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Religions of India and Christianity

India is one of the most religiously diverse and spiritual places on the planet. While Hinduism is the dominating religion, 18% of the people practice other religions. When you talk about the outcome to the East, about the turns to the East, it is easy to be misunderstood. You may get the impression of calling for the adoption of one of the “eastern” cultures, or at least part of one of these cultures. And since the most striking difference between any “Eastern” culture and “Western” lies in the religious sphere, often the call for a turn to the East is understood in the sense of attraction to one of the “Eastern” religions. And when we talk about Religions of India we must take into consideration many aspects of social, cultural and historical events.

Religions of India and Christianity
Religions of India and Christianity

In our transitional time, a time of disappointment in the seemingly undeniable values ​​of European culture, people who are confused, feeling that something must be changed radically, but who do not understand what it is, often direct their views precisely in this direction. They think to produce some kind of synthesis between Christianity and the “religions of the East.” This trend has long existed, and it arose in the West, mainly in the Anglo-Saxon countries, where Christianity without ecclesiastical, Christianity without dogma has long degenerated into some kind of hypocritical bigotry. And the hobby of theosophy from there penetrated to us, among the western intelligentsia, far from the Church, not well acquainted with Orthodoxy, who was used to seeking to satisfy their religious needs anywhere, but not in Orthodoxy, previously declared untenable.

National religions of the “Far East” attract few people. The Religion of China, based on the worship of dead ancestors, on the cult of demons and the forces of nature, is too alien to our religious psychology. We are surprised at the calm equilibrium of the Chinese, their lack of fear, a businesslike attitude towards death, and sometimes even envy these properties off their religious psychology; but all this is deeply alien to us, we are aware that this is a product of many thousands of years of spiritual development, which has nothing to do with us, and therefore no one is going to become Chinese.

Approximately the same should be said about Islam. Among religions of India, Islam stands second. We admire the spiritual discipline of the Muslim world, its majestic cohesion, the single striving of its worldview, in which law, religion, and life merge into one indivisible whole. But when we read the Qur’an in order to find satisfaction in it with our religious needs, we are disappointed. The dogma of Islam turns out to be poor, flat and banal; morality is rude and elementary, and none of us sincerely can become an orthodox Muslim.

On the other hand, the so-called “mystic of the East”, religious, philosophical and mystical systems of India and Sufism have a tremendous attractive force for every western intellectual. It is from this mysticism that theosophy comes, seeking to synthesize it on the one hand with Christianity, on the other with Kabbalism and the magical-mystical teachings adjacent to Kabbalah. The passion for the “mystics of the East” is largely based on two misunderstandings.

First, they get acquainted with this mysticism by theosophical treatises of an agitational, propaganda nature, written without any scientific method or, even worse, by the quasi-scientific method. And secondly, people who study this mystic and want to synthesize it with Christianity, imagine something very vague and vague under the name of Christianity, separating it from historical Christianity, revealed in the dogmas of the Church, in the works of great ascetics and fathers of the Church. The lack of solid ground of the Christian worldview of these people does not allow them to see the deep differences between this worldview and the mentioned mystical or philosophical systems of the East and forces them to overestimate random and superficial similarities in details, taking this apparent similarity as an internal identity of the teachings.

Revelations of the seducer’s spirit

The Apostle John says: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are from God because many false prophets have appeared in the world” ( 1 John 4: 1 ). This commandment is especially to be remembered. Of all the teachings of the Orthodox Church, the teaching of Satan is the worst assimilated by modern, even believing, educated people. Having believed that he exists, that he is constantly looking to seduce people, approaching them for this in the most attractive and deceptive way, we will understand how enormous dangers are exposed to any mystic who is not aware of his existence and is seeking revelation. Revelation can come from the devil, and it is not always easy to distinguish it from the revelation of the divine.

According to the teachings of the Orthodox Church, the first time after death, when the soul has just separated from the body, demons pounce on it in different ways, sometimes very deceptive, and only the soul, protected from demons by gifts of grace, repentance, and prayer in life, can go through victoriously these dangers. Therefore, it is so important to die with prayer and repentance, to receive the gifts of grace before death itself through the Sacraments of repentance, communion, and function. Therefore, the Church has established an intensified prayer for the dead within 40 days after death.

More or less the same thing happens with a person’s soul when, even in life, it is so emancipated from the body shell that it becomes able to communicate directly with the other world. First of all, demons are attacking the soul of this person under different views, and woe to this person, if at that moment of ecstasy, at the time of “coming out of himself” he did not rush towards God with his whole being, did not entrust himself completely to His protection and protection. The creations of the holy devotees and their life stories are full of stories about false visions, about the clash of devotees with demons that appear unrecognized.

The psychophysical methods of bringing oneself to ecstasy are more or less the same for all nations: from the outside, they are almost the same for Christian ascetics as for Hindu hermits. But it is far from indifferent whether this “exit from oneself” is made as a result of intense prayer striving towards God, or for the sake of curiosity and with the aim of acquiring magical power. In the first case, the most prayerful striving is a powerful tool of protection against the machinations of Satan, attacking the soul unprotected by body shell, and some guarantee of the divine source of revelations and visions experienced by the soul. In the second, the unprotected soul almost certainly falls into the devil’s network, and the revelations it received have a satanic rather than divine source. Thus, it is necessary to recognize that a significant part, even the majority of mystical revelations,

Prayers to the gods

A person can pray for anything, for the forgiveness of sins and the incitement of illness on a personal enemy. And every prayer can be heard: the whole question is by whom. God accepts a prayer that comes from a pure heart, from a heart purified of pride, self-love and malice, a prayer imbued with the spirit of love for God and neighbor. Satan accepts other prayers if they are sent to him or his demons, and if he fulfills them, he can thus take possession of the soul of man.

In the moral and indifferent polytheism, there are no prayers of what is permitted and forbidden. The polytheist prays for all that is necessary, and relates his prayers not to one object of the cult, but to many, associating each particular category of his prayers with some particular religious way; Each image gets its own special name or nickname, but they are all indifferently referred to as “gods.” Psychologically, each “god” of the polytheistic pantheon is a well-known set of associations associated with the process of prayers of a certain category, which arises in the mind of the person praying only in this process, and is thus functionally related to this category of prayers.

From this point of view, the Pantheon in its whole is, as it were, a symbol of the total amount of needs, which it considers necessary and possible to pray for this nation. But, approaching the same question not from a psychological point of view, but from the point of view of Christian dogma and considering individual “gods” not only as objects of prayers, but also as subjects (potential or real) of the performance of these prayers, we must recognize that most there are demons. Only those “gods” to whom prayers are sent, connected with morally valuable experiences, can be considered as unclearly conscious elements of a truly divine or angelic image.

