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Gianna Maree D.

Peñalosa December 13 , 2010

C38 TREDONE Dra. Lolita Castillo

HINDUISM AND HINDUISM’S LOVE OF NEIGHBOR

When I was a baby, I was baptized into Christian world and as time passed, I grew to

love my own religion. I am a Catholic and I was taught by my parents and teachers to love God

and love others. As I was growing up, my teachers were always reminding us that if we were to

be faced with another person from another religion and if it happens that I might visit another

religion’s place of worship, I must always treat the people right and respect their beliefs. That

way, I won’t give other people from another religion to criticize my own beliefs. I have grown

up to love studying about history and other people’s culture. Hinduism has always fascinated me

because it is not the same as my own religion which is Christianity. Hinduism is such a colorful

topic for me because of its diversity and variety. There are so many beliefs, ideas and history that

it has never failed to capture my attention. One part of this paper will be devoted to how

Hinduism shows it love for others/neighbor. In the Christian faith, Jesus Christ summarized the

ten commandments of God in to two things: Love your God and Love your neighbor. Comparing

Christianity and Hinduism in this sense is intriguing because it will be like learning something

new on my own for a change.

Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and it is the dominant religion in India,

Nepal and Sri Lanka. Hinduism is not one of the monotheistic religions in the world. Most forms

of Hinduism are henotheistic, meaning it recognizes a single deity and the gods and goddesses

are manifestations of the One God. A unique characteristic of Hinduism is that there is freedom

of belief and practice because there are a variety of Hindu traditions. Hinduism is not a religion
in itself and it doesn’t have an exact belief system because of the variety of beliefs, traditions,

philosophical and cultural ideas of people therefore making it a Dharma, a way of life.

The word “Hinduism” was obtained from Sindhu which is a mighty river flowing in the

Indus Valley. It has been said that that the people who resided in the Sindhu valley were named

Hindus. Hinduism is known to have no beginning and no end and the exact date of when it was

founded is not specified. It has been said that it was found around 3200-2500 BC but according

to the Mahabharata, the date of foundation is approximated 3012 BC. A few other things that

make Hinduism unique are that it doesn’t have one founder or core doctrine that people will have

to believe in and turn to when controversies arise. Hinduism is so diverse that it’s hard to

actually place it in any category. When it comes to religions, categories such as monotheism,

polytheism, monism, theism, etc. are rather familiar terms especially monotheism because most

of the religions that are existing in the world are monotheistic.

The ancient scriptures of Hinduism are the Vedas. The Vedas are scriptures or revelations

of the Hindu teachings. They are the manifestations of the Divine Word in speech. The Vedas

were composed in ancient Vedic Sanskrit. The Veda was divided into four books which are: Rig

Veda, Yajur-Veda, Sama-Veda and Atharva-Veda. The Vedas were said to have been compiled

during the time of Krishna which was around 3500 BC and the person responsible for the

compilation is Vyasa Krishna Dwaipayana. The Vedas were similar to Egyptian teachings since it

was symbolic and it required a special vision in order for it to be understood and used properly.

When Jesus Christ came to the world and started teaching the people, He summarized the

Ten Commandments into two. In the book of Matthew 23:36-40, a Sadducee who was an expert

of the Law asked Jesus what was the Law’s greatest commandment. The first and great
commandment was “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with

all your mind.” The second, which is similar to the first, is “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

The whole of the Law and the Prophets depends on these two commandments." These are known as the

great commandments. In Hinduism, love has many various forms. It can be spiritual, erotic, familial,

brotherly, etc. Love in its various forms is explored in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata but it is also

found as stories and brief moral lessons. Love of the neighbor is integral to the core belief system in

Hinduism. For the Hindus, love of the neighbor does not love another person but it loves the “other soul”.

It is said that is a fundamental requirement for a Hindu who seeks final liberation from this world and an

injury or insult that is inflicted on the other soul results to injuring oneself or the higher being. Neighborly

love is also integral for a person’s social existence in this world. Another verse in Mahabharata

summarizes the essence of the individual's social obligation or dharma and theorizes that one should not

do unto others that which would cause pain if inflicted on oneself (Mahabharata 5:15; 17). The

Ordinances of Manu also instruct a Hindu never to wound or inflict on anyone any type of injury or pain

by thought, word, or deed. Hospitality to strangers is a highly celebrated virtue and is expected of all

Hindus, especially people in positions of power.

