed what the main points of Hinduism are when shorn of the propaganda of Hindu apologists.
1) God exists outside of space and time and is perfect oneness.
2) Using Maya - the power of illusion - God creates an illusory world of space and time in which the condition of oneness is replaced by the condition of many-ness. The universe of Maya is akin to God in a dream state where he imagines himself split into infinitely many parts.
3) God, when viewing himself in the mirror of Maya doesn't recognise himself because everything is distorted by space and time, concealing the true underlying oneness. He is overwhelmed by this vision of multiplicity.
4) Psychologically, God has become fragmented because of Maya and seeks to be whole again i.e. to free himself of Maya and return to his non-dream state. In effect, he is experiencing a nightmare. Material existence is hell and the underlying unity of God is heaven.
5) In the universe of Maya, God's single soul is fragmented into a vast number of separate souls that have lost all sense of their proper relationship with each other i.e. that they are part of God's soul and are not in any way individual.
6) These individual souls are in a state of complete ignorance about their true origins. They start to identify with their Mayic "ego", which revels in separation, difference, self-love and selfishness. They must overcome this ego if they are ever to realise their true nature. Their true Self is called Atman, and each ego is struggling to raise itself up and become Atman.
7) Through a series of painful lessons brought about by a process called karma, each of these souls will endure a hellish cycle (known as samsara) of birth, death and rebirth until they finally realise the truth about themselves and are able to see past the veil of Maya to the true nature of things i.e. that they are all part of God. This moment of supreme enlightenment, of liberation from samsara and karma, is called moksha.
8) When every soul has achieved moksha, God is whole again and the power of Maya is broken. However, it is likely that this process will continue for eternity i.e. God is an eternal becoming.
Hinduism can best be thought of as a process created by God to ensure that he is forever perfecting himself, always getting closer to the ideal of God familiar to all religions.
Imagine a universe capable of thought and with a soul that yearns for intellectual and moral perfection, i.e. a universe that wants to become God. This universe exists outside of space and time. Everything is connected. It is an eternal oneness. How, it wonders, can perfection arise from this oneness? What challenges can oneness overcome? How can oneness build character? How can it extend its intelligence and, above all, how can it become moral?
The universe ponders for eons and eventually it realises that its oneness is its biggest problem. Creativity and change emerge from conflict and difference. Absolute oneness is sterile and cannot create morality. "I was oneness yesterday, I am oneness today and I will be oneness tomorrow." This is the formula for eternal stasis. Nothing ever changes.
Then, in a flash of inspiration, the universe knows what it must do: create difference, the state of none oneness, of many-ness, multiplicity. It must give birth to the principle of individuation where things have an individual character rather than all being the same.
But how can eternal unity and infinite oneness ever become a universe of difference? Then the universe realises it can do something astounding: it can create the illusion of many-ness, separateness and difference. The illusion will be brought into being by two startling new concepts: space and time.
By applying the mental, unreal constructs of space and time to itself, the universe creates the stupendous illusion that many things exist where, in truth, there is but oneness.
In the new matrix of space and time, the universe seems to be composed of an infinity of different things, all located separately in space and time. Some of the things in this universe are just "stuff" - material - but other things are on an altogether higher level. They are minds, like fragments, or sparks, of the Great Mind of the universe. Just as the universe is capable of thought, so are these sparks. They are "souls".
So, the universal oneness sees a means to continually refine and purify itself. All of these souls will be subjected to a process that will make them as knowledgeable as possible - "enlightened" - and also as good as possible - moral paragons. The souls will be continually recycled within space and time until they are flawless. At that point, they will see through the illusion of space and time, be released from the universe of illusion, and be reunited with the underlying oneness, but now they will be without error, tested in the most rigorous possible way by Maya. This is the ultimate quality control system.
This process will never cease; the universe will be forever perfecting itself and getting closer to its object of becoming the True God.
Most people will see absolutely no connection between Hinduism and what has been described here, yet this is the essence of the original, mystical Hindu vision.
We will now start attaching Hindu labels to everything we have mentioned. We will use definitions (in bold) supplied by a Hindu website, followed by our comments:http://veda.wikidot.com/main:home Brahman is the Supreme Being, the Absolute Reality, the Godhead. It is the impersonal and immanent, infinite cause and support of the universe that has no form or attributes, the uncaused cause of the Universe, the Eternal Changeless Reality, not conditioned by time, space and causation. It is the basis, source and support of everything - the transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all matter, energy, time, space, being, and everything beyond in this universe. Its nature consists of the three incommunicable attributes of Absolute Being, Consciousness, Bliss. This Supreme Being assumes a dual nature - Male and Female. Brahman is the Ultimate Reality, the Universal Self. It is the indescribable, inexhaustible, incorporeal, omniscient, omnipresent, original, first, eternal, both transcendent and immanent, absolute infinite existence, and the ultimate principle who is without a beginning, without an end, who is hidden in all and who is the cause, source, material and effect of all creation known, unknown and yet to happen in the entire universe. Brahman is seen as a Cosmic Spirit. The personality behind Brahman is known as Parabrahman (the superior Brahman). Brahman may be viewed as Nirguna Brahman (without personal attributes) or Saguna Brahman (with attributes).
Our comment: This definition sounds impressive. It has wrapped itself in so many layers, made itself so elaborate and grand, that people are lured into believing that it is somehow profound. It isn't. If you go through it line by line you will see that it is non-sensical, full of unreconciled contradictions and improbable properties and qualities. This definition is so wide and all encompassing, appealing to so many different views, as to be effectively meaningless.
We boil it down to a single concept: it is God existing outside of space and time as an eternal oneness, and with a singular problem - he is unsure he is God and is seeking to prove it. Maya is the principal concept which manifests, perpetuates and governs the illusion and dream of duality in the phenomenal Universe. The substance emanated from Brahman through which the world of form is manifested. It has a captivating nature, which blinds atman (Self) to the transcendent Truth. It is to be seen through, like an epiphany, in order to achieve moksha - liberation of the atman from the cycle of samsara. Ahamkara (ego-consciousness) and karma are seen as part of the binding forces of Maya. Maya may be understood as the phenomenal Universe of perceived duality, a lesser reality-lens superimposed on the unity of Brahman. Maya is neither true nor untrue. Since Brahman is the only Truth, Maya cannot be true. Since Maya causes the material world to be seen, it cannot be untrue. Hence, Maya is described as indescribable. Maya has two principle functions - one is to veil Brahman and obscure and conceal it from our consciousness. The other is to present and promulgate the material world and the veil of duality instead of Brahman. The veil of Maya is pierceable and with diligence and grace, may be permanently rent. Consider an illusion of a rope being confused as a snake in the darkness. Just as this illusion gets destroyed when true knowledge of the rope is perceived, similarly, Maya gets destroyed for a person when they perceive Brahman with transcendental knowledge. Maya is the veritable fabric of duality and she performs this role at the behest of the Supreme Lord. God is not bound by Maya, just as magicians are not illusioned and deluded by their own magic.