In the process of historical evolution, the images of the “gods” of the polytheistic pantheon are constantly changing. Borders between individual categories of prayers are moved. Close images of “gods” are associated with each other, affect each other, or merge together. Along with new needs, new prayers appear that either create new gods for themselves or by joining one of the existing categories of prayers, enter into a functional relationship with one of the old “gods”, adding or changing its image accordingly.

From the point of view of the Christian assessment, this evolution is presented in a different form. The demon always remains a demon. His image can change, from an animal to turn into a humanoid, from terrible to attractive. But, in essence, the supernatural being, of which from the very beginning it was known that it receives and performs prayers caused by sinful promptings and associated with sinful empathy, always remains evil, and consequently, immoral, indulging the bad instincts of its fans.

Religions of India: The origins of Hinduism

Let us try from this point of view to approach the consideration of the historical development of the religions of India. The oldest period of this historical development is called “Vedic” or “Vedic” because the monuments of this period are collections of religious works, which are called Vedas (Vedas) and of which the main ones are Rigveda and Atharvaveda. The religion of this period is usually portrayed as the deification of natural phenomena. This is completely wrong.

The hymns dedicated to the deified phenomena of nature (sky, earth, water, sun, wind) are very few in Rigved, and nothing indicates that these phenomena have any prominent place in the religious consciousness. In the traditional list of great gods called upon during the sacrifice in honor of “all gods” (devas), these deified phenomena of nature are not mentioned, except for the morning wind (Vayu), which, as the fastest of the gods, first arrives at the altar and inflates the sacrificial fire . In general, the phenomena and objects of nature are praised and deified only to the extent that they are elements and accessories of the sacrifice: the dawn (Ushas) – as the time and signal of the morning service; the wind (Vayu) – as a sacrificial fire blowing with its breath; the fire itself (Agni) – as the main accessory of the sacrifice; finally, Soma is a plant from whose juice an intoxicating drink of the same name is prepared, serving as the main object of sacrifice. But in the same way, the abstract concepts associated with worship are also deified – the worship itself (Brahman or Brihaspati, Brahmanaspati), prayer (Vas), etc.

Thus, the notorious naturalism of the Vedic era is greatly exaggerated. It has no independent meaning and is only a manifestation of the general tendency to defy everything that is in one way or another associated with worship, and this tendency seems to have started to act a long time ago, before the creation of the most ancient hymns Rigved, in the so-called Indo-Iranian epoch” when Indians and Iranians spoke another common language: for example, the cult of“soma ”(Ind. Soma, Iran. Homa) is known both in India and Iran. In essence, the religion of India in the Vedic period was the veneration of the great gods, who were thought of as certain supernatural beings, in no way connected with this or that phenomenon of visible nature.[1] , and the Hindus – with the latest speculative concepts, very far from the religious psychology of the Vedic period.

Among the gods of the Vedic pantheon, two most prominent figures are put forward – Varuna and Indra. These images are far from each other. Varuna is drawn in the hymns of the Pig-Veda as an omnipotent, omniscient, and all-good creator and provider. He created the sky, the earth, and the airspace separating them, saw the path on the earth for rivers, in the sky for the stars, and in the air for the winds. Everything in the world moves according to the laws established by it, it knows the past, the present, and the future. He established laws not only for physical nature but also for the moral life of people and demands from these latter that they fulfill his laws. He immediately violates his laws, he cannot be deceived. In punishment for crimes, he sends a grave state of mind, remorse of conscience, a painful consciousness of his sinfulness to a person. It is impossible to pay off this sacrificial handout from this difficult condition, and you can get rid of it only by repentance and fervent prayer. Varuna is the only god addressed to penitential psalms. These psalms are full of the consciousness of human weakness and sinfulness and at the same time the trusting conviction of the mercy of omniscient Varuna, who knows human weaknesses and forgives them with the cash of sincere repentance. And this is why an intimate personal relationship is established with the believer with Varuna, despite his all-encompassing greatness of the creator and promise, which, it would seem, should exclude intimacy. These psalms are full of the consciousness of human weakness and sinfulness and at the same time the trusting conviction of the mercy of omniscient Varuna, who knows human weaknesses and forgives them with the cash of sincere repentance. The god Indra has a completely different look. It reflected the features of the earthly kings of India. In that ancient epoch, when psalms and prayers of the Vedic period were created, these kings did not show the effeminacy of the later rulers of India, but in the germ, these features already existed in the form of an unbridled thirst for sensual pleasures. Only this sensuality was still unfinished, rough and combined with rough militancy and love of sport (especially racing). All these traits are embodied in the image of Indra. Of all the gods of the Vedic pantheon, Indra is the most greedy of the intoxicating drink, soma. During the sacrifice to “all gods,” he, apparently, was supposed to give a double portion of this drink compared to other gods: at least in the formula accompanying the sacrifice, his name is called twice, and the other names are called one at a time. When he gets drunk, he becomes capable of everything and with his weighty club vajjra (Vajra) crushes anyone who comes up under his arm. In a drunken state, he did not spare his father Tvashtar, who was killed by a blow with a club, when he refused him a portion of “soma.” Whoever gives him water will help him with his superhuman, heroic power; will help in the battle and after the battle again require a drink. There is a hymn (10, 119) in the Pig-Veda, which is a monologue embedded in the mouth of Indra. The drunken “god”, made heavy by the drunk “soma”, returns after a series of militant adventures and tries in vain to restore the events in which he participated in his clouded consciousness. In an incoherent manner, recalling his individual exploits, at the end of each stanza he asks himself: “what is this, am I drunk … ”In other hymns, indications of Indra’s most reprehensible romantic adventures have been preserved. This is the second main god of the Vedic period.

Around Varuna, around Indra, their satellites gods are grouped smaller. When Varuna consist of several so-called Adityas, whose number is uncertain (from 5 to 12). The main one is Mitra (actually “friend”), others bear names with an abstract meaning: Bhaga means “happiness”, Aryaman means “friendly”, etc. In addition, around the heavenly throne of Varuna stand and watch in different directions vigilant “spy” (spaces), informing Varuna about everything that happens in the world. Under Indra, there is a detachment of Marut’s warlike and restless spirits and several minor figures, such as the werewolf god Vishnu and Pushan, the original shepherd tracker god, who was called a “mockery” in mockery. The rest of the gods of the Vedic pantheon in the complete absence of moral requirements for their fans, in greed for the victims, who can buy their location, more like Indra. Of these, mention should be made of the twin horsemen (Covina) of Native and the terrible forest god Rudra, who are interesting as contrasting with the image of Varuna. “Riders” – Ashchvins (or Nasaayau) specialized in miracles. These are fast helpers, appearing with incredible speed when their pets from people fall into a hopeless situation, and always saving them by some miracle that violates the natural laws of nature. To become their favorite, you have to sacrifice to them more often. and always saving them by some miracle, violating the natural laws of nature. To become their favorite, you have to sacrifice to them more often. and always saving them by some miracle, violating the natural laws of nature. To become their favorite, you have to sacrifice to them more often.

