Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Bringing back the focus onto Hinduism; I will share my understandings of this belief system, the readers can correct me if I am wrong or others who were unaware can get a capsule version of Evolution of Hinduism in India. Positive criticism will accepted with an open mind.

I got a chance to know more about Bhagavat Gita, Hindu mythology and Vedanta as I did my schooling from “Chinmaya Vidhyalaya” and Graduation from Sri Adhi Chunchangiri College of Business Management which was solely controlled by a ‘Mat’ and absolute authority was in the hands on Swami Adhi Chunchangiri. These were the days when I was deeply involved into Hinduism and was fascinated by the Vedic knowledge.

What I have written further on includes a great deal of compilation from my School education, college education and a few books, documentaries and articles.

References –

· Ohh Hindu you awake

· Why I am not a Hindu? (Gora)

· Hinduism, Buddhism & Jainism - Personal Reflections on 9 world religions (Anand Sharma)

· Story of India & Story of God (BBC Documentaries)

· Lectures by Kalanadhan Master – President of Yuktivadi Sangham (Kerala)

· Is God Dead? An Introduction to Kya Ishwar mar chuka hei – (Dr. Ramendra Nath)

· Introduction to Carvaka and Nastika School of Philosophies

At the beginnings what existed in the Indian subcontinent was a mixture of idolatry, ritualistic worship and polytheism. The first Hindus believed in the Karma loop where in you have to fulfill your duties so as to escape the material world and attain Moksha, for this they worshipped Gods and needed blessing from the Gods in return for their respective activities. Thus every one started coming up with their own concept of God. The first gods to arrive were the farming gods (came along with the Aryans). The countless number of gods itself was very confusing and it was impossible for a person to remember, here arised the concept of “Brahmn” the power that gives life for everything and even for the gods. The motives of Hindus were to rejoin their souls with the Brahmn AKA Salvation.

Hindu beliefs revolve around few major gods – Brahma, Vishnu & Maheshwara

Creator, Sustainer and Destroyer

Buddhism and Jainism were more sophisticated in nature, with the arrival of these new belief systems Vaishnava & Shaiva Gods started losing popularity. Buddha discarded sexuality and gods at the very foundation. He claimed that Gods cannot help us since they too are stuck in the loop for Moksha so “whatever had to be achieved has to be achieved by you”. Thus was brought in the concept of Nirvana, which revolutionized the subcontinent. A man sitting under a tree had started conquering the minds of hundreds and thousands not just in India but to far off countries too. From here on the etymology of the term “Bhagawan” was to be seen changing to “The one who is enlightened” from what it used to be “Creator/Creation/Linga-Yoni Samyoga”. The change was necessary as there was no importance for creation and sexuality in Buddhism and Jainism.

The next mutation came through with the arrival of Shankaracharya into the scene; Hinduism which had lost much of its popularity and was to be revived under the supervision of Shankaracharya. One of the ways shankaracharya planned of, was to remove a “thorn using a thorn”. To assist him was the ‘Haindava’ legacy’, which did not have strict rules and foundation stones. He came out with the first of his own philosophies to popularize Hindutva –

1. Reject Sexuality – to become a ‘Satwik’ you need to stay away from sex

2. Reject ancient belief system of idolatry and ritualistic worship –

Thus he drew the first lines for ‘Advainta Sidhanta’ which is a good defense against Buddhism but still had to keep the concept of God. Here on started the revival of Hinduism and it flourished under the supervision of Brahmanical societies and ‘Matts’. It is said that there was mass cleansing and genocide of Buddhists and Jains all over India. I personally had visited a 13th century Jain Temple in Kerala, however lot of modifications and alterations were seen inside the temple. Carvings of Gods and scriptures written on walls, leads me to think that these would have been additions made by the Hindus after taking over the temple. Many of the major temples prevailing now in India used to be Buddhist monasteries and Jain temples. There is limited evidence to prove my claim so do not wish to publicize any of these.

There wasn’t much a of change in the belief system until the arrival of Mughals and Christian missionaries. Hinduism might have started to feel a bit inferior comparing to these religions as these Semitic belief groups were much more sophisticated in nature and had a better understanding of Creation, creator, life, death, after life and rules & regulations to follow. Even though Shankaracharya’s ideologies do discard idol worship in philosophical standards many Hindus still practiced them. The visitors and invaders (Semitic belief groups and religions) have better understandings of rituals and gods as they had discarded idol worship in the very first stage; moreover they also had control over sexuality which led them to gain popularity in the sub continent. Hinduism if it wanted to survive needed a redefinition and here steps in Dayanand Saraswati. He starts to redefine Hinduism so that it can withstand the Semitic beliefs which the visitors had brought in; he also laid stones for Arya Samaj – “Society for the Nobles”. Dayanand Saraswati denounced idolatry and ritualistic worship in Hinduism. He was addressed as one of the ‘Makers of Modern India’. He was dellusioned by classical Hinduism and believed in the infallible authority of the Vedas. Further on preached the importance of brahmacharya (Celibacy) and made the first translations of Vedas and other holy scriptures to Hindi for the common man, which until then was the property of the Brahmins alone. He also brought in changes with promoting equality for women and equality for education for all castes. The first stones of the big wall called as “Chatur Varna” system had started falling off.