Our comment: Note the standard enigmatic phrases - Maya is neither true nor untrue; Maya is indescribable; Maya is the fabric of duality. What do these statements actually mean? We are told that Maya is a substance that emanates from Brahman and that it performs its role at the behest of the Supreme Lord. We are not told why God veils himself with Maya, or why he creates Maya in the first place. Why does he want to hide himself from our consciousness? Why does he make Maya seductive to us? The only way to make sense of it is to conclude that God's business isn't with us at all, but with himself. We are the product of God's struggle with his own nature and his own doubts about himself.
In Gnosticism, the Demiurge is the agent of our woes; in Hinduism, it is Maya, which God himself created i.e. in Hinduism, God is both God and Demiurge.
In Gnostic thought, Maya would be equated simply with the Demiurge and his inferior material world.
Karma is a neutral, self-perpetuating law of the inner cosmos, much as gravity is an impersonal law of the outer cosmos. God does not give us karma. We create our own. Karma is one of the important spiritual laws that govern our life experiences through principle of cause and effect, action and reaction, total cosmic justice and personal responsibility. Karma is not fate. You have free will. No God or external force is controlling ones life. It is our own karmic creation. We are bounded by Karma in this and other lifetimes until we understand the complete consequences of all our actions. Karma is a spiritual-magnetic energy form. This identification of its magnetic quality is a crucial clue to understanding how karma "comes back," rather than just "goes out." Each karma, or action, generates a vibration, a distinct oscillation of force, a vasana, or subliminal inclination that continues to vibrate in the mind. These vasanas are magnetic conglomerates of subconscious impressions. Like attracts like. Acts of love attract loving acts, malice attracts malice. And each action, karma, continues to attract until demagnetized. This is accomplished through re-experiencing it, or resolving it with understanding (rather than compounding it with reaction) or through other subtler spiritual means and practices. Karma helps explain the disparities that occur in the human population such as: prosperity or poverty, happiness or misery, good health, illness, or disability. Behind every individual's existence there partly lies his own past deeds, which are directly responsible for many of the events during his lifespan, be it painful or pleasant. We are what we are because of our deeds and actions. The law of karma governs the universe and all beings within it; it acts impersonally and binds each atman (inner Self) to the world and in addition to the cycle of transmigration.
Our comment: Karma is yet another concept wrapped in so many baffling and incomprehensible layers that it is rendered meaningless. It is described as some sort of quasi-scientific concept: a "spiritual-magnetic energy form". We are told that love attracts love and malice attracts malice. But what are love and malice? Osama bin Laden is full of love for his version of Islam. His heart is absolutely pure. He has complete devotion and honesty about what he believes in. So is he good or evil, is he full of love or hate? How would a spiritual-magnetic energy form possibly decide the matter? What criteria would it use? What would the scientific or spiritual mechanism of "attraction" be? Nietzsche demolished all simplistic ideas of "good" and "evil". How would karma defeat Nietzsche's arguments?
What is the connection between God and karma? Did he create it? If so, why? If not, is it independent of God? Why did he impose it on the universe? Why does he bother with this whole elaborate process? We are told that people create their own karma. Well, it might be said that a Christian creates his own hell, but in fact he doesn't - Christian theology says that God created hell and then despatches the damned there. Hell is God's responsibility. Similarly, karma is God's creation and therefore he is responsible for it. He can't switch the blame to ordinary people any more than the Christian God can switch the blame for the existence of hell to anyone other than himself.
What is the connection between Maya and karma? Is karma part of the Mayic illusion (i.e. is karma itself illusory), or part of the Brahmanic oneness? Do we all live inside a karmic energy field? Where is it? Can we do scientific experiments with it?
Karma, as a process that monitors what everyone does and, regardless of what Hindus say, effectively imposes judgement (determining what each soul comes back as in its next incarnation), seems to actually act very much in the manner of God himself. Rather than say that we create our own karma, it could be argued with as much force that karma creates us i.e. this is a classic chicken and egg scenario.
Karma, ultimately, is meaningless. It does not exist and it is ridiculous. No person living in the 21st century should take this idea seriously.
There is no concept of karma in Gnosticism.
For those who are interested in how karma is involved in human conception, here is an official Hindu answer:
Conception And Birth
I am often asked, "What is the point at which a soul enters into a new incarnation?" Many advanced souls choose their parents long before conception, electing to live in their homes, especially if the parents worship. Especially if they were relatives in a past life, they want to be born back into those families to work out their karmas. Therefore, a soul may become connected with his mother-to-be long before conception. An unreligious couple that does not seek the inner forces at the moment of conception or slightly before, depending on wherever they are - in a hospital or hotel - may attract and draw into the process of incarnation anybody who is magnetized to them. I call this "potluck off the astral plane," even the lower astral. Someone could die in a hospital and, in a motel three blocks down the street, be immediately conceived. If the husband and wife had been fighting and arguing, this could magnetize a child that would not help the family, but instead would disrupt the household. The difference between the two situations is that one family is thinking of the Divine at the time of conception and the other is living an ordinary life with no contact with the inner, spiritual forces.
In either case, when the foetus starts to move in the womb, the soul simultaneously enters and occupies physical life, fully incarnates, or enters flesh. That's when the soul is totally "hooked in," around three or four months. It's there before, hovering near the mother, but not fully connected. The 2,200-year-old Tirumantiram of Rishi Tirumular tells us in verses 453-455 that from the moment of conception a soul is associated with the growing physical form of the infant. He says that at the instant of conception, as vital fluids are released and flow from both parents, the embryo is formed; the twenty-five tattvas rush in and lie concealed within its third eye, ajna chakra. At this point, life begins. For nine months, the embryo, then foetus, develops physically, and the soul that will inhabit the physical form gradually awakens to First-World embodied consciousness, becoming more or less fully conscious of its new physical form at birth.
