Are Hinduism and Spiritualism the same concept


The Hinduism (Sanskrit: हिन्दू धर्म hindū dharma m.; सनातन धर्म sanātana dharma m.) forms the third largest religious community on earth and has more than 1.1 billion followers who are called Hindu. The oldest scriptures are the Vedas (skt. "Knowledge") and the most popular book is the Bhagavadgita.

Om is an important symbol in Hinduism

Hinduism is extremely inconsistent and ranges from polytheistic idol worship to monotheistic philosophy. That is why he does not know any general creed, such as Christianity or Islam. An important statement of Hinduism is that every person has his own religion, which is why there are as many religions as people. The different schools usually live peacefully next to each other and also celebrate together, despite the sometimes quite different world views.

Buddhism, Jinism and Sikhism developed from Hinduism and today Hinduism is a popular "treasure trove" for all kinds of esoteric currents.

Directions in Hinduism

The main traditional directions of Hinduism are called Smarta, Vaishnava, Shaiva, Shakta and Saura. It should be noted that each direction forms several currents, which in turn are divided into various sects. As usual in Hinduism, the boundaries are fluid and currents can mix.

  • Smarta ("Traditionalists") refer to the Vedas and worship the "five household gods" (pañcayatana): Vishnu, Shiva, Devi, Ganesha and Surya. This direction was decisively shaped by the Indian philosopher Shankara (788-820).
  • Vaishnava ("Vishnu worshipers") mostly regard Vishnu as an all-one god, to whom other deities are subordinate. An important direction of Vishnuism are the Krishna worshipers who have found many followers with the sect of the "Hare-Krishna" in the West, according to George Harrison of the Beatles. The Vishnuits have a strong tendency towards monotheism, whereby the soul tries to merge into God.
  • Shaiva ("Shiva worshipers") consider Shiva and his family to be the highest deity. Shaivism is sometimes very critical of the Vedas. There are two main directions, popular Shivaism, which is widespread among the common people, and the second direction is ascetic Shivaism, consisting of several ascetic groups, including the Nathyogins, from whom Hatha Yoga has been strongly influenced.
  • Shakta ("Shakti worshipers") worship the Shakti as the highest divine energy. Shaktism is closely linked to Shaivism and Tantrism. Since the Shakti is the symbol of the "Great Goddess", women of this orientation are less subject to a purely male view of the world.
  • Saura ("Surya worshipers") worship the sun god Surya. This direction was widespread in northern India in the Middle Ages, but it hardly plays a role today.

Deities in Hinduism

The sun god Surya. Relief on a temple wall in Bhuvaneshvar in Orissa

In the philosophical-theological system of Hinduism, the absolute divine principle is at the top and at the beginning, sometimes brahman named. It has no attributes, but it still has sat-cid-ananda ("Being-Consciousness-Bliss") circumscribed. It is timeless and permeates everything. It can also be described as "world soul" or "higher self of God". It cannot be understood intellectually, but is only experienced through mystical vision. Since this is only given to a few, the Divine Principle personalizes itself in the Ishvara ("Lord") or Bhagavan ("Sublime One"). This cannot be conceived materially or even captured in an image. He can be a father, mother, lover or friend and has a personal relationship with the admirer.

In the next lower level, the divine manifests itself in the Trimurti ("threefold"), with the three gods Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Depending on the direction, one of the gods is considered to be superior to the other, with Brahma only having two temples in all of India, one of which is in Pushkar. All three have families with wives and children. In addition to the three main gods and their followers, other deities are worshiped, such as the thunder god and king of the gods Indra or the sun god Surya.

If a god is incarnated on earth, one speaks of an avatar. The best known are the ten avatars of Vishnu, including the Indian national hero Rama and Krishna, "God in person", and the Buddha is also one of Vishnu's avatars.

The feminine principle is represented by Devi ("goddess"), who manifests in various forms, such as the good-natured Parvati or the terrible black Kali.

The cosmos is also populated by spirits and demons of all kinds, animals, people and their ancestors, as well as plants.

