What is the opposite of Brahman

India has always been the canvas of our dreamy projections, the victim of our misconceptions and prejudices, says the preface to “Understanding Hinduism”, the “Sympathy Magazine”, which the German Study Group for Tourism and Development has published. And it continues to read: «Arab

fb. ⋅ India has always been the screen of our dreamy projections, the victim of our misconceptions and prejudices, says the preface to “Understanding Hinduism”, the “Sympathy Magazine”, which the German Study Group for Tourism and Development has published. And it goes on to read: “Arab seafarers who had been heading for the west Indian coast for thousands of years called all Indians Hindus. European colonialists adopted the name. Today, the term Hinduism is used to summarize an unmanageable number of cults that are held together by an overarching structure of thought, the holy scriptures. What meant to the Greeks are to the Indians. "

Here the reader is already aware: The attractively designed, 66-page magazine serves heavy fare, and the authors have set high standards for themselves. Especially since shortly afterwards they serve up the following confusing rule of thumb: “In Hinduism, the opposite is found for almost everything: Most Hindus are vegetarians, but some kill animals in order to sacrifice them to the gods. Most schools of thought extol asceticism as the fulfillment of life, but tantra recommends sexual debauchery in order to know God. "

Speaking of God. In contrast to Christianity, Islam and Judaism, Hinduism does not know a single God or Creator, but several. However, this religion has also changed significantly over time. Away from a collective worship characterized by ritual and fire sacrifice, towards an individual piety. The gods of the Aryans, such as Agni, the god of fire, and Yama, the god of the dead, are no longer worshiped, but Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.

How diverse this worship of gods takes place is illustrated by chapters in the booklet with promising titles such as “Animated Creation”, “Why I am a Hindu” or “God lives in the Sal tree”. In it the reader learns that Hindus think in cycles. That everything is fleeting for her, but also returns. And that creation and destruction are symbolized in one and the same deity: in the mighty Shiva.

«Hindus believe and worship in a simplicity, childlike and emotionality that we have mostly lost in the West. They try to make their outer life a direct reflection of their inner worship. They discover God everywhere and in all their actions, so he should be worshiped everywhere », writes one of the German authors very credibly. Although one would certainly have wished to find more articles from Indian pen in this issue.

On the other hand, the study group has to be credited with the fact that taboo topics are also taken up. When in the chapter "Caught in the grip of tradition" it says soberingly: "In the end, the status of women is reduced to their dowry." Or when the Indian (and Hindu) caste system is presented critically in the chapter “Pure and Unclean”. Almost a quarter of the Indian population is still treated as "untouchable" by Hindus of higher castes. Although all citizens are equal before the law, the gap between castes persists in everyday social life. This is actually just one of the innumerable contradictions that characterize Hinduism and ultimately all of India.