By our great Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya Swami.
Samsara is the cycle of birth, death and rebirth; the total pattern of successive earthly lives experienced by atman (the Self). It is ignorance of one's true Self that leads to ego-consciousness of the body and the phenomenal world. This grounds one in kama (desire) and the perpetual chain of karma and reincarnation: samsara. The state of illusion is known as Maya. Reality is to be sought in the unchanging and unitary principle of the universe. The material world, on the other hand, is a place fragmented and constantly changing; this continuously changing aspect of the universe came to be called samsara.
Our comment: In Gnostic teaching, there is a wheel of rebirth equivalent to samsara, but it is not karmically linked.
Atman is one's True Self, beyond identification with the phenomenal reality of worldly existence. Just as a man living in a house is called a householder, atman (meaning "Self within") living in a human body is called an individual. When this "human house" becomes old and irreparable, atman leaves the house and we say that the individual has died. One of Hinduism's most fundamental tenets is that we are the atman, not the physical body, emotions, external mind or personality. Each human being, regardless of religion, geographic region, gender, color or creed is in reality atman clothed in a physical body. Since atman is inherently pure and divine, every human being is potentially divine. A man is not born a sinner, but becomes a victim of ignorance under the influence of cosmic ignorance, called Maya. Just as darkness quickly disappears upon the appearance of light, an individual's delusion vanishes when he gains self-knowledge. Atman is uncreated, immortal and divine. Although Atman is generally translated as soul or spirit, Atman and soul do not mean the same. Atman has two states of existence, liberated and bound. In the human body, Atman is deluded by cosmic ignorance, called Maya in Sanskrit. There are various viewpoints regarding relationship of the liberated Atman with Brahman. An individual is not born a sinner, but commits sin under the influence of Maya. Thus, the purpose of Hindu religious life is to transcend Maya.
Our comment: In Gnosticism, atman can be equated to the divine spark trapped in the world of the Demiurge and in need of gnosis to cure it of its ignorance of the true nature of things. Gnosticism is in agreement with Hinduism that the "soul" is much more sophisticated than the concept advanced by Christianity. Hindus say, "God abides in the atman, and the atman abides in God." That is the same relationship that the divine spark has to the True God in Gnosticism. In the theology of Abrahamic religions, the soul is immaterial, immortal and created by God, but it is not of the same essence as God. This point must be emphasised: in Gnosticism and Hinduism, the human soul and the soul of God are intimately connected - in the Abrahamic religions the human soul is God's creation but has no identity with the soul of God.
Self with capital 'S' means the same as atman, jiva, or jivatman. The Self is characterized by consciousness. The Self is naturally immortal, having no beginning and no end to its being. It is atomic in size and undergoes 'embodiment' which means that it takes birth in the bodies of plants, animals, humans, or gods. In the embodied state the atman is technically referred to as "jiva". In embodiment, the natural attributive consciousness has become obscured and veiled by ignorance and delusion. The jiva mistakenly identifies itself with the physical body/mind complex and this is the basis of all sorrow and delusion. All sentient beings are essentially non-different from each other in their Essence Nature. In the embodied state the difference between them is the degree of ignorance predominating. The body is merely a vehicle and an instrument whereby the Self (jiva) experiences the world and reaps the rewards of its past actions (Karma). The body is produced through sex and decays after death in accordance with the biophysical laws. The Self however transmigrates to another embryo to continue its spiritual evolution. The Self is the subjective "I" that is referred to in relation to the objective universe of experience. It is the "subject" which experiences the body and mind as "objects". The body is constantly changing, but that consciousness which does not change, but perceives the physical changes is the jiva. In both a corpse and a living body all the physical structures, organs and chemicals are present, in the case of a corpse the life force is absent. That conscious life force is the Self which has continued its transmigration. The number of jivas is infinite and innumerable - like grains of sand on a beach, all are in various stages of transmigration. It is important to note the difference in the Hindu concept of Self and Abrahamic coalition's (Christians, Jews and Muslims) concept of soul. For the Abrahamic coalition, the soul is something "created" by God that is "given" to the individual. God and Satan both "contend" for the soul. One can "sell" one's soul to the devil and one can "redeem" one's soul. Animals although fully conscious and sharing many attributes with humans nevertheless do not "possess" souls. The three faiths even debated up until the middle ages whether women had souls! In Hinduism the atman or Self is eternal and all pervading and it is the very essence (the Brahmanature or the Buddha-nature) of a sentient being. The thing possessed by, controlled by and manipulated by a sentient being is it's physical mind/body complex. For the Abrahamic coalition one's primary identification is with the physical body (which some theologians say will be resurrected at some time in the future). For Hindus the primary identification is the Self our true Essence Nature - the body being its vehicle. The individual is composed of trikaya (three bodies) which are interlaced and function as one :-
1. The gross physical body
2. The mental body (astral body)
3. The Causal body which is the subconscious reservoir of all mental impressions and Karma. It is the intuitive superconscious mind of the atman.
The Self (atman) uses these three as vehicles for its self-expression. The gross physical body is changed each time the Self is born but the astral and the causal bodies remain with the Self until final liberation.
Our comment: the jiva (the embodied atman) can be equated to the Jungian Ego whereas the Jungian Self can be thought of as the atman.
What is Reincarnation?
The word reincarnate means to "re-enter the flesh." Hindus believe the soul is immortal and keeps re-entering a fleshy body time and time again in order to resolve experiences and thereby learn all the lessons life in the material world has to offer. Hindus believe in reincarnation. To them, it explains the natural way the soul evolves from immaturity to spiritual illumination.
Our comment: Gnosticism teaches the same message, though it must be reiterated that karma plays no part in Gnostic reincarnation.
What is Moksha?
Moksha is ultimate liberation. This is the goal of human life. Moksha is the liberation of the soul from the cycles of birth and death; thereafter, it remains eternally in the service of God in His abode. Moksha is liberation from samsara, the cycle of death and rebirth or reincarnation and all of the suffering and limitation of worldly existence. It is a state of absolute freedom, peace and bliss, attained through Self-Realization. This is the supreme goal of human endeavour. It is seen as a transcendence of phenomenal being, a state of higher consciousness, in which matter, energy, time, space, karma (causation) and the other features of empirical reality are understood as Maya (illusion).