Salvation Doctrine of Hinduism


In contrast to the Mosaic religions, the Hindu believes in rebirth. Through action, every being causes new actions or karma, which in the end falls back on the causer; good deeds lead to good karma, bad deeds lead to bad, and there are also neutral actions. These actions can be physical or mental: whoever thinks badly of others is also badly thought about. This karma sticks to the soul and thus works beyond death and causes new births. The cycle of life and death is called samsara. If a person begins to develop little karma through spiritual development, he can use up old karma or burn it through asceticism and at the end he gains liberation (moksha) from samsara and unites with "brahman" or "paratman", the world soul. The duties that a person receives because of his karma at birth must be obeyed like a law (dharma). In the Bhagavadgita, changing bodies is compared to changing clothes. The state of salvation is with the words neti neti “Not like that, not like that” and means that the state simply cannot be described.

This doctrine that bad deeds fall back on the perpetrator even after death has led to the fact that non-violence is enormously important in India and is also practiced, e.g. by not eating meat. In India, therefore, the proportion of vegetarians is 20-30% higher than in any other country.


Yoga (to skt. yuj- "to bind, to yoke") means either to bind the body to the soul or the soul to God and is thus compared to the word religion (from Latin re-ligere "to reconnect"). Depending on the disposition of the individual there are different ways to approach the divine and to achieve salvation. Of course, the different routes can be combined and each school also gives different instructions for a specific route.

  • the Bhakti Yoga is the way of devotion and is often considered the easiest way. It is particularly suitable for soulful people.
  • the Jnana Yoga is the path of scripture study as well as self-contemplation. It is suitable for intellectual natures.
  • the Karma yoga is the way of selfless action and suitable for energetic people.
  • the Kriya Yoga is the way of practicing cult and requires that the rituals be carried out precisely. Kriya Yoga and Karma Yoga are often confused.
  • the Hatha yoga serves to cleanse the body and is considered a preparation for Raja Yoga.
  • the Raja Yoga or king yoga is the path of mind control and can only be followed by advanced yogins.
  • the Kundalini Yoga is a tantric way of the inner life and snake power.

Characteristic features of Hinduism - a revealed religion

Hinduism is the religion of the Hindus and a name for the universal religion prevalent in India. It is the oldest of all living religions. It was not founded by any prophet. Buddhism, Christianity and Islam come from the prophets. You have fixed original data. No such date of origin can be established for Hinduism. Hinduism does not spring from the teachings of certain prophets. It is not based on specific dogmas preached by specific teachers. It is devoid of religious fanaticism. Hinduism is also known by the names of Sanatana Dharma and Vaidika Dharma. Sanatana Dharma means "eternal religion". Hinduism is as old as the world. Hinduism is the mother of all religions. Hindu scriptures are the oldest in the world, Sanatana-Dharma is called not only because it is eternal, but also because it is protected by God and because it makes us eternal. Vaidika-Dharma means "the religion of the Vedas". The Vedas are the basic scriptures of Hinduism. The ancient Rhisis and Sages of India expressed their intuitive spiritual experiences (Aparoksha-Anubhuti) in the Upanishads. These experiences are direct and infallible. Hinduism regards the spiritual experiences of the Rishis of yore as its authority. The priceless truths discovered by the Hindu rishis and sages over millennia constitute the glory of Hinduism. Hence, Hinduism is a revealed religion.

A religion of freedom

Unlike other religions, Hinduism does not dogmatically claim that final liberation is only possible with its own and no other means. It is only a way to the end, and all ways that lead to that end are also advocated. Hinduism allows absolute freedom to the rational mind of man. Hinduism never imposes any undue restrictions on the freedom of the human mind, thoughts, feelings, and will of people. It allows the greatest freedom in terms of belief and worship. Hinduism is a religion of freedom. It allows the human heart and mind absolute freedom with regard to the nature of God, the soul, the creation, the type of worship and the goal of life. Hinduism does not consist in the acceptance of a certain doctrine, nor in the observance of certain rituals or forms of worship. Nobody is compelled to do anything like that or to accept certain dogmas. It allows everyone to reflect, research, question and reflect. Therefore all kinds of religious beliefs, different kinds of worship or sadhana, and various rituals and customs in Hinduism have found their honorable place side by side, and are cultivated and developed in harmonious relationship with one another.

