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Similarities Between Hinduism & christianity

Jesus & Krishna

Note: There are uncanny similarities between the teachings of Jesus Christ & Indian Sages. Here I'm trying to see how many teachings have parallels in each religion. It is written by a Hindu who has knowledge of Christianity, some concepts may not have been explained in Christianity in the same way as I will do now, bear with the small differences, it makes an interesting read.

Trinity

Christianity believes in Trinity of:

  1. Father
  2. Son
  3. Holy spirit

Where God is the Father, Jesus Christ is the incarnation as Son.

Hinduism has an exact parallel to this:

  1. Sat: All Pervading consciousness.
  2. Tat: Individualized Consciousness (All individuals), that which is begotten of the "Sat".
  3. AUM: The holy sound of Creation.

  1. "Father" of Christianity & "Sat" of Hinduism are equals.
  2. "Son" of Christianity & "Tat" of Hinduism have similar meanings, But Christianity considers Only Jesus Christ as the "Son" While Hinduism asserts that everyone in creation is a "Son" of God.
  3. AUM, as the holy Sound of Creation.

The "WORD"=AUM

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.- John 1:1

The Christian Theologians have settled on "Jesus Christ" to be the one referred to as "Word".

After hearing the above verse a Hindu would say this sounds more Like the Upanishadic AUM (OM), That has been discussed in variety of Hindu scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras.

When notion of creation arose in consciousness (supreme God), there was a vibration which gave rise to matter, that notion of creation is referred to as "AUM", the sound of Creation, also called "Pranava", The word that which gave life.

Here are Parallels from Upanishads:

"Om is Brahman, the Primeval Being. This is the Veda which the knowers of Brahman know; through it one knows what is to be known" (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 5.1.1).

"Om: this Syllable is all this. All that is past, the present and the future, all this is only the Syllable Om. And whatever else there is beyond the threefold time, that too is only the Syllable Om. The Self is of the nature of the Syllable Om.…Thus the Syllable Om is the very Self. He who knows it thus enters the Supreme Spirit." (Mandukya Upanishad 1, 8, 12).

"The Cosmic Spirit utters Om and by pure will creates the various objects" (Yoga Vashishtha 3:67).

"Brahman is the Truth that is indicated as Om" (Yoga Vashishtha 6:1:30).

Monism/ Advaita

John records Jesus Saying

I and my Father are one. -John 10:30

There are many Parallels in Hinduism in Upanishadic MahaVakyas:

Aham brahmasmi [Self is the Supreme Lord]Brihadaranyaka Upanishad I.iv.10

Ayam Atma Brahma - [Atman and brahman are the same]- Mandukya Upanishad

From the parallels it does appear that Both religions view Creator & Creation to be One. i.e God becomes everything. It is possible to argue that John 10:30 only refers to Jesus & not necessarily to the entire creation (every individual) as it is claimed in Hindu scriptures.

Then again When Jesus Claimed "I and my father are One", the Jews called it blasphemy, To which Jesus said

"Is it not written in your Law, I said, "Ye are gods?"John 10:30-34

Quoting From Psalms:

I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.- Psalm 82:6

It upholds both that we are Children of God, and yet one with God.

Jesus believed his disciples deserve the same place as him in Kingdom of God:

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John 14:2-3

Spiritual Eye:

Shiva Third Eye

Hindu scriptures have excessively talked about the spiritual eye of omniscience that one experiences after attaining a certain spiritual evolution. This is the eye that enabled Sages to see past, Present & future.

This eye is said to be located at the Ajna Chakra, in the middle of forehead between the 2 eyes.

There is a parallel in bible:

The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light- Matthew 6:22

It seems to indicate the knowledge, power & lightness that omniscience brings in those who have gained omniscience.

Kingdom of God is within Us

O Arjuna, you shall not again become deluded like this. With this knowledge you shall see the entire creation within your own higher Self, and thus within Me.- Bhagavad Gita 4:35

One discovers this knowledge within, naturally, in course of time when one's mind is cleansed of selfishness by Karma-yoga - Bhagavad Gita 4:38

The above statements stress that God can be realized within oneself by simply removing ignorance from mind gathered by conditioning.

Jesus Says 

"The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed ... ... For, behold, the kingdom of God is within you." - Luke 17:20-21

Kingdom of God

According to Hindus, kingdom of God is attained by those who have spiritually risen beyond their Physical & Mental limitations. 