Our comment: In Gnostic thinking, moksha would be equated with gnosis, the point at which a divine spark escapes from the thrall of the Demiurge and departs from the Demiurge's material prison.
Ishvara is the Supreme Ruler, the Personal God. It is Brahman associated with Maya but has it under His control unlike the jiva (the embodied atman - the individual self) who is Maya's slave. He dwells in the heart of every being, controlling it from within. He responds positively to true devotion and sincere prayer. When God is thought of as the supreme all-powerful person (rather than as the infinite principle called Brahman), he is called Ishvara or Bhagavan. Ishvara, like the Christian God, comes in three forms: Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. This is known as the Trimurti (Hindu Trinity). Shiva, the "Auspicious One", is the destroyer, while Brahma and Vishnu are creator and preserver, respectively. Even though Shiva represents destruction, he is viewed as a positive force (The Destroyer of Evil), since creation follows destruction. Other views contend that Shiva produces Vishnu who produces Brahma and thus creation begins, within which the cycle of the Trimurti exists. Worshippers of Shiva consider that he represents the Ultimate Reality. Worshippers of Vishnu regard him as the Supreme God. As for Krishna, he is sometimes regarded as identical to Vishnu, sometimes as an avatar of Vishnu and sometimes as the original form of God, or the Lord himself.
Our comment: There is no equivalent of Ishvara in Gnosticism since there is no relationship between the True God and the world of the Demiurge, whereas Ishvara is "Brahman associated with Maya". As for Krishna, note the degree of confusion that surrounds this being. Why is there so much doubt about his precise status? (And note that as an avatar of Vishnu, Krishna would then, in effect, be a reincarnation of Vishnu, revealing that even gods are subject to the law of reincarnation.)
What is an Avatar?
An Avatar is an incarnation of God. When God comes down to earth in any life form, then he is called an Avatar. In the Bhagavad-Gita it is written, "Whenever there is decay of Dharma (Righteousness) and outbreak of Adharma (non-Righteousness), I descend myself to protect the good, to annihilate the wicked and to re-establish Dharma (Righteousness). I am born from age to age." Avatara means 'descent', and usually implies a deliberate descent of the Divine into the mortal realms to reveal the Absolute Truth to humanity and remind them of their true divine nature. This voluntary 'descent' into the world out of boundless compassion for all creatures is called avatara and has 4 basic purposes; 1. Protection of the righteous; 2. Elimination of the wicked; 3. Re-establishment of Dharma (righteousness) and 4. Bestowing of Grace. The Avatara concept is used primarily in Hinduism for descents of Vishnu whom some Hindus worship as the Supreme God. Shiva and Ganesha are also described as descending in the form of avatars. The most traditional form of Avatar within Hinduism is the incarnations of Vishnu, the preserver or sustainer aspect of God within the Trimurti or Hindu Trinity. Though Avatars may appear in different forms at different times, places and circumstances, yet they are all the manifestations of the One Supreme Lord.
Our comment: Hinduism is often thought of as a polytheistic religion because of the profusion of avatars and lesser deities, all of which are worshipped in one way or another. Avatars are absurd in terms of the logic of Hinduism. They are redundant: the process of karma accomplishes everything that is supposedly done by Avatars. With Avatars, we see Hinduism trying to be populist, trying to escape from its abstract and mystical roots and become something to which ordinary men and women can relate on a personal basis. Avatars are inserted into Hinduism to give it a human interface, but they serve no logical function. Like karma, they bring Hinduism into disrepute and destroy its credibility. Hinduism likes to think of itself as monotheistic but the avatars, the lesser divinities and the concept of the Trimurti argue differently. Just as Christianity tried to combine monotheism with polytheism in the laughable idea of the Trinity, so Hinduism tried to do the same with the Trimurti. Hinduism then went even further with endless Avatars and minor divinities popping up everywhere. Hinduism, at its core, is a profound religion, but in terms of the way it is practised it is a dumbed down religion that panders to cheap, vulgar and ill-educated tastes. In the unlikely case that Hinduism ever abandoned the concepts of the Trimurti, karma, avatars and lesser divinities, it would resemble Illumination, the Gnostic religion of the Illuminati.
The Illuminati has always remained a small organisation in order that it should not have to dilute its teachings to appeal to the sort of people who want God to perform cheap conjuring tricks for them. If we are all capable of becoming Gods then we should not be concerning ourselves with avatars unless it is to label ourselves as avatars. After all, we could all be defined as gods (divine sparks) that have descended to the earth. We are all capable of remarkable feats if we comprehend our true natures.
(Note that Jesus Christ could be thought of as a kind of avatar.)
What is Yoga?
"Yoga" is a Sanskrit word meaning "union of Atman (individual Soul) with Brahman (Universal Soul)."
Our comment: This is precisely what Gnostics seek - union of the human soul with the soul of God.
What is the Hindu definition of God?
Hinduism gives us the freedom to approach God in our own way, without demanding conformity to any dogma. Hindus believe in one supreme God who created the universe and who is worshipped as Light, Love and Consciousness. Hindus believe that there is one all-pervasive God which energizes the entire universe. We can see Him in the life shining out of the eyes of humans and all creatures. Hindus also believe in many devas who perform various kinds of functions, like executives in a large corporation. These should not be confused with God. There is one Supreme God only. What is sometimes confusing to non-Hindus is that we may call this one God by many different names, according to our tradition. Truth for the Hindu has many names, but that does not make for many truths. Hindus believe in one God, one humanity and one world. People with different language, different cultures have understood this one God in their own way. One of the unique understandings in Hinduism is that God is not just far away, living in a remote heaven, but is also inside of each and every soul in the heart and consciousness, waiting for you and me to discover. Knowing the One Great God in this intimate and experiential way is the goal of Hindu spirituality.
Our comment: we agree with many of the sentiments expressed here, but there is no question, despite the repeated denials of Hindus, that their religion is functionally equivalent to polytheism. It would be absurd to contend that all the polytheistic gods of ancient Greece - the Olympian gods - were all just one God. This is the charade that the Hindus attempt to pull off.
Why are there so many Gods in Hinduism?
