Simplified Hinduism?

by Aranyakananda

I would not have written this post had I not heard no fewer than three Indian Hindus say that they felt that Hinduism is “too complex” and “has too many Gods.”

I myself have noted the similarities amongst deities such as Yama and Kali, between Shiva and Kalki. And honestly there are a ton of attributes that Vaisnavs assign to Vishnu or Krishna or Narayana, which Shaivites assign to Shiva. Depending on the point of view of the devotee, various Ishtadevatas are assigned the position as the most high, most potent, etc. Probably because all devotees, whether Shaivite or Vaisnav or what have you, know that their own Ishtadevata is but a reflection of the One Absolute, Attributeless Brahman. We call it Brahman, but really it is beyond Name and Form. So each of us is right. We worship God in a variety of forms because that is our way of making the imperceivable perceivable. And we need the differences because we have different tendencies, humans do.

So do we have “too many gods?” It is, after all, said that there are 330 Million of them.

But Hinduism is a family of various religions. It is a microcosm of the family of religions that make up humanity at large. If we said that there are too many gods in Hinduism and that we should all worship God in the same name and form, then we might as well say that Hindus, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs etcetera ad infinitum should all worship in the same name. This would defeat the purpose of the Vedic precept that “Truth is one; the wise call it by many names.”

Jai Hari Aum!

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3 Responses to Simplified Hinduism?

  1. Dhrishti says:

    This brings up an interesting point, bhai. Much of what you said here makes great sense, and I feel a little sad for the Indians you mentioned. I think anyone who actually thinks there are “too many gods” in Hinduism is missing THE point of Hinduism – Ekam Sat/Truth is ONE. I’m sure they understand this, superficially, but I’m also inclined to think they’re missing a lot of divine experience because they appear to be getting lost in the myriad expressions of The One.

    And you’re absolutely right that bhaktas of any single ishtadevata might lean towards placing their chosen devata because they see in it The One. I think a trick with this is to have enough devotion to one’s ishtadevata to achieve experiential realization, without falling into imbalance.

  2. treadmarkz says:

    You just can’t simplify it. If you did, it would not be symbolic of the seemingly-multiplicitous material world which is actually One.

  3. Pingback: Exploring Pune | Explore, Discover, Blog

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