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Switch to Forum Live View Why Hinduism is not Global?
10 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2008 - 6:29AM #11
Posts: 786

thanks for a good question. Let me give a brief overview of Vedic history and some reasons why Vedic traditions are not currently global. By 'currently' I mean in last ~5000 years since before that time they were present more or less worldwide. This is understood from Vedic texts and archeological and ethnographical (legends and lore) research. At the same time it's not something Western scholars who monopolized Indic studies in past 200+ years are eager to inform public about. Background of Indology:

After the beginning of Kali yuga (the current age in the Puranic time scale) the Vedic culture began to degrade and was gradually dissolved and replaced by 'new' traditions. Actually they were more or less simplified versions of Vedic texts since the basics are always the same and differences are only due to time/place/circumstances.

Some of these traditions spread by pressure and violence. This is something completely foreign to Vedic mindset maintaining that one has to be ready to accept higher knowledge and that this acceptance has to be voluntary. Therefore those who think in the purview of ethnic/caste/bodily identity don't consider preaching to be a Vedic approach. This is not fully true since a famous maxim in Rigveda says 'krinvanto vishvam aryam' - make the whole world noble. Therefore later all great thinkers like Adi Shankara,Ramanuja, Madhva, or Shri Chaitanya were travelling around India and spreading their philosophies/teologies by preaching and converting others by their
spiritual influence and debate skills. Whoever was defeated in a debate was expected to surrender to the winner and to become his disciple. But there was no central spiritual, political or economical power to send missionaries abroad like in case of Christianity, Islam or Buddhism (Raja Ashoka).

> Hinduism on the other hand, did not spread into other countries except for the population of Indian origin living in those countries. (few exceptions may include Bali in Indonesia).

Yes, these Indians mostly consider their traditions to be their family heritage and this ethnic factor prevents them from spreading those traditions to others. They also tend to see their spiritual life as a private affair.

> Some reasons that come into my mind are:
a) Hinduism is difficult to comprehend by individuals that has no cultural back-ground of or in India.

This difficulty was even purposefully increased by Western scholars.

> b) Hinduism is not compatible with materialistic societies of the west

Depends which Vedic tradition we take into account. They're quite varied and some are more materialistic than others.

> c) To become a Hindu, you should follow caste system.

In a nutshell, the current caste system is a perversion of the original and natural varnashrama system where people belong to a varna as per their guna (qualities) and karma (work). Please check Wikipedia article on caste system.

> the concept of a "one true religion" is fallacious. God only looks at a person's heart.

Yes and therefore an internal purity (manifested in one's detachment from the material) is the basis of a true religion of the heart. Religion is really not a set of beliefs as most Westerners think but a relationship with God. It comes from Latin re-legare - to re-connect. There are just various competing ways how this relationship is understood and achieved. But it's obvious that there is no easy way to misuse such a
worldview for material profit which most people nowadays are after and which is used for propagating some traditions.

> So, according to Hinduism, belonging to a different faith does not result in ending up in hell?

No. It's not a matter of one's faith but of one's action (karma). We create our own future regardless of external labels.

> When we think of Hinduism, what comes to our minds are mystic rituals, Yoga, and caste system. Sorry if it sounds like stereotyping

What about many gods, idol worship, sacred cows, widow burning...? 8) It's the stereotype pushed by the monopoly of Western scholars, missionaries and media. The desired outcome is that people consider Vedic traditions primitive, stupid and evil so they accept what is pushed on them, globalistic materialism being the main ideology nowadays. Vedic dharma stands in its way so it's one of targets to be eliminated.
Situation in India clearly illustrates this. But there are a number of Vedic groups spreading Vedic dharma worldwide in their own ways: … anisations … o_Hinduism

Hope this helps. Hare Krishna

"This Krishna Consciousness is a science to understand what is the difference between a dead body and a living body". (A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada)

Your servant, bh. Jan
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 04, 2008 - 8:46AM #12
Posts: 5,799
Jm8 -

Thank you. That was interesting. :)
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 07, 2008 - 7:40AM #13
Posts: 85

Thanks for the detailed explanation and specially for the links provided.
I still could not find time to read them but I will check them definitely.

This is just a quick note to thank you for the reply.