The ancient seers of India recognized that all of God's creation does not just center around man, but that man shares the universe with numerous life forms. Some life forms have less powers and abilities than humans while others have more. God grants some of these various higher beings cosmic powers and assigns them the responsibilities of running the "machinery of the universe." These higher beings are also known as devas or gods. While Hindus respect these gods to be higher than humans, and even propitiate them in times of need, Hindus also readily acknowledge that these gods are clearly subservient to and have their origin and sustenance in one Supreme God. Hindus are thus monotheists, worshippers of one Supreme God, in every sense of the word. Historically, many groups have been unwilling or unable to understand the true position and function of the various gods within Hinduism. Consequently, out of misunderstanding or prejudice, they have incorrectly labelled Hinduism as polytheistic in the sense of the ancient Roman or Greek pantheon. However, this is incorrect. Just as other religions consider themselves monotheistic while still accepting the existence of "angels" and other superhuman divinities, Hinduism should be considered monotheistic in the same sense.
Our comment: the Demiurge's archons and the True God's "Phosters" (illuminators) would be the equivalent of devas. The devas are the "lesser divinities" to which we previously referred.
The Evil of Karma
Many Westerners are attracted to Eastern religions because they are intrigued by exotic and strange new ideas and they are disillusioned with Judaism/Christianity/Islam, which they find no longer credible. But while Eastern thought provides a number of ideas that constitute a considerable improvement over the teachings of the mainstream Western religions, it is permanently blighted by a truly Satanic concept - karma.
In the West, the shameful slave trade represents, even to this day, an unanswerable indictment of the Christian capitalist values of the ruling order where their greed for profits was (and remains) much more important than people's lives and liberty. In the East, the fault would lie not with the evil masters, but with the slaves. They would be told that they were simply receiving their karmic due for their misdeeds in past existences. Imagine telling that to African Americans in relation to their enslaved ancestors. It would be an outrage. Slaves were victims of brutal oppression, not the authors of their own misfortune via wrongdoings in previous lives.
Karma is one of the most triumphantly evil concepts ever introduced by the Demiurge. It's a shocking truth that a religion such as Hinduism, which has a number of good points, becomes one of the most hideous ideologies ever imposed on humanity as soon as karma enters the equation.
The nauseating caste system, which Hindu apologists claim has nothing to do with Hinduism and is merely a "sociological" phenomenon, is in fact an inevitable product of the combination of power politics and the "karmic" mentality.
As soon as the idea exists that misdeeds of the past determine someone's status in the present then it becomes all too easy to conclude that anyone suffering from any sort of misfortune in this life deserves everything they get. Slaves deserved their slavery, the Jews deserved being gassed in extermination camps, all the people who died in genocides were getting their payback for the crimes of their past lives, cancer victims deserve cancer, cripples deserve to be crippled and so on.
This is an unpardonable Satanic ideology that encourages mistreatment of people and promotes injustice, inequality and bigotry, finally reducing some humans - the untouchables - to the status of pariahs fit only to clean toilets, eat rats and drink polluted river water.
The only reason that Buddhism is not associated with caste is that it focuses on the individual rather than on society as a whole, thereby rendering itself of limited use to the ruling orders, who tend to ignore it. Yet several commentators have observed that the caste system is indeed practised in Buddhist countries such as Sri Lanka, Tibet and Japan where butchers, leather and metal workers and janitors are treated with disrespect and regarded as "impure".
The Hindu caste system is even more sinister than the class system of the West (which serves a similar function) because it maintains that people bring their fate upon themselves through their past actions i.e. they are responsible for their own suffering. In the West, in the past, it was the "Will of God" that determined people's fate. Now the evils of karmic thinking are even spreading to the West. The Old World Order tacitly argue that they deserve to rule the world, and that the rest of us deserve to live permanently in their shadow, because they are so much more intelligent, hard-working and gifted than we are, so much more karmically deserving.
The Illuminati advocate meritocracy as the means to destroy class and caste systems. No one should prosper purely because of their social and family connections and no one should be penalised for being born into a deprived environment. A newborn baby is never guilty of anything. It is free of both original sin and accumulated karma.
Christian capitalism: the rich are rich because God made them so.
Hinduism: the rich are rich because Karma made them so.
Gnosticism: the rich are rich because Satan made them so.
So, which side are you on? Did the Wall Street gang become rich because of God, Karma or the Devil? Is excessive wealth in any way compatible with religious virtue, or is it the inevitable product of unashamed, selfish greed?
It must be emphasised that Easterners, and a few Westerners who think they have a special relationship with Eastern thought, claim that Westerners don't understand karma. Don't let them fool you. Karma is not some baffling concept. It is the law of past deeds determining present outcomes. That's all that matters. What is baffling about karma is how it anyone on earth can take it seriously.
Basic Principles of Hinduism
Since many people in the West are unfamiliar with Hindu thinking, it is as well to reiterate the main teachings of Hinduism (from the same website as before):
Hindu Dharma recognizes that everyone is different and has a unique intellectual and spiritual outlook. Therefore, it allows people to develop and grow at their own pace by making different spiritual paths available to them. It allows various schools of thought under its broad principles. It also allows for freedom of worship so that individuals may be guided by their own spiritual experiences. What can be said to be common to all Hindus is the concept in Dharma (duties and obligations), Samsara (reincarnation/rebirth), Karma ("actions", leading to a cause and effect relationship), and Moksha (liberation) of every atman (the Innermost Self) through a variety of paths, such as Bhakti (devotion), Karma Yoga (action) and Jnana (knowledge), and of course, belief in Ishvara / Bhagavan (God).
According to Hindu sastras (scriptures), one's ignorance of the true nature of the atman as one with Brahman is what traps one in the cycle of endless death or samsara. The term samsara refers to the process of birth and rebirth continuing for life after life. Samsara or the atman's transmigration through a cycle of birth and death, until it attains Moksha, is governed by Karma. The particular form and condition (pleasant or unpleasant) of rebirth are the result of karma, the law by which the consequences of actions within one life are carried over into the next and influence its character.
The philosophy of Karma lays forth the results of free-willed actions, which leave their imprint on the atman or the Self. These actions determine the course of life and the life cycle for the atman in its subsequent life. Virtuous actions take the atman closer to the divine supreme and lead to a birth with higher-consciousness. Evil actions hinder this recognition of the divine supreme and the atman takes lower forms of worldly life. All living existence, per Hindu Dharma, from vegetation to animals to mankind, is subject to the timeless dharma, which is the natural law.
