The concept of GOD IN HINDUISM varies in its diverse traditions.
Forms of theism find mention in the
Bhagavad Gita . Emotional or
loving devotion (bhakti) to a primary god such as avatars of Vishnu
The Dvaita tradition founded by 13th/14th-century
based on a concept similar to
God in major world religions. His
writings led some early colonial-era Indologists such as George
Abraham Grierson to suggest
Madhvacharya was influenced by
* 1 Henotheism, kathenotheism, equitheism and non-theism
* 2 Brahman
* 2.1 Nirguna and Saguna
* 8 References
* 8.1 Bibliography
* 9 External links
HENOTHEISM, KATHENOTHEISM, EQUITHEISM AND NON-THEISM
Henotheism was the term used by scholars such as Max Müller to describe the theology of Vedic religion . Müller noted that the hymns of the Rigveda , the oldest scripture of Hinduism, mention many deities, but praises them successively as the "one ultimate, supreme God", alternatively as "one supreme Goddess", thereby asserting that the essence of the deities was unitary (ekam ), and the deities were nothing but pluralistic manifestations of the same concept of the divine (God).
The idea that there can be and are plural perspectives for the same divine or spiritual principle repeats in the Vedic texts. For example, other than hymn 1.164 with this teaching, the more ancient hymn 5.3 of the Rigveda states:
You at your birth are
Varuna , O
Alternate and related terms to henotheism are monolatrism and kathenotheism . The latter term is an extension of "henotheism", from καθ' ἕνα θεόν (kath' hena theon) — "one god at a time". Henotheism refers to a pluralistic theology wherein different deities are viewed to be of a unitary, equivalent divine essence. Some scholars prefer the term monolatry to henotheism, to discuss religions where a single god is central, but the existence or the position of other gods is not denied. Another term related to henotheism is "equitheism", referring to the belief that all gods are equal.
The Vedic era conceptualization of the divine or the One, states
Jeaneane Fowler, is more abstract than a monotheistic God, it is the
Influential ancient and medieval Hindu philosophers, states Roy Perrett – a professor of Philosophy, teach their spiritual ideas with a world created ex-nihilo and "effectively manage without God altogether".
Brahman connotes the highest Universal Principle, the
Brahman is a Vedic Sanskrit word, and it is conceptualized in Hinduism, states Paul Deussen , as the "creative principle which lies realized in the whole world". Brahman is a key concept found in the Vedas , and it is extensively discussed in the early Upanishads . The Vedas conceptualize Brahman as the Cosmic Principle. In the Upanishads, it has been variously described as Sat-cit-ānanda (truth-consciousness-bliss) and as the unchanging, permanent, highest reality.
Brahman is discussed in Hindu texts with the concept of Atman (Soul,
Self), personal , impersonal or Para
Brahman , or in various
combinations of these qualities depending on the philosophical school.
In dualistic schools of
The Upanishads contain several mahā-vākyas or "Great Sayings" on the concept of Brahman:
TEXT UPANISHAD TRANSLATION REFERENCE
अहं ब्रह्म अस्मि
अयम् आत्मा ब्रह्म
ayam ātmā brahma
सर्वं खल्विदं ब्रह्म sarvam khalvidam brahma Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1 "All this is Brahman"
एकमेवाद्वितीयम् ekam evadvitiyam Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1 "That is one, without a second"
तत्त्वमसि tat tvam asi Chandogya Upanishad 6.8.7 et seq. "Thou art that" ("You are Brahman")
प्रज्ञानं ब्रह्म prajnānam brahma Aitareya Upanishad 3.3.7 "Knowledge is Brahman"
NIRGUNA AND SAGUNA
Bhakti movement of
Nirguna and Saguna Brahman concepts of the Bhakti movement has been a baffling one to scholars, particularly the Nirguni tradition because it offers, states David Lorenzen, "heart-felt devotion to a God without attributes, without even any definable personality". Yet given the "mountains of Nirguni bhakti literature", adds Lorenzen, bhakti for Nirguna Brahman has been a part of the reality of the Hindu tradition along with the bhakti for Saguna Brahman. These were two alternate ways of imagining God during the bhakti movement.