There is threefold existence which has to be escaped to go to the divine realm, they are:

  1. Physical
  2. Astral
  3. Causal

He who has become so subtle that he has escaped the limitations of three is fit to dwell in the divine realm.

Jesus talks about the necessity to rise above gross body to go to Kingdom of God.

 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:3-6

We are Made in God's Image

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them- Genesis 1:27

God created Humans in his likeness it says, does that mean in power, shape, nature? The next verses go on to describe God gave Lordhsip of Plants, Animals and every other being to Humans.  Perhaps about the consciousness of man that other beings lack. This verse could also mean, We are made from the same consciousness as God himself is.

A verse in the Tripura Rahasya says :

Just like a city exists in the mirror because the city exists, Creation exists because consciousness exists.

It suggests the idea that we are reflection of the same essence as the supreme. Another Hindu scriptures says "If God is the moon, we are the reflections in the numerous wells". again reflecting the same idea of oneness of essence of God & Man.

Purusha & Prakriti = Adam & Eve

Samkhya philosophy of Hinduism has concept of Purusha & Prakriti. Purusha is the ever existing Consciousness. Prakriti is the feminine nature which facilitaties the creation. 

According to Samkhya Prakriti is a Part of Purusha, she came from Purusha. There is also a parallel within Hinduism of Shiva & Shakti, where Shiva represents Consciousness without manifestation. Shakti as the feminine which lead to creation.

In Christian Philosophy Adam & Eve are not equated with Creator(Purusha & Prakriti) as in Hinduism. Still Adam & Eve are very comparable to Purusha-Prakriti analogy.

Eve came out of Adam's rib. Adam & Eve caused rest of the creation, they are beginners though not in cosmic sense as in Hinduism.

Kundalini, the energy at the base of the spine is symbolized as the serpent energy. In case of Adam & Eve, they "Ate from the tree in the middle of the forest" i.e "they had sex" which made them lose their divine powers, Sexual control is advised for the rise of Kundalini Serpent energy in body, snake poisoning the fruit may imply sex failing us spiritually.

Dvija = Twice Born

Dvija literally means twice born. Every man is born once, when a man Realizes his real self, i.e  "enlightenment", he is said to be born again, but this time he is said to be born into deathlessness, that is the implication. In a lose sense it is also used when a child is initiated into religious studies.

In Christianity, when the child is baptized into religion, he is called a "Born Again" Christian.

Reincarnation

Reincarnation is one of the central philosophies of Hinduism. Almost all scripture mentions it. there is no doubt that it is a Hindu concept.

Less known is the fact that Some Christian schools did embrace Reincarnation, for example Origen, a Christian ascetic writes:

Each soul enters the world strengthened by the victories or weakened by the defects of its past lives. Its place in this world is determined by past virtues and shortcomings.

There was divide in the church, The emperor Justinius called a meeting (Catholicism's Second Council of Church Fathers, in Constantinople) in 553 AD to discuss this issue and others. After that meetig, reincarnation became less and less talked about in christian circles.

There are some Biblical verses which talk of reincarnation


And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?
And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.
But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.
Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the BaptistMatthew 17: 10-13

[Jesus is saying John the Baptist is Elias/Elijah reincarnated]

Now Herod the tetrarch heard of all that was done by him: and he was perplexed, because that it was said of some, that John was risen from the dead;
And of some, that Elias had appeared; and of others, that one of the old prophets was risen again. Luke 9:7-8

Other Commonalities are:

  • Use of statues.
  • Use of water as sacred.
  • Monastic orders are common to both, not common in other Abrahamic religions. But common to other Dharmic religions
  • Mysticism is part of both religions.
  • God's grace is necessary for salvation/ Liberation.
  • Chanting/ Singing devotionally. Not common to other Abrahamic religions. But common to other Dharmic religions
  • Fasting a spiritual action.
  • Importance to Non-violence.
  • Both stress on  mercy & compassion
  • Food is blessed in both the traditions before eating. "Sacred bread", Prasadam
  • There is Heaven/ Hell. Hindus believe they are only transitory, while it is kind of permanent in christianity.
  • Using Japamala/ Rosary beads for recitation
  • Manu saved world by building a ship, Noah did it in Christianity (borrowed from Judaism)
  • Prayer, Self-Control, Meditation, Non-stealing, charity among other

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