Thus, if Varuna is following the inviolability and regularity of the world order established by him, and if Varuna demands that people comply with moral laws, then the Ashchvins only require more frequent sacrifices from them. The terrible god Rudra, who lives in wild forests and commands forest animals, is very touchy: for the slightest disrespect or lack of accuracy in the sacrifice dedicated to him, he sends to the guilty fears and diseases (fever) that he alone can take for the appropriate number of sacrifices. Thus, if a sin before Varuna is a violation of moral laws, then a sin before Rudra consists in at least an unconscious violation of some formality of worship; and if Varuna punishes with remorse [2]then Rudra punishes with purely physical suffering.

Pantheon of Hindu deities

If we approach this picture of the Vedic pantheon from the above Christian point of view, then it can only be assessed in one sense. The only image worthy of the predicate of the divine is the image of Varuna. His satellites more or less correspond to the angels. All other “gods” are undoubted demons. The Vedas are called “gods” and Varuna and Indra. But it is absolutely clear that such a state of affairs could not long hold on. The image of Varuna not only holds a special position in the pantheon but is directly opposite to the images of all the other “gods”, the most prominent of which is the image of Indra. All these powerful gods and miracle-working gods are different from people only by their greater strength or ability to work miracles. All of them can be bought for sacrificial handouts, they do not impose any moral requirements on people, and they themselves do not show any higher morality.

Such different images could not long be held in the same religious consciousness, and the religious consciousness of the Indian priests by the end of the Vedic period must face a dilemma: Varuna or Indra? One out of two. Or Varuna is the true God, and then anyone who violates the world order established by him (including mercenary miracle workers like the Awchwins) or who violates his moral laws (including Indra) is a villain, a demon, a demon. Or true gods are all these greedy to “soma” and jealous of their own selfish interests, strong men and wizards, and then Varuna is not needed.

They try to solve this problem with a compromise. In the Rig-Veda, there are hymns dedicated to both Varuna and Indra in an attempt to delineate the spheres of action of both gods. But the compromises did not succeed. It was necessary to make a choice, and by the end of the Vedic era, the choice was made … in favor of Indra. It is possible that special historical circumstances contributed to this. Moving south from Punjab, the Indians had to wage a continuous and stubborn struggle with the black natives of Hindustan. The king-conqueror became a national hero, and prayers increasingly began to ascend to the powerful victor in the battlefield – Indra. Be that as it may, in the later parts of the Vedas the number of hymns and prayers to Indra far exceeds the number of hymns of Varuna. (In the later part of the Rig-Veda, in the so-called “tenth mandala”, there are no hymns dedicated to the same Varuna, There are a lot of hymns dedicated to Indra alone.) Indra’s hymns are becoming more colorful and more enthusiastic, and the image of Varuna dims. Finally, in Atharvaveda (20, 106), Varuna is portrayed as worshiping Indra. As a result, Indra is the king of the gods in the next period of development of the Indian religion, in the so-called era of the “old Brahmanism,” and Varuna is given the third-rate role of the sea god, that is, the god of the most unnecessary, since navigation did not play a significant role .

The fact of the victory of Indra over Varuna is not sufficiently appreciated by researchers of the history of religion in India. Meanwhile, this fact was fraught with consequences and predetermined all further development of Indian religious thought.

Brahminism coming

The next period in the history of Indian religion is called the period of the old Brahmanism. This period is characterized by the complication of the cult, causing, on the one hand, great literature, ritual guides, and commentaries on worship, and on the other, a caste of professional brahman priests. On the inner side, this period is transitional from the end of the Vedic to the beginning of the Buddhist. Religious thought carries the first consequences of the fact of Indra’s victory over Varuna and prepares the atmosphere in which Buddhism originated. After the only creator-god and all-holder were removed from the field of religious consciousness and at the same time the only divine image associated with the concept of the moral law, the picture of the world had to change significantly in the eyes of the Hindus. The world turned out to be a field of uncoordinated activity of numerous, selfish-minded and with each other are not connected strong gods and wizards, of which everyone can constantly partially disrupt the natural course of the life of the world. At the same time, none of these gods represent any moral qualities. There is no justice or reason in the world order, there are only physical strength and magical dexterity reigning in him. By carefully fulfilling the requirements of the ritual in all the subtleties of ritual art, a priest can appease one or several of these gods and cause them to perform one miracle or another, to cause an event that is desirable for him. Hence, the primordial importance attached to priestly art, knowledge of ritual and other sacred literature during this period. of which everyone can constantly partially disrupt the natural flow of the life of the world. At the same time, none of these gods represent any moral qualities.

We saw above that already from the most ancient times, everything connected with the sacrifice began to personify and be glorified. Now, with the increased significance of worship and with the complication of the latter, such deification reaches its apogee. Gradually, the sacrifice and especially its previous preparatory rites of fasting, concentration of attention, silence, and “heating” or “accumulating heat” (tapas) begin to be presented as completely independent and valuable magic actions themselves.

Indeed, if the gods are morally no higher than humans, if they are not the creators of the world, then it is clear that everything they accomplished could have been perfect as a human if this latter had managed to achieve the same magical power. Where does this power from the gods come from? A simple man, in order to achieve the miracle he needs, goes to the priest, gives him a fee, and the latter, again for the fee of the sacrifice, bribes God and causes him to do the required. If a person sacrifices to another person – a priest, and a priest sacrifices to a god who is morally no different from a person, then it is clear that this god also makes a sacrifice to perform the required miracle. The concept of sacrifice is created as a means of achieving a miracle, not only for people but also for gods. All the gods are priests, who continually perform the exercises required for a successful sacrifice,

The magical power (Prabhava) of the gods is that they have accumulated the energy of preparatory asceticism in more quantity than a normal priest. Once this secret is found, a person immediately receives a new task: to try to save up the energy of preparatory asceticism in such quantity that it can work miracles directly, without the help of the gods, and thus catch up with the gods. And individuals with fervor are accepted for this task.

We emphasize this logical consequence of the displacement of the image of Varuna from Indian religious consciousness by Indra. If at the beginning of the Vedic period, a person set himself the task of “walking in the ways of Varuna” and executing his laws, then after the overthrow of Varuna, the person’s task was to level with the gods regarding their magical power. Left without an all-good creator, an almighty, man wished to become a god. The myths of the old Brahminism are full of stories about great ascetics who proudly embarked on this path of acquiring divine magical power.

Many of them are not lucky. The gods, living in constant fear of their inaccessibility, ensure that none of the mortals have accumulated ascetic energy (Tapahrabhava) in an amount sufficient to obtain a magical power equal to the divine. Having learned that some “muni” lives in one forest or another and ascetic force accumulates, they immediately try to prevent him from doing so, especially sending beautiful apsaras to him to distract his attention. Sometimes the gods succeed, but not always. And then between the proud muni and the gods, the single combat, the contest in magical power, is fastened. Often muni inflicts wounds and damage to the gods. For the most part, the gods are victorious, but they still had to accept some of the mortals into their midst.

