- Founder/s: ??? (unknown or of doubtful authenticity, except that it was definitely more than one)
- Approximate age: 2500-3000 years
- Place of origin: India
- Holy book/s: Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas, Epics and others
- Original language of holy book/s: Sanskrit
- Demonym of adherents: Hindus
- Approximate number of current global adherents: 1, 000,000,000
- Place of worship name/s: temple, mandir, mandira
Note: Sanatana Dharma is the endonym for Hinduism, meaning eternal way/ law.
I don’t claim expertise. My knowledge mainly comes from observing and listening to Hindus themselves as well as background research. Having said that, to date I’ve not found a single thing I consider good about Hinduism. Reasons:
Of The Big 6 it’s the most racist and xenophobic. You’ll never hear this from Hindus themselves, but its very origins are the invasion and destruction of original Indian civilisations by Persian Aryans (known as the Aryan invasion theory). That’s why the varnashramadharma – caste system – exists. That’s why Sasians have been so anti-melanin for the past few thousand years! They claim god Krishna gained his black skin by ingesting the poison from a giant black river snake. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It’s internally inconsistent, even more so than Christianity. That’s because if you follow it carefully you see Hinduism isn’t one religion but multiple. Bits and pieces of native and invader creeds sewn together to pacify and annex the low-castes (Shudras) & no-castes (Dalits/ untouchables). This is why there’s no certainty over who founded it.
There are so many different gods, it’s amazing how they keep track of them. One Hindu guy I knew, who followed the Swaminarayan tradition, said a god is just anyone who creates a new social order. That explains why these gods are so humanoid – because they are bloodclaat humans! And most are so Aryan-looking, i.e. ‘white’*. On top of that, the Rig Veda (oldest of the Vedas) is full of praises to Agni and Indra as he/they defeated the “evil/ sinful” natives in battle.
In addition to the different types of gods, there are all other kinds of ridiculous myths: the earth and sky came from the silver and gold halves of a cosmic egg respectively (Khândogya Upanishad 3,19), all our sense organs perceive both good and evil because the evil asuras “pierced” them with evil when the good devas were meditating on them (Khândogya Upanishad 1,2),
The Vedas are written from the perspective of the high-caste males. Everyone else is sidelined or omitted at best. Hence the need for a book like The Hindus: an Alternative History (ISBN 9780143116691). Unsurprisingly India has banned it as religious discrimination/ hate speech.
Even though there are many highly revered & oft-mentioned goddesses, that doesn’t translate into good treatment of real women. According to the above book, reverence works in opposite ways between the sexes – the more male deities are valued, the more men are valued but the more female deities are valued, the less women are valued. Women are shakti (divine creative power) while men have shakti. A good woman is seen as one who sacrifices everything for her husband – even her life. Sounds arguably noble, except that she’s expected to commit sati (self-immolation) on her dead husband’s funeral pyre.
In the Mahabharata (a long-ass story about kings, courts and wars), the character Droupadi was attacked by a guy called Kichaka because he wanted her. She was in the process of escaping and ran to king Yudhishthira for protection but Kichaka caught her, flung her to the floor and kicked her. Yes the king was watching. His duty as a kshatriya was to protect “his” women, but he was too busy gambling. In fact, when Droupadi screamed at him to do something, he claimed he can’t pass judgement on Kichaka ’cause he didn’t see anything! And readers are supposed to just accept this as good?!?
Like Judaism and Christianity, it seeks to appease divinity through sacrificing innocent animals. No need for details.
I have come to agree with Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar. He was a Dalit activist who argued that:
- Hinduism is the single biggest cause of all racism, misogyny, violence, sexual assault, bigotry, economic disparity & education disparity in India,
- By definition Dalits are not Hindus because they’re not counted as a varna (caste), nor should they try to be since they’re the original inhabitants of India. They shouldn’t feel the need to assimilate with the newcomers’ culture, so to speak,
- India’s racism is worse than the USA’s & Europe’s because it’s lasted longer and had far less resistance, and
- Near enough all Sasians believe in caste in some way or another no matter what religion they follow.
On top of that, only those of historically Brahmin ancestry are allowed to learn & teach the Vedas. Everyone else must only learn it second-hand from them, especially the low-castes & no-castes. Very good way to keep slaves in line.
Oh, on this point. The way the Dalits/ untouchables/ no-castes are treated is disgusting. Here in the West it’s bad; lighter-skinned Sasians will actively avoid close proximity with darker-skinned ones, using other ‘black’ people as a barrier if we’re available. I know because it’s happened to me more than once. Back in
good ol’ Hindustan it’s worse. See parts 1-10 of India Untouched here.
In Part 2 at least, you’ll see Hindu scholars make all kinds of excuses why varnashramadharma is good and shouldn’t be changed. In other words, deflection & justification. I and Ambedkar would both agree with them that you can’t believe in the Vedas or be a Hindu without believing in caste.
Samsara – reincarnation. What’s the point? Why are souls recycled into new bodies to atone for past sins they don’t even remember? What proof is there that it happens?
Dharma – duty. As explained by Vidura in the Mahabharata volume 4, chapter 703(40), no-one can escape their social duty/ destiny. He very clearly states, “No mortal one is capable of transgressing destiny. I think that destiny is the one who acts and human endeavour is futile”. The duty of the brahmana is to constantly study and never accept food from untouchables, the kshatriya’s to perform sacrifices and wield weapons for the brahmana’s sake, the vaishya’s to distribute his wealth to brahamans & kshatriyas and inhale “sacred smoke of the 3 pure fires”, and the shudra’s to serve them all (“Even one single angry brahmana destroys a kingdom” and “Lack of servitude, haste boastfulness – these are the 3 weapons that destroy learning”). He also says, “A person who seeks happiness should give up learning. A person who seeks learning should give up happiness.” Y’WHAT?!? So smart people can’t be happy?
And finally comes the recent phenomenon of Hindu nationalism, or Hindutva. These are Hindu extremists who believe south Asia is for Hindus only.
Oh wait, there are some things I like about this religion after all:
Karma – reap what you sow. You are punished or rewarded according to your deeds. Your destiny/ luck is the consequence of your actions. Obviously I call bullshit at the “you’ll get reincarnated as higher/ lower beings according to your karma” doctrine, but when only applied to this life it’s a decent philosophy.
Yoga – it’s very effective and there is a very deep level of science behind it. My girlfriend’s sister told me it was handed down to Hindus by the gods (according to them, but scholars reckon it was a pre-Vedic tradition) and developed over centuries to take account of the body’s natural energy flows, tissues, etc. However, this might just be the secular form we know in the West. Contrary to how it’s presented to us, Yoga is one of the 6 darśanas (philosophies) of Hinduism and therefore a fundamental part of the religion/s.
Ṛta – some Hindus believe that rather than god/s, the universe is really governed by an abstract impersonal all-embodying principle called Ṛta. Though its full range of meanings has yet to be discovered even now, Ṛta embodies concepts such as karma, truth, dharma (social duty, which I don’t agree with but whatever), cosmic order, and ethics & morality. It’s pretty comparable to the Kemetic Ma’at, Greek Logos (as understood by Heraclitus), and Chinese Tao.
Except that it’s believed to be guarded by the god Varuna. KMT.
Oh, and they’re really good at making their gods look pretty. Kali’s got a damn good bod!!!
See the Vedas here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/