Main article: Ishvara
The Yogasutras of Patanjali use the term Ishvara in 11 verses: I.23 through I.29, II.1, II.2, II.32 and II.45. Ever since the Sutra's release, Hindu scholars have debated and commented on who or what is Isvara? These commentaries range from defining Isvara from a "personal god" to "special self" to "anything that has spiritual significance to the individual". Whicher explains that while Patanjali's terse verses can be interpreted both as theistic or non-theistic, Patanjali's concept of Isvara in Yoga philosophy functions as a "transformative catalyst or guide for aiding the yogin on the path to spiritual emancipation".
Patanjali defines Isvara (Sanskrit: ईश्वर) in verse 24 of Book 1, as "a special Self (पुरुषविशेष, puruṣa-viśeṣa)",
Sanskrit: क्लेश कर्म विपाकाशयैःपरामृष्टः पुरुषविशेष ईश्वरः ॥२४॥ – Yoga Sutras I.24
This sutra of Yoga philosophy of
Bhakti path practicing sects of Hinduism, which built
upon the Yoga school of Hinduism, Isvara can also mean a specific
deity such as
MADHVACHARYA\'S MONOTHEISTIC GOD
Madhvacharya developed the Dvaita theology wherein
presented as a monotheistic God, similar to major world religions.
His writings led some such as
George Abraham Grierson to suggest he
was influenced by
Madhvacharya was misperceived and misrepresented by both Christian
missionaries and Hindu writers during the colonial era scholarship.
The similarities in the primacy of one God, dualism and distinction
between man and God, devotion to God, the son of
God as the
intermediary, predestination, the role of grace in salvation, as well
as the similarities in the legends of miracles in
Modern scholarship rules out the influence of
It is most often used in
Gaudiya Vaishnava Krishna-centered theology
as referring to
The term is seldom used to refer to other forms of
A different viewpoint, opposing this theological concept is the
The theological interpretation of svayam bhagavān differs with each
tradition and the literal translation of the term has been understood
in several distinct ways. Translated from the
Earlier commentators such as
Madhvacharya translated the term Svayam
Bhagavan as "he who has bhagavatta"; meaning "he who has the quality
of possessing all good qualities". Others have translated it simply
as "the Lord Himself". Followers of Vishnu-centered sampradayas of
Vaishnavism rarely address this term, but believe that it refers to
their belief that
* ^ "not sublatable" , the final element in a dialectical process which cannot be eliminated or annihilated (German: "aufheben").
* ^ It is also defined as:
* The unchanging, infinite , immanent , and transcendent reality
which is the Divine Ground of all matter , energy , time, space ,
being , and everything beyond in this
* ^ A B
Julius J. Lipner (2009), Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs
and Practices, 2nd Edition, Routledge, ISBN 978-0-415-45677-7 , page
8; Quote: "(...) one need not be religious in the minimal sense
described to be accepted as a Hindu by Hindus, or describe oneself
perfectly validly as Hindu. One may be polytheistic or monotheistic,
monistic or pantheistic, even an agnostic, humanist or atheist, and
still be considered a Hindu."
* ^ Lester Kurtz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and
Conflict, ISBN 978-0123695031 , Academic Press, 2008
* ^ MK Gandhi, The Essence of Hinduism, Editor: VB Kher, Navajivan
Publishing, see page 3; According to Gandhi, "a man may not believe in
God and still call himself a Hindu."
* ^ Chakravarti, Sitansu (1991), Hinduism, a way of life, Motilal
Banarsidass Publ., p. 71, ISBN 978-81-208-0899-7
* ^ "Polytheism". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia
Britannica Online. 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
* ^ June McDaniel Hinduism, in John Corrigan, The Oxford Handbook
* ^ Wiman Dissanayake (1993), Self as Body in Asian Theory and
Practice (Editors: Thomas P. Kasulis et al), State University of New
York Press, ISBN 978-0791410806 , page 39; QUOTE: "The
the FOUNDATIONS OF HINDU PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT and the central theme
Upanishads is the identity of Atman and Brahman, or the inner
self and the cosmic self.";
Michael McDowell and Nathan Brown (2009), World Religions, Penguin,
ISBN 978-1592578467 , pages 208-210 * ^ Indich 2000 , p. vii.
