by Jayaram V
This article is about the origin and development
of the concept of God in Hinduism in the context of the Vedas in
general and the Isa Upanishad in particular and whether the elements
of monotheism entered Hinduism indigenously through prevailing traditions
or through some external source such as Judaism or Christianity.
The author believes that the Vedic people were aware of a single
supreme universal God from the earlier days, but they did not mention
Him publicly nor made Him any offerings directly for valid
reasons such as His impersonal, transcendental and absolute nature.
There is one translation of the Isa Upanishad in circulation
author of which, one Mr.Ninan, put forward a speculative
theory that the Isa Upanishad was composed after its authors got
the idea of a supreme and universal God from elsewhere in the post
Christian era. He goes on to argue that the ancient Indians had
no concept of God or Parameswara prior to the Christian era and
that they worshipped only different devas or gods. In his opinion
the Indians got the idea of Parameswara or a supreme God from El
Elyon, meaning the most high, used by certain middle eastern ancient
traditions to denote God. In his translation he refers to Isa as
Jesus and tries to wiggle around some important concepts of Hinduism
mentioned in the Upanishad by carefully avoiding refrence to their
original meaning and giving them a new and rather distorted
Mr. Ninan has done a good job by translating the Upanishad with
a pro-Christian slant and acknowledging a scripture outside the
pale of Christianity as sacred and venerable, whatever may be his
motivation. From a Hindu perspective, there is nothing wrong with
calling Jesus as Isa. One can call God by any name. Name is just
a form, where as God is beyond all names and words. But the attitude
with which the author has attempted to justify his theory shows
his lack of familiarity with Hindu scriptures and his inability
to comprehend the philosophy contained in them. Before attempting
to translate the scripture, he should have followed the advice of
who urged the Christians about 200 years ago in the following words
to make use of the Hindu scriptures, as a part of their old Testament,
for their value in expressing some important aspects of Christianity.
"Christianity in India needs the Vedanta. We missionaries
have not realized this with half the clearness that we should. We
cannot move freely and joyfully in our own religion; because we
have not sufficient terms and modes of expression wherewith to express
the more immanental aspects of Christianity. A very useful step
would be the recognition of certain books and passages in the literature
of the Vedanta as constituting what might be called an Ethnic Old
Testament. The permission of ecclesiastical authorities would then
be asked for reading passages found in such a canon of Ethnic Old
Testament as divine service along with passages from New Testament
as alternatives to the Old Testament lessons"
Yes, if the church can accept the old testament of Judaism wholeheartedly
without reservations, why not the Upanishads of Hinduism, a religion
that has done no harm or disservice to Christ or his teachings and
the scriptures that bear allegiance to no particular religion or
prophet? It is important to note here that Hinduism is not a religion,
but a repository of sacred knowledge that can be used to reach God
through any religion or dogma or as a glue to cement one's faith.
It can fill in the gaps of any religious creed and remove its weaknesses.
If one can ignore the outer and ritual aspects of Hinduism as well
as the individual divinities and their outer forms, one can easily
incorporate into any religion the deeper philosophical and symbolic
aspects of Hinduism, such as the truths reflected in the Upanishads,
and its methods and techniques to transcend ourselves.
We have already seen how yoga can improve the lives of people,
independent of their religious and spiritual beliefs. Hindu philosophy
can do the same or perhaps even better. One does not have to believe
in Hindu divinities to follow its theosophical truths or practice
its methods. Hinduism offers a wide variety of choices to people
to practice their individual faith. This is the beauty and the charm
of Hinduism. Followers of other faiths should not have any quarrel
with Hinduism because Hinduism believes in the divinity of all beings
and the possibility of man ascending to the heights of God through
various means according to his or her faith. In this endeavor religion
is just a package, actually an illusion or delusion, because what
is true and permanent is neither religion nor our single-minded
attachment to it but the transcendental Self that is in all.
