The Echoes of the Mind (98) Hinduism


Unlike other religions in the World, the Hindu religion does not claim any one Prophet, it does not worship any one God, it does not believe in any one philosophic concept, it does not follow any one act of religious rites or performances; in fact, it does not satisfy the traditional features of a religion or creed. It is a way of life and nothing more. ~ Supreme Court of India

The term Hinduism was coined by British writers in the early 19th century, referring to a rich cumulative tradition of texts and practices in the Indian subcontinent that began in the 2nd millennium bce.

Demographically, Hinduism is the world’s 3rd largest religion, after Christianity and Islam. Unlike those religions, Hinduism is not especially dogmatic. Instead, Hindus accept the pluralistic nature of their traditions.

That which we call the Hindu religion is really the Eternal religion because it embraces all others. ~ Indian guru Sri Aurobindo


A central conceptualization of Hinduism is brahman: an infinite, eternal, transcendent force that constitutes absolute reality. Interpretations vary as to the nature of brahman, depending upon whether dualism or monism is believed in.

Some Hindus view brahman impersonally: inseparably entangled with existence, albeit distinct from it; brahman as causal (reality constructor), not product (manifestation).

Other Hindus view brahman as a personal god, transcendent and immanent: Brahma the creator. This more easily conceived objectification corresponds with the Christian and Islamic notions of God and Allāh respectively. But the essence of existence is much different in Hinduism from that of the Middle Eastern religions.

The whole world-process is nothing but an illusion, a dream in the mind of Brahma, who himself alone is real. This is the cardinal doctrine from which Buddhism also sets out. ~ Allan Menzies


Under Hindu doctrine existence is constantly composed through the interplay of 3 guņas (energetic qualities): tamas (inertia), rajas (activity), and sattva (clarity). Tamas is an entropic force. Rajas is an active, coherent force. Rajas and tamas work in opposing ways. Sattva is the spiritual element, ushering enlightenment. Yoga aims at enlivening sattva.

(Physics embraces tamas with its entropically-oriented laws of thermodynamics. Implicitly in quantum mechanics, the Higgs interaction acts as rajas. Western physics has no correlate to sattva.)


Hindus generally believe in the transmigration of the individual soul and cyclic rebirth (samsāra). The moral quality of life’s acts (karma) propel endless samsāra. Release from rebirth (moksha) is only possible by purifying the soul (jīva).

Ātman is the true self, which functions to create the mind-body in this life and is the core of oneself that transmigrates – in Western parlance: the soul. Ātman underlies the activities of a person analogously to how brahman underlies the workings of all of Nature.

Actions inspired by desires bind to one’s soul. Karmas accumulate on jīva like dust coats oil. Whereas ātman is the essence of self, jīva is the living spirit. Though interpretations vary among Hindu schools of thought, jīva is generally considered an aspect of ātman.

Liberation from rebirth (moksha) requires the realization (ātma jnāna) that ātman is identical to brahman. This cognitive event (jnāna) is of pure awareness, free of conceptual encumbrances which act to embrace the artifice of existence. Life otherwise is in ajñāna (ignorance).