These myths are deeply characteristic of the era of the old Brahmanism. In them, gods and people act as creatures competing with each other. The humiliating fear of the gods over the possibility of diminishing their prestige leads to their moral debunking. At this point, religion is almost no longer a religion. And religious consciousness, of course, could not stop there. Moreover, the idea of ​​the world as the field of action of the whims and arbitrariness of wonder-workers fighting each other contradicted the obvious fact of the correctness of the course of natural phenomena, the general harmony of the universe. This fact suggests the existence of some divine substrate of the universe, and the old Brahminism thought to find it in the idea of ​​Brahma.

The word brahman (sr. P.) Actually means “worship.” We have already said that worship was deified in the Vedic era, sometimes taking the form of the “god” Brihaspati or Brahmanaspati, playing the role of a divine priest and in this role competing with Agni. In the era of the old Brahminism, when the sacrifice and the associated ascetic exercises acquired the significance of an independent cosmic factor and the source of the magical power of people and gods, the concept of Brahma acquired a new and especially important meaning. From a source of magical power, it turns into a source of being, finally, into some kind of “reservoir of being”, into a substance that has the fullness of being. Brahma is mixed with the Atman, that is, with the universal soul. It is assumed that everything that exists in the world necessarily contains in itself a particle of this Brahma, outside of which there is no being. Everything existing is transient: animals, people, gods, the whole world – it is created, then destroyed, then re-created. The emergence of the world with its beasts, people, and gods is like the day of Brahma, the destruction of all this is the night of Brahma. These “days” and “nights” replace each other, but Brahma remains. His being is not like the being of other beings, for he has neither feelings nor thoughts, he seems to be sleeping without dreams.

It cannot be said that in the era of the old Brahmanism, the idea of ​​Brahma was distinguished by great clarity. In any case, in this epoch, Brahma is mainly an abstract concept (“absolute being”, “substance”), and not an anthropomorphic or rational person in general, although the beginnings of personification and the associated deification are already noticed. The idea of ​​Brahma as a common source of the existence of everything that exists, including the gods, and the source, so to speak, of the passive one, is the dominant idea of ​​Brahmanism. When morally debunking the gods, put on a par with people, Brahma was a surrogate for the absolute God, but a surrogate, for Brahma’s idea, did not contain any moral essence, and Brahma is a “vital principle” and not a living person.

Another significant factor of this epoch, the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, is also associated with the idea of ​​Brahma and the moral debunking of the gods. Having destroyed the fundamental line between God and man, Brahmanism had to naturally destroy another side, between man and animal. The doctrine that everything living in the world is created from the same material, from the substance of Brahma, still facilitated the destruction of this facet. The roots of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls lie, perhaps, in the distant past, in the remnants of animism and totemism. But in the Vedas, there is no indication of this doctrine,and as a systematic doctrine it enters for the first time in the era of the old Brahmanism in connection with the main new idea of ​​this era with the idea of ​​Brahma.

According to this idea, the soul is part of Brahma. It connects with the body, breaking away from its source, but in the end, it must return to this source and dissolve again in Brahma. But for this, it needs to go through different stages of development in order to be cleansed of communication with the matter. The stages of soul development are precisely established. First, she lives in worms and other similar animals, then moves to the bodies of more honorable animals, finally gets into the human body of a lower caste, after his death – a representative of the next caste, etc., up to a representative of the higher caste of priests (Brahmin); after the death of the latter, there is a “release” (moksha) from the connection with matter, and the soul dissolves in Brahma. This happens under the best possible circumstances. The order, however, is violated if the soul commits a crime during one of its incarnations.

It may seem that the doctrine of karma is moral, that it is a stimulus to a virtuous life. This, however, is not entirely true. For the era of the old Brahminism, the idea of ​​karma is nothing more than the mystical justification of the caste system [3] . Those virtues that are required of a person so that his soul after death migrates to a higher being, consist mainly in respect for elders (by age or caste) and in strict observance of all ritual prescriptions, of which the majority requires the participation of a brahmin receiving for it a decent fee. The sins for which the soul after death moves to lower beings consist mainly in violation of the ritual instructions, in insulting the elders, in stinginess with respect to the priests, etc.

Sins of a more moral character are also regarded from the point of view of the same caste system. For example, for the murder of a man of the highest caste, the soul of a murderer goes to hell (Naraloka), from where she has to start climbing the steps of perfection from the very bottom, starting with the worm. If we add to this that the same act committed by a person of a higher caste entails less heavy karma (less low relocation) than when a member of a lower caste performs it, it becomes clear that about morality in our sense of the word here say no.

Evaluation of Brahminism

Such is the general outlook of the old Brahminism. All this is a consequence of the disappearance from the religious consciousness of the image of Varuna, the only creator-perpetrator. Hence, the moral debunking of the gods, the deprivation of their true attributes of divinity. And from here, in turn, on the one hand – the desire of man to equal God with regard to magical power, and on the other – the idea of ​​blind rock, the senseless fatal circulation of the universe, the cycle in which both the gods and people participate and cannot be released.

Religious thinkers of this era begin to be frightened by that gloomy abyss, before which religious consciousness has appeared. The senselessness of the cycle of the universe with its transmigration of souls, the “nights” and “days” of Brahma and at the same time the fatal necessity for all beings, not excluding the gods, were frightened to participate in this cycle, but at the same time, they were outraged. Accustomed to fighting with the gods as equals, to rebel against them, Hindu thinkers have now rebelled against the world order itself, which has not been established by anyone, but still for all the obligatory law, terrible in its inevitability, but outrageous in its absurdity. Religious thought sets itself the task: to find a way out of the cycle of being and get out of this cycle, of course, on its own, without the help of God. The latter is quite logical:

The religious thought of the end of the era of the old Brahmanism works hard on the problem of getting out of the cycle of being. Several philosophical systems appear in which this question always stands in the forefront. For the most part, salvation is seen incomprehension, in the knowledge of some mystery. What exactly needs to be learned depends on the nature of the system. There are monistic and dualistic systems.

