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Christianity's Similarities with Hinduism

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Christianity's Similarities with Hinduism

Stephen Knapp's Book

You may find it surprising that much of Christianity originated from India. Indeed, over the centuries, numerous historians and sages have pointed out that not only has Hinduism had a predominant influence on Christianity, but that many of the Christian rites could be directly borrowed from Hindu (Vedic) India.

French historian Alain Danielou had noticed as early as 1950 that "a great number of events which surround the birth of Christ - as it is related in the Gospels - strangely reminded us of Buddha's and Krishna's legends." Danielou quotes as examples the structure of the Christian Church, which resembles that of the Buddhist Chaitya; the rigorous asceticism of certain early Christian sects, which reminds one of the asceticism of Jain and Buddhist saints; the veneration of relics, the usage of holy water, which is an Indian practice, and the word "Amen," which comes from the Hindu (Sanskrit) "OM."

Another historian, Belgium's Konraad Elst, also remarks "that many early Christian saints, such as Hippolytus of Rome, possessed an intimate knowledge of Brahmanism." Elst even quotes the famous Saint Augustine who wrote: "We never cease to look towards India, where many things are proposed to our admiration."

Unfortunately, remarks American Indianist David Frawley, "from the second century onwards, Christian leaders decided to break away from the Hindu influence and show that Christianity only started with the birth of Christ." Hence, many later saints began branding Brahmins as "heretics," and Saint Gregory set a future trend by publicly destroying the "pagan" idols of the Hindus.

Great Indian sages, such as Sri Aurobindu and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, the founder of the Art of Living, have often remarked that the stories recounting how Jesus came to India to be initiated are probably true. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar notes, for instance, that Jesus sometimes wore an orange robe, the Hindu symbol of renunciation of the world, which was not a usual practice in Judaism. "In the same way," he continues, "the worshiping of Virgin Mary in Catholicism is probably borrowed from the Hindu cult of Devi." Bells too, which cannot be found today in Synagogues, the surviving form of Judaism, are used in church-and we all know their importance in Buddhism and Hinduism for thousands of years, even up to the present day.

There are many other similarities between Hinduism and Christianity, including the use of incense, sacred bread (prasadam), the different altars around churches (which recall the manifold deities in their niches inside Hindu temples), reciting prayers on the rosary (Vedic japamala), the Christian Trinity (the ancient Vedic trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as the creator, maintainer and destroyer respectively, as well as Lord Krishna as the Supreme Lord, the all-pervading Brahman as the holy ghost, and Paramatma as the expansion or son of the Lord), Christian processions, and the use of the sign of the cross (anganyasa), and so many others.

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