Shankaracharya had never publically gone against the caste system and until then and even today is a common practice in India; however with the arrival of Dayanand Saraswati the power of the poison had started diminishing. Dayanand’s vaccine had started doing its work and till date it does when I see many preachers and spiritual gurus, they show a better understanding of what is called ‘Spirituality’ without idol worship and sexuality. The terms Nirvana, Moksha and ‘Brahmn’ has regained its popularity.

Big changes were to be seen with the era of Renaissance and arrival of Science (the finest of all players) who had started answering the most mysterious of questions human mind ever had to face. The Semitic belief groups who used to consider their wisdom and scriptures as infallible, now had a new enemy. Science has a different way of looking at things. It did not follow any supernatural message or revelations for answers but did experiments and then started coming out with theories. A Theory was the best practical and reliable explanation for an unexplained question; the results of the calculations as per a theory will be same for everyone. For eg – the calculations will bring the same result for A as it is for B, considering all the ingredients remain the same. This brought in a major revolution because what religion always had in their inventory were encounters of miracles and private revelations which were openly discarded and falsified by Science.

Science will apply and follow things only on the basis of evidence and it will come out with results which can be tested, retested and still comes out with same results as and when required. With the contributions from Galileo, Bruno, Newton and Darwin, the Monotheistic believers started to feel the worst of feverish shivers. All the elite scientists ever existed from the time of Renaissance have discarded the belief in a personal god however many among them had a “Deistic” belief within them. Here on all the major religious groups realized the power of Science and started associating the findings of science with their own scriptures. However theories like “theory of Evolution” completely destroys the monotheistic beliefs as there is no more a need for god to have created humanity or life out of nothing. Science has again started answering things and till date there has been no fossil record identified which has gone against the theory of evolution.

What we are witnessing currently is the effect of a mutation. Hindutva is fighting its way to associate with Science and with the help of people like Gopalakrishnan (who look in for verses that match the scientific discoveries and also associate finding by Aryabhatta and Bhaskara to affirm the Authority of Vedas and Hindutva) it dreams of the old ages to redefine itself and regain its losing popularity. This is the very reason we see spiritual gurus springing up from different areas along with Theo-philosophical teachers and societies like ISKON, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Asaram Bapuji and hundreds and hundreds more. They do reframe and define the meanings of shlokas from ancient scriptures to fit the desired meanings.

Evolution of Hinduism has been a constant phenomenon. Every time a new ideology or belief system emerges it make the appropriate changes within to cope with the new system. This has always been a salient feature of Hinduism however without a doubt like every other religion Hinduism too is a disease and it is time that we eradicate it with the use of scientific study and analyses to go forward as a species.


  1. it is very convenient to criticizes religions like Hindu, Buddhism, Jainism and all. But when anybody start criticizing semitic religions like Xtians or Islamist the story will change. The money power put by them are making most of the so called 'liberal atheist' silent. sorry to say that. but it is a fact. And there are no saviors for Hindus, Budhist, Jainist like the semitic ones have from idle east oil power or Global power put forward by US/UK and Europe. Indian orginated religions always see shade under political umbrella which make those more worst.

  2. Very well Sara, As of me, i do not make distinctions or preferences for criticisms, however it does make me think before i criticize on Islam as i live in an Islamic country.

    I appreciate your willingness to comment and will mark it for the future.

    Cheerz !!

  3. Hi Satyajit..

    I had a very different childhood as compared to yours. My dad is an atheist, a teacher and a social activist. As we children grew up, we often heard intellectual discourse of prominent atheists and humanists in the region, who paid visits to our house. Our family also played host to cultural campaigners who used popular folk song and dance to educate the masses. My dad took me often to social meetings where people discussed humanism, atheism, socialism etc.. And lastly, there was a large cupboard full of books on atheistic and communist philosophy that my dad collected. I used to read them in my spare time. So I knew about dialectics of Hegel, the logical positivism of Leibniz and the dialectical materialism of Marx before I got out of school..

    Funnily, I have never studied Indian scriptures or philosophy in detail until I joined my engineering college. I have borrowed Dr. Radhakrisnhan's omnibus on Indian philosophy from the university library, and skimmed through it. This was largely to provide a sound and rational reply to my friends who questioned me why I didn't believe in God. I never considered this topic of God to be serious, but I had to give a proper reply in depth.

    So primarily, I have a very academic perspective on Indian philosophy and religion. From my perspective, I find your criticism on Hinduism as very vapid. Firstly, the main philosophy from which Hindu religions (because they are thousands of them) germinated is the system of Sāmkhya as developed by the sage Kapila. You have not even mentioned this, I have written a decent post on my blog to introduce it. You can read it if you want to learn more. This philosophy provided the basis of vocabulary for the ideas presented in Upanishads, Buddhism, Puranas etc. For example, the 3-fold image of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva relates directly to the 3 gunas of the Sāmkhya system. The system of Yoga germinated straight from Sāmkhya. Other philosophical strands such as Mimamsa, Vedanta, Nyaya, Vaiseshika etc.. borrowed heavily from it. So you might like to criticize it in detail before you attempt a wider criticism on Hindu religions.