Mr.Ninan's contention that Indians got the idea of Parameswara
from the Semitic expression of El Elyon and then used that concept
in the composition of the Isa Upanishad is not tenable on many grounds.
In a manner, it is a sacrilege because the Vedas, including the
Upanishads, are divine revelations, not composed by man or human
intellect. They contain profound symbolism which is not comprehensible
even to the most knowledgeable among the students and scholars of
Hinduism, speaking about which Sri Aurobindo2
said, "Dayananda has given the clue to
the linguistic secret of the Rishis and reemphasized one central
idea of the Vedic religion, the idea of the One Being with the Devas
expressing in numerous names and forms the many-sidedness of His
Hinduism is a tradition that evolved out of many streams of thoughts,
all of which originated and developed in the Indian subcontinent.
Around the time the composition of the Vedas was completed, India
was the spiritual center of the world, where freedom of thought
flourished by the side of Brahmanical puritanism and caste rigidities.
Around 600 BCE, Indian society was a medley of conflicting thoughts
and ideas of glorious visionary idealism, passive anarchism, agnostic
skepticism and down to earth philosophies of materialism such as
that of the Carvakas or the Lokayatas. If there was an attempt on
the part of some to fathom the depth of their inner selves through
ascetic means and rigorous austerities, there was also the case
of some, who gave themselves up, with nihilistic resignation, to
the vagaries of fatalism that advocated an effortless and passive
submission to the elements of life and predetermined progression
of events. Elsewhere, in pastoral communities, if ordinary minds
remained content with the mechanical ritualism of their ancestors
as a way of life, extraordinary minds such as Yajnavalkya, Janaka,
Buddha and Mahavira trod new paths, breaking away from tradition,
in search of solutions to salvation and the problem of suffering.
It was a freedom of thought that sprung neither from the assurances
of constitutional guarantees nor from the enlightened self-interest
of truth seekers, but from an enquiry that rested upon the idealism
and curiosity of selfless souls who had passion for truth and attempted
to enquire into the enigma of life, beyond the limits of human
intelligence and sensory knowledge and translate their experiences
into meaningful human language.
Following are some of the points put forward by this author in
support of the argument that the concept of an absolute and eternal
Being as the source of all is an indigenous development in which
neither Christianity nor Judaism played any role either directly
or indirectly at any point of time in the history of Hinduism. The
ancient Indians were aware of the existence of an eternal and supreme
God whom they revered secretly for a very long time, before they
began mentioning Him publicly in sacrificial chants and daily utterances.
In proving this contention, we are not even going into the details
of Indus valley civilization and its supposed connection with the
Saraswathi civilization, believed to have flourished around 5000
BC. We are content to confine our discussion with the classical
descriptions of the Vedic religion as mentioned in many standard
books of Indian history with its starting point as 2500 BC or so.
1. The concept of a single universal God as the ruler of the
world or the worlds was known to the people of Egypt, Persia and
India long before Christ was born and also before Abraham of the
old Testament. We find traces of monotheism in some of the earliest
Rigvedic hymns. Dyaus the shining god of heaven and Prithvi the
earth goddess are "among the oldest of the vedic deities."3
Varuna, who is also mentioned in Zoroastrianism
and bears the epithet asura (ahura), was the "sovereign of
the universe and guardian of the moral law," or rta.
Some of the earliest Rigvedic hymns, such as the following, clearly
reflect the elements of monotheism developing in early Vedic religion.4.
"They call him Indra, Mitra, Varuna and Agni;
He is the heavenly bird Garutmat.
To what is One, the poets give many a name. They call it Agni, Yama,
In the hymn addressed to Hiranyagarbha (the cosmic golden germ),
we find the following expression:
"Who is our Father, our Creator, Maker,
Who every place doth know and every creature;
By whom alone the gods were given their names,
To Him all creatures go, to ask Him."