The Christians are all familiar with the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus Christ told the parable

of the Good Samaritan to a lawyer who asked Him what he should do in order to attain eternal life. Jesus

Christ responded to the lawyer by asking him what is written in the law. The lawyer answered Jesus with

“love your God with all your heart, your entire mind, and all your soul and your neighbor as yourself. The

lawyer then asked Jesus who is his neighbor and Jesus told him the parable. In Hinduism, a story about a

man named Rantideva who is a devotee to the Lord Vishnu had gone to fast to empower himself

spiritually. The gods wanted to test him and his devotion when he was about to finish his fast. They

appeared to Rantideva in many forms of starving people and they begged him for food and drink. It has

been said that even before this man broke his fast, he had already distributed the food and drink that he

had at the moment and stated that since all belong to Vishnu, the food must nourish everyone. Generosity
and selfless love is important in Hinduism. Respecting another person, showing hospitality to a stranger

and having the need to extend fair treatment to all even to one’s enemy is something that simply shouts

that everyone has the right to exist in this world. Hinduism celebrates Ahisma or non-violence and it is

expected that every Hindu must treat all humans, plant and animal kingdoms with respect and

compassion. Hinduism’s demand to extend its concept of neighborly love is up to the next level because

even in the state of warfare, one must still be fair and considerate to the enemy. This is highlighted in the

Ramayana when Rama was up against his arch enemy, Ravana. Rama asked Ravana to come back the

next day when Ravana showed up to Rama disarmed. Another is when Rama declared he would extend

his protection to his arch enemy’s brother when Ravana’s brother declared Rama as his friend.

The main point of loving one’s neighbor in Hinduism is that “One should not behave towards

others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself”. The main point of loving one’s neighbor in Christianity

is “Love others as you love yourself”. Hinduism’s love of neighbor is focused on the “other soul” and in

unselfishness while Christianity’s love of neighbor is focused on loving other people. In comparing

Christian and Hindu beliefs in terms of loving one’s neighbor, both are somewhat similar and right but

there is still a difference. Hinduism states that if you don’t want others to behave in a manner that offends

you, do the same. In Christianity, Jesus tells the people to love others as they love themselves. Both

religions have a different stand when it comes to loving one’s neighbor but it is still relevant that these

religions are similar in a way that is not only beneficial to one person but also to others. Hinduism values

respect and fairness while Christianity values love for other people besides one’s self.

I believe that fairness and respect is needed in order to love not only one’s self but also the people

around you. One cannot truly love if one doesn’t know how to love one’s self first. Love is supposed to

be a mutual feeling. As what is stated in 1 Corinthians 13: 13 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not

envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps

no records of wrongs…” That kind of love should be present everywhere because the kind of love that

was stated in the Bible verse is not only talking about romantic love but love in general. We should not
forget that we are here in this world to influence and inspire others to live in the light and love of the

Lord.

Sources:

• Hinduism. The World’s Third Largest Religion. Retrieved: December 1, 2010

http://www.religioustolerance.org/hinduism.htm

• Love of Neighbor in Hinduism. Retrieved: December 1, 2010

http://www.the-crankshaft.info/2010/09/love-of-neighbor-in-hinduism.html

• Origin of Hinduism. Retrieved: December 2, 2010

http://www.indianexcursion.net/hinduism/origin-of-hinduism.html

• Origin and Development of Hinduism, Its Beliefs and Practices. Retrieved: December 2,

2010

http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduintrod1.asp

• Kreeft, Peter. A Comparison between Christianity and Hinduism. Retrieved: Decemb

• er 2, 2010.

http://www.yogaforums.com/forums/f33/a-comparison-of-hinduism-and-

christianity-by-peter-kreeft-6810.html

• Ayer, Sri V.A.K. Hindu Scriptures. Retrieved: December 2, 2010

http://www.hinduism.co.za/vedas-.htm

• Vedas. Retrieved: December 2, 2010

http://www.hindunet.org/vedas/