In Hinduism, those who negate God as the creator and ruler of the world, who do not accept the existence of an eternal soul and the state of moksha or liberation, are not condemned. Hinduism does not regard those who hold such views as unfit to be pious and honorable members of Hindu religious society. The religious hospitality of Hinduism is proverbial. Hinduism is extremely tolerant and liberal. This is the fundamental quality of this religion. He respects all religions. He does not disdain any other religion. He accepts and honors the truth wherever it comes from and in whatever guise it may appear.

There are a lot of other religions in India. Yet the Hindus live in perfect harmony, peace and friendship with all of them. Your tolerance and the feeling of friendship for the followers of other religions is remarkable.

Despite all the differences in metaphysical beliefs, types of religious discipline, and forms of ritual practices and social customs that prevail in Hindu society, there is an essential unity in the conception of religion and in the view of life and the world among all Hindus .

History of Hinduism

A sadhu in front of a Shiva statue on the Ganges

Industrial culture 3000 to 1400 BC

Before Indo-European tribes immigrated to the Indus valley via the Hindu Kush, a highly developed urban culture, the Indus culture, formed on the lower Indus and its tributaries. This is characterized by exceptional stability and continuity. She was familiar with a script that has not yet been deciphered, which is why research relies on the image material. From this it can be seen that there were religious ideas in this culture that were later incorporated into Hinduism. In yoga circles it is generally assumed that various seals and statuettes already depict yoga asanas.

Vedism 1500 to 500 BC

Hinduism has its roots in the time when Indo-European tribes immigrated to India and subjugated the ancient indigenous population. The new conquerors brought their old, original religious views with them and passed them on orally. Later these teachings were written down in the four Vedas. The oldest Veda is the Rigveda, which is still so ancient that it hardly shows any foreign influences. It is a collection of hymns to the Vedic gods. The Samaveda and Yajurveda are instructions for right sacrifice, while the Atharvaveda goes more into the magical. The age of the Vedas is disputed. Western research assumes that the oldest parts of the Rig Veda date to around 1200 BC, while devout Hindus say that the Vedas were proclaimed around 5000 years ago at the beginning of what is now Kaliyuga.

The Vedic religion is still archaic and knew neither images of gods nor temples. Fire was extremely important and innumerable hymns are dedicated to the fire god Agni, but most of them are addressed to the thunder god Indra. Other important gods are Mitra, Varuna and Soma. Incidentally, the oldest written evidence of Hinduism comes from Mesopotamia. In a treaty from 1330 BC. of a King of Mitanni are among other four god names, namely "mi-it-ra-aš-ši-il, ú-ru-ua-na-aš-ši-il, in-da-ra, na-ša-at-ti-ia-an-na"; these are Mitra, Varuna, Indra and the two Nasatya, all of which play an important role in the Vedas.

Around 800 BC. Philosophical tendencies begin to make themselves felt and mystical speculations were written down in the Upanishads. They cover important topics such as rebirth, karma, and salvation. In these Upanishads a clear development and shaping of philosophical thoughts can be observed. As a religious-philosophical literary genre, the Upanishads were written until the 16th century. The more recent Upanishads also include the Yogopanishads, which have yoga as their theme.

Ascetic reformism 500-200 BC

From the 6th century B.C. a displeasure against the strong dominance of the priestly caste, the Brahmins, became noticeable, which also turned against the "blind" ritualism, some of which have become purely technical processes. Many new directions emerged from which Buddhism and Jainism were able to establish themselves, two religions which denied the cult of gods and which also defused the caste system. As a holy language, Sanskrit has been replaced by Pali or Ardhamagadhi. From this time on one can also speak of actual Hinduism.

Classical Hinduism 200 BC - 1100 AD

The Mahabharata ("Greater India"; approx. 600 BC), the Indian national epic, already shows the typical form of modern Hinduism and is still considered a model for many Indians. The most important part of the epic is the Bhagavadgita, in which Krishna proclaims his teaching Arjuna. It is the most widely read Hindu script. Almost all important philosophers such as Sri Aurobindo or politicians such as Mahatma Gandhi have treated and commented on the text in detail.