Of the first, the main one is the Vedanta system (Vedanta, “completion of the Vedas”), according to which there is nothing but a single, indivisible and unchangeable spiritual substance (Brahman or Atman); every person is this very substance, it is not its modification (since it is unchangeable), not a part (since it is indivisible), but simply the entire substance as a whole; the apparent diversity of the world and the entire cosmic cycle of transmigration of souls, destruction and creation, etc., is deception (Maya) caused by ignorance (Avidya); as soon as a man realizes his complete identity with the absolute spirit, he will immediately leave the circulation; the visibility of his body will still exist for some time, as the pottery lathe continues to spin, from which the pot has already been removed, but his soul no longer has an individual existence, and after death it will no longer move,

The dualistic system is the doctrine of the philosopher Kapila, called “Sankhya”, and the Yoga doctrine of the philosopher Patanjali adjoining it in its theoretical part. According to this teaching, life is obtained by combining two substances: spiritual (Purusha, Atman) and materials (Prakriti), which are completely heterogeneous, but unaware of their heterogeneity and attract each other. It is up to the human soul to clearly recognize all the difference of its nature from the nature of matter and to be deeply imbued with this consciousness, how it will be released from communication with the body and after death will lose the ability to attract matter: such a soul will no longer move to anyone, and after death it will dissolve into spiritual substance. Every being is suffering, and therefore it is recommended for everyone to come out of the cycle of being in this way.

The School of Yoga has developed a whole regime of psychophysical exercises, which should contribute to the emancipation of the soul from the body and the comprehension of the heterogeneity of spiritual and material substances. In part, these exercises are a further improvement of those ascetic actions that were previously performed with a different purpose.

As can be seen from this presentation, these philosophical systems do without the idea of ​​the Divine, as well as without the concept of good and morality. Their adherents, however, have not yet decided to openly break with the “dominant religion.” Each such system in words, at least, recognizes all the “Holy Scripture”, accepts the entire established ritual canon, as well as the caste system. But logic demanded a break with these prejudices endured, and this break was indeed produced by Buddhism.

The emergence of Buddhism

Buddhism, founded by Prince Siddhartha nicknamed Cakyamuni or Buddha, is an independent doctrine, developed, no doubt, on the basis of the Sankhya-Yoga system. Together with Kapila and Patanjali, the Buddha recognized that the world was not created by anyone, but arises automatically, thanks to the law of attraction of spiritual substance to matter; He also recognized all being as suffering and the cause of this suffering was also seen in the heterogeneity of the two substances (material and spiritual), from the union of which all being comes. But the reason that the soul nevertheless continues to unite with the matter, the Buddha saw not that the spiritual substance does not recognize its fundamental heterogeneity with the material substance, but that the soul is inherent in thirst or attraction (Trishna) to life. According to this

Every occurrence of living beings is based on desire: on the one hand, birth is the result of sexual attraction, and on the other, every born being, according to the doctrine of karma, was born just because in the previous incarnation this soul performed various acts caused desires. If you could destroy the attraction – life, being, would cease.

According to the Buddha’s teachings, the soul of a person is surrounded by a certain envelope (sanskara) on which prints of all thoughts, desires, and feelings experienced by a person during life are laid. Thanks to this shell, the soul is conscious of itself as an individual (Namarupa), and the assertion of its individuality generates the will to live. After the death of a person, the soul, by virtue of this will to live, will certainly move to another living being, which, again, thanks to the same will to live, will certainly act and perform various actions. The actions are accompanied by thoughts, desires, and feelings, which are again precipitated around the soul and form a new shell with all further consequences.

Thus, in the normal course of business, the transmigration of souls and the cycle of being can never cease. In order to stop this evil, it is necessary to eliminate its root cause. Man must destroy in himself every interest and will to live. He must live in such a way that he has neither feelings, nor desires, nor impressions that could be deposited by a shell around his soul. Thus, it prevents the formation of a new shell, and at the same time, by killing the consciousness of its individuality in itself, it also destroys the old shell of the soul. This state of complete impassivity, passivity and indifference and, in essence, the complete cessation of any mental life according to Buddhist terminology is called nirvana. The soul of a person who has attained Nirvana is no longer incarnated in a new body after death. She “overcomes birth and death without reserve” and will never again unite with the material substance. It no longer exists, for existence, being is the union of spiritual substance with the material.

The path to the attainment of Nirvana Buddha indicated twofold. On the one hand, the psychophysical exercises of self-immersion, concentrated meditation, breath holding and so on, according to the techniques, are almost identical with the Yoga system. But on the other – self-sacrifice and love for all that exists (“metta”). However, this second path is, as it were, part of the first, a special psychophysical exercise. Love, mercy, compassion – all this is not a feeling for a Buddhist, because feelings in his soul should not remain, but only the result, the result of the complete loss of the sense of his individuality and his personal desires: in such a mental state, it is worthless for a person to sacrifice himself, neighbor, because, without having his own desire, he, naturally, easily fulfills the wishes of others.

It is recommended in the form of an exercise to suppress your will enough to act solely on the will of another. Forgiveness is seen as a means of destroying feelings: indifference (upekkha) finds its end when a person treats the enemy in the same way as a friend when he is indifferent to joy and pain, honor and dishonor.

The path to nirvana turns out to be so difficult that during one life {lacuna} after death and the transmigration of the soul to another, the body is counted. A person who is on the way to Nirvana and has to attain Nirvana in one of his next earth incarnations is called the Bodhisattva; a person who has attained Nirvana but has not retained the ability to teach others is called Pratyekabuddha; A person who has reached Nirvana and helps others to walk the same path is called Buddha. These are the three categories of holy Buddhism.

Buddha-Shakyamuni was consistent. He rejected the authority of “Holy Scripture”, hypocritically admitted by other schools, and rejected the caste system. The old gods, including Indra and Brahma, did not deny the Buddha-Shakyamuni, but he believed that they faced the same problem of getting out of the cycle of life through nirvana, which also faces people. And since these gods did not fall into nirvana and continue to live in the whirl of being, not only any full Buddha or Pratheka-Buddha, but any candidate for the Buddha, “bodhisattva,” stands immeasurably higher than the gods. Thus, in this way, the relegation of the gods, beginning with the era of the old Brahmanism, is completed. If at the beginning of the era of the old Brahminism people try to catch up with the gods, now there are people who are considered to have already surpassed the gods. And there are quite a few such people: northern Buddhists are considered dozens of full buddhas,

Spiritual suicide as a life goal

In Buddhism, the completion of the chain of logical consequences of Indra’s victory over Varuna at the end of the Vedic period finds itself. Having rejected the all-good God, the creator-all-holder, a man must inevitably come to the idea of ​​suicide. And since belief in the transmigration of souls makes simple suicide impractical, then for the Hindu there was only the path of spiritual suicide, a direct consequence of the rejection of God, the creator-perpetrator, the rejection committed at the end of the Vedic period. Between these two moments, cause and effect, are attempts to avoid the inevitability of the effect (that is, suicide).

The will is directed towards the attainment of magical power and towards the equation with the gods. The idea is directed towards the experience of comprehending super-individual being, towards establishing the identity of everything with everything, etc. But all this was just a distraction. The investigation still remained the only inevitable: there is no way out, except for spiritual suicide. The only thing left to do was to brighten up the gloomy position whenever possible. Spiritual suicide received the poetic name of nirvana (nir-vana itself or “windless, calm” or “redemption”). He did not ask the Buddha Shakyamuni about the essence of it, whether it is existence or non-existence: when the doctor gives you a guarantee that it will help, do not ask if this medicine is made up of plant or mineral substances.

