Concept of God in Hinduism
Let us examine the concept of God in these two major religions in light of their respective scriptures and study if there are similarities.
First we shall discuss the Concept of God in Hinduism.
COMMON CONCEPT OF GOD IN HINDUISM :
If you ask some lay persons who are Hindus that how many gods do they believe in, some may say three, some may say thirty-three, some may say a thousand, while some may say thirty-three crores i.e. 330 million. But if you ask this question to a learned Hindu who is well versed with the Hindu Scriptures, he will reply that the Hindus should actually believe and worship only one God.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ISLAM AND HINDUISM IS THAT OF ’S
(Everything is ‘God’s’ – Everything is ‘God’)
The major difference between the Hindu and the Muslim is that while the common Hindu believes in the philosophy of Pantheism, i.e. “everything is God, the Tree is God, the Sun is God, the Moon is God, the Snake is God, the Monkey is God, the Human Being is God”, all Muslims believe that “everything is God’s”.
The Muslims believe that everything is God’s. GOD with an apostrophe’s’. Everything belongs to the one and only unique eternal God. The tree belongs to God, the sun belongs to God, the moon belongs to God, the snake belongs to God, monkey belongs to God, the human being belongs to God.
Thus the major difference between the Hindus and the Muslims is the apostrophe ‘s’. The Hindu says, “everything is GOD”. The Muslim says, “everything is God’s”, GOD with an Apostrophe ‘s’. If we can solve the difference of the Apostrophe ‘s’, the Hindus and the Muslims will be united.
The Glorious Qur’an says
“Come to common terms as between us and you”,
Which is the first term?
“that we worship none but Allah”
So let’s come to common terms by analyzing the scriptures of the Hindus and of the Muslims.
Upanishads are one of the sacred Scriptures of the Hindus.
Chandogya Upanishad Chapter 6 Section 2 verse 1
“He is one only without a second.”
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg. 447 & 448)
(Sacred Books of the East Volume 1, the Upanishads Part I Page 93)
Shwetashvatara Upanishad Chapter 6 verse 9
“Nacasya kascij janita na cadhipah”
“Of Him there are neither parents nor Lord.”
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg. 745)
(and in Sacred books of the East volume 15, the Upanishads Part II Page 263)
Shwetashvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 verse 19
“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no likeness of Him”.
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg 736 & 737 )
(and in Sacred books of the East Volume 15, the Upanishads part II, Page no. 253)
Shwetashvatara Upanishad Chapter 4 verse 20
“na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam”.
“His form cannot be seen, no one sees Him with the eye”.
(The Principal Upanishad by S. Radhakrishnan pg. 737)
(And in Sacred books of the East Volume 15, the Upanishad part II, Page no. 253)
The most popular amongst all the Hindu Scriptures is the Bhagwad Geeta.
Bhagwad Geeta mentions
“Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires worship demigods” that is “Those who are materialistic, they worship demigods” i.e. others as deities besides the True God.
(Bhagwad Geeta 7:20)
It is mentioned in Bhagavad Gita
“He who knows Me as the unborn, as the beginning-less, as the Supreme Lord of all the worlds...”
(Bhagwad Geeta 10:3)
Vedas are the most sacred amongst all the Hindu Scriptures. There are principally 4 Vedas: Rig Ved, Yajur Ved, Sam Ved, and Atharva Veda.
Yajurveda Chapter 32, Verse 3
“na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him”
It further says,
“as He is unborn, He deserves our worship”.
(The Yajurveda by Devi Chand M.A. pg. 377)
Yajurveda Chapter 40 Verse 8
“He is bodiless and pure”.
(Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph I. H. Griffith pg. 538)
Yajurved Chapter 40 Verse 9
“Andhatma pravishanti ye assambhuti mupaste”
“They enter darkness, those who worship natural things.”
E.g. worship of natural elements air, water, fire, etc.
It further continues and says
“They sink deeper in darkness those who worship sambhuti i.e. created things”
E.g. created things such as table, chair, idols, etc.
