Understanding the Fundamentals of Hinduism


Truthfully, I am not sure why I wrote this article. I tried to reason out within myself and I reached nowhere. Everyone has a right to believe whatever they want. The formal terminology is ‘Freedom of Religion’. I remember very well working in a printing press with my father during the school holidays many years ago. It was Christmas time. They were printing some articles containing testimonies of people who had converted to Christianity. I was a Hindu in those days and I kept saying in Hindi, “If someone cannot be faithful to their own faith, how can they be faithful in anything.” These people were traitors in my eyes. I hated Christians. They go house to house every weekend witnessing about Jesus Christ to everyone, trying to convince them to come to church and convert them. I used to think that you ought to be faithful to whatever religion you are born into. I reasoned that Hindus don’t go house to house trying to persuade the Christians to leave their religion, so why are the Christians doing that? Now I am fully convinced that sharing the love of Christ was their only motivation and reason, for they gained nothing by witnessing to others. Why wake up early, dress up and go to other people’s houses when you can be sleeping in late at home. What a waste of time? At least that’s what I used to think. I am not here to judge and criticize Hinduism. That is not my place or purpose. I simply want to give you the facts and let you decide if this worldview makes sense. If it does, I apologize for wasting your precious time and ask for your pardon. If it doesn’t, please investigate and search for the truth. Always remember that truth by its very nature is exclusive. Two opposite or contradictory ideas cannot both be right at the same time, place and sense. Only one can be correct. My goal is to separate truth from fiction. Once we accomplish that, the rest of the puzzle falls into place by itself.