Thus, suicide is not explicitly called, and a poetic halo is created around “Nirvana”. Buddhism is striking precisely the art with which he knows how to give an attractive look to his repulsive dark teachings.

“When a thundercloud in the sky seems to beat into the drum,
and the entire gap from the sky to the earth is filled with rain flows,
then the monk in the cave indulges in self-immersion,
and there is no greater joy for him;
on the flowering banks of the rivers crowned with forests,
he sits, indulging in self-immersion,
and there is no greater joy for him “

so is sung in one Buddhist song. But we are talking about the work of deliberately destroying your mental life, that is, conscious spiritual suicide….

In this poeticization of spiritual suicide, in this approach to the consciousness of a normal person and in facilitating such a person to take this path, the hand of Satan is clearly visible, who has built a solid nest in India’s religious consciousness over Indra’s religious consciousness. The seal of Satan is also visible in the pride of Buddhism, the pride of unheard of, exalting man over the gods and asserting that man himself can control his own destiny, his role in space. Finally, the transformation of self-sacrifice, love for all that exists and forgiveness into psychophysical exercises, necessary for the successful fulfillment of spiritual suicide, especially clearly testifies to the feeding of Buddhism with the spirit of Satan.

New Brahmanism

Buddhism is the last stage in the logical path that the religious consciousness of India entered at the end of the Vedic period. Further along this path, there was nowhere to go. But this path was not created at all for the average person. Only very proud and brave people entered upon him and walked to the end. Others have chosen a different path, a path not logical, but psychological overcoming the problem. This is the path that led to the so-called new Brahmanism or Hinduism. Some of the former researchers saw in Buddhism, which really rejected the caste system, mainly social doctrine and attributed its success to the sympathy of the broad democratic strata of the population. This is hardly true. For quite a simple people, Buddhist theories were too distracted and incomprehensible, and even unusual, as the common people were accustomed to gods.

Judging from historical evidence, Buddhism initially spread in the higher castes, and its kings contributed mainly to its rapid success. Whether these latter were guided by political considerations (the struggle against the domination of the priestly class, which occupied a higher place in the caste hierarchy than the “royal” one) or really sincerely joined Shakyamuni’s teaching, it is difficult to say.

In any case, during the life of the Buddha Bimbisar’s king of Magadha turned to his teachings, and after his death, the kings of Magadha, the descendants of Bimbisara (from Caicunaga dynasty), and later the kings from the Mauryan dynasty (descendants of Chandragupta) Indo-Scythians) zealously spread Buddhism among their subjects and sent special missions of Buddhist propaganda even abroad. This is how among the religions of India Buddhism lasted for about 700 years.

However, despite the strong support of the rulers, Buddhism did not succeed in ousting Brahminism. The latter was kept in the style of the Brahmins since some members of this caste did not go over to the trendy and officially patronized Buddhism, but Brahmanism also kept, apparently, among the masses. Existing in such a hidden, subsoil form, the old Brahminism has changed significantly. When he came to the surface and openly led the fight against Buddhism, he himself was no longer like the old Brahmanism. It was a new Brahminism, born from the old in the process, the first secret, then an obvious fight against Buddhism. From this struggle, the new Brahmanism emerged victoriously, and now it alone dominates religions of India, while Buddhism is forced out in Ceylon and Kashmir and further in Indochina, Tibet, and Mongolia.

The new Brahmanism differs from the old main in the desire to give the believers a single, absolutely and at the same time personal god. This should be seen a reaction against godless Buddhism, and in the reaction of this caste of the priests, the Brahmins converged with the mood of the broad masses, never understood “religion without God” and never ceased to worship the gods. But to satisfy these needs of religious consciousness with the means of the old Brahmanism was, of course, impossible. The old “great gods” were all too debunked. Among them, it was difficult to find a candidate for the “absolute god.” The God Brahma, who advanced during the period of strictly Brahmanism, was too similar to a philosophical allegory, and its worship, which undoubtedly existed among the caste of priests, did not penetrate into the lower classes of the people. But in these national bottoms a number of gods, goddesses, and semi-divine heroes, not provided for by the “Holy Scriptures”, and partly of non-Aryan origin, were honored. In different parts of India, these folk gods were different both in their images and in their names, but in each locality, there was someone divine image that played the role of the main god in the local religious consciousness. In order to once again lead the national religious thought, the brahmans needed to connect these local deities with some figures of the old pantheon and introduce the people’s spontaneous desire to worship the great, inaccessible and omnipotent god in the course of at least seeming orthodox Brahmanism.

When identifying the local gods with the gods of the Old-Krakhman pantheon, it was necessary, of course, to select the least “compromised” figures in this pantheon. There were two such most suitable candidates: Rudra, nicknamed Shiva, and Vishnu. In some parts of India, conditions were favorable for Shiva, in others for Vishnu.

Thus, the new Brahmanism appears in the form of two currents – Saivism and Vishnuism, depending on whether it is recognized as the main god Siva or Vishnu. Attempts to merge these two trends have been made more than once, but usually, they have come to nothing: there is no uniform religion in India.

Many newly-born sects theoretically profess the so-called Trimurti, that is, the trinity of Vishnu-Brahma-Shiva, as the fullness of the divine essence (Brahma is the creator, Shiva is the destroyer, Vishnu the promiser) Vishnu, and others, on the contrary, that Vishnu and Brahma were born by Shiva (there are no Brahmaites, that is, those who receive the main face in Trimurti Brahma). Who are these main gods of the Newly-born Man – Vishnu and Shiva? Vishnu in Rig-Ved is mentioned very little. All that is known about him is that he is a comrade and employee of Indra, and that he walked through the whole universe in three steps.

In Brahmins, this myth is told like this. When one evil demon stole the entire universe from the gods, the gods sent Vishnu to him in the form of a dwarf, asking him to give the gods the space that this dwarf could cover with three steps. When the demon agreed, Vishnu instantly turned into a giant, first walked across the whole earth, second through the air, and third through the sky, so the humbled demon had to give the whole universe to the gods, and go to hell himself.

Thus, from the most ancient times, the idea of ​​the ability to arbitrarily change its appearance was associated with the name of Vishnu. In folk bottoms about the transformations of this god-werewolf from ancient times, there were many fantastic stories. Originally the companion and assistant of Indra, Vishnu rose in the era of Indra’s exaltation of other gods. Constant proximity to the king of the gods enabled him to shine with reflected light, to advance with the help of Indra. Gradually, however, this hero of so many myths about transformations becomes more popular in the eyes of the masses of Indra himself, who is already looked upon as the patron saint of the warrior caste, and not as the real all-powerful king of the gods. And the new Bryan skillfully used this popularity in the popular bottoms of the werewolf god. A whole series of venerated heroes and local deities is declared to be the transformations of this, capable of arbitrarily changing his appearance, the god Vishnu. Having absorbed all these various revered mythological images with all the myths and ideas relating to them, the image of Vishnu grows to the size of an autocratic ruler of the universe. The remaining gods are either created by him or are his transformations (avatars).