Have a nice day

Born a Muslim; openly apostate since childhood because Allah gave me the ability to think for myself (@_@)
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 09, 2008 - 2:31PM #14
Posts: 46
Iam glad you asked that question on why Hinduism is not a global religion.
The answer to that is in the following which by no means is comprehensive but only a thumbnail at best.
1. Hinduism is not a Religion as is described or understood by the west (Christians/muslims etc).It is way of Life.The west gave it the name of a "religion".
2. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion.It is pluralistic. We bebelieve that a hindu can be a good hindu only if he lets others live and follow their faith as they please.
3."Hindus believe in "Vasudeva Kudumbakam"...all the world is one family.That is why they have NEVER attacked another country for nearly 2000 years.
4. Hinduism is built on pure faith (Shraddha) and tolerance(saburi). To a hindu spirituality is paramount .
5. Hinduism is not a "Global religion" because hindus did not wage Crusades/jihad in the name of God to spread the religion,nor are there any evangalists in hinduism.
6. The Spiritual heads of hinduism The "Shankaracharya" is prohibited by tradition from travelling overseas or outside india.
7. There is no concept of conversion therefore Hindus do not engage in adding memberships and increasing numbers by various means.
Hinduism is not a "Global religion"....because it is a "Spiritual religion"
I shall be happy to share more insights should you want to......
God Bless.
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 10, 2008 - 12:46AM #15
Posts: 3
Dear Thomas_R,
I am an ordinary person without the erudition of many of the forum members. But I like to try and understand as much as possible about various religions including Hinduism, Christianity and others. In doing so I found that what we call global can be interpreted in different ways...without going into semantics. I also found that "Hinduism" as we choose to call it , has undercurrents of universality which make it so easy to adapt, almost porus. So it becomes like a prism allowing the light of all religions to flow through it. Perhaps that explains why it mopped up elements of Buddhism and Jainism into it,  why the customs and rituals of "Hinduism" have been absorbed into the customs and rituals of other religions, why it is able to accept people of various disciplines into its mainstream, Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians, Buddists, Jains, and tribal religions,etc. The caste system is a social order that had been given religious sanctity at an early period when society was in its infancy and over the centuries it has become crystallised into its present ugly, socio-political face. Without being sanctimonious about the various oddities and angles which have crept into "Hinduism" as a result of political expedience,  I find a reading of original texts very revealing. I wish more Indians would go back to reading the original scriptures of ALL religions. They would find answers there which are not filtered through the minds of religious or political bigots  and which would explain the relevance and underlying Oneness of every single religion. Also, if you read any one of the so-called New Age Gurus of any denomination, you will find that they have borrowed heavily (overtly or otherwise) from various "Hindu" scriptures and thinkers like Adi Sankaracharya, Kabir, Sri Ramakrishna, Paramahansa Yogananda, Nisargadatta Maharaj, the Bhagavad Gita, etc alongside quotes from the Bible, Jalaluddin Rumi, the Buddha, Mother Teresa..... Could anything be more "global" than that? At a time when we should be focusing on similarities, we spend so much time and effort on proving the dissimilarities. Is it necessary?
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 11, 2008 - 2:04PM #16
Posts: 46
Dear Devika,
Your message is quite succinct and true....Cristianity has borrowed heavily from Hinduism,specially from the story of Lord Krishna (whose physical existance at Dwarka has been proved beyond doubt by modern science.
Example : The nativity story in the bible (genesis)is virtually a copy of Lord Krishna's birth.
Another example:Noah's ark story in the bible(genesis) is that of the Matsya Avatar (one of the das Avatar of Lord Vishnu).
Infact there is a small but increasing consensus amongst thinkers that today's "Cristians" were actually followers of Lord Krishna,but over time the story got transformed and "Krishna" became "Christ"...

May Peace be to All.....Hare Krishna
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2008 - 2:34AM #17
Posts: 3
[QUOTE=Dwarkamai;949980]Dear Devika,
Your message is quite succinct and true....Cristianity has borrowed heavily from Hinduism,specially from the story of Lord Krishna (whose physical existance at Dwarka has been proved beyond doubt by modern science.
Example : The nativity story in the bible (genesis)is virtually a copy of Lord Krishna's birth.
Another example:Noah's ark story in the bible(genesis) is that of the Matsya Avatar (one of the das Avatar of Lord Vishnu).
Infact there is a small but increasing consensus amongst thinkers that today's "Cristians" were actually followers of Lord Krishna,but over time the story got transformed and "Krishna" became "Christ"...