(Yajurveda Samhita by Ralph T. H. Griffith pg. 538)
Atharva Veda book 20 hymn (chapter) 58 verse 3
It is mentioned in Atharva Veda
“Dev Maha Osi”
“God is Verily Great.”
(Atharva Veda 20:58:3)
(Atharvaveda Samhita Vol. 2, William Duright Whitney pg. 910)
The oldest and most sacred amongst all the Vedas is the Rigveda. Rigveda Book no. 1, Hymn No. 164, verse 46
It is mentioned in Rigveda Book no. 1, hymn No. 164 verse 46
“Ekam sat vipra bahudha vadanti”
“Sages (learned Priests) call one God by many names”.
Truth is one, God is one, sages call it by various names.
A similar message is given in Rigveda, Book 10, hymn 114, verse 5.
Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1
Rigveda gives no less than 33 different attributes to Almighty God. Several of these attributes are mentioned in Rigveda Book 2 hymn 1
a. Brahma - Creator - Khaliq – Rigveda Book 2 Hymn 1 Verse 3
Amongst the various attributes given in Rigveda , one of the beautiful attributes for Almighty God is ‘Brahma’. ‘Brahma’ means ‘the Creator’. If you translate into Arabic it means ‘Khaliq’. Islam does not object to anyone calling Almighty God as ‘Khaliq’ or ‘Creator’ or ‘Brahma’, but if someone says that ‘Brahma’ i.e. Almighty God has got four heads and on each head is a crown and this Brahma has got four hands, Islam takes strong exception to it because such descriptions give an image to Almighty God. Such descriptions are also against what is propounded in Yajurveda Chapter 32, verse 3 which says:
“Na tasya pratima asti”
“There is no image of Him”.
b. Vishnu – Sustainer - Rabb : Rigveda Book 2, Hymn 1, verse 3
Another beautiful attribute mentioned in the Rigveda Book 2, Hymn 1, Verse 3 is Vishnu. ‘Vishnu’ means ‘the Sustainer’. If you translate this word into Arabic it means ‘Rabb’. Islam has no objection if anyone calls Almighty God as ‘Rabb’ or ‘Sustainer’ or ‘Vishnu’, but if someone says that Vishnu is Almighty God and this Vishnu has four arms, one of the right arms holds the ‘chakra’ i.e. a discus and one of the left arms holds a ‘conch shell’ and Vishnu rides on a bird or reclines on a snake couch, then Islam takes strong exception to this, because such descriptions of Vishnu give an image to Almighty God. Such descriptions are also against what is taught in Yajurveda Chapter 40 verse 8.
Rigveda Book 8 hymn 1 verse 1
It is mentioned in Rigveda
“Ma Chidanyadvi Shansata”
“Do not worship anybody but Him, the Divine One, Praise Him alone”
(Rigveda Samhiti Vol. IX, pg. 1 & 2 by Swami Satyaprakash Sarasvati & Satyakam Vidhya Lankar)
Rigveda Book 5 Hymn 81 verse 1
It is mentioned in Rigveda
“Verily great is the glory of the Divine Creator”
(Rigveda Samhiti Vol. 6, pg 1802 & 1803 by Swami Satyaprakash Sarasvati & Satyakam Vidhya Lanka)
Rigveda Book no. VI, Hymn 45, verse 16
It is mentioned in Rigveda
“Ya Eka Ittamushtuhi”
“Praise Him who is the matchless & alone”.
(Hymns of Rigveda by Ralph T. H. Griffith pg. 648)
BRAHMA SUTRA OF HINDU VEDANTA
The Brahma Sutra of Hindu Vedanta is:
‘Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan”
“Bhagwan ek hi hai dusara nahi hai, nahi hai, nahi hai, zara bhi nahi hai”.
“There is only one God, not the second, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit”.
All the above quoted verses and passages from Hindu Scriptures clearly amplify the Oneness and Uniqueness of Almighty God, the Creator of all. Furthermore, they negate the existence of any other deity besides the One True God. These verses essentially propound monotheism.
Therefore only if one carefully studies the Hindu Scriptures, will one understand and realize the correct concept of God in Hinduism.