* ^ Fowler 2002 , pp. 240-243.
* ^ Brannigan 2009 , p. 19, Quote: "
Vedanta is the most
influential philosophical system in Hindu thought.".
* ^ Michael Myers (2000), Brahman: A Comparative Theology,
Routledge, ISBN 978-0700712571 , pages 124-127
* ^ A B Sharma 1962 , p. 7.
* ^ A B C D Sabapathy Kulandran and Hendrik Kraemer (2004), Grace
* ^ A B For dualism school of Hinduism, see: Francis X. Clooney
(2010), Hindu God, Christian God: How Reason Helps Break Down the
Boundaries between Religions, Oxford University Press, ISBN
978-0199738724 , pages 51–58, 111–115;
For monist school of Hinduism, see: B. Martinez-Bedard (2006), Types
of Causes in Aristotle and Sankara, Thesis – Department of Religious
Studies (Advisors: Kathryn McClymond and Sandra Dwyer), Georgia State
University, pages 18–35 * ^ A B Fowler 2002 , pp. 53–55.
* ^ A B Brodd, Jeffrey (2009). World Religions: A Voyage of
Discovery (3rd ed.). Saint Mary's Press. pp. 43–47. ISBN
* ^ Fowler 2002 , pp. 50–53.
* ^ Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120814684 , page 91
* ^ A B Stephen Philips (1998), Routledge Encyclopedia of
Brahman to Derrida (Editor; Edward Craig), Routledge, ISBN
978-0415187077 , pages 1–4
* ^ Goodman, Hananya (1994). Between Jerusalem and Benares:
Comparative Studies in Judaism and Hinduism. State University of New
York Press . p. 121. ISBN 978-0791417164 .
* ^ Raju 1992 , p. 228.
* ^ Eliot Deutsch (1980),
Vedanta : A Philosophical
Reconstruction, University of Hawaii Press, ISBN 978-0824802714 ,
* ^ A B Potter 2008 , pp. 6–7.
* ^ Brodd, Jefferey (2003). World Religions. Winona, Minnesota:
Saint Mary's Press. ISBN 978-0-88489-725-5 .
* ^ John Bowker (ed.)(2012), The Oxford Dictionary of World
Religions, Oxford University Press.
* ^ Fowler 2002 , pp. 49–53.
* ^ Klaus K. Klostermaier (2007), A Survey of Hinduism, Third
Edition, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0791470824 ,
Chapter 12: Atman and
Brahman – Self and All
* ^ Michael Myers (2000), Brahman: A Comparative Theology,
Routledge, ISBN 978-0700712571 , pages 124–127
* ^ Thomas Padiyath (2014), The
Metaphysics of Becoming, De
Gruyter, ISBN 978-3110342550 , pages 155–157
* ^ Arvind Sharma (2007),
Advaita Vedānta: An Introduction,
Motilal Banarsidass, ISBN 978-8120820272 , pages 19–40, 53–58,
* ^ John E. Welshons (2009), One Soul, One Love, One Heart, New
World Library, ISBN 978-1577315889 , pages 17–18
* ^ Jones, Constance (2007). Encyclopedia of Hinduism. New York:
Infobase Publishing. p. 270. ISBN 0816073368 .