In contrast to Vedism, Hinduism is characterized by magnificent sacred buildings and lively images of gods, which can vary locally. In the course of history, Hinduism split in several directions. In the process, high-quality philosophies and schools have emerged that deal with being human and the divine.

Cult Hinduism 1100 - 1850

With the subjugation of large parts of India to Muslim rulers, Hinduism began to split in many directions. Most Muslim rulers left the Hindus in their worship, but there were also rulers who violently cracked down on Hindusism. On the other hand, the Muslim rulers took particularly hard action against the Buddhist monks as God-deniers, so that this religion from the 14th century onwards. disappeared in its country of origin India.

Muslim scholars, like al-Biruni, were the first to describe Hinduism in more detail so that some cross-fertilization could take place. From the mixture of Islam and Hinduism, Guru Nanak (1469-1539) formed Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that is most widespread in the Indian state of Panjab. The Indian mystic Kabir (1440-1518) also combined Muslim and Hindu ideas in his religious poems.

Neohinduism from 1850

With the rise of the Indian national feeling in the 19th century was newly reflected on Hinduism. Widow burning and other customs considered barbaric by the European colonial rulers were now also questioned by educated and influential devout Hindus. In addition, the writings that had hitherto been kept secret by the Brahmins and scholars were made accessible to interested Europeans and translated into European languages, above all the Bhagavadgita.In this way, paradoxically, these writings were made accessible to a much broader section of the population in India, thereby defusing the sharp contrasts between highly educated philosophy and superstitious popular beliefs.

The first reformer was Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833), a highly educated Bengali. He turned against widow burning, the caste system and the cult of images and in 1828 founded the Brahmo Samaj ("Society of Seekers of God"). He strove for a reformation of Hinduism, whereby he was also based on Christianity. This religious association included well-known Benaglian scholars, including the philosopher Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941).

On the other hand, Mulshankar or Dayananda Sarasvati (1824-1883), who founded the Arya Samaj ("Association of the Noble") in 1875, took a conservative line. He also fought widow burning, the cult of images, social grievances and empty ritualism and also campaigned for the education of the people and admitted people from lower castes after a cleansing ritual. But his negative attitude towards Christianity and Islam repeatedly led to undesirable tensions.

Saint Ramakrishna (1836-1886) exemplified a tolerant attitude. His student Vivekananda (1863-1902) founded the Ramakrishna Mission. He advocated worldwide tolerance of all religions in America and Europe and also found many followers in the West. The theosophical society, which was founded in New York in 1875, combined Christian, Buddhist and Hindu ideas and also found supporters in India.

The politician Mohandas Karamcand Gandhi (1869-1948), the philosopher Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1947), the mystic philosopher Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950), the saints Yogananda (1893-1952) and Ramana Maharshi ( 1879-1950) and YogiSivananda (1907-1963).


With the opening of the West to Hinduism and acceptance of it as an alternative religion, another form began to develop, Guruism. With the aim of bringing Hinduism to the West, charismatic people created modern world views adapted to Western thinking and gathered countless people around them who they revered as authorities or gurus.

Prabhupada (1896-1977), a Bengali, founded the ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), a rather conservative Hinduism that found many followers in the West, but also in India. This grouping is better known as "Hare Krishna". Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), who was often controversial in the Western media, also lived in the USA and found many followers there. But Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) (1931-1990) made the biggest headlines. Its center in Puna, India developed into a real hippie center in the 1970s. Osho pleaded for liberated emotions in the spirit of the 1968s. Today, Sathya Sai Baba (* 1928) in particular finds many followers in the West.

Another historical approach from Hinduism

The history of Hinduism shows clearly definable changes in the age of the Dravids, in the age of the Aryans, in the period of the boom in Brahmanism, in the epoch of Bhakti, the influence of Islam and the modern age. Hinduism as a religion is rather skeptical as it has made many attempts and has questioned most of them. It is the most widely believed religion as it has the deepest experience and the most diverse and positive spiritual knowledge. Hinduism is a law of life that mirrors the spirit of past and future social development, which insists on trying and experiencing everything.