2. In the ancient world, Jesus was not the only person who was
recognized as the son of God. It was a common tradition in India,
Egypt and Persia to regard a king as God himself in human form or
a direct descendent of God and submission to him and his rule as
a mark of surrender to God. The son of a divine ruler was regarded
as the son of God and treated with utmost fear and respect by virtue
of his birth. This ensured smooth succession and continuity of the
political institutions upon earth. This practice should not be confused
with the Vedic beliefs. These were political ramification of religious
beliefs, the clever manipulation of human sentiment to bind people
to their states and monarchs in the absence of regular means of
communication such as radio. TV or newspapers of today.
3. Closely related with the concept of God in Vedic religion
was the concept of rta or natural order of things and events. Ancient
Indians believed that the regularity of events experienced in life,
in the form of recurring days and nights, months and seasons, aging
and death, movement of stars and planets, suggested the existence
of an invisible and intelligent controller or regulator who, with
his unassailable power, ensured their continuity and predictability
(niyati) of the world. They referred that power as the will of God
and believed that things moved out of fear and respect for Him.
3. As far back as 1500 BCE, the ancient Indians had the concept
of a single universal God whom they referred as Brahman, Iswara,
Hiranyagarbha, Hiranmayi-prajapati or simply as "That".
In the words of George Feuerstein5
"The nuclei of the oldest Upanishads -
Brahad-Aranyaka, Chandogya, Kaushitaki, Aitareya and Kena Upanishad
- appear to date back over three thousand years ago." The emergence
of Brahman as the single supreme God and Lord of manifest creation
happened with the internalization of Vedic rituals and externalization
of human form into cosmic form, as is evident in some passages of
the Upanishads like the Katha and the Kaushataki Upanishad. Mr.
Feuerstein further adds, "The idea that behind the reality
of multiple forms - our ever changing universe - there abides an
eternally unchanging single Being was communicated already in the
Rigvedic times. What was new was that the grand discovery transcended
the legacy of sacrificial ritualism."
Brahman was a mystery even to the gods. Then what of men! The
Kena Upanishad explains how the gods themselves were unaware of
the supreme Brahman till they came to know about Him from Uma Haimavati,
after a brief encounter with Him, in which they were utterly and
totally outsmarted by a mysterious Being. A miniscule knowledge
of Him made Indra leader of the heavens and Vayu and Agni as prominent
deities. This Upanishad supports the speculation that elements of
monotheism entered Hinduism through ascetic traditions such as Savisim.
4. Of the two hundred plus Upanishads known, about 12 or 14 are
considered the oldest and the most important. Of them Isa Upanishad
is one. If we have to go by the interpretation of Mr.Ninan that
Isa Upanishad was composed after the Christian era, then all the
oldest Upanishads, which speak about Brahman or an Universal Being,
and and most of the Samhitas and Brahmanas associated with them,
should have also been composed in the same time frame, which is
nearly 600 years after the Buddha and Mahavira and 300 years after
Kautilya, the author of Arthashastra and the coronoation of Chandragupta
Maurya, a contemporary of Alexander. This is an absurd claim because
it is not tenable on any grounds. The principal Upanishads were
composed long before the Christian era, at least by 700-800 BCE.
The age ascribed to them by most historians, usually falls between
1500 BCE and 800 BCE. Some Indian scholars stretch the date back
to 2000 BC or earlier.
5. Brahman is frequently referred in Upanishads in neutral gender
as "That", a concept that is alien to the Semitic religions,
which address God always as masculine. The oldest of the Upanishads,
the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, contains the famous saying (mahavakya), "Aham
Brahmasmi," meaning I am Brahman. Another important statement
in reference to Brahman is "tattvamasi," meaning you are
That. One of the verses in the Isa Upanishad contains the poignant
expression, "so'ham asmi, " meaning whatever is That,
That also I am . These are pure Indian expressions, found nowhere
else. In the old testament when Moses encounters God and asks Him
who He is, He replies, "I am I am." In both the testaments,
we do not find any humans expressing unity with God in such exalted
words, where as in the Upanishads we find them frequently and use
them as great truths (mahavakyas) for meditation.