Facts About Hinduism

  1. Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion and has about 850 million followers. Most Hindus live in India. My Notes: The current population of the world is about 7.53 billion. If you do the math, 850 million is 11% of the world’s population. That’s a pretty huge number.
  2. Hinduism has no identifiable founder or “starting point.” The available evidence suggests it has developed out of one or more ancient indigenous religious systems in India, plus outside influences brought by invaders who called themselves Aryans, meaning “noble ones.” They entered India from what is now Iran, about 1500 BC. My Notes: There is no solid foundation for Hinduism.
  3. Hinduism gave birth to three additional religions: Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. My Notes: The founders of the three additional religions kind of took out things from the Hindu sacred texts and compiled together what they liked and agreed with. They disregarded the rest of the concepts or principles. They created some new doctrines and added them to what they took out from the Hindu sacred texts.
  4. The core beliefs that underlie all the various Hindu expressions are karma and reincarnationMy Notes: Karma and Reincarnation are at the heart of what Hindus truly believe. To deny these two doctrines is to deny Hinduism itself.
  5. Karma is often described as “the law of cause and effect”: What you sow by your deeds in this life you will reap in the next. In another life here on earth, that is, not an eternal state (monotheistic heaven or hell). And not determined by a conscious, personal God, but by an unconscious, automatic process. My Notes: We all know that the population of earth is increasing. Does that mean more people are doing good and being born as human? Looking at how much evil has been done just in the twentieth century surely upsets that fact. Another very important point which needs attention is that God is not defined as a personal being in Hinduism. That means a Hindu can never know God. Only a personal being can relate to a personal being. Another problem that comes to my mind is how a Hindu who is a personal being that is fully conscious originates from something that is non-personal and unconscious. This sure creates a dilemma. Hopefully folks think on this.
  6. In Hinduism, reincarnation is a curse to be escaped. And because karma is what keeps a person chained to the wheel of endless deaths and rebirths, all karma is badMy Notes: Follow me in this one. Whatever your condition is in this life is a result of what you did in your previous life. Do you have any recollection of your previous life? Obviously, not. In other words, you are paying for a karmic debt you have no idea of what it is. Surely that is not just. As a matter of fact, if you truly believe in karma and reincarnation, then you should not help those in need. Why? Because they are simply paying off their karmic debt. If someone is dying, let them die. If someone is suffering, let them suffer. If someone is being persecuted, let them be persecuted. You see, even common sense says that this is wrong. To put it into the right perspective, this will be inhuman especially when you are able to help them. It is fascinating to see those who really believe in these doctrines, totally deny it when they see their loved ones in pain and suffering. I wonder why? Their current condition is a result of their previous life’s actions so why should anyone care? Are they not solely responsible for their condition in this life?
  7. The goal of a Hindu, though rarely expected “this time around,” is to avoid all karma and achieve moksha, “a state of oneness with the ultimate reality,” called Brahman. Brahman, though sometimes referred to as God, is impersonal, indefinable, unknowable, unmanifested, and without attributes. It is sometimes described as the sum of everything that exists. My Notes: Please pay careful attention to every fact listed above. There’s a lot that can be said here but I will try to keep it brief to the point to avoid any confusion than what already has been caused by the above information. Remember from the previous point that all karma is bad and needs to be avoided but this is something almost impossible for the average Hindu to accomplish. It’s amazing to notice that if a Hindu can avoid all karma and achieve moksha, he literally seizes to exist. Follow me here. The ultimate reality that is Brahman (God) is impersonal. So, a Hindu who obtains moksha is transitioning from a personal being to something that has no personality. He is transitioning from having an identity to having no identity. He is transitioning from someone who others can know to becoming unknowable. He is transitioning from someone having a physical existence with their own nature to something which has no form or attribute. In simple words, the transition is from someone (having personality) to something (no personality). Is this the goal one really wants to achieve through their religion? It seems like a total downgrade or even worse arriving to be nothing at the end. You become part of the sum of everything that exists which does not exist. Since Brahman is God, you become part of God. Would that make you God? The issue only becomes more confusing since becoming part of Brahman is in truth ceasing to be at all. You have no identity, no existence, no personality, no nature, no attribute; you are totally indefinable like Brahman. This really makes you think, doesn’t it? Is achieving moksha on your priority list? Given the options, taking rebirth as an animal seems like a much better option than obtaining moksha.
  8. In Hindu belief, we are all Brahman, but thinking we have our own individual identity keeps us on the reincarnation wheel. Only after we realize we are Brahman (some Hindus would say we realize we are God) do we escape another rebirth. An analogy some Hindus use for entering Nirvana is that of squeezing a drop from a medicine dropper into the ocean. My Notes: This is where the New Age movement got the concept of, “We are God”. I am not sure how the creation becomes the creator but somehow that’s the point being driven here. Read it again if you missed it the first time, “We are all Brahman”. What is Brahman? Brahman is God or the sum of everything that exists. You are part of everything that exists, therefore you are Brahman, therefore you are God, but God is indefinable in Hinduism so what you are can never be known or described. But wait, obtaining moksha requires you to become one with the unknowable. I wonder how exactly one plans to do that? You are trying to become one with that which cannot be known. You are trying to know the unknowable. If something is beyond knowing, why should one seek to know it? Isn’t this contradictory? My head is spinning. This is too confusing for me. I can simply keep going onto the other characteristics of Brahman, but I will stop here. Wait a second, Brahman has no attributes, no identity, no personality. How can I even know if Brahman exists? What exactly is the Hindu trying to achieve then? I am totally lost. Let’s do a raincheck on this. I will ask a pandit and get back on this. Hopefully, my question does not confuse him. Hold on, this is already too confusing.
  9. This belief in one ultimate reality is called monism, which means “all of reality is of one kind or nature.” For Hindus, all reality is spiritual; the physical universe is just an illusion. Part of recognizing oneness with Brahman is recognizing that the physical body and the world are not real. My Notes: Just in case you missed it, according to Hinduism, the physical universe is just an illusion. Everything you see, hear, smell, touch and feel is not real. Try telling that to a girl who got raped. Just imagine a Hindu elder saying to the girl, “Daughter, you really were not raped. It’s just your imagination.” If that doesn’t sound reasonable enough, imagine a judge saying to a Hindu father in a court of law, whose daughter was raped, “Sir, you daughter really wasn’t raped. It was just an illusion. I have to let this gentleman accused of raping your daughter go free”. Even the Hindu would oppose quickly to the very thing he believes is the heart of Hinduism. Hopefully this clears any clever thoughts anyone has for believing that the physical universe is just an illusion. Image slapping a person super hard who really believed this truth. Do you think that person will still stick to what they believe and say, “Well, the slap was not real? It’s just my imagination”. The physical world is very real my friends. That’s why folks work to survive, to provide food on the table and pay their bills and mortgage. If you stop eating and drinking, you will end out physically dead within a month. If you stop paying your mortgage, the bank will physically take away your house. Pain and suffering is very real my friends. That is why you go to a doctor when you suffer in your physical body and take medicine to help your body recover. The bottom line is that to deny the physical universe is also to deny your very existence. The issue is that you can’t deny your existence by saying, “I am just an illusion”. The immediate response that breaks such utter foolishness is, “May I ask who is asking the question?”
  10. Hindus, by their own calculation, worship more than 330 million gods and goddesses. My Notes: Here we encounter another fact that is somewhat self-defeating. The only thing that really exists in Hinduism is Brahman. So where do these 330 million gods and goddesses come from. The Hindu’s response is that they are simply different facets of Brahman. But I thought we were part of Brahman. Remember that earlier I pointed out that since we are part of the ultimate reality called Brahman and Brahman is God, therefore indirectly we are also Gods. That’s how the New Age Movement arrived at the conclusion and declared that’s each person is a God or a deity, they just don’t understand or know it yet. May I ask, “Why are Gods (all Hindus) worshipping other Gods (the 330 million)? Let me correct myself by saying that Hindus don’t worship the entire 330 million gods and goddesses but only those which are specific to their family line or preference of choice or need. For example, if you have a money crisis, then the specific goddess you need to please is Lakshmi for financial prosperity. I thought money is just an illusion according to Hinduism, then why are Hindu’s praying for such a physical and material thing. Apart from this, if life itself is an illusion, then there is no physical reality. What’s the use of pleasing the money goddess? If nothing materialistic exists, why do Hindus struggle to earn wealth, pray for wealth, try to please the goddess of wealth who is a facet of Brahman which the Hindu is part of also. We can go around and round with this. What you need to understand is that that physical universe is as real as you and me. The problems we face daily are real, the human emotions are real, death is real, life is real, evil is real, good is real. These are not illusions. If a Hindu is brought to the test, they will choose life, not death despite what they believe. When faced with a choice, they recognize the physical evidence of their existence and the existence of the material world around them. This therefore becomes totally contradicting to the Hinduism worldview. Hopefully the readers don’t need any further convincing on this point.