The philosophical religious thought of the Brahmins did not hesitate to build a more systematic foundation under this shapeless clump of heterogeneous mythological ideas. The concept of “transformation” entails the idea of ​​”emanation.” Vishnu is the absolute world spirit, the gods and the world are his emanations. In the mystical poem Bhagavad Gita, part of the epic Mahabharata, Vishnu reveals his true form to his admirer, and it turns out that his body is infinite and consists of combining the bodies of gods, demons, demigods, heroes, and sentient beings. Thus, the idea of ​​transformation leads to pantheism.

The philosophical school of Vedanta, which continues to exist in the new Brahmanism, is especially popular among the Vishnuites. Of course, this philosophical treatment of vitalism did not reach the people. The people in Vishnuism, of course, did not like vague mythological reflections on the nature of the world as emanations, but the bright colors of infinitely diverse myths associated with the name of Vishnu. The people honored Vishnu in his “incarnations” – the mythical heroes of the old epic – Krishna and Rama, in monsters, now half-animals, now just animal images. There are numerous myths about each of the incarnations of Vishnu, which by their nature have nothing to do with the theories of Vishnuite mystics Vishnu or his incarnations appear in these myths with quite anthropomorphic features, with unbridled lustfulness characteristic of Vishnu.

In other parts of India, Shiva became the main god. The real most ancient name of this god was Rudra. Under this name, he appears already in the Vedas as a creepy and terrible master of wild animals, living in forests and mountains and sending diseases and fears to people. In the era of the old Brahminism, the eerie character of this god is still intensified. When sacrificing him, all possible measures are taken to ensure that he, having accepted the sacrifice, does not linger nearby and quickly leaves. His name is not recommended to call. Therefore, it is customary to call it different nicknames, mostly euphemistic: however, from such nicknames – Civa (“gracious, supportive”) – it becomes so common and common that it soon ceases to be recognized as allegorical and turns into God’s own name, replacing the old name Rudra.

Both in the Vedas and in the Brahmans, Rudra-Shiva appears as a god extremely touchy, avenging every minute violation of the ritual in which he sees the diminution of his prestige. The two main features of this god’s image — his life in wild desert places and his scrupulousness in ritual matters — defined his career in the religious consciousness of India, in which, since the time of the old Brahminism, the hermit ascetic, carefully observing the ritual and engaging in his solitude austerity exercises, as a higher being, on the path to achieving a wonderful power over the world. The ineffability of the name of Rudra-Shiva, his inaccessibility – all this also helped him to take the place of the master of the universe. It is possible, finally, that the image of some important demon from the pantheon of non-Aryan inhabitants of Hindustan has merged with his image: this assumption would explain, for example, the black color of a face attributed to Shiva by a new Brahmanism. Be that as it may, Shiva became the chief god in much of India. Philosophical and theological treatment is also present in Shaivism and in general, led to the same results here as in Vishnuism, despite the fundamental difference between the representations of Vishnu and Shiva.

The image of Siva of the great ascetic anchorite acted upon philosophical thought most of all. Since the miraculous power was always placed in connection with the ascetic exercises of self-centered hermits, Shiva turned out to be the embodiment of this power, this very force, principle and source of being. The gods and the world were created by his magical powers. The inclination to pantheism is no less here than in Vishnuism. But if among philosophers and theologians the difference between Vishnuism and Shivaism is not very perceptible, then the same cannot be said about the masses of the people.

Shaivism is a different predilection for magic and extraordinary bloodthirsty, reaching to human sacrifice. In the south of India, it is associated with the cult of “ling” (phallus), which is a symbol of Shiva himself. In general, in folk Shivaism, the view is dominated by Shiva as a cruel, terrible destroyer god. He is depicted as armed with a trident and a net, with the moon on his head and with a necklace of human skulls.

In addition to the main god, Vishnu among the Vishnuites and Shiva among the Saivites, the new Brahmanism recognizes many gods less important. Only some of them, though the least revered, go back to the old gods of the Vedic pantheon. Most of the pop-up anew from the local folk cults, maybe even non-Aryan.

Especially remarkable are the images of goddesses, in general, completely alien to the Vedas. Great gods have their spouses. The consort Vishnu, the goddess Lakshmi or Sri (originally two different goddesses), is the goddess of beauty, wealth and happiness. She has the same ability of countless reincarnation as her spouse, which made it possible to identify with her many local goddesses and epic heroines. The wife of Shiva is the goddess Durga or Parvati (also Kali) – the most terrible image of all created by the Hindu imagination. She is depicted grinning in an ominous grimace, with a mass of hands, with a necklace of human skulls. Human sacrifices were offered to her (the fanatics, they say, bring them now, but secretly, since such sacrifices are officially forbidden by the British authorities), and the cult of this goddess was always associated with wild orgies.

In addition to these goddesses, Hinduism also knows a lot of new gods, the images of which, sometimes half animals, are distinguished by fancifulness and enormity; in addition to the gods, worship is served by the sacred snakes. In Hinduism, everything is amazing, everything hits in the imagination. The architecture of the temples is majestic and bizarre, the divine service strikes with pomp, the statues of gods and goddesses are monstrous fiction. The myths of Hinduism, reminiscent of an impassable rainforest, all overgrown with a network of intertwining creeping plants, are also vividly fantastic and whimsically confusing …

With these traits, Hinduism conquered Buddhism: bright colors and overwhelmingly monstrous images spoke to the public consciousness more than the philosophizing of Buddhist monks, who also very soon became the most disgusting breed of hypocritical holy and hypocrites.

Evolution of Hinduism and Religions of India

Looking around at the whole evolution of religious thought in India, we see that, starting from the end of the Vedic period, this thought moves along a completely logically inevitable path. From this moment, as devoid of any moral idea, greedy to the intoxicating “soma”, the god Indra ousted from the religious consciousness of the Hindus all-powerful, omniscient and all-good creator and thinker – from that moment the idea of ​​the gods had to gradually change towards their debunking. At the same time, the man was to ascend and be magnified. The debunked gods could temporarily be replaced by some kind of surrogate in the form of an abstract idea of ​​absolute being or the world soul, – which is what happened in the old Brahmanism (the idea of ​​Brahman ”). But such a substitution of a living deity with philosophical abstraction could not satisfy religious consciousness.