6. The idea of a supreme universal Being as the Creator and Witness,
as immanent and transcendent, hidden in every aspect of creation
as the subject as well as object, in them and enveloping them, developed
in the Indian subcontinent indigenously. Through the spiritual and
ascetic paths of knowledge, the vision of such grandeur dawned upon
the consciousness of seers and sages, as they contemplated upon
the mysteries of human existence, looking inwardly for the truth
that was hidden within themselves. In deeper states of meditation,
they saw an image of themselves projected outwardly and universally
upon the visible and invisible reality of the gross and subtle worlds.
They saw the universal and infinite form of God as an extension
of their own form (tattvamasi), the space outside as a continuation
of the space within themselves (aham Brahmasmi) and the divinities
whom they worshipped in the rituals actually as residing in their
own bodies in subtle form, nourishing themselves through the good
deeds and sacrificial acts of humans.
They acknowledged His sacred and silent presence, calling Him
by different names and honoring His sanctity. But they were in no
hurry to reveal the profound secret to everyone indiscriminately
as their emphasis was not on preaching empty dogma but on duplicating
the experience in themselves and others through sustained spiritual
practice and arriving at Truth through personal experience.
So they kept the secret to themselves, revealing it only to a few
deserving aspirants. Since the Upanishads were taught in private,
in whispering tones, as the master and the disciples sat together
in a secluded palce, they were called the Upanishads, meaning sitting
nearby. Speaking of the singular manner in which the concept of
Supreme Being developed in India, Deussen 6
"Monotheism was attained in Egypt by a mechanical identification
of the various local gods, in Palestine by proscription of other
gods and violent persecution of their worshippers for the benefit
of their nation god Jehovah. In India they reached monism, though
not monotheism, on a more philosophical path seeing through the
veil of the manifold the unity which underlies it."
7. The concept of God found in the Upanishads is much grander,
more complex and essentially different than the descriptions of
God found in other religions. The Vedic religion was neither polytheistic
nor monotheistic but had elements of both. It is referred to as
henotheism or kathenotheism, characterized by belief in multiple
gods and each god standing out as the highest. The Brahman of Upanishads
is an impersonal God, who does not take sides, nor responds to the
calls of individuals because there is nothing outside of Him and
there is nothing other than Him. He is complete, fulfilled, self-absorbed
and immersed in Himself. He does not communicate with anyone, because
for communication you need an object and there is no object that
exists outside of Him. But He can be reached and experienced personally
as oneself. That job is left to His other manifestations, the lesser
divinities and personal Gods such as Vishnu and Siva who are worshipped
in their highest aspect as Brahman Himself. In Hinduism, the rule
of God extends far beyond the earth and heaven to innumerable worlds
of light and darkness and in multiple planes of granularity,
from the subtlest to the grossest. The descriptions of Brahman or
Universal Self in Hinduism is no different from those of the universe
found in the text books of quantum physics and modern astronomy,
except that one is spiritual and the other purely material. Speaking
of the Vedic vision of God, Max Mueller7
"In fact, the Vedic poets had arrived at a conception
of the godhead which was reached once more by some of the Christian
philosophers at Alexandria, but which even at present is beyond
the reach of many who call themselves Christians."