Influence of the Dravids

The Dravids influenced Hinduism. It is evident that the masses and the elite, especially in the south, had also been influenced by them. It is believed that the Dravids were polytheists, they worshiped a variety of gods. They also worshiped various types of animals with horns, so cow worship can be traced back to them. The Dravids also worshiped Shiva and Parvati. Many elements of tantra can be ascribed to the Dravidian culture.

Many of the Indian ceremonies date back to the earliest Dravid culture. The Dravids laid the philosophical basis of Bhakti as proclaimed by Ramanuja, Madhava and Nimbarka, as well as yogic ideas behind Shiva, mystical and symbolic ideas behind Hari-Hara, Dattatreya and Ardha-Narishvara. The worship of statues of gods in temples in the south of the country is also a result of the Dravidian culture. The religious architecture is largely due to the Dravids.

Influence of the Aryans

The other major force that affected Hinduism was the Vedic religion of the Aryans. The basis of Hindu culture and philosophy was laid by the Aryans. The "VarnashramaDharma", the caste system, the religious literature and the religious and social ceremonies were handed down to the Indian culture by the Aryans. The idea of ​​spirituality is a gift from the Aryans. Most of the gods and goddesses are derived from the deities worshiped by the Aryans. The concept of the one God and positive ideas about the creation of the world and mankind were provided by them.

Influence of various historical texts

The Upanishads reinterpreted the Vedas and provided an intellectual explanation for God, the universe, and the soul, and then came to the explanation of meditation and yoga. The philosophical basis of Hinduism is the result of this age. The Gita attempted a synthesis of the philosophies and ideas on Bhakti and various yoga paths such as Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Karma Yoga. The Bhagavad Gita introduced the concept of incarnation. In the age of Hinduism of the Puranas, the worship of Vishnu, Rama, Krishna and Shiva began. During this time, the religious leadership passed to the Brahmins, and the ideas of untouchability, rigidity in the caste system and prohibition of mixed marriages were implemented.

Influence of Jainism and Buddhism

Jainism and Buddhism taught non-violence, insisted on morality and a certain tendency of the mind to simplicity. Buddhism and Jainism had to give way to widespread Hinduism, which revived the ideas of bhakti and incarnations of God.

Influence of Bhakti and Islam

Next, the age of bhakti and the establishment of the Islamic iconoclasm had a profound impact on the religion. Bhakti has two branches, Shaivism and Vaishnavism. Shaivism worships Shiva, while Vaishnavism worships Vishnu or his incarnatines like Rama and Krishna. Monotheistic ideas in Hinduism are the contribution of Islam. The devotion for Kabir, Guru Nanak and Chaitanya is based on this idea. The caste system became watertight, women were given to Purdah, and child marriages were approved.

Spiritual leaders like Ramakrishna Paramhansa, Swami Vivekananda and Dayananda have renewed Hinduism. The caste system was condemned. Women were free and educated. Untouchability was no longer welcome either. Child marriages did not fit national interests. The religion of Hinduism had to undergo another transformation.

The essence of Hinduism is spirituality. That means becoming aware of the inner reality of the mind. A god is omnipresent and development took place with awareness. Yoga, in the meaning of oneness with God, is the knowledge of the goal of spirituality. Various yoga practices came from the sages of the Hindus, e.g. karma, bhakti, jnana yoga, the paths, hatha yoga, yoga in tantra and other forms. The holistic yoga of Sri Aurobindo Ghose combines the best elements of the mentioned practices and at the same time contains new elements of Sri Aurobindo.

Finally, it can be summarized that Hinduism is a repetition of the past and a revival of the best of parts. There are three elements in every life: the mind, the constant soul, and the changeable body. The body of Hinduism does not need any change. However, the social customs and many religious ceremonies or superstitions should be erased before the religion of Hinduism can function as a benevolent and stimulating force.

Hinduism - monotheism and polytheism united

Article by Swami Chidananda

Hinduism is the oldest of all major religions alive today in the world. The origin of Hinduism lies hidden in the long past, long before the time when history began. Hinduism has as its foundation and source the timeless spiritual vision and revealed knowledge of the sacred Vedas and the sublime teachings and deep wisdom of the Saiva Siddhanta from the ancient Dravid tradition.

