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Switch to Forum Live View Declaration of the Second Hindu- Jewish Leadership Summit: A fair representation of Hindu beliefs?
8 years ago  ::  Jul 28, 2010 - 4:35PM #1
Posts: 4

I have read claims that the Declaration of the Second Hindu- Jewish Leadership Summit is not a fair representation of Hindu beliefs. Some Hindus say that  Swami Dayananda portrayed one minority belief of Hinduism (vedantic Smartas ) in a way that would be easy for the Jewish Rabis to swallow. Having read the declaration I tend to agree.

The statement that I think distorts most Hindus beliefs is the second:

 It is recognized that the One Supreme Being, both in its formless and manifest aspects, has been worshipped by Hindus over the millennia. This does not mean that Hindus worship 'gods' and idols'. The Hindu relates to only the One Supreme Being when he/she prays to a particular manifestation.

This seems to be stretching the beliefs of the majority of Hindus, who are about 70% Vishnava and about 25% Saiva. The rest comprise of Shaktis, Smartas, and a few neo-Hindus. Vishnavas, Shaktis, and Saivas all believe in one supreme God, but also lesser spiritual beings "Devas". In a way this is like the abrahamic belief in God and angels, but the key difference is that most Hindus worship Devas as well as God. In fact God demanded that we start ceremonies by worshipping Ganesha. It is only true of Smartas, who account for only a small percentage of Hindus.

I am all for understanding between faiths, but if it is not based on a true representation of the beliefs it is not worth anything. I would hope that with a statement of a belief in one supreme God Jews would still be able to say that they had mutual understanding, without the problematic addition of "The Hindu relates to only the One Supreme Being when he/she prays to a particular manifestation."

Aum Shivaya


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8 years ago  ::  Jul 29, 2010 - 4:14AM #2
Posts: 786


two small corrs: Vishnava > Vaishnava, Shaktis > Shaktas

Various Vedic traditions have different understanding of God and devas.
Vaishnavas may also sometimes worship/revere Ganesha but they understand that he's not ultimately independent of the Lord. Sri Vaishnavas replace his worship by the worship of Vishvaksena.

Btw, 'gods' are also found in the Bible (Qumran text acc to John Allegro: The Dead Sea Scrolls, Penguin Books 1964). See ESV and CEV:

They're supposed to bow down to the Lord, so they're analogical to devas.

Septuagint translates them as 'angels' (Allegro) as seen in NLT:

Some (most) English editions completely skipped them...

Thus going back to the oldest manuscripts of the Bible would help in understanding among ancient traditions.

Hope this helps. Hare Krsna
Your servant, bh. Jan

dvaitaM bandhAya mokSAt prAk prApte bodhe manISayA
bhaktyarthaM kalpitam dvaitaM advaitAd api sundaram

"Duality is bondage before moksa and wisdom after realization. The duality accepted for the purpose of bhakti is sweeter than even non-duality." (from mangalacarana to Advaitasiddhi sara sangraha by Madhusudana Sarasvati, former advaitin)

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