The idea of ​​the world spiritual substance did not fill, but merely covered with itself the emptiness formed in the religious consciousness after the rational all-holder had disappeared from it. It was necessary to decide with open eyes to look at this emptiness, and therefore the logical further move was “religion without God” with its consequence — the exaltation of man over the gods, the deification of man. All this we find in Buddhism. But in parallel with the unprecedented exaltation of a person, the development of the gloomiest pessimism, which also takes place in Buddhism, goes along with the recognition that the highest goal of a person is nirvana – suicide of the spirit. The natural reaction against this ruthlessly-consistent direction was the thirst for a really great god.

This craving for the new life of Hinduism is common Brahminism, which only later received philosophical treatment. Not eliminating those problems, the reflection on which inevitably led to Buddhism, Hinduism had to disguise these problems with a pile of bizarre fiction that amazes and arouses the imagination, but at the same time opens and dulls a deep religious feeling.

In order to fill the gap in the religious consciousness and replace the old, debunked gods, Hinduism had to create new supreme gods of the almighty, giving them the character of absoluteness. But the material for these great new gods was the same old demon gods, who had been devoid of moral ideas (werewolf Vishnu and Leshi Shiva) and only renewed by merging with various local, partly non-Aryan, popular gods and mythical heroes.

It is not surprising, therefore, that these new gods, in the form in which they appeared before the consciousness of the broad masses of the people, differed from the previous ones only in monstrosity, overwhelming inaccessibility and wild, glaring brightness of their images. Philosophical reflection, on the other hand, could not make anything of them, only to discolor and depersonalize them, turning them almost into abstract concepts and sinking into the boundless sea of ​​pantheism.

From the Christian point of view, the whole history of the religions of India passes under the sign of the continuous dominion of Satan. This dominion begins from the moment when it was not entirely clear that it existed in religious consciousness, but nevertheless, the image of the true God the Creator and the Provider has already definitely emerged has been relegated to the background by demonic images. Then, in the era of the old Brahminism, following the hypocritical worship of this fear-causing, but not awe-inspiring demons, there is a desire to equal them in relation to their wonderful power, and hence the use of worship and austerity for magical purposes.

Simultaneously with the development of self-affirming pride, a person who has put himself face to face with the spirit of the abyss cannot help but shudder constantly, peering into this very abyss itself. Deprived of a rational God and inhabited by demons, the world is senseless and terrible. There is a desire to go somewhere, run away from the nightmarishly meaningless laws of this world with its endless repetitions. And here, in the teachings of Buddhism, Satan tells a person the terrible thought of total suicide, of destroying his spiritual life so that the soul of a person melts into the abyss, turning into nothing, into emptiness.

This terrible thought, presented, however, in the most attractive way, with the exaltation of a man above all “gods” flattering to human pride, for a long time seizes the religious consciousness of India. Then there is the reaction, the desire to worship the real God out of reach. But when a person, turning away from the abyss, before which Buddhism had set him, turns to find worthy worship of God, he, without noticing it, instead of God, he finds Satan again. This time, Satan makes a man prostrate in front of him and keeps him open and depressed. The monstrous ten-armed goddess Kali, grinning her teeth, riding in a chariot, under whose heavy wheels Shivaite fanatics find death, is that if not a symbol of Satan’s complete triumph over man …

The incompatibility of the two concepts

Let us return now to the question with which we started. Can a synthesis be made between Christianity and the mysticism of India? Can Christianity get along with the religion of India in such a way that any new, acceptable “highest” religion will turn out for this joint life?

Of course not. Christianity, always emphasizing the existence of metaphysical evil, opposite and contrary to God, and the religious thought of India, which never knew the problem of good and evil, are two completely incompatible worldviews. The Christian in all epochs of the development of religions of India clearly feels the breath of Satan. Only at first glance can the external similarity between certain manifestations of the religious life of India and similar phenomena in Christianity be misleading (mortification of the flesh, “smart doing” in Brahmanism, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice in Buddhism).

But upon closer examination, it turns out that all these actions are directed in India towards goals that are completely different from those of Christians. And the very facts that these actions, which always manifest themselves among the Hindus and Christians in the highest stages of spiritual development, are used by the Hindus to achieve satanic goals (the acquisition of magic power or spiritual suicide), only deepens the gap between Hindu religion and makes any compromise between these two religions impossible. There can be no compromise or synthesis between God and Satan. Meanwhile, from a Christian point of view, India is Satan’s strongest stronghold.

Thanks to the teachings on the transmigration of souls and on the avatars (incarnations) of Vishnu that are firmly rooted in the religious consciousness of India, the preaching of the Gospel in India is psychologically impossible, because the idea of ​​the Son of God that came in the flesh of any Hindu is immediately introduced into a number of “other” incarnations ” God “Vishnu (among which there are incarnations in the body of animals – the lion, fish, and wild pigs), or in the natural cycle of transmigration of souls, and, thus, the incarnation of the Son of God immediately ceases to be so unique. ktomu cosmic significance, as it is for a Christian.

The very concept of “God-man” in the mind of a Hindu takes on a completely different meaning in connection with what content this mind is used to embody in the concept of “god”. Thus, a Hindu can perceive Christianity only at the cost of the greatest internal effort, making a radical revolution in all of its mother-inherited religious psychology, destroying this psychology to its very foundation, so that there is no stone left from it.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the cases of the present conversion to Christianity among the Hindus (who also have to deal mostly with the dogmatically least solid Christian confessions) are extremely rare. But until such a conversion takes place, a Christian cannot look at a Hindu other than as a devotee of Satan, and any thought of synthesis or of a compromise between Christianity and one of the religions of India should be resolutely rejected. This determines our attitude to theosophy.

Conclusion

Trying to connect God with the devil for a Christian will always remain a blasphemy. And of course, this is not what we are calling for, preaching a “turn to the East.” No, there is nothing new for the west to look for. Eastern Orthodoxy, which is the purest form of genuine Christianity, managed to escape both from the satanic temptation of earthly rule, who defeated Catholicism, and the temptation of the human mind and rebellion against authority, which had defeated Protestantism, is always a treasure that we must take care, and for the talent of which the whole western world should thank the Almighty every hour. We shall not exchange our faith for any other religions in which the spirit of Satan explicitly or implicitly blows.

But if we have nothing to learn from the peoples of the non-Christian East of their religions, we still have something to borrow from them in the field of religious life, namely, their very attitude to religion. Let this religion from our point of view is satanic false teaching. It is important that the adherents of this false doctrine show to him exactly the attitude that should be shown to the true religion. We, Christians, know and readily repeat that earthly life is transient, that the benefits of this life are vain, and that the work of faith and the salvation of the soul is more important than all the concerns of life. However, people who draw from these words for themselves practical conclusions and really put soul salvation in the first place among us are rare units with which we are surprised. And in India, during the catastrophic crop failures that periodically hit this country, entire villages died from hunger, leaving behind herds of cows.

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