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Chapter Fifteen

Now that we have examined the various aspects of Hinduism we are more perplexed than anytime.  So let us look at the facts we have learned.

1.  There is no religion called Hinduism.  It is simply a term used to denote religions of the people of India in all its variations.

  1. We could discern on the broad classification two layers in Hinduism

    1. A local religion – with local gods and goddesses which are native.  This is probably the Dravidian Layer

    2. A series of overlays that tried to form a religion syncretized  with the local religions

  1. When the Aryans migrated to India from North West Eurasia they brought with them the Vedic religion.  This form one of the major overlays.  However there seems to have a abrupt discontinuity from the Vedas into Vedantas.  The names of the gods, the rituals, the form and the content seems to have changed. This change seems to occur in conjunction with or later than the coming of St.Thomas into India.   When St. Thomas came to Kerala, he confronted Vedic Scholars as they were doing vedic rituals of sun worship.

  2.  The major scriptures of the Vedic religion were the Rg, Yajur , Sama and Atharvana.  The most ancient of these is the Rg Veda.  Even these were written over a period of time extending well into the Years of Our Lord.  At least the mandalas 2 and 10 were written in these late dates after the middle of first centuary AD. The Vedas  are written in Vedic langauge – the forerunner of Sanskrit. The oldest Purana is believed to date back to 300 AD, and the most recent ones to 1300 - 1400 AD. (http://www.gurjari.net/ico/Mystica/html/purana.htm)

  3. Almost all the Puranas were developed as a part of story telling and was never intended as scriptures.  Hence they contain a mixing up of poetic imagination and myths and legends.  These puranas – as the name implies – were stories transmitted by word or mouth from generations to generation.  As a consequence these were modified and changed with generation and geography.

  4. Sanskrit was developed out of Prakrit and other existing languages during the interval of 100 AD to 150 AD  “The first evidence of classical Sanskrit is found as an inscription dating around A.D.150.  Hence the authors of the Sanskrit Scriptures could not have been living before the coming of St.Thomas. From the fifth century A.D. classical Sanskrit is seen to be the dominant language and hence it is safe to assume that these Puranas and scriptures and commentaries were written after the fifth century AD.

  5. St. Thomas came to India in AD 52.  He landed in the Malabar Coast and traveled to the Indo-Parthian Kingdom which was in Taxila in the Present Pakistan.  He traveled widely all over India and China.  We know for certain that there was a thriving Christian Kingdom of Villar Vattom which existed for several centuries.  The Malabar Church still exist surviving all persecutions and heretic and syncretic situations.  This must be attributed to their direct communications with the rest of the universal churches and relations.

  6.   From the Bahvishya Purana we know that Indian scholars did know and were great scholars of the Old Testament and New Testament Stories. They knew the  details even to the minute details of chronology.  This could not have been done without a detailed analysis and extremely involved studies.  The fact that the flood of Noah took exactly an year is not directly stated nor is widely known even to most Christians of this day.  These types of details could not have been obtained without an in depth study in Old Testament. 

  7.   In spite of the Aryan- Semitic genetic hatred, the fact that Jesus was called “Son of God” (Brahmaputra) is particularly significant.  This title has never been given to any of the avatars before or after Christ.  This name is known only to the Christians.  It indicates that the people of India were very familiar with Jesus and his teachings.  Even though his teachings were called “Mlecha Dharma”  (Abominable Way) they had to redefine “Mleccha Dharma” so that it was the righteous way.  This indicates that the theology of Christianity was well known and was a respected authoritative way of life.

  8. It is to be noted that Vishnu was identified in Bhavishya Purana as Yhvh.  Strangely the Vehicle of Vishnu is an Eagle – one of the faces that Ezekiel saw among the Vehicle of Yhvh.

  9. Siva – called as Maheswara derives the name from Isa – Jesus.  Saivism has greater theological affinity with Christian theology.  Siva is theonly God who took the poison to save cosmos – a unique concept found only in Saivism and Christianity.  Incidentally the Vehicle of Siva is the Bull – again one of the faces that Ezekiel saw among the Vehicle of Yhvh.

  10. Great teachers of all schools of philosophies arose from areas where we know for certain that St.Thomas was.

  11. While we have no trace of the concepts of trinity nor Bhakthi marga before the second centuary AD, they were prominent teachings of the later period in most theistic schools.

  12. The idea of Om – the Word as the creator was never known in the Vedic religion.  It appears only in the later period.

  13. The temples, the gods and the worship forms of present Hinduism has no connection with vedic religions and are found only in the post-christian period.  They were developed only after the first centuary AD.

  14. Creation and recreation of man by a personal God with personal sacrifice of his own appears first in the tenth mandala of Rg Veda which was written during first century or later is significant.

  15. The surprising similarity in the names Krishna and Christ and their teachings as portrayed in Bhagavat Gita and the Claims of this Christ indicates that we are referring to the same person mixed up in a manner some Christians still do.  One basic concept is Christ the King who is  the Lord and judge of people.  Second concpet is  Christ the Redeemer.  If we mix these two together would have generated the Krist of Modern Hinduism.  Modern Krishna Consciousness group have intentionally added many Christ features in the recent years.  These include Crucifixion of Krishna and the second coming of Krishna.  It is not difficult to see the development of Krishna through Indian History which was influenced tremendously by the Thomas ministry. 

  16. Much more surprising similarity exist between Saivism and Christianity and its concepts of Moksha.

  17. The worship of Christ is embedded in most temple worship.

  18. The Rg Veda tenth Mandala is particularly relevant in describing Prajapathy – the Savior of the World in exact replication of the Christian concept.  Redemption is brought about only by the Sacrifice of Prajapathy on the cross.

  19. The theology of Trinity, the three persons within the trinity, Sin and salvation and process of redemption are identical with that of Christianity in at least Saivism and Vaishnavism

  20. The Gnostic presence through the ministry of Manichaen will explain most of the present day belief system of the Hinduism.

  21. Theosophical Society took its head Quarters to Adyar, Chennai and that gave the international boost required to complete the Gnostic touch.

  22. British brought in education to the rural india and brought with it academic studies in the work of the Orientalists, publication of Sacred Books of the East in European language and within the reach of educated Indians.  Thus a revival within Hinduism started and along with it a swift rise in nationalism. The Parliament of Religions held in Chicago and a flow of religious leaders from India into Europe and America opened up new understanding and appreciation of Indian religions. These produced the current Hindu renaisance.

  23. Soon after the Independence of India a surge of Indian nationalism took over Hinduism.  The result is an attempt to rewrite Indian history and to glorify Hinduism as Sanadhan Dharma – a religion which existed even before the creation.

As in every culture, Christianity has taken turns and given rise to totally different forms of religion in its process of syncretism and in its socio-political growth.  India is no different in this case to the extent that the underlying Christian layer is almost totally masked in the modern Hinduism.

“Sect after sect arose in India and seemed to shake the religion of the Vedas to its very foundations, but like the waters of the seashore in a tremendous earthquake it receded only for a while, only to return in an all-absorbing flood, a thousand times more vigorous, and when the tumult of the rush was over, these sects were all sucked in, absorbed, and assimilated into the immense body of  the mother faith.” 

Swami Vivekananda PAPER ON HINDUISM - Read at the Parliament on 19th September, 1893