Liberation from this material existence and cycle of birth and death, to join, reach or develop a relationship with the Brahman ("universal spirit"), is known as moksha, which is the ultimate goal of Hindus. Human life is our chance to seek unity with Brahman.
All atman (the Self) are evolving toward union with Brahman and will ultimately find Moksha, spiritual knowledge and liberation from the cycle of rebirth. Not a single atman will be eternally deprived of this attainment. Each human being, regardless of religion, geographic region, gender, color or creed is in reality atman clothed in a physical body. Since atman is inherently pure and divine, every human being is potentially divine. In the Hindu view, a man is not born a sinner, but becomes a victim of ignorance under the influence of cosmic ignorance, called Maya. Just as darkness quickly disappears upon the appearance of light, an individual's delusion vanishes when he gains self-knowledge.
Hinduism explains that the atman (the Innermost Self) is eternally yearning for perfect, unlimited and everlasting happiness. But the atman is mistakenly searching for this happiness in the mayic world where one finds only transitory pleasures followed by disappointments. Human life alone gives us a chance to know our true identity, which has its basis in the one true thing called Brahman. All else has a dependent reality because nothing except Brahman can exist on its own. Our relationship with God is like the wave in an ocean. The ocean exists with or without the waves, but the waves have no independent existence without the ocean. When the waves become enlightened they know they too are water and are liberated from the notions of limitedness. This is called Moksha or liberation, and can be achieved while living. The aim of life is to 'know' Brahman.
Brahman (Supreme Reality) cannot be 'known' in the usual sense of the word. Brahman is the Knower of everything. We call it 'realizing' God or God-Realization. This is beyond the manas (mind). It is a direct experience of God. This is the ultimate goal of life. Till we reach this goal, we will have to live again and again. Till we reach this goal, we have to undergo birth, death and again birth and so on. Every time we are born, we continue our journey towards the goal from where we left. So nothing is lost by death on this journey. When the goal is reached, there is no need for any more death or birth. The person is said to have attained Immortality. Actually the person goes beyond all limitations. Even the basic limitations imposed by the concept of individuality and personality vanish.
It is God who has become this Universe and everything in it. Whatever is seen, dreamed or imagined are nothing but manifestations of God. God is beyond space, time, causation and all distinctions like gender, race, species, living/non-living and form/formless. Since He is beyond space, He is omnipresent. Since He is beyond time, He is eternal. Since He is beyond the concept of form, He is with form, without form, both and neither. Every form is His and yet He is formless and beyond the concept of form. Similarly with all attributes conceivable by the mind.
There are three eternal existences: atman (Inherent True Self), Maya (illusion), and Brahman (Supreme Reality). Atman is unlimited in number, infinitesimal in size, Divine in quality but eternally under the bondage of Maya. Atman does not belong to Maya or the mayic world. It has a natural and eternal relationship with God. Maya is a lifeless power of God. The universe has two dimensions - material and celestial. The Divine dimension of God lies beyond the field of Maya.
The illusion of finding perfect happiness in the mayic (temporal) world is the cause of samsara (atman's reincarnation). The atman, since uncountable lifetimes, has been taking birth into the 8.4 million species of life where it undergoes the consequences of actions (karmas). Perfect happiness is neither a feature of the mind nor a nature or quality of the mayic world. It can only be attained by God Realization.
For interested parties, an interesting discussion of the differences between Hinduism and the Abrahamic religions can be found here:
For those interested in reading about how Westerners often form misconceptions about Hinduism, the following article is of value (but bear in mind that in the same way that many Christians, Jews and Muslims are deluded about their religious beliefs, so are many Hindus):
Being an ancient religion, Hinduism now is plagued with many wrong and false ideas about it. These probably arose over time because people did not always adhere to the proper sources of knowledge.
As Hinduism expands in the West, the emerging forms of this ancient tradition are naturally being reflected through the medium of Western languages, most prominent of which is English. But, as we have pointed out, the meanings of words are not easily moved from one language to the next. The more distant two languages are separated by geography, latitude and climate, etc. the more the meanings of words shift and ultimately the more the worldview shifts. While this is a natural thing, it does present the danger that the emerging Hindu religious culture in the West may drift too far afield. The differences between the Indian regional languages and Sanskrit are minuscule when compared to the differences between a Western language such as English and Sanskrit.
Most books available on Hinduism in bookshops in the West today are written by non-Hindu Westerners. Most of them are very scholarly and recount the doctrines in a clinical manner, sometimes without any insight. Many of these scholars are in fact hostile to the very subject matter that they purport to recount in an impartial manner.
With this problem in mind, the great difficultly in understanding Hinduism in the West, whether from the perspective of conversion or from a second generation of Hindus, is that it is all too easy to approach Hinduism with foreign concepts of religion in mind. It is natural to unknowingly approach Hinduism with Christian, Jewish and Islamic notions of God, soul, heaven, hell and sin in mind. We translate Brahman as God, atman as soul, papa as sin, dharma as religion. But Brahman is not the same as God; atman is not equivalent to the soul, papa is not sin and dharma is much more than mere religion. To obtain a true understanding of sacred writings, such as the Upanishads or the Bhagavad-Gita, one must read them on their own terms and not from the perspective of another religious tradition. Because the Hinduism now developing in the West is being reflected through the lens of Christianity, Judaism and Islam, the theological uniqueness of Hinduism is being compromised or completely lost.
The most obvious misconception about Hinduism is that we tend to see it as a religious faith. To be precise, Hinduism is a way of life, a dharma. Dharma does not mean religion. It is the law that governs all action. Thus, contrary to popular perception, Hinduism is not a religion. Out of this misinterpretation have come most of the misconceptions about Hinduism.
Not a "religion" in a similar sense to which Christianity and Islam is. It is not easy to define Hinduism, for it is much more than a religion in the Western sense. According to some scholars, Hinduism is not exactly a religion. Also known to practitioners as Sanatana Dharma, which means everlasting or eternal dharma (Truth / Rule). Hinduism can best be defined as a way of life based on the teachings of ancient sages and scriptures like the Vedas and Upanishads. The word 'dharma' connotes "that which supports the universe" and effectively means any path of spiritual discipline which leads to God.