8. Isa Upanishad is one of the oldest of the Upanishads composed
prior to the Christian era. The Upanishad speaks of a universal
Lord "Isa" and reflects the growing influence of Vaishnavisim,
Saivism and the Bhakti (devotional) movement. Ancient Indians were
familiar with the word "isa" long before the Christian
era. The Upanishad does not recognize son of God but God Himself
as the omniscient and omnipresent ruler and dweller of not just
one world but of many moving worlds within the moving universe (jagatyam
jagat). Some of the concepts mentioned in it are antithetical to
the main teachings of Christianity, such as the concept of karma,
surrender to God, performance of obligatory duties, impermanence
of the life and things, detachment, departure of soul, right knowledge
and right actions, sunlit worlds (not just one heaven) and sunless
worlds (not just one hell) and cremation. Most importantly, some
of its verse are chanted during cremation ceremonies as the body
is consigned to flames. It advocates neither the blind worship of
God nor relentless preoccupation with the material rewards, but
a balanced approach in life towards God and personal duty,
towards the existential reality and the transcendental reality and
towards knowledge of God and the knowledge of life. It cautions
people not to choose knowledge (spiritual practice) at the expense
of ignorance (mundane life) or vice versa to avoid entering the
sunless worlds of utter darkness.
9. One of the verses (15) in the Upanishad is a prayer for the
departed soul's journey to the world of sun (surya or savitr),
where he is beseeched to grant the soul a passage to the sunlit
world, addressing him with different names, such as Pusan, meaning
nourisher, and prajapatya, meaning son of Prajapathi Brahma (Prajapati
is the father of Adityas, the solar deities of which the sun is
one). Aditi, the universal Mother and the mother of the devas, is
also their mother. According to Vedic beliefs, a departed soul travels
either to the world of Sun or the world of moon depending upon in
which part of the year the death occurred. Those who died during
the first half of the year (summer solastice) went along the northern
route to the sun and those who died in the second half of the year
(winter solastice) went along the southern route to the moon. They
were either consumed there by gods or returned to the earth, after
exhausting their karmas, to be reborn again. The Isa Upanishad reflects
the ancient beliefs of Vedic religion, before the concept karma
and rebirth took firm roots and the concept of souls travelling
to the ancestral world gave way to the more complex forms of after
life, cosmology and reward and retribution for the souls for their
actions upon earth. In no way this Upanishad refers either to Jesus
or the Biblical God of genesis.
10. The word Isa is a Sanskrit word, neither Semitic nor Aramic
nor Hittite nor Phoenician nor Persian. It is frequently used in
various religious expressions and rooted in Hindu tradition to denote
the power and status of divinities as well as men of position. Isa
means master or lord. It is used in such expressions as vagisa,
suresa and mahesa to denote royalty or lordship. Isa is an epithet
of Lord Siva. Etymologically, the "ī" in the "isa"
(pronounced as eesa) means desire or the cupid god Manmadha. "Sa"
means the destroyer or the weapon that destroys. In this sense Isa
means Lord Siva, who destroyed the cupid Manmadha when he tried
to tempt the meditating Siva to fall in love with Parvathi. There
are many derivative and associative words of Isa used frequently
in Hindu literature, mostly in a religious sense. Isana, a derivative
word, is an epithet of Lord Siva, Surya (the sun god) and also Lord
Vishnu. Isanya is the north eastern direction, which is ruled by
Isana or God Himself. It has special significance in Vastu sastra
and the construction of buildings and temples. Isita, meaning superiority
or greatness, is one of the eight siddhis or perfections of Lord
Siva. Isvara, another derivative word, means powerful, capable,
lord, ruler, husband, king and Siva. In classical yoga, Isvara means
individual soul and personal god. Goddess Durga is known as Isvari.
Isa-sakha is an epithet of Kubera. The sacred city of Varanasi is
known as Isanagari or the city of Lord Siva.
11. For the Hindus the Vedas are sacred and inviolable. They
constitute the sruti literature because they are only heard and
not manmade (apaurusheya), in contrast to the smriti literature,
which is believed to be a product of human intellect. Isa Upanishad
is an inseparable part of the Yajurveda. According to Hindu beliefs
the Vedas are inviolable because they constitute the standard truth
or the final authority (sabda pramana) in ascertaining correct knowledge.
Each word in the Veda is indisputable because it emanated from God
Himself directly. One can only chant it or use it but cannot argue
about its divinity or authority. To make an assumption that the
Isa Upanishad was composed with the help of borrowed concepts from
an unknown religion, amounts to doubting the sanctity of the Vedas
and their divine origin.