Just as the sacred rivers Ganga (Ganges) and Yamuna join in the sacred estuary at Prayaga (Allahabad, Utthar Pradesh, India) and together form one of the most powerful and longest rivers in all of India, so our ancient cultures have relatives of the earlier Aryan and Dravidian peoples with their noble philosophy and beautiful tradition united and woven together the fabric of this great living faith, followed by millions of Hindus with different creeds. They are united in their common belief in a supreme omnipotent being, the highest universal spirit and their common ideal that Dharma rules earthly life.

The great philosophy of the Hindus declares that God is one. God is the ultimate divine reality. The ancient sages of Hinduism clearly stated, "Reality is One, the sage refers to it in different ways (through different terms)." There is the meaningful statement, "Ekam sat, vipraha bahudha vadanti." They declared this truth when they discovered it spiritually through direct personal experience bestowed by divine grace. Hence, a true follower of Hinduism knows and therefore firmly believes that Divine Reality or God is one and not dual. Although Hinduism is mistakenly viewed by many as a religion with many gods, namely polytheism, the truth is that Hinduism is a monotheistic religion. It is a religion that long before any other religion appeared in the world, it discovered that there is only ONE GOD. Later, our spiritual ancestors, the sages of God experience and enlightened point of view, also gained the knowledge that the various religions of man lead on very many ways and paths to the one God who stands behind and beyond all religions, including Hinduism. The highest almighty being (God) does not belong to any religion. Because God himself existed before this universe, and mankind was created before any religion existed. All religions belong to God. For He is both the source and the destination of all religions in existence.

Wise Hindus who properly understand their religion will hold fast to this fundamental truth of Hinduism that God is one and not dual. You can call this supreme being Paramatman, Parama Sivam, Param Pita, or Para Brahman. No matter how you were taught to call Him in your childhood, the God worshiped in Hinduism is one and the same. It is the same universal spirit that the Shaivites, Vaishnavites, Shaktas, Muruga Bhaktas, Vedantines, Arya Samajists, Vinayaka devotees etc. all worship. This one supreme being alone is the one God of all Hindu society around the world. What is even more wonderful is that the wise Hindus and spiritual masters who have realized God have realized that even the various other religions besides Hinduism are all devotees of one and the same God, the Creator of innumerable universes and the Father of all humanity is. This is the glory of Hinduism, which discovered and declared the oneness of God or the ultimate universal spirit.

He can be given different names. But the being addressed is one and the same. The different religions can be viewed as different paths for different people, which ultimately all lead to the one universal divine spirit or God. Here our young readers might ask, "Then who are all these different deities to whom our ancestors worshiped? For example Vinayaka, Muruga, Hanuman, Mariyamma, Kali, Vishnu, Shiva, Parvati, Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Ayyappa, Dattatreya, Rama, Krishna etc. Also, why are there so many different temples with these different deities? We are confused about what connection there is to these deities, we don't understand who they are and why so many when Swamiji writes that there is only one God. "

These are reasonable questions and it is understandable that young people are confused on this point. I will explain to you what this situation means and also why it arose and why it was allowed to persist in this society as part of our Hindu belief and worship. Now it is up to you as readers to carefully memorize my words and, with careful attention, to read the matter that I am explaining and to try to understand it correctly and intelligently.

First of all, you have to understand the central truth that all these seemingly different deities are actually just manifestations of the one supreme deity. The glory, the greatness and the power of the one highest being are limitless and indescribable. The various divine forms whose names are mentioned above are all various expressions of this glory, power, greatness, and a mysterious divine nature of the Supreme Being. Their various forms have been revealed in order to best bring out and express the particular aspect of divine reality that they are intended to convey. Although seemingly so numerous and different, they are actually only personified expressions of one and the same supreme reality. They reveal aspects of His power and glory. When you have grasped this point, you will now see that although they appear different, they are not. In this fantastic universe and its mysterious powers, we see in it the power of the Supreme Being, which functions in a variety of ways, as is necessary for His divine plan and purposes, and which are carried out by these cosmic processes in the universe. While performing such a cosmic function, the Supreme Being was given a specific name. Since it is difficult for our limited human mind to visualize or conceive a purely immaterial and abstract idea or such a principle, our ancestors personified this specific aspect of divine nature and assigned it certain shapes and properties that affect this particular aspect of cosmic functions could best mark and symbolize. They were able to expose and describe the various personifications of a reality because these were clearly revealed to them in their inner spiritual eye in their states of highest meditation and deepest mystical contemplation in which they were constantly. And after receiving this inner darshan of the meaningful manifestation of the One Divine Reality, they declared it to be beneficial to humanity in general. Each deity is therefore a personified expression of the one supreme divine being. With them the serious Hindu devotee is easily able to fix his mind and focus the devotion of his heart on God. These manifest forms are therefore a great help in dwelling with God in a tangible way. They effectively serve the purpose of presenting you with a well-defined center of focus to ponder, focus on, and meditation.