Hindu Dharma, as one scholar analogises, can be compared to a fruit tree, with its roots (1) representing the Vedas and Vedantas, the thick trunk (2) symbolizing the spiritual experiences of numerous sages, gurus and saints, its branches (3) representing various theological traditions, and the fruit itself, in different shapes and sizes (4), symbolizing various sects and sub-sects. However, the concept of Hinduism defies a definite definition because of its uniqueness.
Hinduism: A Modern Term. Words like Hindu or Hinduism are anachronisms. They do not exist in the Indian cultural lexicon. People have coined them to suit their needs in different points of history. Nowhere in the scriptures is there any reference to the term "Hinduism". The very name "Hinduism" is a regional/people group descriptive name. It is the name for the inhabitants and the religion of the Indus River region. The inhabitants were called Hindus and their religion was called Hinduism.
The common name for Hinduism is Sanatana Dharma. It is a civilization more than a religion. Hinduism does not have any one founder, and it does not have a Bible or a Koran to which controversies can be referred for resolution. Consequently, it does not require its adherents to accept any one idea. It is thus cultural, not creedal, with a history contemporaneous with the peoples with which it is associated.
Much More than Spirituality: Writings we now categorize as Hindu scriptures include not just books relating to spirituality but also secular pursuits like science, medicine and engineering. This is another reason why it defies classification as a religion. Further, it cannot be claimed to be essentially a school of metaphysics. Nor can it be described as 'other worldly'. In fact, one can almost identify Hinduism with a civilization that is flourishing even now.
Hinduism is a Common Faith of the Indian Subcontinent. The Aryan Invasion Theory having been completely discredited, it cannot be assumed that Hinduism was the pagan faith of invaders belonging to a race called Aryans. Rather it was the common meta-faith of people of various races, including Harappans. The Sanskrit word 'aryan' is a word of honourable address, not the racial reference invented by European scholars and put to perverse use by the Nazis.
Of a Very Ancient Origin. A Culture Much Older than we Believe. Evidence that Hinduism must have existed even circa 10000 B.C. is available: The importance attached to the river Saraswati and the numerous references to it in the Vedas indicates that the Rig Veda was being composed well before 6500 B.C. The first vernal equinox recorded in the Rig Veda is that of the star Ashwini, which is now known to have occurred around 10000 B.C. Subhash Kak, a Computer Engineer and a reputed Indologist, 'decoded' the Rig Veda and found many advanced astronomical concepts therein. The technological sophistication required to even anticipate such concepts is unlikely to have been acquired by a nomadic people, as the Invasionists would like us to believe. In his book Gods, Sages and Kings, David Frawley provides compelling evidence to substantiate this claim.
Hinduism was not brought to India by Aryan Invaders. The racial British-colonial theory that propounds that Hinduism developed through outside influences, such as the Aryan invasion is false. Hinduism was not brought to India by Aryan Invaders. The Aryan Invasion theory has been debunked by scholars.
Has a Worldwide Presence and Spread. It is not a little-known religion which has few followers. Hinduism is not practiced by a relatively small group of people. It is the world's third largest religion, after Christianity and Islam, with roughly 1 billion adherents.
False notion that Hinduism is rarely found in countries other than India. Hinduism is not practiced only in India or just by Indians. Other countries with large Hindu populations include Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States.
Neither a Monotheism or Polytheism in the Western Sense. Hinduism is Not Polytheistic! Many believe that multiplicity of deities makes Hinduism polytheistic. Such a belief is nothing short of mistaking the wood for the tree. The bewildering diversity of Hindu belief - theistic, atheistic and agnostic - rests on a solid unity. "Ekam sath, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti", says the Rig Veda: The Truth (God, Brahman, etc) is one, scholars call it by various names.
Hinduism permits worship of multiple God forms, endowed with different looks, powers, and attributes, who, in reality, represent the One Reality (not the same as English word "God"), known as Brahman, or Parabrahman, Paramatma or Satchidananda. Hinduism accepts the basic differences in every person in taste, temperament and capacity of intake in the matter of religion.
What the multiplicity of deities does indicate is Hinduism's spiritual hospitality as evidenced by two characteristically Hindu doctrines: Adhikaara (the doctrine of spiritual competence) and Ishhta Devata (the doctrine of the chosen Deity). The doctrine of spiritual competence requires that the spiritual practices prescribed to a person should correspond to his or her spiritual competence. The doctrine of the chosen deity gives a person the freedom to choose (or invent) a form of Brahman that satisfies his spiritual cravings and to make it the object of his worship. It is notable that both doctrines are consistent with Hinduism's assertion that the unchanging reality is present in everything, even the transient.
Hindus are Not Idol-Worshipers: "Idol-Worship" is simply not how a Hindu practitioner describes his or her religious activities. Hindus hold that they are worshiping, not an idol, but a divine reminder of God - or perhaps a manifestation of God that has taken the form of a particular physical representation.
The images of Gods and Goddesses, or murtis, are used as focal points to help aid in meditation and prayer. Hindus do not consider God to be limited to the murti. Murtis are strictly used to help channel concentration during worship.
There is a strange dichotomy in how such religious images are judged. When they are part of the Christian tradition they are called icons and classified as works of art and regarded as sacred in nature. When they are part of non-Christian or pagan traditions they are called "idols," which is a derogatory term that indicates not the sacred but mere superstition. An image of Christ as the good shepherd is called an icon and viewed with respect. An image of Krishna as the good cow herder - which is a similar image of the Divine as watching over the souls of men - is called an idol, which encourages one to look down on it. This is prejudice and negative stereotyping in language of the worst order.
To call such images as idols implies that those who worship them practice idolatry or take the image itself as a God. This adds yet more prejudice and error to this judgement. The use of an image - whether we call it an icon or an idol - does not imply belief in the reality of the image. That we keep a photograph of our wife and children at our work desk does not mean that we think our wife and children are the photograph. It is a reminder, not a false reality. Moreover, the use of the term idol inflames the sentiments of anti-idolatry religions like Christianity and Islam, as both the Bible and the Koran, at least in places, instruct their followers to oppose idolaters and smash their temples and images.
- By David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri) on Idols and Icons: The Misrepresentation of Hinduism in the Press.
Mistranslation of Hindu Terms: The term God is not the same as Brahman
"God" is a term that refers to a Male, Creator, Being (n.). This "God" concept is not the same as Brahman, Paramatma, or Satchidananda - a neuter term.