* ^ Sanskrit: छान्दोग्योपनिषद् १.१ ॥तृतीयॊऽध्यायः॥ Wikisource English Translation:Max Muller, Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.1 Oxford University Press, page 48; Max Muller, The Upanisads at Google Books , Routledge, pages xviii–xix * ^ Sanskrit: छान्दोग्योपनिषद् १.२ ॥षष्ठोऽध्यायः॥ Wikisource English Translation:Max Muller, Chandogya Upanishad 6.2.1 Oxford University Press, page 93; Max Muller, The Upanisads at Google Books , Routledge, pages xviii–xix * ^ Sanskrit: छान्दोग्योपनिषद् १.२ ॥षष्ठोऽध्यायः॥ Wikisource English Translation:Robert Hume, Chandogya Upanishad 6.8, The Thirteen Principal Upanishads, Oxford University Press, pages 246–250 * ^ A. S. Gupta, The Meanings of "That Thou Art", Philosophy East and West, Vol. 12, No. 2, pages 125–134
* ^ Sanskrit: ऐतरेयोपनिषद् Wikisource
English Translation:Max Muller,
Aitareya Upanishad 3.3.7, also known
as Aitareya Aranyaka 220.127.116.11 Oxford University Press, page 246 * ^
Anantanand Rambachan (2001), Heirarchies in the Nature of God?
Questioning The "Saguna-Nirguna" Distinction in
Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies, Vol. 14, No. 7, pages 1–6
* ^ A B William Wainwright (2012), Concepts of God, Stanford
Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University, (Accessed on: June
* ^ A B C D E Karen Pechilis Prentiss (2014), The Embodiment of
Bhakti, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0195351903 , page 21
* ^ A B Jeaneane D. Fowler (2012), The Bhagavad Gita, Sussex
Academic Press, ISBN 978-1845193461 , pages xxvii–xxxiv
* ^ A B C Jeaneane D. Fowler (2012), The Bhagavad Gita, Sussex
Academic Press, ISBN 978-1845193461 , pages 207–211
* ^ A B David Lorenzen (1996), Praises to a Formless God: Nirguni
Texts from North India, State University of New York Press, ISBN
978-0791428054 , page 2
* ^ Lloyd Pflueger, Person Purity and Power in Yogasutra, in Theory
and Practice of Yoga (Editor: Knut Jacobsen), Motilal Banarsidass,
ISBN 978-8120832329 , pages 38-39
* ^ Hariharānanda Āraṇya (2007), Parabhaktisutra, Aphorisms on
Sublime Devotion, (Translator: A Chatterjee), in Divine Hymns with
Supreme Devotional Aphorisms, Kapil Math Press, Kolkata, pages 55-93;
Hariharānanda Āraṇya (2007), Eternally Liberated Isvara and Purusa
Principle, in Divine Hymns with Supreme Devotional Aphorisms, Kapil
Math Press, Kolkata, pages 126-129
* ^ Ian Whicher (1999), The Integrity of the Yoga Darsana: A
Reconsideration of Classical Yoga, State University of New York Press,
ISBN 978-0-7914-3815-2 , page 86
* ^ Āgāśe, K. S. (1904). Pātañjalayogasūtrāṇi. Puṇe:
Ānandāśrama. p. 102.
* ^ aparAmRSTa, kleza, karma, vipaka and ashaya;
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* Matchett, Freda (2000), Krsna, Lord or Avatara? the relationship
between Krsna and Visnu: in the context of the Avatara myth as
presented by the Harivamsa, the Visnupurana and the Bhagavatapurana,
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* Olivelle, Patrick (1992). The Samnyasa Upanisads. Oxford
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* Potter, Karl H. (2008), The Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies:
Advaita Vedānta Up to Śaṃkara and His Pupils, Delhi: Motilal
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Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited
* Jones, Constance; Ryan, James D. (2006), Encyclopedia of Hinduism,
* Sharma, B. N. Krishnamurti (1962). Philosophy of Śrī
Madhvācārya. Motilal Banarsidass (2014 Reprint). ISBN 978-8120800687
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* Sarma, Deepak (2000). "Is Jesus a Hindu? S.C. Vasu and Multiple
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Monotheism And Modern
Chaitanya Vaishnavism". The Hare
* The Idea of
God in Hinduism, A. S. Woodburne (1925), The Journal
* GRETIL etext: The transliterated
* v * t * e
Theology : Outline
* Conceptions of God
* * Deism * Dystheism * Henotheism * Hermeticism * Kathenotheism * Nontheism * Monolatrism * Monotheism * Mysticism * Panentheism * Pandeism * Pantheism * Polydeism * Polytheism * Spiritualism * Theopanism
* Gender of God and gods
* Male deity * Goddess