My dear young friends, you know that there is a substance called cotton. It has no special shape or form. And yet you realize that it is only this substance that you see once as a colorful curtain, somewhere else as a sheet, then as a tablecloth, towel, kurta, shirt, pajama, turban, saree, etc. They all have different shapes and functions, and yet you know that these are all just different forms of cotton. The element water sometimes appears as a fountain in the garden or as a lake or as a river or sea or ocean. Sometimes you can also see it as haze and fog. Elsewhere it appears as a fast flowing stream or as hard, solid ice. The same water also turns into cold snow and sleet. It can manifest as cool dew or icy frost. Elsewhere it appears shapeless but very powerful as hot steam in the stove. You've probably seen a steamer in your house. What intense heat and immediate cooking power this aspect of the water has! Before the introduction of electricity and diesel engines, it was the power of water vapor that kept railroads running in every country in the world. You understand that there is only one thing behind all of these various manifestations mentioned above, and that is water. A jeweler produces numerous ornaments such as earrings, necklaces, watch chains, bracelets, rings, etc. with a wide variety of names and shapes.But you can see that only the one valuable metal gold has taken on these different forms in order to fulfill different functions or different purposes for the wearer. Take another example, a family man, he could be a professor at a university where he is also the assistant director. When he goes to college, he wears a clearly formal suit, as is necessary for his status and position as a college professor and for official duties, while at home he wears loose and casual clothing. In addition, he is no longer seen as a professor there or treated like an assistant director. He is now the father of his children. He is the husband to the mother of the children. If his own parents live in the house, he is a son to them. He is also a brother when his parents have other children besides him. He's Mr. George Moodly, the neighbor for the residents who live next door. He could be a member of the local Rotary club. He could also be a councilor on the town council. He could also be a jury member in court. Do you have one person here, or do you have ten different, separate people here? Think about it. When he's at home, his little daughter may want to sit on his lap. The youngest child may require to be taken on their shoulders and carried around. But when he's attending a ward council meeting, things like that are out of the question. If the same person is sitting in court with ten other colleagues on the jury, no student has access to him to ask him an academic question about the subject matter. Because he's a completely different person in court. Despite everything, it is ultimately one and the same person whose personality acts and functions in all possible functions and roles. This is called a case of unity in diversity, a case of diversity based on unity.

Therefore, my young friends, learn to recognize that in and through these different divine figures you are actually only worshiping the ONE supreme God or the one omnipotent universal soul (Param Atman). You do not worship many different gods at all. No matter what name you use to address the highest being, these names have no influence on its eternal, non-dual nature. Worship of one of the figures of the Hindu gods (Devatas) is actually directed to the one eternal reality. Even if an ignorant devotee does not realize this and thinks differently, he nonetheless worships the one non-dual supreme divine spirit, the Para Brahman from the Vedas or Parama Shivam from the Saiva Siddhanta or Bhagavan or the Kadavul of the Bhaktas.

Just like when you take a dip in the sea on the beach, it doesn't matter whether you are at Tongaat Beach or Durban Beach or the beach in East London or Port Elizabeth. What you do is take a dip in the Indian Ocean. Anyone who does not understand this must be instructed and taught.