The ten facts were taken from the book, “Understanding World Religions” by Gary R. Morgan.



I would like to conclude this small exposition of Hinduism by pointing out two major doctrines associated with Hinduism. The first one is called ‘Polytheism’. Polytheism is the belief in or worship of more than one god. According to Wikipedia, Polytheism (from Greek polytheismos) is the worship of or belief in multiple deities, which are usually assembled into a pantheon of gods and goddesses, along with their own religions and rituals. The problem one encounters in this system is the challenge of pleasing so many gods and goddesses. How can one accomplish this? Of course, it is impossible to please and equally worship all gods and goddesses. That’s why each family or individual may have their favorite or special god or goddess who they pay more homage than others. Please keep in mind that in Hinduism, the many gods and goddesses are facets of Brahman. Ultimately, they are also illusions just like you are an illusion. There is no physical reality. So how do you differentiate one thing from another? Who decides what is right and wrong? Do these imaginary 330 million gods and goddesses provide us a moral law to live by? But that would only mean that the moral law is an illusion also. It becomes even more confusing when each deity provides their own moral code which may contradict others considering we are dealing with millions here. My goodness, the Hindu is left with no way of knowing truth. Does that mean there is no such thing as right and wrong, good or bad, truth or lie. Well, the professing Hindu does not have a choice here but to say, “Yes, all form of physical reality is an illusion.” Why? Because for the Hindu to deny this is to deny Hinduism itself.

The second major doctrine I want to elaborate on is the concept of Pantheism. For starters, what is pantheism? Pantheism is the view that God is everything and everyone and that everyone and everything is God. Pantheism is like polytheism (the belief in many gods) but goes beyond polytheism to teach that everything is God. A tree is God, a rock is God, an animal is God, the sky is God, the sun is God, you are God, etc. Hinduism is pantheistic. Only the spiritual is real. Brahman is the only thing that is real. Everyone and everything is part of Brahman, therefore all is God and God is all. You are God and God is you. The rock is God and God is rock. There is no distinction between the spiritual and the physical. All reality is ultimately spiritual by nature since that is the only things that exists. Everything is part of that ultimate reality called Brahman. If you truly believe in Hinduism, then you are God. That somewhat puts a stone in your shoe even for the most faithful Hindu. This is the reality that one must deal with in Hinduism. But wait a second, nothing is real in Hinduism. All is just an illusion. As I write this, I am riding a train going from San Francisco to Fremont. I wonder if I were to randomly pick an Indian who believed in Hinduism and tell him that he is a God, how would he react? No person in their right mind would call himself a God. I think the greater illusion here is in believing that a person is a God then to accept the physical evidence of our sense perception. Imagine a kid trying to cross the road. He looks to the left and right several times before making a move. Why? Because he trusts his sense of sight to be accurate in telling him whether cars are coming or not. But what would happen if he ignored his sense of sight and said that the cars on the road are just an illusion and it is okay to cross without trusting his sight. Surely getting hit by a car is not an illusion. My friends, pain is real. If you don’t believe me, just pinch yourself and you will know right away. We are not gods or goddesses. If we were, why do we always seek to worship some higher being? Where did we even get this idea of a greater, supernatural being who leaves beyond this world? Questions like these need real answers. How can a belief system that denies all physical forms reality and calls everything and everyone God even recognizing the worship of 330 million gods and goddesses be called the true religion? Since there is no such thing as truth or any way of knowing truth in Hinduism, the foundation itself is rigged and everything built upon it becomes non-conclusive leading to confusion and total dissatisfaction to the seeker. It is void of any hope since to become one with Brahman is to simply become nothingness. Is that really the goal one is trying to reach?

Hopefully folks pay attention and think deeply on what I have said on this article. My intention is not to criticize Hinduism but point out some of the major flaws in this worldview which cannot be explained or answered at an intellectual level. Always remember that our end goal is always truth. How can a belief system that says that there is no such thing as truth lead you to any good end? Think about it!