The term Salvation is not the same as Moksha. "Salvation" is an ambiguous word that can refer to a lot of phenomena. When trying to understand the concept of salvation in any religion, we need to be very clear on what the context is. It is not just a question of how one might get saved, but also what one is saved from and to. In Hinduism, "salvation" is most frequently referred to as "moksha," which means most literally "release." One is saved, not from sin, as a Christian might say, but from one's own existence. The fundamental problem for all human beings is that we live in a world of suffering and illusion, and that, left to ourselves, we will continue to do so for all time. As long as we exist in the phenomenal world (Maya), we will suffer, and since we are doomed to move from life to life to life in the cycle of reincarnation (samsara), the suffering will theoretically never end. What drives this seemingly unbreakable chain of existences is the law of karma; it determines as what kind of a being (plant, animal, or human) and in what circumstances we will reappear in our next life, depending on what we do in this life. So, the point of moksha is to be released from the cycle of reincarnation and to attain a state of bliss in union with Brahman.
Cultural Misportrayal: Hindus are allowed to eat meat. It does not mandate that its followers be vegetarian. Many adherents of Hinduism are not vegetarian, although a vegetarian diet is encouraged in accordance with principles such as ahimsa (non-violence) extended to animals.
Hinduism has not ordained that the society should be caste-based. It has accepted the practical fact that there will always be differences among persons in intellectual, physical and mental capabilities. For the society to run smoothly like well-oiled machinery, there has to be a well-defined division of labour. The society needs all sorts of people who do their jobs to the best of their ability doing those activities best suited to them. The society needs peasants and artisans ('Shudra'), traders ('Vysya'), intellectuals and teachers ('Brahmin'), and warriors ('Kshatriya'). Each class requires its own skill sets, physical and mental capabilities, food habits, ethical and moral codes of conduct and the Hindu Dharma has provided these guidelines. What is best suited to one class need not be a benchmark for another. The society at large accepted these classifications as matters of fact (without acrimony) in ancient days. It is also said that such a division of labour was not originally based on family lineage. But when followed over generations, it gradually turned into a caste system and further degenerated into upper and lower classes with discrimination and acrimony between them. This is actually a sociological phenomenon and it is incorrect to blame the religion for it.
Hinduism is not anti-materialistic and does not totally discourage enjoyment. What Hinduism says is that materialistic pursuits or running behind sensual pleasures is not going to fetch you everlasting happiness. It only says that behind any unbridled searching for enjoyment, there is always a pain lurking behind. Hinduism advises one to practice moderation, to be watchful, and not to get carried away. Hinduism does place liberation - 'Moksha' as the ultimate goal of life and for the majority, the path of progress towards the goal (Moksha) includes Dharma (righteousness), Artha (materialism) and Kama (sensual enjoyments). The important point is that the materialistic and sensual enjoyments (Artha and Kama) must always be guided by righteousness (Dharma). Leading a life this way, one can gradually understand the transient nature of worldly life, acquire dispassion ('Vairagya') and the mind then yearns for liberation (Moksha), the ultimate goal.
It is no doubt that Hinduism gives the highest regard to renunciation. But again, for the society at large, the recommended way of living so as to attain the supreme goal starts at 'Brahmacharya' (celibacy at a young age while acquiring education), followed by 'Grihasta' (married life of a householder), 'Vanaprasta' (living frugally in a secluded way at the forest, once the couple has completed their duty toward their offspring) and finally 'Sanyasa' (total renunciation). When an earnest seeker is mature enough to comprehend the transient nature of worldly life, has a high degree of discrimination and dispassion and yearns for God, he can opt to renounce much earlier, without going through all these stages one by one.
Hinduism does not preach fatalism and does not negate self-effort. It is wrong to think that by advocating Karma theory (which says that for every action in the past, one has to face the reaction inescapably in the future and this cycle transcends births over births), Hinduism encourages a fatalistic attitude. What Hinduism says is that one cannot have freedom of choice in facing the repercussions of past actions, but one does have the free will to choose his present actions. It is quite obvious that only because we have the freedom of choice of action, we have accumulated our past Karmas!
The essence of Hinduism on this matter is two-fold. One: The reactions to our past actions are not entirely self-propelling; they are indeed executed by the will of God; the more one surrenders to God and the more one accepts with humility the divine dispensation, the more one gets relief from the impinging effects of Karma. Two: By carefully choosing one's present actions based on Dharma, by doing acts with dispassion and a sense of surrender to the supreme, one paves the way for escaping from the evil effects of his present actions in the future.
Hindus don't worship cows. However, heavy reliance is placed on the cow. Cows gave a highly useful protein-rich milk, as well as fuel and fertilizer. Additionally, the cow was often used to till fields. Because of its unselfish giving, the cow is viewed as a caretaker and symbolically, a maternal figure. For this and other reasons, many Hindus don't eat meat.
A religion should be judged according to its most salient feature and in the case of Hinduism that is the caste system - a Satanic obscenity for which there is no excuse. The caste system is not in fact an inevitable product of Hinduism but since Hindu culture has given rise to it then Hinduism must stand condemned as another religion of the Demiurge where he again succeeds in introducing into society horror, suffering, discrimination, elitism, contempt and an oppressive, wealthy ruling orthodoxy. While Hinduism is associated with the existence of an underclass of "untouchables", it will remain a religion untouchable by any well-meaning person.
Hinduism is a great missed opportunity. If Abrahamic religions represent Western religious thought and Hinduism is the primary representative of Eastern religion then it can be said that Gnosticism lies between the two extremes. It brings Western intellectual rigour to vague Hindu concepts, and it brings Eastern visionary insights to the horrifying, dogmatic Abrahamic religious mindset of the West.
Unlike the Abrahamic religions, Hinduism is capable of being "upgraded" to the tenets of Illumination. Hinduism stripped of the concepts of karma, the Trimurti, Avatars and devas could be a noble and great religion. Even better than Hinduism is Buddhism and that will be the subject of a subsequent article. There is no fundamental reason why Hinduism and Buddhism could not be made consistent with Illumination. If a great new inspirational religion arose in the East then the Abrahamic religions would soon collapse as tens of millions deserted to join the new religion, and the rule of the Demiurge on earth would enter its final stages.