What is unique about Hinduism? How is it different from Christianity and Islam?

Someone asked me this question in the course of an interview.

Here is what I replied:

Oh, there is so much uniqueness that it is hard to put it briefly.

Sanatana Dharma is the original, complete knowledge about what is true

I consider Vedic knowledge or Sanatana Dharma as the original, most ancient and complete knowledge about what is true regarding us and the universe. It is called today inadequately ‘Hinduism’. An ‘ism’ usually means a fixed doctrine that must be believed, and Hinduism is the opposite of that. It allows the greatest freedom to connect with one’s essential Self, gives hints and methods, and does not go against one’s conscience. In contrast, Christianity and Islam put their doctrine above one’s individual conscience. This has led to great suffering for humanity.

Later belief systems are limitations or distortions

The religious belief systems, which came later in time, are either limitations or distortions. Offshoots of Hindu dharma, like Buddhism, are limitations of the vast ocean of knowledge, because they demand from the follower to identify with only one of the sages or one set of texts.

The Abrahamic religions are distortions because they demand not only belief in a Supreme Intelligence (in English called God), but also blind belief in wild claims about this God, which have no foundation in truth and actually are harmful for a harmonious living together.

Questions are encouraged

One more important difference: Hinduism encourages asking intelligent questions and using one’s intelligence to its fullest in the search for truth. Yet Christianity and Islam don’t want their followers to ask any questions or use their intelligence but want them to meekly accept what they are taught as ‘the one and only truth’. This truth was allegedly revealed to only one human being and it divides humanity into those who follow this particular person and those who don’t. Those who don’t are dehumanized as unbelievers or heathen. This blind belief is of course not good for a healthy mindset, and the consequence of such fabricated division can be seen in history and also in the present.

In Hinduism, it matters WHAT is said and whether it makes sense and not so much who said it. Yet in Christianity and Islam it only matters WHO said it. What the religious founder said must not be scrutinized but believed.

Unfortunately, a lot of knowledge got lost

Hinduism has incredible knowledge, even now, though a huge amount of it has been destroyed. Millions of texts were burned in Nalanda and Vikramshila by people who believed that only ONE book matters. Millions of Hindus were killed, many Brahmins among them, who were seen as the biggest enemy, as they had the knowledge in their heads. The former Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram, Sri Chandrashekharendra Saraswati, said that at the start of Kali Yuga, Veda Vyasa divided the four Vedas into over thousand Shakas, to make it easier for the Brahmins in Kali Yuga to memorize them. Only eight are still preserved in full. Only eight of over one thousand…. What painful loss.

Vedas were ‘seen’ or revealed

The insights of the Rishis were not ordinary. They shared what they had “seen” in cosmic awareness or in other words, the Vedas were revealed to them. This knowledge is said to be there right at the start of the universe. In contrast, Western historians claim that humans were primitive thousands of years ago. The great sages who handed down the Vedas were definitely more advanced, and I wished Indian historians had the courage to stand by their inherited knowledge.

Just one example that completely stuns me: how could the ancient Indians map the sky so absolutely detailed and correctly? How could they know the distance to the sun and the moon, or discern the planets of our solar system from stars? How could they know that the twin stars of Vashisht and Arundhati, hardly visible, move around each other? And even more astonishing, how could they develop astrology, know the qualities of the planets, their influence? It truly needed an intimate connection with the cosmic awareness. They must have experienced that the whole cosmos with its planets and stars is alive, is a manifestation of Purusha himself, and they could reach out to it or rather see it within the vast space in themselves.

By Maria Wirth

here is the link to the full interview

9 comments

  1. Dear Maria Wirth Your views about Hinduism as expressed here capture the true essence of Sanatan Dharma. My

  2. Jatin Shah · · Reply

    *I fully agree with your article*

  3. Hans Grob · · Reply

    ‘Christianity (and Islam) put their doctrine above one’s individual conscience. This has led to great suffering for humanity.’

    There is no unique doctrine, except of course about the existence of God and his incarnation in Jesus. But already the Christian concept of trinity is a break, and the role of Mother Mary and the many Holy persons in Catholicism is another disparity. Old and New Testament are as different as are dinosaurs and mammals.

    In Christianity, introspecting ones weaknesses and faults is of outmost importance. Therefore no non-conscience, although because the individual is considered free to chose and is responsible.

    It is always easier to count the drawbacks of any system than its virtues. You could state that medecine and nation building and industrialisation and science have each led to great suffering. Or Christianity itself, because it nearly alone has invented and developed these concepts,which made it predominant in the world, a hundred times more than their adversaries. Therefore, mostly only their faults are counted and not those of competing beliefs. Why not complain that the Chinese Communist Party has and will do great harm to the world?

    Hinduism has stayed nicely out of the focus of attention, at least recently after the abolishment of
    some strange habits.

  4. Hans Grob · · Reply

    ‘How could they know that the twin stars of Vashisht and Arundhati, hardly visible, move around each other? And even more astonishing, how could they develop astrology, know the qualities of the planets, their influence?’

    Nearly half of the stars in the sky are double or multiple. If you look closely at Mizar, the star in the middle of the Great Bear’s tail, you may detect that it has a tiny companion. This star, Alcor, was known to the ancients all over the world, and was sometimes used as a test for good vision. In any binoculars, Alcor can be plainly seen as a separate star.

    Astrology is not even a pseudo-science. If the Ancient had known ‘the qualities of the planets, their influence’, they would have about discovered the law of gravity. Never thought about the Hindu Newton?

  5. Chandresh Pancholi · · Reply

    Awesome. Very True. It was great reading your article but it’s too small

    1. too small? check others, there are over 100 articles on my blog….

  6. Hindus need to know the truth and it is not Hinduism.

    “Swami Dayananda Saraswati is certainly one of the most powerful personalities who has shaped modem India and is responsible for its moral regeneration and religious revival”. Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.
    http://vjsingh.info/books.html

  7. Islam doesn’t allow for blind faith, Islam provides evidence, and Muslims should study that and be certain of why they believe this religion.

  8. Your prime error here is lumping Christianity in with religions, when God has no religion, and you will not find the word ‘Religion’ in the Four Gospels. That means True Christianity is not a religion.

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