May Peace be to All.....Hare Krishna[/QUOTE]

Dear Dwarkamai,
From the contents and your name I presume you to are devoted to Sri Saibaba of Shirdi.  Noone can follow him without being aware of the Uni-verse: One Song, of all religions and cultures. The religion after all is only the skin on the surface..... The truth lies below and has to be searched and found within each of us and not dictated by the authority figures who claim a hotline to God!!!!
Baba's blessings
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2008 - 9:47PM #18
Posts: 50
Oneness signifies unity.  Other-than-oneness signifies other than unity.   Oneness, …unity, union, communion,… is the ultimate goal, at least for those who abhor disunity, which, with rare and inhuman exception, naturally includes everyone.   It is our nature to strive toward the One, even if the one is a mere bottle of wine.   Thus, throughout the world, the current manifestations of monotheism are easily promulgated.   The basic idea is easily received, easily acceptable.   It is only over the formal specifics. …the specific formalities of belief,… that these unitive religions inevitably descend into disunity.   Nevertheless, in their focus on form over substance, they erroneously construe Hinduism, with its countless plurality of goddesses and gods, as a polytheistic manifestation reminiscent of the heathen, …of those to be shunned by all monotheists who are good enough and smart enough to be aspiring toward the eternal singularity of Heaven.   And, in concert with its belief in the necessity of the One, the monotheistic West, thinking itself superior therefore, has conditioned itself into believing that Hinduism is necessarily inferior.   It is a sin to be a Hindu and much more of a sin to become one, or so it is tacitly, sometimes even audibly, taught.  Yet what most Westerners fail to understand is that, at its heart, Hinduism is a monotheistic religion.   Its deities are simply the particular expressions of the universal Brahma, out of whose mind all that was and is and shall be is created.   In this sense, we have all emanated from the mind of the supreme creator itself.   It is as if He (or It) has thought us into existence.   And the endeavor to establish, or re-establish, our realization of this truth is thru a psycho-physical regimen known as ‘union’, which in the Sanskrit is more commonly known as ‘Yoga’.
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 14, 2008 - 11:49PM #19
Posts: 52

here are some of my humble thoughts. 

i think it's important to first realize that at one time hinduism was the prevalent religion for a good chunk of the world from iran to india to sri lanka, nepal, western china, parts of japan, thailand, indonesia, cambodhia, vietnam, malaysia, and other parts of south east asia.  thanks to british slave trade there are now large hindu communities in fiji, trinidad, guyana, jamaica, and south africa.  so there have has been a long history of hinduism reaching beyond the subcontinent. 

the question may then be, well why does it seem to be contained to only the indian communities.  this isn't entirely true.  in the u.s. for example it is estimated that nearly 50 percent of all hindus in the country are not of indian decent. 

i think though there are some key reasons why you don't see hinduism go out an grab converts like islam and christianity.

1. unlike those two traditions there is no directive for us to go out and convert others (this directive also exist in buddhism) 

2. i think also some people who may be interested in hinduism get discouraged because they have this idea that hinduism is only for indians and you can't convert into it.

3. people think you have to accept the caste system or you have to be born into a caste to be hindu.  neither of which are true. 

4. hinduism is a way of life and not just something you do on sundays or christmas.  it reshapes one's entire lifestyle from dietary habits to use of alcohol and gambling. 

5. people in the west tend to have many other misconceptions about hinduism and are taught incorrectly about the religion's tenets in school. 

Hari Om!
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10 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2008 - 5:48AM #20
Posts: 1
Hi Sir.  You have an Interesting question.
I just Noticed, that you pointed -out, that -'the -West', is -too -'Materialistic', for 'Hinduism', then you mentioned; 'the Caste System', which as far as I under-stand, is based on 'Class' ('Material Possessions' etc.).  (But however; I have heard, that it is based on -Faith or 'Spirituality').

In actual fact; 'Christendom' ('Christianity'), is very -'Anti -Capitalist-ic' and many people, say that -India, is more 'Capitalist-ic' (it is after ALL ,'the 3rd Fastest growing Nation, in terms of Economic Activity/Development'), than 'the West', or that 'Asians', 're (debatably??) more -'greedy', 'Materialistic' or 'Capitalist-ic', then 'White people'??

I have seen many -'White -Hari -Krishnas'.

Also -maybe; it is 'the Fear -Factor'.   If I don't believe in -'Hinduism'; I have another chance, or even 10, 20 or whatever but; in 'Christendom', I 'go to hell', or @ least; 'Purgery'; so it is 'debatable'; whether people, actually -'believe -in -Christianity', because they 'Enjoy'; the Religion, or 'just -in -case', or out of fear....

'Good -WIll to ALL'....Love -Mike.
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