12. For more than 4000 years, the priestly families of the Hindu
socieity maintained the purity of the Vedas with utmost devotion
and dedication. It was not done under the fear of temporal authority
or the lure of money. It was done as a sacred responsibility, an
obligatory duty, for the preservation of dharma and as a service
to God, not by a few, but thousands of families, for generations.
As trustees of sacred knowledge, they assumed moral, personal, family
and religious responsibility to preserve them for the posterity,
often under testing circumstances and fear of death in the hands
of intolerant rulers. They did not allow any tampering of the scripture
for fear of polluting the rituals and attracting the displeasure
of the divinities. The Bible is a holy book. It is about God but
not from God. In contrast, the Vedas are divine revelations about
God and His creation. They are manifested at the beginning of each
time cycle (mahayuga) and withdrawn at the end of it. They are meant
for the welfare of men and to keep the worlds of beings and gods
in their respective spheres and let the dharma (divine law) and
rta or regularity follow its own course.
13. That the purity of the Vedas and other religious scriptures
were maintained in India since the earliest times has been confirmed
by the European scholars who studied them in the past. According
to A.L.Basham 8,
the European historians who collected the Vedas from different
places in India during 1780 were amazed to see that "the text
as transmitted in Kashmir was scarcely different from that transmitted
in Tamilnadu." This was over 4000 years after the early Vedic
hymns of the Rig-Veda were composed.
14. Anyone who is familiar with Indian religions knows that Hinduism
is the oldest living religion10
of the world. All the religions and religious
traditions that thrived in ancient India, including some atheistic
and agnostic schools, originated from India indigenously and shared
some basic concepts. Even the atheistic schools like the Carvakas
had something in common with the theistic schools in matters such
as the standards of objectivity (pramanas), nature of substances
(padarthas) and nomenclature of elements (bhutadi). There was no
widespread influence or knowledge of the Judeo-Christian religions
in the Indian subcontinent till the end of the Mughal period. They
had some knowledge of the Indo-Iranian religions such as Zoroastrianism,
but the relationship between the two was hardly cordial. Even if
we assume that some Christian missionaries travelled to India in
the early Christian era, their contribution and influence
on Indian society and their religious beliefs remained isolated
15. Finally, one can imagine the difficulties and obstacles involved
in the ancient world in accepting ideas that were alien to a native
people. through alterations to a religious scripture that was believed
to be inviolable, in a religion that had no centralized authority.
It is difficult to foresee it happening on a uniform scale, across
the length and breadth of the country, spanning thousands of miles,
involving countless individual priestly families of different hues
and languages, at a time when communication was not easy to establish,
and in a manner that would have allowed the alterations go unnoticed,
legitimate and permanent. For over 3000 years, India has an going
tradition of scholars writing commentaries on the prevailing texts
and debating the finer nuances of religious dogmas to settle differences
or clarify doubts. The religious groups of ancient India competed
for attention and membership through devotional and personal means
rather than wars and aggression. If they were familiar with the
concepts of Christianity they would have said so somewhere in their
Although the early Vedic people worshipped various divinities,
they knew that hidden behind all the divinities and encompassing
all the reality was a single universal Principle that controlled
the order and rhythm of the worlds and ensured their continuity.
They called it variously as That (tat), the One (akam), the ancient
(adi), the eternal (nityam) and Brahman. They did not mention Him
directly in the early hymns nor offered Him oblations directly for
valid reasons. Firstly Brahman was a secret. Even the gods could
not fathom Him nor Knew Him. So He was unmentionable in the public.
Secondly, He was an impersonal and absolute God who favored none,
desired nothing and was forever stable and detached. So the Vedic
priests who aimed to seek personal favors from the divinities through
rituals, saw no point in seeking His help. Thirdly, He was incommunicable
through the senses and the mind. The duality of the knower and the
known, the subject and the object, or the process of knowing did
not exist in Him. A gulf separated one aspect of Him for the other,
while He remained immersed in Himself, watching the movements (jagat)
He created within Himself (jagatyam) with dispassion. He was the
two birds in One; one watched, while the other enjoyed. The gulf
between the two sides of His reality could not be bridged except
through transcendental means. The Vedic priests therefore
choose not to offer Him any prayers directly, while they knew that
all the prayers reached Him ultimately through the divinities in
whom He existed. They confined their prayers to the lesser divinities
and left the task of seeking Brahman to those who were willing to
make the necessary sacrifices and reach out to Him spiritually through
austerities and penances.
It was only when the impersonal Brahman became personal in the
form of personal God, as the Vedic religion was now reaching out
to a wider audience in the Gangetic plains of northern India, we
see a definite shift in emphasis from the early Vedic deities such
as Indra, Agni and Varuna to newer gods with greater charm and personal
appeal such as Siva and Vishnu. It coincided with the development
of devotional theism (bhakti movement) and the emergence of strong
theistic movements such as Saivism, Vaishnavism and Shaktism. In
the Bhagavadgita we see this shift clearly and hear about it directly
from Lord Krishna who declares that although He is the unmanifest,
supreme and highest universal God who exists everywhere and in everything,
it is not difficult to communicate with Him and that He would respond
to the calls of His devotees promptly through His manifest form.
He also explains the difficulties in worshipping invisible and formless
Brahman in the following manner 9.
Difficult and full of suffering indeed is the path
Of those whose minds are fixed on the Unmanifest
For indeed most painful is the path of those
Whose goal is to reach the Unmanifest.
But those who are fully devoted to Me
Who surrender all actions to me,
Worship Me and meditate on Me
With unflinching devotion
I speedily rescue them from
the samsara that is bound by death
The Vedic scholars not only envisaged the universal supreme God
but speculated upon the origin of life and the manifestation
of the worlds. The creation hymn of the Rigveda is a supreme example
of the extent of maturity of thought prevailed in those times. Even
by the liberal and biased estimates of European historians, such
as Basham, the creation hymn was composed "no later than 900
BCE." It shows an "incredible sophistication" of
the "development of thought," presenting an "imaginative
picture of a universe evolving out of a primal condition that was
neither being nor nonbeing, neither the cosmos nor the chaos."
The long hymn which contains many fundamental concepts of Hinduism,
concludes in the following manner.
But, after all, who knows, and who can say
whence all it came, and how creation happened?
The gods themselves are latter than creation,
so who knows truly whence it has arisen?
Whence all the creation had its origin
He, whether He fashioned it or whether He did not,
He who surveys it all from highest heaven
He knows - or may be He does not know.
Contrast this with the creation theory proposed in the Genesis
and you will see the extent of difference between the two religions
in their disposition and approach to the concept of God.
Suggested Further Reading
1. Mr.R.Gordon Milburn,
the Indian Interpreter 1913. As quoted in the Principal Upanishads
by S. Radhakrishnan.
2.The Secret Of the Veda,
Chapter III, Modern Theories by Sri Aurobindo.
3. An Advanced History
of India, R.C.Majumdar, H.C.Raychaudhuri and Kalikinkar Datta, Chapter
III, The Early Vedic Age.
4. Ekam vipra bahudha
vadanti, agnim, yamam, matariswanam ahuh - Rigveda 1.164.46.
5. The Yoga Tradition,
Its History, Literature Philosophy and Practice by George Feuerstein,
6. Outlines of Indian
7. The Six Systems Of
Indian Philsophy by Max Mueller.
8. The Origins and Development
Of Classical Hinduism, by A. L. Basham.
9. The Bhagavadgita,
Chapter 12 verses 5 to 7.
10. The word religion
is used here and elsewhere for lack of proper expression. Hinduism
is not a religion in the western sense of the word. This fact is
well known to all who are familiar with it.