Hindus who say Shiva is different from Vishnu or the highest Parama Shivam is different from the highest Para Brahman of Vedanta do not have extensive knowledge of their own religion. They demonstrate a narrow-minded and narrow-minded view that contradicts the true spirit of Hinduism, which is broad-minded and tolerant. They harm Hindu religious unity by emphasizing superficial differences in appearance rather than emphasizing the essential unity of reality. Let me assure you that the gods Sarasvati, Parvati, Lakshmi, Durga, Kali, Bhavani and Lord Shiva, Narayana, Brahman, Rama, Krishna, Dattatreya, Hanuman, Garuda, Kartikeya are all divine figures who are really one and the same are universal minds. They are all one. There are no differences or contradictions between them. It is not only childish but also foolish to deny this truth. Be wise and know the truth that as a Hindu you know that there is only one God.

If you are a Muslim, call him Allah. If you are a Christian call Him Almighty Father in Heaven, Jews in the synagogue call Him by another name again. But know without a doubt that the highest reality is one and the same. If we are wise and use our common sense, we will not argue and debate and argue and quarrel. We know and understand very clearly that all divine figures are symbolic and stand for a God who has manifested himself in many ways in order to correspond to the different people in their different stages of their spiritual development and their different tastes, characters and abilities, one for They find the appropriate expression of the divine that matches their temperament and triggers their devotion, thus enabling them to focus their minds.

See also


  • Swami Sivananda: How to Cultivate Virtues and erdicate Vices
  • Swami Sivananda: Success in life and self-realization
  • Axel Michaels: Hinduism. Munich 1998. ISBN 3-406-44103-3
  • Jan Gonda: The religions of India. Stuttgart 1960 (3 volumes).
  • Stephan Schlensog: Hinduism Munich (Piper-Verlag), 2006, hardback, 540 pp.

Web links


Mantras and music

May 21, 2021 - May 21, 2021 - Whitsun concert with Radha Prema and Ulrich
Free event - donations are welcome. Time: 9:10 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Link:
May 21, 2021 - May 24, 2021 - Bhakti Vinyasa Flow Mashup
Rishikesh series goes Vinyasa Flow with Bhakti Sounds! Based on the Yoga Vidya basic series, Asanas are connected in a harmonious way. Flowing sequences are created more dynamic, ...

Bhakti Yoga

May 21, 2021 - May 21, 2021 - Whitsun concert with Radha Prema and Ulrich
Free event - donations are welcome. Time: 9:10 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. Link:
May 21, 2021 - May 24, 2021 - Bhakti Vinyasa Flow Mashup
Rishikesh series goes Vinyasa Flow with Bhakti Sounds! Based on the Yoga Vidya basic series, Asanas are connected in a harmonious way. Flowing sequences are created more dynamic, ...

Karma yoga

May 21, 2021 - May 30, 2021 - Yoga teacher training intensive C - Bhagavad Gita - Live Online
Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga, teaching techniques, meditation, Sanskrit. Bhagavad Gita: recitation, treatment and interpretation of this "highest wisdom teaching". ...
May 22, 2021 - May 29, 2021 - Special seminar Bhagavad Gita online
This seminar is part of an intensive training course for yoga teachers. You deal intensively with the Bhagavad Gita: recitation, treatment and interpretation of this "highest ...

Indian writings

May 21, 2021 - May 30, 2021 - Yoga teacher training intensive C - Bhagavad Gita - Live Online
Bhagavad Gita, Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga, teaching techniques, meditation, Sanskrit. Bhagavad Gita: recitation, treatment and interpretation of this "highest wisdom teaching". ...
May 22, 2021 - May 29, 2021 - Special seminar Bhagavad Gita online
This seminar is part of an intensive training course for yoga teachers. You deal intensively with the Bhagavad Gita: recitation, treatment and interpretation of this "highest ...

Indian masters

May 26th, 2021 - May 26th, 2021 - Bhakti and Meditation - Online Workshop
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. With yoga class, lecture and meditation. Bhakti Yoga is the path of love and devotion to the divine. You will receive an introduction to Bhakti Yoga with a short lecture, take ...
May 26th, 2021 - May 28th, 2021 - Slow Down Yoga
With Slow Down Yoga you go a path of conscious deceleration and relaxation. With the help of selected breathing and physical exercises as well as meditations you calm your body, your mind ...


The thought of reincarnation in Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism